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Monday, February 3rd

Claudia Nielsen PhD: Post-mortem consciousness: a no-go area?

In this talk I will develop the thesis, for which I was awarded my PhD, on the topic of personal mortality and the question left hanging in the air: what comes next? 


Death is our collective destination and the question of what comes after enters the awareness of every person at some point in life. For some people the answer is simple – nothing. For others it is more complex. Post-mortem consciousness constitutes the raison d’etre for most religions and spiritual traditions and is also a consideration in the science of consciousness. Ideas exist in Eastern and Western spiritual traditions describing different post-mortem realities and destinations. We find the subject of life after death embedded in colloquial language as in ‘in my next life I will …’ and also present in the collective psyche in plays (e.g. Hamlet), literature (e.g. The Divine Comedy), films (e.g. The Sixth Sense), music (e.g. My Blue Heaven) etc. Yet my research showed that it is not a topic which the therapist participants in my study found present in their work. Because we cannot separate the concept of post-mortem consciousness from the subject of death and related issues, I will in this talk, explore the topic of death-anxiety and its manifestations, show how post-mortem (and pre-life) consciousness is considered in various domains of human interests, and finally share the findings of my research offering a theoretical interpretation for those findings.


Claudia Nielsen is an integrative psychotherapist with a lifelong interest in consciousness and the ultimate nature of reality. She is a vice-president of the Scientific and Medical Network and with Josefine Speyer, organises the Hampstead Psychotherapy Club. 

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Monday, 15th June (a live online presentation)

Prof Jerry Kroth - Forbidden psychology and its six taboos: a conversation about psyche and soul

The idea that the soul is to be reduced to mind, the mind to the brain, the brain to neurological dribbles, and all human psychological behavior ultimately to neuroscience has rarely been critically evaluated within the profession. Dr. Kroth discusses six major taboos that fly in the face of these preconceptions: near death experiences, psychic dreams, telepathy, synchronicity, premonitions and xenoglossy. This lecture is based on his book, Psyche's Exile: an empirical odyssey in search of the soul.

JERRY KROTH, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the graduate counseling psychology program at Santa Clara University. He teaches psychotherapy and personality theory, dreamwork, and research methods. He has an abiding therapeutic interest in working with dreams, personal oracles, and the applications of dream theory to psychohistory. Dr. Kroth has been a member of the International Psychohistorical Association since 1983.


Dr. Kroth’s fifteen prior books were in the areas of counseling, psychology, child sexual abuse, learning disorders, metapsychology, transpersonal psychology and research methodology. In addition, he has written and presented over 75 papers on anxiety, child development, mass psychology, synchronicity, experimental studies of the dream process, the psychology of propaganda and collective psychology. 

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Monday, 14th September

Nick Duffell - Privileged Abandonment’ - Boarding School Syndrome 

Any therapist’s daily practice includes early deprivation and family of origin work, so the client with attachment problems will be familiar. But what is rarely understood is the sophistication of the ex-boarder’s “survival self” and the widespread devastation it brings to individuals, couples and families over generations.

Despite frequent references in English popular literature to the agonies experienced by children at boarding schools, the long-term psychological effects of a boarding education have, until very recently, remained unnoticed by the medical and psychological professions. In Britain, boarding education carries high social status, is considered a privilege, and is rife with parental expectation, and yet can lead to unacknowledged, deeply buried and emotionally damaging consequences.

Ex-boarders are amongst the most difficult clients. This is due to both the social dimension of the syndrome and the strength of the secret internalised shame. The self in distress is frequently masked by a very competent, if brittle, socially rewarded exterior. For these reasons, even experienced analysts and therapists may unwittingly struggle to address the needs and tactics of this rapidly growing, but challenging, client group, so in his talk Nick will share some case histories and suggest some guidelines for treatment. 


In 1990 psychotherapist NICK DUFFELL claimed in the press that elite boarding schools represent a trauma for children and a socio-political handicap for nations. After studying the subject for more than three decades for 30 years, Nick trains therapists and is a psychohistorian, bridging the gap between psychological and political thinking and an Honorary Research Associate at UCL. He promotes a depth-psychology perspective of issues that deeply affect public life, such as identity and emotions, fear and vulnerability, but which are not properly addressed in political commentary. Nick’s books include The Making of Them: the British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System, 2000, Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion - a Psychohistory, 2014, Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege: A guide to therapeutic work with boarding school survivors, with Thurstine Basset, 2016 and The Simpol Solution: A New Way to Think about Solving the World’s Biggest Problems, with John Bunzl. He contributed chapters to The Political Self and Humanistic Psychology: Current Trends, Future Prospects. 

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Monday, November 16th

Jon Blend - My families and other animals: Tales from the Therapist’s Chair

As a jobbing child and adolescent psychotherapist who  uses an arts based  humanistic approach my caseload is a varied one; I work with children and teens  and families. What brings young people to therapy? Often it is a problem with managing one or more of their contact skills- their ability to navigate the world using their senses. Others possess low self esteem; many experience difficulties  with both. Coping with abuse, bereavement, family changes, identity concerns, illness, isolation,  school related problems, shyness, social media, transitions are just some of the contemporary issues that today’s children and adolescents struggle with. 


Because  most children and adolescents live within a family context I usually invite all living at home for an initial consultation and regular reviews, involving them  as required in the process of growth and change.   

In this talk I will share vignettes of working  with a play based approach or in dialogic conversation ( after Buber), utilising art and craft, music-making and animal puppetry to explore the young person’s  here and now subjectivity,  aided and abetted by Coco, my  clever canine co-therapist.

JON BLEND MA Dip Child is an adult & child psychotherapist (UKCP &ECP reg.), clinical supervisor, Lifemusic practitioner and trainer. His background lies in counselling, mental health social work, relational gestalt therapy and performing arts. Jon has extensive experience of  working with children, young people and families in adult and child psychiatry, also in private practice( London W3). Jon teaches the Violet Oaklander sensory approach to child and adolescent psychotherapy at the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education, at several UK therapy training institutes and in Poland. His writings include a chapter on adolescence in ’Relational Child, Relational Brain’ and an article on transgenerational trauma for Transactions  (in press). He is resident musician with London Playback Theatre. Website:

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