Connecting with the lived experience of the other - Diversity Symposium

Date: 10th May 2019

Venue: Canada Water Theatre & Library, London SE16 7AR

Tickets just £35 - book now

Join CPCAB and BACP at the 'Connecting with the lived experience' diversity symposium as we explore the way forward in understanding diversity as part of the client experience and as part of your own personal development.


  • To open a dialogue to enhance engagement with the lived experience.
  • Encourage delegates to look at their own diversity in order to be fully present and open to the diversity of the other.
  • Explore what prevents the delegate from fully entering and experiencing the client’s world.  
  • Provide a space to consider what prevents the client from being fully transparent and present when meeting a counsellor outside of their lived experience.

How will attending Diversity Symposium benefit me?

For trainers or tutors:

  • Learn how to better facilitate group process and recognise diversity in training groups.
  • Deepen your professional understanding of diversity, building emotional resilience and provide new insights to translate into your teaching work.
  • Gain valuable CPD hours.

For counsellors or trainees:

  • Continue your professional development and enhance connection in your practice or training.
  • Build upon skills to sensitively provide a safe space for a client to explore deep rooted experiences.
  • Help you acknowledge and embrace your own diversity and cultural history to be fully present with a client.

About the event

CPCAB's diversity ambassador Barry Kopp explains why the Diversity Symposium was created:

It was a privilege to interview Beverly Spalding, the winner of the first CPCAB Research Award in 2015. Her research, titled “An exploration of Black and Asian counsellors' experiences of working with White clients", highlighted that training often failed to recognise cultural diversity.

From this important research I pondered what was missing. It struck me that despite requirements for personal therapy and a focus on working with the diversity of clients, we were not, perhaps, paying attention to our own diversity and the impact it has on us as therapists and clients.

The symposium blossomed from a desire to hear and learn about our own diverse lived experiences and how that plays out in the therapy and training rooms. My personal hope for the day is to perhaps find a way that we can give voice, validation and strength to our own ‘being’ in training, in order to be fully present and open to clients that challenge our own lived experience.

Watch the video about Beverley's research below.

The objective of the event is to discuss how we can enhance engagement with the lived experience of the client. There will be opportunities to explore the overarching concept and look at our own diversity in order to be fully present and to explore what prevents us from completely entering and experiencing the client’s world. Importantly, the day will provide a space to consider what prevents the client from being fully transparent and present when meeting a counsellor.

The day will commence with a keynote address, setting the scene for bridging the gap and connecting the lived experiences of the client and the counsellor. It will consider how open we are to meeting the lived experience of the other and the dilemmas this presents in both training and practice. After the keynote delegates will break into focus groups that will provide opportunities for more concentrated and detailed discussions.

Focus group themes will include:

  • Avoidance of Diversity
  • Experiences of Black Trainers
  • Therapists and Students
  • Bringing Diversity into the Training Room
  • Experiences of Islamic Trainers, Therapists and Students
  • Neurodiversity
  • Experiences of LGBT Trainers, Therapists and Students.

You will be able to engage in and share experiences during two focus groups of your choosing.

The outcome of the day is to find a way forward. Some of the questions that might come out of the day include:

  • Is there a commonality of experience in not being heard?
  • What do we need to do to strengthen training on meeting diversity?
  • How can we prepare trainees to be robust in their selves to counter prejudice from the client or other trainees?
  • Does political language get in the way of genuine connection and understanding?
  • What prevents the client from being fully transparent with the counsellor and how does the counsellor know what is not being said?
  • How do we provide a space that fully engages, acknowledges, responds to and hears the hidden or filtered lived experience of the client - that which is not necessarily shared outside communities, that may be unsaid or part of a collective conscious experience or felt sense?

It is hoped the day will open up debate with voices from a diverse range of delegates so that we can honestly and transparently take the next steps forward. These may include developing training materials, video resources, funding future research and/or exploring how to support the community to be open to their own blind spots and to fully engage with the other.

How to book

Tickets are just £35 - book now