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Therapist Drift: Why well-meaning clinicians mess up therapy (and how not to)

Friday 22nd September 2017 at NCVO London

Evidence-based therapies are effective in treating a wide range of patients with psychological problems, both in research trials and in everyday practice. However, many clinicians do not use that evidence-based approach in routine practice, drifting off model.

This session begins by reviewing the evidence that therapists drift, neglecting or bypassing the principles and active elements of therapies. Attendees will be invited to consider their own cognitive, emotional and behavioural factors that result such drift. Case material and evidence will be used to argue that clinicians’ anxiety and use of safety behaviours is a particular concern, and that the most active element of treatment (the behavioural) gets dropped in favour of the less effective cognitive and interpersonal elements. You will be invited to consider how our own tendency to drift contributes to keeping patients ill, making everyone pessimistic about the outcomes of therapy. Supervision, a clear philosophy of treatment, and a focus on the behavioural element of treatment will be advocated. Whatever the therapy, there would be more benefit to patients from simply ensuring that clinicians use existing evidence-based methods, rather than trying to develop new approaches.

Who is the course intended for?

This event is for anyone looking to evaluate and consider their own clinical practice in order to improve their practice. It is open to anyone at any stage of their professional journey, but will be focused on enhancing the skills of those at a pre-qualification stage, teaching them the risk of drifting off-track for the rest of their time as a therapist and supervisor.

Learning outcomes

  • To be aware of our own contribution to therapies failing
  • To understand why we fail to deliver therapies as effectively as we could
  • To plan how to prevent ourselves drifting


The key objective is that clinicians learn why we drift away from delivering effective therapies, as a result of a wide range of factors, including our ignorance, our anxiety, and our well-meaning nature.

Registration fees can be found on the booking form. If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224507.


Friday 22nd September 2017

Please note, all timings are subject to change.

09:30Part 1
11:00Refreshment Break
11:30Part 2
13:45Part 3
15:00Refreshment Break
15:15Part 4

Speakers and Facilitators


Glenn Waller

Glenn Waller is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Sheffield, UK. His clinical and academic specialism is evidence-based CBT for eating disorders, with a particular emphasis on effective treatment in routine clinical settings. He has published over 260 peer-reviewed papers, 20 book chapters and two books in the field, and regularly presents workshops at national and international meetings. He is past president of the international Academy for Eating Disorders, is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, and is on the editorial board of Behaviour Research and Therapy. He was a member of the NICE Eating Disorders Guideline Development Group, responsible for the 2017 update to the eating disorders guideline.



Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL •  Website•  Directions

The venue is conveniently located just eight minutes’ walk from the excellent transport links of King's Cross, St Pancras and Eurostar stations.