Working with emotion in psychotherapy

This two day seminar will introduce Leigh McCullough’s integrative psychodynamic model of psychotherapy (the ‘Affect Phobia’ model of short-term dynamic psychotherapy). The presentation will cover how to distinguish between different kinds of affect, how to regulate anxiety, shame and guilt, how to identify and work with client defences, and how to help clients to experience underlying healthy affective experiences. Consideration will be given to how to tailor the approach to clients with different levels of functioning. The theory will be illustrated extensively with video illustrations of clinical work. Evidence on the effectiveness of the approach and the mechanisms of change will also be covered.

By the end of the seminar, participants should have gained a clear understanding of the Affect Phobia model, the empirical evidence which supports it, as well as a number of safe and practical ways of regulating clients’ anxiety, shame and guilt and increasing clients’ adaptive emotional experiences during psychotherapy.

08:30 Registration
09:00 Start
17:00 Close


Learning outcomes and objectives

  • Recognising adaptive and maladaptive affective experiences in clients.
  • Recognising and addressing defensive processes in psychotherapy.
  • Helping clients to increase adaptive affective experiences, whilst regulating maladaptive anxiety, shame and guilt.
  • Learning how to tailor interventions to client level of functioning.
  • Learning how to build self-compassion in clients who are more ‘affect-phobic’.

Psychological theory underpinning the event

The model is based on Malan’s model of brief psychodynamic therapy (Malan, 1979). However, the psychodynamic approach is integrated with learning theory, so that ‘core psychodynamic conflicts’ are understood as ‘affect phobias’, and psychodynamic treatment is seen as congruent with systematic desensitisation approaches used to treat other phobias. As a result, McCullough’s model is amongst the most integrative and research oriented of brief psychodynamic therapy models.

Kristin A. R. Osborn is an Experiential Dynamic Therapist who specializes in Leigh McCullough’s Affect Phobia Therapy. For over 15 years, she has used affect focused therapy in her work with adults, adolescents, families and groups. In addition to seeing patients in her private practice in Cambridge MA, Kristin Osborn conducts training and supervision groups for mental health professionals in the North America and Europe. She has a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where she teaches 4th year psychiatry residents Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy and is a member of the Psychotherapy Research Program, directed by Dr Leigh McCullough, PhD She is also a member of the continuing education faculty at Rino-Nord Holland in Amsterdam and at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Roxbury, MA and has presented at the APA and IEDTA International Conferences. Recently she was elected to the Board of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association (IEDTA) and is the IEDTA Executive Coordinator of Continuing Education. She wrote a chapter for Clinical Strategies to Become a Master Psychotherapist (2005) and is currently co-authoring two books.

Leigh McCullough is unable to attend the conference due to illness, but has offered her clinical case material to illustrate the model. Leigh is Director of the Research Institute at Modum Bad Psychiatric Centre in Vikersund, Norway, outside Oslo. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Centre, Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts), where she co-teaches a course on Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy and co-directs the Psychotherapy Research Programme. She is also Director of Research of the International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association and Co-Director of the Trondheim Psychotherapy Research Programme where she is involved in an extensive analysis of videotaped psychotherapy to identify mechanisms of change.

Dr McCullough was the 1996 Voorhees Distinguished Professor at the Menninger Clinic and received the 1996 Michael Franz Basch Award from the Silvan Tomkins Institute for her contributions to the exploration of affect in psychotherapy. She is the author of several books, including Changing Character (Basic Books, 1997) and Treating Affect Phobia (Guilford, 2002), as well as many papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her writing focuses on psychotherapy process research and the theory and practice of short-term dynamic psychotherapy.

Booking information

Who should attend?

This two-day workshop is suitable for Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, Psychotherapists, and IAPT Counsellors.

Workshop fee

DCP Members £100 + VAT
BPS Members £120 + VAT
Non-Members £192 + VAT

How to register

Register online by visiting the BPS Shop.

To pay by cheque or invoice, complete and return the registration form.


St John’s College

Oxford University 

Information and directions

Thu, 26/05/2011 - 09:00 to Fri, 27/05/2011 - 17:00
BPS Learning Centre