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Slow TherapY–Developing Use of the Outdoors

A series of two one-day experiential workshops that run through Spring and Summer led by Rod London and Kate Kennedy for counsellors, therapists, and mental health practitioners. Both workshops will differ but link together to explore the theme of slowing and attuning to the needs of client and practitioner both indoors and outdoors.

The workshops will focus on the therapeutic process of healing and growth; incorporating the outdoors into therapy practice; and gaining support and nourishment from human and other-than-human contact.

Both workshops will run from 9.45am to 4.30pm on the following dates: 


Spring ~ Monday April 24th 2023
Summer ~ Monday 17th July 2023

The workshops will be of interest to practitioners who:

  • Already work outdoors or would like to develop this way of working.

  • Wish to explore further a ‘field-relational’ approach which includes outdoor space.

  • Work in either long-term or time-limited settings.

  • Work with trauma and the suffering of others – and may therefore be susceptible to vicarious trauma.

  • Appreciate the necessity of personal ‘grounding’ to work effectively with trauma – including long and slow traumas such as the effects of the pandemic and global change.

  • Are interested in the philosophical and psychological role the natural environment plays in general wellbeing and maintenance of mental health.

  • Benefited from (or missed) the ‘Conversations With Trees’ workshops in Highbury Park in 2022.

The workshops will be based both indoors and outdoors at the Woodbrooke Centre, Selly Oak, Birmingham:








Its beautiful grounds will provide a rich holding space for participants to meet, share and work together. Refreshments during the day, and a hot/cold buffet lunch in the dining room overlooking the beautiful grounds, are included in the workshop fee. 
The centre has parking and good transport links.

Further details
In these workshops we will explore three broad themes:

•    Slow Therapy means taking your time, slow-cooking rather than microwaving our clients! Attuning to the relational needs of the client to be-with rather than do-to – even in contexts where there is pressure to ‘deliver’. 

•    Slowing down to the pace of nature - incorporating outdoor space into therapeutic practice; moving beyond walking-and-talking to include engagement with cyclical changes in ourselves and the world around us; closely observing and working with these changes; and considering how these processes and activities can be safely used with clients.

•    Slowing down to attune to our own needs as practitioners and to the cost/impact of working with the suffering of others. These workshops will be an opportunity to develop support and ground so necessary for practitioners working in demanding and often time-limited settings.

Utilising the early phenomenological ideas of Spinoza and Goethe, the workshops will also focus on how figures emerge and become sharpened as we engage with and move towards them in dialogic contact. We will integrate the Gestalt concept of figure formation and destruction, and the person-centred notion of the actualising tendency – as witnessed in seasonal changes and moment-by-moment therapeutic contact.

Both workshops will include theory, experiential exercises, utilise all the available senses plus imagination, and provide moments for sketching, private reflection and work in pairs/small groups. The facilities at Woodbrooke will support a fluid use of both indoor and outdoor space – reflecting zones of awareness, and the relational qualities of the contact boundary between self and Other.

Elements of theory and practice spread across the two workshops will include: assessment of suitability for outdoor work; ethical considerations; introducing and blending in/outdoor work; working with difference and diversity; and differential planning based on client presentation/formulation. The workshops can be booked separately or as a series to allow these elements to emerge – slowly – and become integrated into practice. Like seasonal changes in the natural world, we believe emergence, growth and integration takes time, certainly, but also particular relational conditions.

All materials will be provided including refreshments and a hot/cold buffet lunch. A CPD certificate of attendance will also be provided. To ensure the best opportunities for individual and pairs/group work, workshop spaces will be limited.

Cost of workshops (incl refreshments/lunch)
Workshops booked individually: £110 
All four booked in advance: £170 (saving of £50)
We aim to be inclusive; please contact us directly if financial constraint precludes you attending these workshops.

To book workshop spaces or for further information, contact Rod London:
Phone: 07980931754


Rod London UKCP & BACP Accredited
MSc (Gestalt Psychotherapy), Dip Supervision

Rod has many years teaching experience including counselling/psychotherapy training and has also managed counselling/mental health services in schools, NHS, and HE settings. He is the current co-Chair of the Gestalt Psychotherapy Training Institute.

Kate Kennedy
Diploma in Counselling

Kate has recently retired from therapeutic practice in which she worked extensively in schools and the NHS where she established and  managed counselling services, and in private practice. She has frequently worked with clients outdoors and has a special interest in how this supports working with trauma.

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