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New Savoy 5th National Conference: Psychological T erapies in the NHS, 24th – 25th November 2011

Jeni Webster T e New Savoy conference was a sobering event, covering issues

needing to be addressed by psychotherapists and counsellors, commissioners, managers, GPs and insurers. Based on the important political roles of talking therapies and wellbeing, the issues were about access, early interventions, evidence and evidence criteria and the role of outcomes, especially when considering commissioning. T e changing role of agencies was addressed, giving a strong sense of the changes in progress, and how these were sometimes contradictory. Presentations were from a range of people who are involved

with psychotherapies and psychologists, GPs and researchers, Ministers and Lords, either involved with creating the policies or as part of relevant agencies. Details of the programme and recordings of speeches can be found online: ht p://www. T e key topics were the importance of addressing mental

health as an important health issue, and the role of IAPT for early interventions; the importance of helping people to return to work; the role of talking therapies in these processes; and the role of outcomes in the funding of services that provide talking therapies. T e keynote speaker with the best understanding of the value

of families was Paul Burstow (minister of care services), and he also acknowledged it was not easy to make proposed changes in

the current climate. He mentioned multi-systemic therapies for conduct disorders. One question-and-answer session addressed the role of NICE

for evidence; the limitations of RCTs for get ing evidence for psychotherapies; the value of other models for evidence; the value of counsellors in GP surgeries when they help GPs to understand and deal with mental health issues for patients going through diffi cult times. Other issues included the importance of the relationship between a client and psychotherapist, and how single diagnoses and short-term therapies fail to address common complex problems. I found the panel discussion raised by Lord David Freud raised

serious concerns about the concept of ‘improving at itudes to mental health’, as this was about the structures for get ing people with mental health benefi ts onto the job seekers allowance and into work again. A more realistic perspective was given by Lord Victor Adebowale (Turning Point), who recognised the challenges for get ing people back to work and the diffi culties of using the government’s system for the services to get people back to work. It is helpful for senior staff , managers and commissioners from

the NHS and other services to at end these annual conferences to hear about changes in access to psychotherapies and understand the diff erent issues and perspectives of ‘talking therapies’.

AFT news

Although we will be well into the new year by the time you read this, it is not too late to wish all our members and readers a healthy, hopeful and harmonious 2012. In this issue, we look back to the

highly successful and well-attended 2011 conference held in Buxton, Derbyshire, with a focus on participant write-ups of most of the workshops and presentations. It was a most enjoyable conference

and I know the West Country AFT branch is working hard to ensure the 2012 conference, to be held from 13th – 15th September, will be just as welcoming, interesting and exciting; and also an opportunity to relax and network with


old and new friends. It is to be held at Redwood Lodge country club just outside Bristol. The keynote speakers will both be from Europe; Rodolfo de Bernart from Italy and Erik Van Der Elst from Holland. Both are renowned international speakers and highly recommended, keen to make us think about New Frontiers: New Challenges and how we use images and the Internet in systemic practice. We also have a host of local speakers and encourage you to submit a workshop proposal or consider giving a 20-minute presentation. An invitation to do this can be found on page 59 (opposite). We are also pleased to tell you the

Eileen Jamieson workshop will be held in

Edinburgh on Tuesday 29th May this year, with Eia Asen presenting on mentalization- based practice with children and families. This workshop is subsidised by AFT to make it as accessible as possible to members and those interested in family and systemic work. It is in memory of Eileen Jamieson, chair of AFT from 1999 until she died suddenly on 31 December 2001 whilst still in offi ce. The cost will be £40 for AFT members and £45 for non-members. Please see the booking form on the inside back page. A lot of activities have already been

taking place within AFT this year. A number of committee meetings have happened

Context February 2012

New Savoy National Conference / AFT news

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