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Talk Therapy: The Inescapability of Language


February 9, 10, 16, 23


$775, with Student, Early Bird, and Course Pack discounts available.

Delivery Mode

Synchronous online

Course Description

Imagine the capacity to create change if every word in therapy was understood to be an intervention?
More and more therapeutic practices rely on noncognitive parts of experience: the somatic, the emotional, the affective, and so on. But despite changing content, counselling therapy is bound by language. This course goes beyond narrative therapy to teach therapists to leverage this embeddedness in language.
In this course students will learn the special grammar and syntax therapists use, how to use language to constitute things instead of just representing them, how to modulate even content that appears factual, and how to use the power of speech acts to create powerful change. Students will learn to make every utterance an intervention and will learn the surprising capacity of the best therapists to hold reality fluidly.


Shane Trudell

Shane Trudell is a Founding Director of Nightingale Counselling. Shane’s counselling practice is rooted in critical theory and an emancipatory ethic, and his aspirational vision of what private practice can and should be guides this introduction to the business of counselling therapy. Shane’s work and research in his role as Director are about elevating the potential of private practice counselling therapy, for the benefit of clients, other counsellors, and counselling therapy itself. He works as a mentor, consultant, and instructor on how to contribute to the mental health community through ethical, muscular counselling practice.

Hart Caplan fundamental orientation to counselling is existential. At its heart, this approach doesn’t distinguish between cognitions (thinking) and affect (emotions) and the somatic (body). Instead, it (and I) attempt to make contact with the whole of one’s being. After all, we don’t refer to ourselves as “human brains” or “human bodies” but as human beings. This is why talk therapy participates in healing the body, but it also explains why attention to the body can help heal what we generally call mental illness. And in the midst of it all, feelings are the endlessly rich source of information that help connect thinking to the body.

In this way, I don’t think of my practice as curative. Rather, I think of the movement that is achieved in therapy as-being-towards-authenticity: i.e., when one’s interior and exterior and thinking, feeling, and bodily experiences are in concert. The task of therapy, then, is simply to learn to speak in and with one’s own voice.One of the great therapists of the last 50 years, Irvin Yalom, wrote that “the relationship is the therapy.” This is the cornerstone of my own thinking and practice.


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