Workshops at the Male Psychology Conference

Male Psychology Conference Workshops

To book your place on a workshop, first purchase your conference ticket here and then send an email stating which workshop(s) you would like to attend to

Places at each workshop are limited to a maximum of 15, and are allocated on a first-come first served basis.

The workshops run parallel to the presentations, and once you have joined a workshop you cannot go back to the presentations until the allocated time of the workshop has finished.


Summary (further details below)


10.50 – 11.40 am

Dr Bijal Chheda-Varma: ADHD management

2.30 – 3.30 pm

Owen Connelly: biofeedback for trauma

4.05 – 5.15 pm

Dr Amanda Kinsella and Alastair Pipkin: A new NHS men’s group


10.55 – 11.30 am

David Eggins: Domestic violence reduction

12.55 – 1.35 pm

Jennie Cummings-Knight: Sex differences in attraction

2.45 – 3.35 pm

Owen Connelly: Fatherhood


Full listing (in chronological order)

Friday 10.50 – 11.40 am

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Case Study and Exploration of Causes and Interventions.  

with Dr Bijal Chheda-Varma 


Workshop Aims and Learning Objectives:

The workshop is aimed at psychologists, CBT therapists or counsellors who work with ADHD. It aims to disseminate information on two key aspects of ADHD management. Firstly it provides a brief overview of ADHD which includes symptom manifestation, causes, prevalence and formulation through an evidenced based model (Brown). Secondly the workshop would focus on therapeutic interventions and techniques within the context of CBT that focus specifically on ADHD management. Both key themes will be presented via a case study which will help in illustrating how the information is applied.


Background of Topic:

The workshop is derived from a chapter focussing on ADHD particularly for men. The prevalence of ADHD in clinical settings particularly with co-morbid conditions is important to address. CBT interventions for ADHD often involve more behavioural work and hence require some adaptations in the therapy context.


Teaching Method:

The workshop will be disseminated via a powerpoint presentation. Flip chart use will be helpful to explain any further concepts which arise from questions or discussion.


Dr Bijal Chheda-Varma is the founder and director of the FFCI. She is a consultant Chartered Psychologist and CBT therapist who specializes in various strands of cognitive behavioural interventions. Bijal sees a wide spectrum of clinical and complex psychological conditions such as the bi-polar spectrum, eating disorders, obesity, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Bijal specializes in the process of assessment and diagnosis of conditions based on psychometric and neuro-psychiatric tools. A central area of her expertise is in the complex assessment and treatment of Asperger’s, Autism, ADD/ADHD. She also provides psychometric testing for expert witness and formal diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. Bijal started her career as a lead psychologist at an inpatient second stage rehabilitation unit for addictions with complex patients. She then worked in the NHS until 2008 when she joined Florence Nightingale Hospital where she was the Lead clinician for the CBT team. As part of her work at the Nigtingale Hospital, she was seconded for a period of three years to The Practitioner Health Programme (treating sick doctors and dentists) where she provided CBT and neuropsychiatric evaluations.  She runs other private clinics at The Blue Door Practice, Fitzrovia and Wimpole street.



Friday 2.30 – 3.30 pm

Biofeedback for trauma

with Owen Connelly

Biofeedback is the use of instrumentation to mirror psychophysiological processes that the individual is not normally aware of, which may be brought under voluntary control. It helps you gain control over how you react to stress by teaching you skills to help quiet and balance your nervous system. The result is a state of calm and deep relaxation in your body and your mind. This leads to a feeling of empowerment and self-worth as you become successful in altering your body’s responses. Biofeedback training is like physical therapy insofar as it requires active participation and regular practice between training sessions. It is a self‐control technique through which individuals learn to voluntarily regulate what were once thought to be involuntary bodily processes. This treatment requires specific instruments to convert physiological signals into detailed visual and auditory cues, in addition to a specifically trained biofeedback practitioner to guide the therapy. Using a screen, individuals get feedback that helps them acquire control over their physiology. Just as looking into a mirror allows one to see and change expressions, etc., biofeedback allows you to ‘see inside’ your body, alongside a trained biofeedback practitioner who functions as a guide training you to use the feedback to regulate your physiology.

