Effective Therapy from Psychologists

online, and central & east London

Resolving problems in the therapeutic relationship: a practical skills workshop.

Understanding and resolving ruptures in the therapeutic relationship: a practical skills interactive webinar.

~ Workshop presented by Dr Robert Watson, Clinical Psychologist, Accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist & Supervisor, and Vice-Chair of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy.

~ Relevant for any clinician who provides interventions in the context of an ongoing therapeutic relationship i.e. Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Psychiatrists, and Keyworkers.

~ Saturday 7th December,  10am to 4.30pm.

~ Cost: £70. Further information and book at:


~ This is a Zoom online fully interactive training session and you will able to work in pairs in breakout rooms during the day.  (See “How will the webinar work” in FAQs below).

This is the sixth run of this workshop following its successful first run for the West London Mental Health Trust Personality Disorder Service on 30th April 2018.

This workshop is relevant to the following groups:

This workshop is aimed at clinical/counselling psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors who wish to develop their relational formulation capabilities and clinical skills in this area of work. The workshop was also well received by Psychiatrists and Keyworkers, and indeed would be useful to anyone involved in delivering healthcare on an ongoing basis.

Overview / aims:

Decades of psychotherapy research demonstrates that the therapeutic relationship is fundamental to good outcomes in any therapy. Yet problems and ruptures to the therapeutic relationship are common and stressful, and they can present challenges to therapists across all levels of experience. Understanding and formulating problems in the relationship and making them the focus of collaborative dialogue are all essential components of successfully addressing them.

Is there consensus based on research regarding what are helpful and unhelpful therapist responses to ruptures or strains in the therapeutic relationship?   Yes, there is, and interestingly, research suggests that experienced therapists tend to make more unhelpful responses even after intensive training on the subject.  Making theory practice links throughout, this workshop will draw on the application of relational formulations and interventions to focus on what helps and what does not in this workshop designed to help therapists work better when the therapeutic relationship gets stuck.  While drawing relational ideas from Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), this workshop will be accessible to therapists working across different modalities, including CBT therapists.

Some examples of what participants have liked so far:  

“Discussion about metacommunication and Robert’s willingness to share examples.”

“Brave to offer transcripts. A really helpful day”.

Very clear guidance of how to notice, understand, and address ruptures.  I have had previous lectures on this, but this was the most helpful in practical terms.”

Having more awareness of dynamics and the confidence to speak to clients about it”

“The clinical examples of how to tackle ruptures.  Knowing that there is no set way to fix ruptures – it depends on the situation and your own judgement.” 

Learning objectives:

  1. Provide a relational formulation of the therapeutic alliance with an emphasis on interventions as relational acts i.e. the principle that the same intervention can be experienced differently depending on client’s characteristic ways of relating to themselves and others meaning for example, that a thought diary could be experienced as self-affirming by one client or controlling by another.
  2. To give you a hopefully straightforward CAT framework for understanding and describing ruptures relationally and how to use these to aid your work.
  3. To describe strategies for resolving problems in the alliance and outline a transtheoretical model of rupture resolution that focuses directly on repairing the relationship.
  4. Provide participants with practical skills in how to use CAT formulations as a resource for the purposes of therapeutic metacommunication i.e. creating a dialogue that fosters awareness and understanding of the relational patterns between you and your client, so they can be explored and resolved collaboratively.
  5. To help you reflect upon the role of vulnerability (both your clients and your own) in rupture events and their resolution.

The workshop will provide expert teaching, and experiential exercises, allowing delegates to practice skills.  Transcripts of rupture events and their resolution from Robert’s clinical work provide real life examples of the theory practice links discussed.

Robert Watson is a Clinical Psychologist with 17 years’ experience and has extensive experience in public and private settings working with clients with complex psychological presentations. He is an accredited CAT therapist and supervisor and is the vice-chair of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy.

Not convinced?  Hear from some of Robert’s previous supervisees.

‘I have known Robert for several years in his capacity as my supervisor and also attended his workshops in the past. Robert has helped me immensely in my work as a Cognitive Psychotherapist to understand and formulate patterns within the therapeutic relationship and how to effectively address them in a sensitive and supportive manner. Robert has both clinical and theoretical expertise which I found invaluable in helping me confidently manage relational factors that arise in practice.’ – Vanessa Papas, CBT and CAT Therapist

“Rob has provided clinical supervision to me over a number of years. Rob’s supervision is extremely supportive and caring, allowing me to explore challenging aspects of the therapy process safely and without judgement.  A focus on the interpersonal aspects of the client’s presentation in supervision has helped my CBT practice enormously. It has provided a reflective space to explore my own observations and feelings that arise during the therapeutic work, and given me greater confidence in exploring relational factors with the client directly.”  –  Dr Stella Christofides, Clinical Psychologist.

My motivation for this workshop.

Looking back now, I can see how unprepared I was when I first qualified as a Clinical Psychologist for dealing with problems in the alliance. It was one of my key reasons to train in Cognitive Analytic Therapy first as a therapist and later as a supervisor – a model that puts at its heart understanding and revising unhelpful and limiting patterns of relating both outside and inside the consulting room. The therapeutic relationship, and how as therapists we understand and try to negotiate it, has been one of my lifelong clinical interests and passions over the last fifteen years. I have been fortunate to write and teach about it and supervise doctoral research on the subject. I am pleased to be able to offer this training to psychologist, psychotherapist, and counsellor colleagues who might share my curiosity of discovering more ways of moving forward usefully when the therapeutic alliance gets stuck.