Learn how to improve psychological wellbeing during times of crisis.
We’re at a pivotal moment in human history.
As a global community, we’re about to enter one of our most challenging periods since World War Two.
The economy has halted, schools have shut, and there is widespread panic, fear, and uncertainty.
Not only that, but the nature of what we’re going through also requires that we distance ourselves from our fellow human beings. When people do go outside, it is important that they take extra precautions to prevent spreading or catching the virus. By wearing an earloop procedure face mask, people can reduce their chances of inhaling these airborne particles and catching COVID-19. However, people should only be leaving their homes for essential things. Others should be staying at home if possible to limit the number of people out and about. Those that are going to be frequenting their workplace should be using disposable gloves to help reduce the spread of bacteria and germs.
With the distancing ourselves from our fellow human beings and the closure of schools, many of us have turned to technology and virtual interaction. With the use of high-quality video chat api from companies like Agora.io, schools have turned their teaching through a screen and family members have been keeping in touch while being kept apart. This is somewhat comforting to many, but can also be distressing.
Arguably, COVID-19 is going to affect us psychologically, as much as it does physically.
And to get through it (both individually and collectively), it’s going to require heightened levels of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and mental strength.
So, in this online conference, we’ll explore three evidence-based approaches to help you become more resilient during times of crisis.
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy; how to use ACT to improve your psychological wellbeing during difficult times – Shamash Alidina
- Existential Approaches to Crisis; how to apply existential ideas to thrive during your darkest hour – Professor Emmy van Deurzen
- Using CBT & Stoic Philosophy to Overcome Adversity; how to combine ancient wisdom with modern scientific research to help you use adversity to your advantage– Jules Evans
You’ll learn how these insights can improve your own wellbeing, but also your ability to help others too.
- 10:00am – 12:00pm: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – Shamash Alidina
- 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
- 1:00pm – 3:00pm: Existential Approaches to Crisis – Professor Emmy van Deurzen
- 3:00pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon break
- 3:30pm – 5:00pm: CBT, Stoic Philosophy & Overcoming Adversity – Jules Evans
- 5:20pm – 7:00pm: Attendee Social & Networking (Optional)
Lectures & Speakers
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – Shamash Alidina
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Training (ACT) is designed to help you live a rich, full and meaningful life. The approach is highly evidence-based, with early studies going back 40 years. ACT is particularly well suited for our currently global challenge, as it often states ‘we hurt where we care’. And the hurt many of us are experiencing is because we do care about health, connection and our way of living.
In this talk and workshop, I’ll offer an introduction to ACT, how it was developed, and why increasing psychological flexibility, the main aim of ACT, is arguably the most well-researched measure of resilience and wellbeing in all of psychology. You’ll discover the six core flexibility skills, the evidence-base of ACT and how to develop those six skills to be clearer about your values and take action on them, using mindfulness, compassion, acceptance, and even tuning into your transcendent self, to flourish and stay psychologically flexible in these challenging times.
- Get out of your mind and into your life – Steven Hayes
- The Happiness Trap – Dr Russ Harris
- A Liberated Mind – Steven Hayes
Shamash is one of the UK’s leading professional mindfulness teachers. He is the international bestselling author of Mindfulness For Dummies and The Mindful Way through Stress. He is the co-founder the world’s first Museum of Happiness in London, and more recently, Shamash has been training practitioners in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
This cutting edge approach skilfully combines acceptance, flexible mindfulness, values and commited action to help people live a rich and meaningful life. His work has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, television and radio shows all over the world. You can learn more at www.shamashalidina.com.
Existential Approaches to Crisis – Professor Emmy van Deurzen
An existential crisis is a situation in which our entire existence and everything we used to take for granted is in the balance, so that we feel insecure and threatened. This affects all dimensions of life, at the physical, social, personal and spiritual levels. It means that our bodies are challenged, our relationships are changed, our sense of our self is altered, and our beliefs and values are shaken up. For most people this is a very difficult experience to encompass as it leads to a total revolution of our established patterns, routines and habits. It always involves a lot of loss and therefore leads to feelings of bereavement and sorrow as well as to experiences of confusion, fear, anger, doubt and panic.
In this presentation we shall consider how existential philosophers and therapists are able to make sense of such situations, be they caused by politics, society, personal choices or natural catastrophes. We shall explore the relationship between the shattering of our most reliable connections to the world and the loss of meaning. Then we shall consider how we can rise to such limit situations and personal challenges, finding ways to thrive instead of being destroyed by radical change, transforming and transcending our previous existence.
- Deurzen, E. van with Craig, E., Schneider K. Längle, A., Tantam, D. and du Plock, S. (2019) Wiley World Handbook for Existential Therapy, London: Wiley.
- Deurzen, E. van and Arnold-Baker, C (2018) Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features, London: Routledge.
- Deurzen, E. van and Adams, M. (2016) Skills in Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy, second edition, London: Sage. 
