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DCoP enjoys annual conference in Bristol
The Society's Division of Counselling Psychology held its annual conference at the Thistle Grand Hotel in Bristol on 14 - 16 July 2011 under the titled "Celebrating Pluralism in Counselling Psychology?"
Jill Mytton, the chair of DCoP conference committee welcomed delegates to the conference before Professor John McLeod took the stage to talk about '"Pluralism": What does it mean for the way we work?''. The keynote presentation encompassed an extension of ideas that is outlined in his book co-authored with Professor Mick Cooper. The presentation highlighted the importance of pluralism in contrast to monism (the search for absolute truth) and what practitioners do in therapy in terms of specific models.
The choice of symposiums, presentations and full individual papers provided some delegates with tough decisions about which to attend. Whether it was on qualitative research, mindfulness, CBT, career progression in the current economic climate, the feedback from delegates reflected that there was a sense of belonging and they enjoyed meeting and interacting with like-minded individuals and groups. The second keynote presentation followed the exhibition and poster presentations and was titled: ''Intimacy - in the consulting room and other places'', presented by Professor Jeremy Holmes.
The DCoP poster outlining the various ways to connect as counselling psychologists and to promote our field was displayed amongst quality research posters from trainees and members alike. The evening was rounded off by a wine reception, sponsored by The University of the West of England and the conference gala dinner with live entertainment. Line dancing was enjoyed by many a professor, doctor, trainee, member and delegate, and perhaps reflected the dance of change with every chasse or shuffle step.
The second day of the conference provided a choice between a symposium by Dr Martin Milton (''Therapy and Beyond: Pluralism ad the Profession''); a workshop on ''equal partnerships in Applied Psychology'', a workshop on ''pluralistic enquiry - research made practice'' by Dr Jenifer Elton Wilson or a paper presented by John Rowan titled ''counselling psychology and the transpersonal''.
Following on from the success of the public lecture in Glasgow last year, the DCoP opened Dr Richard House's lecture on ''modern childhood: still toxic after all these years'' to the public. The event was well attended with members of the public ranging from members of other divisions of the BPS, a politician, mothers, fathers and other professionals. Members of the public were encouraged to meet with Dr House after the talk to continue the discussion. The afternoon session featured a keynote presentation by Professor Carla Willig and the plenary session - taking us forward.
The conference raised some important questions about the identity of counselling psychology and how we have a wonderful opportunity to think forward as ambassadors of the group. There was a sense of excitement, inspiration and motivation to share ideas around pluralism and dialogue. I hope that the motivation and inspiration stays with all of us - as Dr Peter Martin said - like a benign irritant that stays with you and worries you. In this way it gives us something to ponder over, reflect upon and be bold enough to verbalise what we can do for our division and our identity as counselling psychologists.
Dr Helen Nicholas, DCoP Comms Lead and co-editor of the e-letter
More coverage of the conference will appear in the September issue of The Psychologist
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