Owen Connolly is a consultant psychologist and marriage and family therapist in private practice in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin. He is co-author of the book “Parenting for the Millennium”, a best-selling book on childcare, and author of “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – From Father to Dad”, a parenting book for fathers. He completed his training in the UK, Ireland, and the USA. He lectures in childcare and parenting, and is Chairman of the Nurture Institute of Further Education for Parents, a not-for-profit organisation which runs parenting courses and day-long seminars on fatherhood throughout the greater Dublin area.



Friday 4.05 – 5.15 pm

Men are from Mars: A Relational, Recovery-Focused Group for Men in Secondary Care Adult Mental Health

with Dr Amanda Kinsella and Alastair Pipkin

Target Audience: Professionals interested in engaging with men in Secondary Care Adult Mental Health, other interested individuals

Brief Background to the Topic:

Men are under-represented in mental health services (Cheshire et al., 2016), yet they are three times more likely to take their own life (Samaritans, 2017). It is important to understand the process of under representation and how we can meet the needs of men. Research suggests the role of masculine narratives in the engagement process reports themes of disempowerment, shame, mistrust and ambivalence (Good & Robertson, 2012; White et al., 2015). Research and anecdotal evidence suggests a relational model of intervention facilitates meaningful engagement. Our recovery-focused group for men, MARS, aims to develop empowerment, respect and a working alliance with men, whilst promoting self-agency and suicide prevention strategies.

The focus is on enabling men within their recovery. We have piloted a recovery-focused, trans diagnostic group for men engaging with a Secondary Care Adult Mental Health Service using relational models of psychotherapy. Pilot outcome data has shown positive improvements for emotion regulation skills, readiness to change and engagement with services. A number of the men engaged in the initial pilot have now completed individual therapy, been discharged from service and are supporting the co-production of the group moving forwards. The present workshop will provide an experiential introduction to the theoretical underpinnings involved in our model, including discussion, example exercises and narratives directly from the men involved. It will aim to offer an insight into our relational approach, use of concepts of self-compassion and Mindfulness, as well as exploration of what the men who attended found valuable to them.

Learning Objectives:

Attendees will gain an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings to this integrative, trans-diagnostic group for men, appropriate for Secondary Care Mental Health settings. Attendees will gain some experiential insights into the exercises used. Attendees will also hear first-hand lived experience of the group regarding what the men engaging with the group have found important.

Teaching Methods:

A mixture of didactic, discussion, and guided experiential exercises. Participants will not be required to self-disclose during the workshop.

Duration of Workshop: 1 hour


Dr Amanda Kinsella is a Consultant Psychologist. She has dual roles within North West Boroughs Foundation Trust, both as a Senior Psychologist and Lead Investigator for the MARS Programme, and she runs a private practice. Amanda has extensive experience in secondary care and as a workshop leader. It was during this time that Amanda became aware that there was a gap in service delivery and inequality in how we support and engage men in their recovery. Her interest in suicide prevention and specialism in relational psychotherapy was the basis of her designing MARS. The model has been well received and her work was recognised by reaching the finals in Northwest Boroughs Innovation of the year category. Amanda recognises that this area of research is underrepresented and is an avid supporter of championing men’s mental health. She is continuing to strengthen the model and increase the evidence base. Amanda suggests that the need is most definitely there and we need to be doing more to promote and celebrate the difference between Men and Woman by developing innovative clinical programs that enable men in their recovery.

Alastair Pipkin is Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the University of Oxford. Alastair has previously workied in Early Intervention in Psychosis Services and CAMHS, and has interests in relational approaches and engagement in mental health care.




