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BABCP Scotland autumn conference: Paul Salkovskis "Master class for health anxiety & unexplained medical symptoms" (1st post)

The Scottish branch of the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) organized a two day autumn conference over the 12th & 13th of September on "Current trends in CBT".  Interestingly what was on offer consisted almost entirely of workshops (apart from one brief symposium on the first evening).  On the first day Avinash Bansode gave a workshop on "MBCT" and John Swann taught on "CBASP". On the second Chris Irons gave a workshop on "Compassion focused therapy for skilled practitioners" and Alison Brabban gave one on "CBT for psychosis".  Across both days of the conference, Paul Salkovskis taught a "Master class for health anxiety and unexplained medical symptoms".

Gosh it rather dates me.  Looking back into my database, I find an entry about my attendance at a one day workshop on "Cognitive therapy for panic and hypochondriasis" given by David Clark & Paul Salkovskis at the 1993 BABCP spring conference in London.  I wrote at the time "They were a great knock-about act ... and also full of useful practical information and therapeutic help."  Now twenty years later I am at another workshop on health anxiety with Paul.  What has changed?  What remains the same?

For me it was a funny workshop ... as in "funny", a bit strange.  I have an image of a large plate of food, a good deal of it indigestible or lacking in nourishment (in helping me improve as a therapist).  But mixed in are a whole series of really nutritional chunks ... facts, insights & suggestions for improving my treatment for people suffering from health anxiety and unexplained medical symptoms.  Such a pity, for me anyway, that the workshop was such a mixture of helpfulness and "noise".  Paul obviously understood that this was occurring.  On several occasions he referred to his "rants" about health politics, other therapy schools, and so on.  He even suggested we try to keep him on topic.  Tough to do this as he can be fairly cutting in his responses at times.  I know the colleague sitting next me was quite open about how reticent she was to ask a question in case she would feel humiliated.  I'm glad I went to the workshop though.  As I've written before about Paul as a presenter ... there's usually plenty that's worthwhile amongst what to me seems like a backdrop of expletive-rich dross.  No doubt there are other participants who soak it all up appreciatively.  We vary in what we find helpful.


More to follow ...

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