Dr. Diana Shmukler
Dr. Diana Shmukler

A one-day workshop with Diana Shmukler

Where:  The Imperial Hotel, Cork

When: 23 June, 2018

Supervision has long been regarded as essential to both the training of Psychotherapists and in ongoing practice. Approaches to supervision are as diverse as the approaches to therapy itself remembering that all supervisors are also practitioners. This workshop therefore rested on Diana’s approach to therapy, counselling and all forms of working in the field captured in the idea that the work can be conceptualised as ‘The Use of the Self in Supervision’: the ‘Self’ being the central tool used in these forms of practicing. Thus the theoretical orientation rests both on an Integrative Approach to Psychotherapy as well as a deeply relational view and psychology.

Asymmetry of the Brain and Human Meaning

When: 08 December, 2017 9:30am – 4pm

A one-day seminar with Dr. Iain McGilchrist

Where: Chartered Accountants House, 47-49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Almost everything you think you know about differences between the brain hemispheres is wrong. The topic was taken over and distorted by pop psychology, and hence understandably, but nonetheless irrationally, neglected by the mainstream.   So why is the brain, an organ that exists only to make connections, divided and asymmetrical?  What does it tell us about the structure of the world we inhabit?  Why does life seem to be in the process of draining itself of meaning?  Iain McGilchrist will argue that lateralisation is now the topic in neuroscience of greatest significance for understanding the human condition.

The Right Brain, Left Brain Divide: Its Relevance to Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychotherapy

A one-day seminar with Dr. Iain McGilchrist

When: 09 December, 2017 9.30am – 4.00pm
Where: The River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork

Psychotherapy – and indeed psychiatry and psychology – find themselves squeezed by demands that are fundamentally destructive of their proper practice and ethic.  This comes from a misunderstanding of the nature of the therapeutic encounter, which is not a product but a process.

The mental health professions have not been singled out, however, for this inappropriate treatment, which comes from a life–denying, mechanistic and reductive world view that is fundamentally opposed to human flourishing, and is found across the whole spectrum of modern Western life.  Almost everything you think you know about differences between the brain hemispheres is wrong; but Iain McGilchrist will explain why a new appreciation of this extraordinary divide at the centre of our being helps us to see what is going on around us, and why we need to recapture the importance of the implicit over the explicit, of quality over quantity, and of relationships over things.

Attachment Perspectives on Borderline Personality Disorder: Implications for Therapy

A one-day workshop with Dr. Gwen Adshead

When: 23 September, 2017, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Dr. Gwen Adshead

Where: The Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain Street, Cork

Attachment theory provides useful perspectives on emotionally unstable or borderline personality disorder (BPD); both in terms of how the disorder develops and in terms of therapy. In this practical and interactive workshop, Dr. Adshead uses a perspective based on attachment theory and mentalisation to explore:

  • How the psychopathology of emotional instability develops
  • Hostile, helpless states of mind and epistemic trust
  • The relationship with disorganised attachment and its sequelae
  • How this understanding informs our therapeutic approaches
  • How this understanding influences the way we think about families and their therapeutic needs
  • Language and threat: use of ‘why’ questions, silence and poor mentalising
  • Preventing and managing attachment anxiety

The Mysterious Connexion : Projective Identification and Enactment in Process Work


When: 1-2 July, 2017

Where: The Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain Street, Cork

Dr. Heward Wilkinson has lectured extensively on Projective Identification and Enactment, developing a rich and thoroughly considered approach to these topics, from which he has prepared a special two-day experiential workshop for Symposion. The Mysterious Connexion promises to be a memorable experience from which practitioners will draw in their work for years to come.

Projective Identification – the other side of its mirror is Counter-Transference! – is a mode of communication, found far beyond process work in therapy. It is alive and well in vast human communication processes, families, groups, and collective situations. Therapy process work is a uniquely powerful mode by which to tap into it. It is not merely the raw reactiveness of either therapist or client, but more, – profound interactive communication.

Dr Heward Wilkinson

And, as, in Eliot’s phrase, the ‘tentacular roots, reaching down to the deepest terrors and desires’ – and shames – of its underneath reachings, are expressed in process and in replications, we grasp that, – not merely various forms of ‘acting-out’ or ‘acting-in’, – but all therapy process modes, mentalised and/or embodied, are a seamless shot silk tapestry of Enactment. Enactment process actually defines and underpins the therapy processes of the narrative-relational therapies. Enactment is not simply regressive or defensive, but the all-pervasive medium of the work, rising to poetic epiphany. In and upon that rich medium, Projective Identifications play out subtly at all the levels – above, below, and in-between.