Saturday 10.55 – 11.30 am

Group work and support with domestic abusers:

Emotional Regulation: working with the guts of men in groups

with David Eggins, of Temper!   Domestic Violence Ltd, registered charity 1081139


Over 24 years we have completed 36 hours of therapeutically informed work with more than 1,000 men and more than 100 women, in mixed gender groups.

 Accredited groups, virtually all running to Duluth, of which there are now only between 10 and 12 programmes still accredited, nationwide, down from about 26, attempt to work to a one size fits all socio-educational programme.

 They have failed and continue to fail because they fail to engage with the individual men, and they address topics which do not engage with the individual man.

 More than 90% of men and 95% of many fewer women complete our work 100%. We have never had the finance available to conduct longitudinal research, but anecdotally, and in one case by clinical psychology report, our work helps bring about enormous change in most individuals.

 Currently there is a dearth of female abusers for our service, for which we have virtually no money available to advertise for female abusers, virtually all of whom are being sent by social services and virtually all other authorities involved onto the Freedom Programme- the main object of which appears to be to imbue all female abusers with a radical feminist mindset which says that they are all the victims of a patriarchal society.

 Of course our work is aimed at bringing about change in the abusive individuals repertoire of behaviours.

Global research indicates that the vast majority of domestic violence is so-called “situational couple violence”. Abusive/violent individuals obviously need to learn to manage much better the “situations” which precipitate them into violence and abusiveness.

 The requirements: themes sought for the conference

Positive, male-friendly interventions & services

Family structure & dynamics, and the impact on men and boys

Our work cuts across both of this year’s themes and all aspects

Family breakdown, domestic violence, parental alienation, the value of fathers etc

Positive, male-friendly interventions & services

Male-friendly helplines, support groups, therapies etc


What we would like to do:

We / I would like to present to the whole conference. We now additionally have video clips available of the ways we work.

Many of the ways we work have important insights for those delivering work with men; in many ways much of it flies in the face of many current, established practices.


Working constructively, intensively and effectively with mainly men in groups in domestic abuse scenarios

A piece of collaborative, interactive, therapeutically informed, experiential work aimed more at episodic memory as opposed to didactical work aimed primarily at semantic memory.

With the objectives of developing and practising;

new behaviours,

developing new skills,

heightening insights, and outsights

emotional awareness,

emotional regulation

plus all 3 varieties of empathy.


The establishment of trust vs the undermining of trust

“How to talk and listen and make good use of a group.”

Experiential exercises involving activity as opposed to purely sitting  – talking and listening and feeding back as opposed to “just listening”.

Eight Primary declarative emotions:  “emotions are verbs, not nouns” – Siegel.

Emotional regulation – against a background of eight primary declarative  emotions, through the lens of  and development of each individual’s autobiographical memory, plus simultaneously developing the latter.

Communication: intimacy,  the importance of non-sexual touch, in the group, also in intimate relationships, the recognition and unravelling of facial expression, prosody and other signs of emotional communication, gaze and its uses.




Saturday 12.55 – 1.35

Workshop title: “Lost in Translation”

Sight first, Feelings later: Evolutionary Patterns Played Out in Relationships: Psychology of Male Sexuality vs Female

with Jennie Cummings-Knight


Workshop overview

An exploration of male and female differences and preferences within sexuality, from the context of evolutionary patterns of behaviour and being, based on my chapter “The Gaze” in the Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology 2019.

An interactive forum to look honestly and imaginatively, in a non-threatening environment, at typical male and female sexual differences.  A non-politically correct opportunity to share what you really believe with others in an open forum.

Length:  1.5 hours (ideally) 45 min version also possible

4 x Film clips supplied by author


1/ This workshop will look at the evolutionary differences between male and female sexuality and how they are played out in our daily lives

2/ The male “gaze” contrasts with the female need to “be seen” and reflects two distinct mindsets that interlock but are inherently separate.

