A Day on Behaviour Change - The Weekend University

Learn how to make changes that last in 2019.

Usually, when trying to make a change, we think willpower is the answer.

If we just try harder and be more disciplined, it’ll work this time.

But very often, it doesn’t.

A 2016 study found that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week in February.

Whether we want to give up smoking, start exercising, or commit to a new habit, often we find our best efforts fall to the wayside, and after a few weeks we’re right back where we started.

Worse still, now we feel guilty we’ve ‘failed’ which can make us feel less motivated to try again in the future.

Could it be that most of us are just lazy and irresponsible? Or might it be that we don’t understand how our brains really work and the actual science of changing behaviour? In other words, might our common sense about behaviour change be wrong?

A growing body of research indicates that if we want to make changes that last, willpower is not the answer.

Rather, there are evidence-based approaches now being used every day to help people drop extreme addictions and develop new empowering habits.

So for your New Year’s Resolution this year, what if you tried a different approach? One that was evidence-based and scientifically proven to make changes that last – even in extreme cases?

Might you also get a different result?

On Sunday 24th February 2019, three of the UK’s leading experts on behaviour change will present lectures on:

  • Psychotherapy, Goals & Behaviour Change; the latest research on effective goal setting in counselling and psychotherapy. How do you set the right goals? And what approaches are most effective for achieving them?
  • The Psychology of Changing Habits; what can we learn about behaviour change from the frontlines of addiction treatment in clinical, community and prison settings? And how can you apply these insights to make sustainable changes in your own life?
  • Positive Psychology, Existentialism & Behaviour Change; what does the new science of positive psychology reveal about how to make changes that last? And can combining these ideas with existential philosophy increase your chances of success?

You’ll learn how these unique insights can benefit your own life, but also your ability to help others too.


The format will be similar to a TED event, but with in-depth lectures and focused on the theme of behaviour change

  • 10:00am – 12:00pm: Psychotherapy, Goals & Behaviour Change – Professor Mick Cooper
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm: The Psychology of Changing Habits – Shahroo Izadi
  • 3:00pm – 3:15pm: Afternoon break
  • 3:15pm – 5:00pm: Positive Psychology, Existentialism & Behaviour Change – Yannick Jacob
  • 5:20pm – 7:00pm: Attendee Social & Networking (Optional)

Who is this for?

You might be:

      • A mental health practitioner; psychotherapist, counsellor or coach, attending for continuing professional development
      • A psychology student seeking to broaden your knowledge in different areas of the subject
      • Currently working in another profession, and considering transitioning into a career in psychology – but not sure exactly what route to take yet
      • A member of the general public attending for the sheer joy of learning and exploring your curiosity.

Full Day Pass: £43.23

Student Pass: £21.91


Sun 24th February 2019
09:30 – 17:00 BST

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24/02/2019 09:30 AM
24/02/2019 5:00 PM
Birkbeck, University of London, London
The Weekend University – A Day On The Self

Birkbeck, University of London,
Malet Street, Bloomsbury,
London, WC1E 7HX

Lectures & Speakers

Psychotherapy, Goals & Behaviour Change – Professor Mick Cooper

Goals are at the heart of almost everything we do in life.

They give us direction, help us when we make the difficult decisions, and play a large part in creating the future we experience.

But how do we set the right goals? And what approaches are most effective for achieving them?

This lecture will explore the latest research on effective goal setting in counselling and psychotherapy. It will start by examining the philosophical principles underlying a goal-orientated approach to therapy: that human beings are ‘directional’, striving towards things. It will then go on to examine what has been learnt from the psychological research about the nature of goals and goal processes: for instance, the value of ‘approach’ goals over ‘avoidance’ goals.  

The lecture will then go on to a more practical exploration of working with goals in psychotherapy, including a video demonstration.

This session can help you identify the right goals to work towards in 2019, and give yourself the best possible chance of achieving them.

Professor Mick Cooper is an internationally recognised author, trainer and consultant in the field of humanistic, existential and pluralistic therapies. He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton. Mick has facilitated workshops and lectures around the world, including Australia, Lithuania and Florida.

