ACCEPT
 – Summer Weekend Workshops


This summer, ACCEPT held two well-attended workshops with the
 theme of “Taking Care, Talking Cures”. These workshops included both 
lectures and tutorial work along with practical observation of counselling 
sessions and provided a good all-round introduction to the subject. Lectures
 ranged from Psychoanalysis to Addiction Counselling and included an 
interesting introduction to Cognitive/Behavioural Counselling from Mary 
Morrissey, Senior Psychologist at Cheeverstown, specialist in mental 
handicap. She began by outlining the history of behavioural psychology from 
Pavlov to Skinner and obsessions and the inclusion of bio-feedback to
 monitor stress levels and anxiety. The group responded to her presentation
 with a number of lively questions, especially from people engaged in nursing
 and associated professions.

Having outlined Behaviourism, she went on to describe Cognitive, telling
 us about Rational-Emotional Therapy (RET) and recommending H. Lovett’s 
book, Cognitive Counselling and Persons with Special Needs, 1985. In 
answer to the question, Where does Cognitive/Behavioural theory fit into 
counselling? she outlined the three stages of Egan’s model; first, listening to
 the problem, secondly understanding and re-assessing and thirdly solving the 
problem by planning and taking effective action. The therapy is active,
 directive, time-limited and structured and seeks to challenge negative
 automatic thoughts and their underlying irrational beliefs. She described 
ways in which this therapy could be used for depression, making it clear that 
although the theory accepts that early experiences may lie behind the
 subsequent problem, the therapy seeks primarily to “overcome inertia” in the 
present. To this end, Ellis prescribes reality testing of assumptions, enabling 
the client to experience problem-solving skills and offering remedies for 
deficiencies in these skills. She concluded with a quotation from Epictetus, 
the Stoic philosopher:

“Men are disturbed not by things but by the views which they take of 
them.”

The whole presentation was open and informative, well calculated to
 interest the group who responded with lively discussion and questions, as well 
as with some anecdotes about their own experiences. Altogether it was a very 
lively and helpful introduction.

Report by Mary Montaut