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The Therapeutic Problem: Common Factors


March 8, 9, 15, 22


$775, 15% discount for groups of 3 or more & for CityU Alumni

Delivery Mode

Synchronous online

Course Description

Are our various problems in living and illness experiences really so different from each other to need entirely unique psychological theories and intervention approaches?
In this course, students will learn about therapeutic problems in their common forms, rather than by their distinct content. Becoming a capable general practitioner requires counsellors to collaborate with clients not only on solutions, but on the creation of the very problems that bring them to counselling originally. Students will learn this hidden skill and from there will learn about the oscillations between simplification and “complexification,” the critical differences between disease and illness (and the role of diagnostics), how to expand problem-solutions laterally to encompass more territory, and how to deepen problems to take clients from micro-solutions into macro-projects.


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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