Both Projective Identification and Enactment are commonly oversimplified, even shrivelled down to reductive guises. But, they are both realities, – and powerful metaphors amongst many metaphors. We’ll seek to explore them together, in this workshop, in all their richness and many-sidedness, – mainly experientially, but against a modest background of theory, – and find out how taking them in in their deeper aspects alters our clinical work.

We need to re-vision the classical conception of Projective Identification. Those who have believed that there is something fishy, and also incomprehensible and utterly puzzling, about Projective Identification are quite right – in a way. The problem is in fact that, in one way or another, by being put into a conceptual enclave, Projective Identification has been rendered mysterious, when it is much closer to commonsense than is normally thought.

Understanding and Working with Early Relational Trauma and Borderline States of Mind

A One-Day Workshop with Marcus West

Marcus West

When: 27 May, 2017

Where: Wood Quay Venue, Wood Quay, Dublin 8

Many thanks to Marcus West and to all who attended this workshop. This was a deep and difficult topic, which Marcus approached with knowledge, insight, care and experience. The thorough and informative presentation was enhanced by group discussions, helping us to consider early relational trauma and its implications in our own practice.





Moments of Meeting and the Problem of Shame

A One-Day Seminar with Dr. Patricia DeYoung


When: 18 February, 2017

Where: The River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork

The problem of shame is ubiquitous in psychotherapy, as it is in life, but it is often misunderstood. Both those who suffer from chronic shame and those who treat their suffering may understand the problem as rooted in an individual’s low self-esteem or faulty patterns of thought or belief. In Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame: A Relational/Neurobiological Approach, Dr. Pat DeYoung has argued that chronic shame is rooted, instead, in early relational experience, and that therefore the essence of treating shame should also be relational.

Dr. Patricia DeYoung
Dr. Patricia DeYoung

This day-long training expands on that premise, beginning with a paper that argues for the “fit” between the several traditions of relational therapy and the moments of person-to-person meeting that shame needs for healing. In treating shame, empathic attunement and active, transparent engagement are not rival approaches; both are essential. With this perspective as background, Dr. DeYoung will present a set of two talks. In the first, she will trace how shame’s power of self-disintegration interacts with dissociative and compensatory self-protections to create recognizable “faces of shame.” In the second, she will discuss ways that therapists can find and create moments of meeting within the quite different kinds of interpersonal fields these faces of shame construct. She will condense key points into “self-supervision guidelines for working with shame,” which will provide the framework for a final hour of conversation between Dr. DeYoung and a fellow therapist who brings a case for discussion.



Past Events

Things of Darkness: An Exploration of Human Violence

A one-day seminar with Dr. Gwen Adshead, Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

When: 3rd September 2016

Where: The River Lee Hotel, Western Road, Cork

Dr. Gwen Adshead
Dr. Gwen Adshead

This event is designed to illuminate why human beings can be dangerous, murderous, or perverse and draws on Dr. Adshead’s long-standing and extensive experience of working therapeutically with perpetrators of violence and cruelty. It an opportunity for professionals who encounter acts of violence, aggression and sadism in their clinical work, to both contextualise their work and consider strategies for dealing with those dynamics. This seminar will also be of interest to academics, social workers, probation and prison officers, law enforcement professionals, and any other professionals who study or encounter violence or perpetrators of violence in their work.


Using the Self in Psychotherapy

An experiential workshop with Diana Shmukler, Phd.

“It’s all about you and nothing to do with you at the same time.”

25th June, 2016 at The Imperial Hotel, Cork

Dr. Diana Shmukler
Dr. Diana Shmukler

Contemporary approaches to relationally-oriented work such as psychotherapy, counselling or supervision require that we use ourselves as the primary tool. This presupposes an ongoing self-awareness and a commitment to self-reflection and growth. There is also a need to acquire an understanding of a psychology of relationship, relational difficulties, as well as trauma. In any perspective which rests on an understanding of psychodynamics, ongoing consideration must be given to transference and countertransference issues. Thus, the processes of projection, projective identification and introjection are critical to our discussion.

This workshop will consist of a combination of theory and practice and theory related to practice. Dr. Shmukler believes that we learn and can best use ideas and techniques when we relate them to ourselves and our situations. Further, she believes one of our deep motivations for this work is the opportunity for self-development and growth inherent in working with ourselves. Thus, she will use the group as a learning group. There will also be an opportunity for supervision and to explore cases as well as participants’ experiences, in the present, in the group.