BOB COOKE, TSTA - IIPA

Bob is a Teaching Supervising Transactional Analyst.  He founded the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy in 1988 and has been running Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy training programmes since 1993.

In recent times, he has taught extensively in the area of Relational Integrative Psychotherapy.  He is a clinical member of the International Integrative Psychotherapy Association as well as being a trustee of the UKCP.

Bob is also recognized by the European Association of Transactional Analysts in the area of Psychotherapy and Clinical Supervision as well as a recognized teacher and trainer.

Bob has a vast interest in working with disowned, disavowed and cut-off parts of the self. He specializes in the area of disassociation and sees health as integration of the self.

The Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy website is www.mcpt.co.uk

 

My Experience of Being a Director, Trainer and Owner of the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy (1987) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 I came out of hospital on March 6th 2020 after heart surgery with regards to a triple by-pass.  On March 23rd, the United Kingdom went into lockdown amid the onslaught of the Covid-19 beginnings.

I was into my third week of recovery and learning to breathe again and using my lungs fully.  As Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, I was full of scare and apprehension for the future ahead.

On March 27th, I closed the two Psychotherapy Centres that I founded and currently run - one the Manchester Institute and secondly, the Manchester Institute’s Wellbeing Centre.  26 psychotherapists worked and had busy psychotherapy practices across both sites.

The Manchester Institute was at that time running a full-time Psychotherapy programme, a popular Supervision training and a vibrant CPD programme. This probably came to over 100 students in total.

Locking down the two Centres was a shocking and sobering action, and overnight all the psychotherapists took their practices online. As well as this, we moved assessments online and the low cost clinic also went online.

We faced decisions about what to do about the Psychotherapy training and, of course, the Supervision trainings. We decided that we would transfer the whole of the trainings to the online medium of Zoom.  This was a huge transition from face to face trainings to a completely different medium of training psychotherapists.  It was not a decision we took lightly; however, for the survival of the trainings it was a necessity.  As the Manchester Institute runs trainings that are relational and contactful in nature, I was uneasy how this would fit, and how we could train our students to be relational and contact-oriented psychotherapists.  Another further question was: how would the trainers of the various training programmes at the Institute deal with the transformation from face to face training of students to an online medium.  What a transformation we faced!  However, the survival of the training programmes and the safety of our students and trainers became paramount before anything else.

The trainers were fantastic and embraced the learnings and delivery of the Psychotherapy, Supervision and CPD trainings online, with all the loss, difficulties and challenges that this meant for all of us.

 

How the United Kingdom lockdown has impacted the trainings and students and subsequent evaluation of competencies and skills

As said above, the biggest impact with regards to the lockdown on the trainings overall was the transformation from face to face to online training, with its obvious restrictions with regards to a relational contact-oriented psychotherapy training.

One of the first things we implemented at MIP was to action specific training on how psychotherapists could work effectively with regards to the online medium, as it was so different with regards to ethics and protocols from the face to face context.  The training was very successful and the therapists and trainees were thankful for this wonderful training. It was essential as well for students working towards seeing clients for the first time in the placement sector.

Time was also given to the students to talk about the loss of their training group, now not meeting in close contact and how their singular training experience was for them within the whole training experience.

In terms of evaluating the competencies of the skills of the students this was, of course, different within an online experience. However, fortunately with Zoom the trainer could go into “break-out rooms” and assess the competencies and development of the students’ clinical skills.

 

How do I see the future of Psychotherapy trainings and Workshops in the UK after this pandemic

In the United Kingdom, there are at present 650 psychotherapy models/trainings. For the more cognitive/behavioural models of psychotherapy online training has been far less challenging and in some ways online training has been embraced by the more cognitive behaviour modes.  Certainly, the educational aspect of cognitive teaching has been incorporated within the online medium.

It is the relational contact-oriented therapists who have had the most acute challenges and losses with regards to their trainings and context.  For these trainings, and I would put the IIPA trainings into this context, they have certainly had massive and difficult barriers to overcome.

I believe the type of trainings we teach at MIP and other trainings of the more relational context will embrace and celebrate the coming together again once this pandemic has finally ended.