- Deurzen, E. van (2015) Paradox and Passion in Psychotherapy, second edition, London: Wiley 
- Deurzen, E. van and Iacovou, S. (2013) Existential Perspectives on Relationship Therapy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Deurzen, E. van (2012) Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice, third edition, London: Sage 
- Deurzen, E. van and Hanaway, M. (2012) Existential Perspectives on Coaching, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Deurzen, E. van (2010) Everyday Mysteries: A Handbook of Existential Psychotherapy, second edition, London: Routledge. 
- Deurzen, E. van (2009) Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness, London: Sage.
- Deurzen, E. van and Arnold-Baker, C. (2005) Existential Perspectives on Human Issues, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Emmy van Deurzen is a philosopher, counselling psychologist and existential psychotherapist. She has founded and directed a number of training organizations and continues to be the Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London. She is a visiting professor with Middlesex University.
Amongst her 17 books are the bestsellers Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling in Practice (3d edition 2012), Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness (Sage, 2009) and Everyday Mysteries (2nd edition Routledge, 2010). She is currently completing her eighteenth book, entitled Rising from Existential Crisis for PCCS books. Follow Emmy on Twitter @emmyzen.
Using CBT and Stoic Philosophy to Overcome Adversity – Jules Evans
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is perhaps the most evidence-based therapy for emotional problems. It was directly inspired by Stoicism, an ancient Greek and Roman philosophy which teaches people how to take care of their minds and souls. In this talk, Philosopher Jules Evans will look at practical methods from Stoicism and CBT to help cope with adversity and find resilience even in emergencies.
- Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations – Jules Evans
Jules Evans is Policy Director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London and a leading researcher into ecstatic experience. He also runs the world’s biggest philosophy club, the London Philosophy Club, which has over 6,000 members.
Jules’ first book, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations was published in 19 countries and was selected by Matthew Syed as a Times Book of the Year. He has written for The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Spectator and WIRED and is a BBC New Generation Thinker. You can keep up to date with Jules’ work on his website: www.philosophyforlife.org.
What TWU attendees are saying:
Great initiative! For people that like myself are passionate about psychology but wouldn't commit to long term course or training it's a wonderful opportunity to listen to qualified professionals in the area in a relaxed atmosphere.
Just attended my second Weekend University day of lectures at Birkbeck, this time on Memories, Dreams and Existentialism. A great mix of speakers, styles and content which left me wanting to go home and find out more about two out of the three subjects. Fantastic to see Emmy Van Deurzen in action - she's a bit of a heroine of mine! One tip would be to ask the audience to fill up the rows of seats before the start as inevitably some people arrive late (like I did) and it was all a bit chaotic at the back of the auditorium. There were empty seats near the walls but no way to get to them without having four or five people stand up.
Great initiative. Eminent speakers, fascinating talks.
Another amazing day of learning! Thank you Niall.
I just wanted to say what a fabulous day it was on Sunday. The presenters were all highly engaging and the material fascinating. I am ever so grateful to have been able to attend and look forward to any future similar events with 'zest'!
I thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was a well organized event with fantastic informative talks by knowledgeable and charismatic speakers. Looking forward to future events.
Great event, 3 fantastic lectures presented
I found the 3 speakers to be extremely well prepared, professional, charismatic, authentic in their delivery of there content. They all had something to share. They were very clear on the "takeaways" which I found in important for such a long day. They all 3 were also very generious in spending time after their talk, to answer more 1-2-1 questions on the side of the room. Very generious. I look forward to future weekend university days.
Just to say that I was so impressed with the quality of the lectures today. It is rare to find that kind of substance, and I imagine you looked long and hard to choose. You are doing a great job. I will definitely come again and tell those I know who would be very interested.
I have attended lots of psychology workshops and would rate this organisation very highly. Interesting, engaging speakers and well run course at an affordable price. Well done Niall. You deserve to do very well
What an intense and heartening day, Jan 28th at Birkbeck U venue. Despite being crowded (testiment to the desire for these events and the calibre) we were comfortable enough to be riveted by the material for hours. I appreciated the free coffee, because the day was long for those like me who come from outside the city. I look forward to the slides being sent to fill out my notes. Fellow audients were warm and attending for a variety of reasons, and are the second fab reason to be there for the day.
Just attended Scientific Behaviour Change - Ancient Wisdom & Modern Psychology and had the most fantastic, enlightening and inspiring day. All three speakers were at a tremendously high level and (to echo the reviewer below) the variety of approaches and theories around a single topic gave great insight. I've already booked for next month.
Today's event was so good, I immediately booked for next one in February!?
The day of Psychology was really insightful, it has inspired me to start researching into all spectrums of mental health & psychology. Something I particularly liked about the day, was the contrast and variety of theories and approaches by each of the three speakers
Interesting lectures on a variety of areas of Psychology and well organised.
A really good mix of topics. I was engaged all day and i'm looking forward to the next one!
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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.