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Lessons from an Integrated Mental Health Care Approach

Saturday 29 February & Sunday 1 March 2020 – London

With Benjamin Fry, Dr Nuri Gene-Cos, Dr Phil Mollon, Dr Alon Reshef and Dr Yorai Sella

Previous notions of health and disease have tended to separate the mind from other organic processes. However, when we start to think of the mind as an entity that spreads throughout the body in a highly complex network of feedback loops between thoughts, feelings and chemicals then a holistic model of mental health care makes great sense.

So how does an integrated mental health team rise to the challenge of providing a service that transcends a dualistic mind-body model? The Emek Medical Center in Northern Israel has been trying to answer this question. They find that patients with high levels of anxiety, depression, somatisation and post-traumatic symptomologies benefit greatly from integrative body-mind approaches – psychotherapy offered in combination with complementary medicine. As a result, they have designed an innovative therapeutic model incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine, Buddhist and Taoist approaches, reflexology and body-oriented psychotherapy sitting alongside contemporary psychoanalytic theory. And it is proving to be highly effective in both NHS and private settings.

Bringing together an international panel of speakers, this conference will discuss the work of the Emek Medical Centre, what they have found that works, and comparable developments in UK mental health care provisions created by British practitioners exploring therapeutic insights drawn from other healing paradigms, such as incorporating the senses and energy work. Five talks on Day One will be followed by two in-depth workshops on Day Two.


Saturday 29 February – Talks

Registration and Coffee

Dr Alon Reshef
Integration of Body-mind Therapies in a Psychiatric Ward
In the last eight years the psychiatric service of Emek Medical Center, located in northern Israel has undergone a process of integration with less conventional therapeutic methods: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), reflexology, shiatsu, mindfulness, and nutrition counselling. In this talk Alon will discuss the advantages and pitfalls of the process, especially in the ward. It has become apparent that the significant broadening of therapeutic perspectives, often leading many times to breakthroughs with “stuck” treatments, can also induce difficulties regarding issues of complex dialogue, boundaries and “territorialism” (“this is my field”).


Benjamin Fry
The Invisible Lion – The Nervous System Root of the Tree of Integration
Psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry all have observed something we call mental health and given their observations labels. This is like getting to know and labelling each leaf on a huge oak tree. Nervous system theory looks at the roots and the trunk of the same tree. From there each branch and each leaf becomes more predictable; phenomenology [or observation] gives way to aetiology [or causation] and thus solutions start to suggest themselves. This presentation illustrates these roots and some clinical solutions.


Dr Yorai Sella
From Vienna to Beijing and Back: a New Vocabulary for the “Talking Cure”
Intersubjective, neuro-psychological and mystically inclined psychotherapies show that wellbeing involves working with the “body-mind” whole. However, this requires creating an integrative language and integrated mind-body practice of psychotherapy. Some 25 years ago, Yorai and his colleague Naomi Urbach-Shvili responded to this need by creating a model called “Presence and Vitality Psychotherapy”, which assimilates Taoist-based Oriental medicine including Shiatsu massage, Buddhism and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In this presentation he shall describe the model – now incorporated into varied clinical, university and hospital settings and found effective in treating a wide range of psycho-spiritual, psycho-somatic and psychopathological malaise.


Dr Nuri Gene Cos
A Noisy Brain: Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders
In this talk, Nuri will address difficulties that therapists encounter when treating patients with complex trauma and severe dissociative disorders. The reduced intellectual capacity and often extreme body dysregulation these patients present can prove a challenge for meaningful therapeutic processing. However, the understanding of neuroscience can be applied to the treatment of these people. Using a holistic approach, three case studies are described in which psychotherapeutic techniques using smells, noises/sounds and body touch are applied to achieve autonomic regulation and increased presence in therapy sessions.

Dr Phil Mollon
Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy – Working at Multiple Levels
Exploration of the psychodynamics of the mind is often somewhat helpful,but may be insufficient to bring about a desired degree of change. For many decades of its evolution, psychotherapy was conducted as if a conversation between two disembodied minds. Yet emotions are very much bodily events, our most troubling and traumatic experiences are encoded as whole body-brain-mind patterns. In addition, it can be important to attend to the subtle energy system, an interface between body and mind, where the patterns of dysfunction are encoded. By making use of subtle energy centres and energy signalling, we can identify and address with precision the traumas, conflicts, and deep beliefs that have shaped and hold prisoner the client in our consulting room.


Sunday 1 March – Workshops

8.30 – 9.45 (optional)
Social Dream Matrix hosted by Laurie Slade
An opportunity to share dreams and associations, making connections where possible. We don’t interpret the dreams, we meet to pool our resources, seeing how this process may amplify themes of the conference, and otherwise where it takes us. For anyone interested in dreams, imagination, creativity and new thinking.

Registration and Coffee

Workshop 1: Dr Alon Reshef
Creating a Dialogue: From Conceptual Ideas of Dialectic Integration, to Real World, Public Service Implementation
Trying to feel the voice of our era, one gets the impression that integration of different and sometimes very remote modalities into mainstream psychiatry and psychotherapy, must have taken off by now. But in fact, integration is largely delayed in psychiatry, especially in the public service. The aim of the workshop is to create a dialogue between different professions, attitudes and values, in order to highlight the common grounds but also the misalignments and deep disagreements regarding integration of complementary and mind-body techniques into psychiatry and psychotherapy. Issues arising such as psychodynamic meanings, team hierarchy, medico-legal concerns will be discussed.


Workshop 2: Dr Yorai Sella
Presence and Vitality in Psychotherapy: Achieving Body-Mind Congruence in an Integrative Clinic
In the workshop we shall look at the challenge and practice of creating an integrative model of psychotherapy. Beginning with some exercises adapted from Oriental meditative practices we shall follow through the process of an integrative intake, assessment and treatment plan in the clinic. We shall distinguish between a joint-practitioner model (which integrates the best of two worlds but perpetuates dualism) and integrative psychotherapy conducted by one therapist who focusses on sensation and the body thereby raising issues of transference. We shall bring together dynamic, humanistic, Taoist and Zen perspectives to examine issues of presence, vitality, potentiality, attunement space and empathy, demonstrating their contributions to treatment outcome through clinical vignettes.

Group Discussion with Speakers


Note: the fee of £80 is for BHMA members only and represents a 50% discount on the full price. To access this price on you will need a coupon code which will be shared in our newsletter and in our members FB group. BOOK NOW


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