Some clients come to us with no real understanding of therapy, and are not used to noticing what's going on inside them or sharing it with others. There is sometimes a significant gap between the world of therapy and the people who might benefit from counselling; which may mean they do not access it at all. If they do get as far as a counselling room, many are unprepared for the experience, and may need us as counsellors to work differently in order for therapy to be effective.

This workshop has developed from research carried out by Anne Crisp in 2012; in which experienced therapists based in community counselling organisations were interviewed on their experience of working with unprepared clients and what they had learnt about how to do it well. In response to considerable interest following an article by Anne in Therapy Today, she has collaborated with two of the therapists who took part in the research to deliver this training.

This group of clients is largely ignored by therapeutic research and training agencies whilst therapists experienced in this area do not seem to be disseminating their knowledge. Consequently this experiential workshop will draw on the research to consider who unprepared clients are; explore our feelings and the challenges of working with unprepared clients; consider the experience of the unprepared client in coming into therapy and the practical application of how we as therapists can work more effectively with these clients.

This workshop will be led by Trish Blundell & Marcia Haley, psychotherapists who have extensive experience in the caring professions, grassroots community organisations and voluntary sector management and who together form In-Sight; a training partnership that supports those whose spend their lives supporting others. Through their workshops they offer a supportive, curious and creative space to fully consider your practice and awareness of self within your work.

Presenter biography

Trish Blundell: Trish is a Registered MBACP accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist, with over twenty years of therapy experience in East London, graduating with a MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of East London in 2004. For ten years she was the Counselling Manager of a low cost counselling agency alongside her work as a supervisor and trainer.

Currently Trish works in private practice providing therapy, supervision and training; additionally she works with voluntary sector managers, grassroots organisations and faith groups to consider work-life balance.

Marcia Haley: Marcia is a Registered MBACP accredited counsellor/psychotherapist. Since qualifying in 2004 she has worked as a therapist in the voluntary sector and more recently in private practice. Marcia has also worked in voluntary sector management in East London, managing a counselling charity and co-ordinating a youth project supporting young women at risk of self harm.

Marcia has additional training and experience in bereavement counselling, working therapeutically with young people and in the therapeutic application of the arts.

Professional Development Day: Bridging the gap - working with unprepared clients - BACP Events

The main aims of the PDD are

  • To raise awareness that some clients come for counselling unprepared for the experience and understand why this matters.
  • To share knowledge and understanding of what we as therapists know about working effectively with unprepared clients.
  • To help participants expand their ‘tool box’ of knowledge, strategies and techniques for working effectively with unprepared clients.
  • To explore possible challenges such as recognising our own defensiveness or insecurities, working alone or within agencies and being able and willing to adapt ways of working.

By the end of the PDD, participants will be able to

  • Identify and be aware of the potentially different needs of unprepared clients
  • Understand effective ways of working with unprepared clients
  • Use and continue to develop a ‘tool box’ of their own effective ways of working.

This PDD is relevant to

Counsellors who are working, or interested in working, with clients who are unprepared for therapy.


This event is currently fully booked but if you would like to be added to the waiting list please contact us at


Park Inn by Radisson - Northampton

Silver Street


Registration will be 9.30am with the workshop starting promptly at 10am. Two refreshment break and a light lunch will be provided.  The workshop will finish at 4.30pm.