Some clients come into therapy with no understanding of what therapy is and are not used to noticing their internal world or sharing it with others. In one client’s words, they can experience it as a bit of a strange thing.

There is sometimes a significant gap between the world of therapy and the people who might benefit from it, which could lead to them not accessing therapy at all or dropping out. If they do get as far as meeting a therapist, many are unprepared for the experience and may need us as counsellors to work differently to help them engage with this strange new world.

In 2012 as part of a research Masters, Anne Crisp interviewed therapists in community settings on their experience of working with unprepared clients and what they had learnt about how to do it well. This learning has been passed on and explored through a previous PDD workshop ‘Bridging the Gap’- working with unprepared clients. In 2018 Anne carried out further research where she met and interviewed unprepared clients offering them the opportunity to share their experience of coming to therapy not knowing what to expect.

Following the findings of this recent research, we have developed a new experiential workshop which now brings together the voices of both clients and therapists experiencing this ‘strange thing’ called therapy and which identifies and considers the specific challenges and how we might respond to work more effectively with unprepared 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.

About the presenters

Trish Blundell is a Registered MBACP accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist with over twenty years of therapy experience and a special interest in grief and loss. Trish now works in private practice offering therapy, supervision and training. She was the Counselling Manager of a low cost counselling agency for ten years and continues her relationships with community organisations and voluntary sector managers providing supervision and the exploration of self care alongside work-life balance.

Marcia Haley is a Registered MBACP accredited counsellor/psychotherapist. Qualifying in 2004, Marcia has spent most of her career working in the voluntary sector where alongside her work as a therapist she has managed a counselling charity and co-ordinated a youth project supporting young women at risk of self harm. Marcia now works in private practice offering therapy, supervision and training including providing supervision for caring professionals within a range of voluntary sector organisations. Marcia has additional training and experience in working with bereavement, young people and in the therapeutic application of the arts.

The main aims of the PDD is to

  • consider the unprepared client's experience of therapy
  • reflect on our experience of working with the unprepared client
  • identify the specific challenges for both the unprepared client and the therapist
  • explore how we might respond and adapt to those challenges within our own practice and modalities
  • develop our skills to work more effectively with the unprepared client

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

  • identify and be aware of the different needs of unprepared clients
  • be aware of the challenges and ways of responding to these challenges
  • have begun to develop effective ways of working within their own practice and modalities

This PDD is relevant to

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


Please book your place online.


Holiday Inn Edinburgh City West
107 Queensferry Road


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.