In 2014, Mick received the Carmi Harari Mid-Career Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Academy of Social Sciences. You can follow him on twitter: @mickcooper77.

The Psychology of Changing Habits – Shahroo Izadi

Behavioural Change Specialist Shahroo Izadi has a revolutionary message: treating yourself kindly is the only way to make changes that last. Whether it’s weight loss, cutting down on drinking, improving relationships or ditching a dull job for one that you love, The Kindness Method can help you change any unwanted habit. Because when you shift your focus to your individual strengths and skills (rather than what you can’t do), you too will find you have the power to change – for good.

In this talk, Shahroo will guide you through some simple tools and written exercises designed to increase your self-esteem and self-awareness so that you develop and sustain the motivation to make changes that last in any area of your life.

Shahroo Izadi - The Weekend University

Shahroo Izadi is an author and Behavioural Change Specialist in private practice. Her therapeutic approach is influenced by the experience she gained working in various roles across frontline addiction treatment in clinical, community and prison settings. She has since been dedicated to highlighting what those in long-term recovery from substance misuse can teach the general population about motivation, resilience and self-awareness.

Shahroo’s work has been featured on BBC Radio, Psychologies Magazine, The Telegraph, Marie Claire, and the Evening Standard. Her first book: ‘The Kindness Method’, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2018, and she is currently writing her second. You can keep up to date with Shahroo’s work on her website: shahrooizadi.co.uk.

Positive Psychology, Existentialism & Behaviour Change – Yannick Jacob

Change is the holy grail of psychology.

Sometimes it’s easy.

But often, we’re so caught up in our pre-existing patterns, beliefs and habits, that it seems impossible to think or do things differently.

We find ourselves riddled by inner conflicts fuelled by mutually exclusive desires. We want to lose weight and also eat what we like. We want to have lots of financial success, but also live comfortably without taking risks. We want to find the right partner, but prefer not to open up and make ourselves vulnerable. We don’t want change when life’s good, but if it stays static for too long, we get bored or even depressed – no matter how good it seems from the outside.

In this talk, Yannick Jacob will present a positive-existential perspective on behaviour change. The lecture will integrate findings from the new science of positive psychology within a framework of existential philosophy as applied in the coaching room with clients from all walks of life.

Yannick Jacob - The Weekend University

Yannick Jacob is an Existential Coach, Positive Psychologist, Coach Trainer & Supervisor, Mediator and the FMR Programme Leader of the MSc Coaching Psychology at the University of East London. He works with coaches and leaders to help them gain clarity, make difficult choices, build resilience and navigate their life.

For over a decade Yannick, has studied optimal human functioning and all things wellbeing, as well as the depths and complexities of the human condition. His first book, An Introduction to Existential Coaching, will be published by Routledge in early 2019. Learn more about Yannick’s work and philosophy at www.existential.coach.

What TWU attendees are saying:

    5 star review  Yesterday, I attended Weekend University's 'A Day on the Self' and was delighted to find that the high standard set by previous WU days had been maintained. The three excellent speakers, from different disciplines, painted a broad canvas on the Self, and by the end of the day I came away with a comprehensive picture that will certainly stimulate my further thought on the subject. Who 'I'am. Is it 'Me' writing this review? After yesterday, I'm not sure anymore! Thank you Niall for organising another great day of learning - and looking forward to next month's A Day On Neuroscience...

    Roy Lane Avatar Roy Lane
    March 26, 2018

    5 star review  My first Weekend Uni today .. a hot day, and a full lecture room. Three most interesting speakers to hear in person. Good on Niall for seeing the vision to arrange such days of insight. Moving our society forward with modern and real thinkers. I'd never heard of Johann Hari before, but I am now his newest fan.

    Andrew Gaskill Avatar Andrew Gaskill
    May 27, 2018

    positive review  Brilliantly informative lectures by brilliant scientists and researchers!

    Maria Steel Avatar Maria Steel
    December 9, 2019
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The Weekend University seeks to guarantee an excellent learning experience. If you are not fully satisfied with the day, you will receive 100% of your money back, and we will cover the cost of your travel to and from the venue.


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