3/ Men and women “search” and “find” different things because they are “wired” to have different priorities.Put simply, the hunter’s gaze in the field is very different from the close up “looking for a credit card in your wallet” gaze.  As an example, this has given rise to expressions like “it’s a man look” when a man can’t find an object in a cupboard.  Many women on the other hand, have poor navigational skills when driving.

4/ These evolutionary “givens” are set against a backdrop of existential “thrownness” and a need to “make meaning”. They are arguably shifting within a climate where perceptions of gender are becoming more fluid, but established “norms” still apply for the typical heterosexual relationship.


Purpose of Workshop

This workshop offers an alternative view to the popular prevailing feminist agendas.  These are usually looking at ground that still needs to be gained, and arguably ignoring the “fallout” and losses that have taken place for both men and women whilst a rigid set of specific targets have been the focus of the feminist movement.

The workshop takes a fresh look at possibly unexpressed male sexual needs from the standpoint of a female therapist who believes that we live in a “post feminist” era in the UK and Western Europe.

It explores typical male and female differences and preferences, looking at both biological and sociological constructs of gender, without paying the customary ”lip service” to current trends and expectations.

Added value will be the chance to explore male sexual identity from the unusual perspective of a female leading the workshop and focussing on male needs.  In an arguably post-feminist society, male needs are sidelined and men are encouraged to become “more like women” rather than to be comfortable with and even to glory in their essential maleness and difference.


Target audience


This workshop is of interest to anyone who feels unable to express sexual needs without the fear of being “politically correct” in what is stated and how it is shared.  The workshop leader is a qualified Counsellor and practising Psychotherapist with a particular interest in male identity issues, and has been involved in research in Male Identity issues since 2005. NB See also articles published by Inside Man:

Learning outcomes and objectives

  1. A historical overview of male and female sexual differences and similarities
  1. Identify and celebrate differences between male and female
  2. Look briefly at fetishes and changing perceptions of sexuality through transgender issues

Practical Exercises: using film clips to stimulate discussion

Group Discussion looking at:
a) biological vs social constructs of gender

  1. b) individual experience vs stereotyping with regard to male and female sexual preferences and differences
  2. c) “Men need to look, Women need to be seen” (Cummings-Knight, 05.15) – Discussion around evolutionary patterns of male and female behaviour


Jennie Cummings-Knight (MA, MBACP, PGCE, FHEA) lives and works

in Cromer, Norfolk, in a private counselling practice.  She also writes articles, offers lectures and workshops at conferences, and contributes actively to online forum discussions. She was a contributor at The First World Congress of Existential Psychotherapy in London, May 2015 and has contributed to the Male Psychology conferences in the years 2015, 2016 and 2018.

She has a particular interest in Male Psychological issues to do with Identity and Existential  Givens.  She celebrates the differences between male and female.

Find her at




Saturday 2.45 – 3.35 pm


with Owen Connelly

This workshop is based on consultant psychologist Owen Connolly’s unique book “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: From Father to Dad”. Owen has been running a one-day version of this workshop for over a decade.

The book has helped many fathers find, and thrive in, their unique place in the lives of their children. In a generation where the view of masculinity and fatherhood has changed in many ways, this book provides practical advice to men seeking to be good Dads by addressing the questions that are often buried in their hearts.

Owen examines the way in which our ancestors and our past affect the way we live and parent today. The easy to read question and answer format makes the content easily accessible and handy to dip in and out of during the busyness of family life.

The workshop reflects the content of the book, which is divided into four main sections: Men & Women, Parenting Small Children, The Teenager, and Parenting Today. Every section has at least 8 questions in it that cover the range of those most frequently asked and, in Owen’s opinion, most important to address.

Read a review of the book “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ here

To purchase the book please email




To book your place on a workshop, first purchase your conference ticket here and then send an email stating which workshop(s) you would like to attend to

Places at each workshop are limited to a maximum of 15, and are allocated on a first-come first served basis.

The workshops run parallel to the presentations, and once you have joined a workshop you cannot go back to the presentations until the allocated time of the workshop has finished.



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