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Bespoke Psychotherapy: Assessing and Accommodating Clients’ Preferences

An online workshop

Speaker: Mick Cooper

Date: 16 October 2021, Saturday
Location: Online streaming only (
all our webinar tickets now include complimentary access to a video recorded version for 1 year)
Times: 10:00am to 4:00pm, London, UK time
CPD hours: 5

Early bird ticket price per delegate for online streaming of the event: £115

Buy more than one ticket to receive our ‘bring a friend’ 5% discount on your entire order.

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As psychotherapists and counsellors, we realise that we need to select the best therapy for a particular individual client; not the therapy that purportedly works best, on average, for clients. Averaging flattens and devalues individual experience. Research evidence is derived from groups of people, yet we make decisions for and with individuals, tailoring therapy to their specific and unique needs. While it is every psychotherapist’s intent that their psychotherapeutic approach works best and is tailored to an individual client, it often proves difficult to do so. Research indicates that assessing, and where possible, accommodating clients’ preferences in therapy can have beneficial outcomes and reduce dropout.

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Full Course Information

In practical terms, however, how do we go about understanding what clients’ preferences are? And what should we do to incorporate these in our approach? Equally, working with clients’ preferences is by no means straightforward, and literature and training in the area is sparse. What happens, for instance, if a client does not seem to have any preferences? Or if what they want is not what the therapist thinks is best for them? And what should a therapist do if what a client wants is not something that a therapist feels able, or willing, to offer?

At this workshop, which is particularly aimed at psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists – Mick Cooper draws on his recent book on the topic (Norcross & Cooper, 2021) and his extensive experience to explore the latest theory and evidence on working with client preferences, including through the use of the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences. Through case studies and personal reflective exercises, the workshop will provide practical guidance on how we can integrate clients’ preferences into practice, either through adoption, adaptation, proposing an alternative, or referral to another.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Ask clients questions that can elicit preferences
  • Respond to clients’ preferences in a range of ways
  • Apply the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences in their work, and for self-reflection
  • Comprehend the evidence for assessing and accommodating client preferences
  • Comprehend, and be able to integrate into practice, the theory behind preference work

About the speaker

Mick Cooper is a Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a chartered counselling psychologist.  Mick is a leading authority in the existential therapy field, and has delivered trainings nationally and internationally on this approach (including Japan, Australia, Denmark and Greece).  He has written widely on existential, person-centred and relational approaches to therapy.  His books include Existential Therapies (Sage, 2003), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2005, with Dave Mearns), the Existential Counselling Primer (PCCS, 2012) and Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2011, with John McLeod). Mick has also led a range of research studies exploring the process and outcomes of humanistic counselling with young people.  Mick’s latest book is Existential psychotherapy and counselling: Contributions to a pluralistic practice (Sage, 2015). Mick lives in Brighton with his wife and four children.

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