Wednesday 6th December 2023 – 10.00 to 12.30 GMT

Back to Basics in 2023: Using relaxation techniques in rational emotive and cognitive behavioural counselling, psychotherapy and coaching practice

Prof. Stephen Palmer PhD CPsychol FAREBT & Dr. Siobhain O’Riordan PhD CPsychol MAREBT (Acad)

Location: Zoom platform

The British Psychological Society has highlighted concerns about psychologists and other practitioners using techniques such as mindfulness without adequate training as part of an advanced course or continuing professional development. Relaxation techniques are generally more straight forward to use and research highlights the effectiveness of relaxation techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate and also enhance performance and wellbeing. However, how often do practitioners receive any training in using relaxation techniques for their coaching or therapeutic practice? Did you?

In 2023, with the ongoing impact of long COVID-19, war in Ukraine and the Middle East, global financial uncertainty, increased mortgage, rental and food costs, it is not surprising that people are going to feel more stressed about day-to-day living and survival. Although the rational emotive and cognitive behavioural approach is effective at reducing stress and anxiety, relaxation techniques can also help clients.

This skills-based workshop will provide the opportunity to practise in small groups a range of relaxation exercises including light and deep breathing, Benson Relaxation Response, ‘RE-LAX’ technique, Box breathing and Cyclic Sighing. Participants who have access to a pulse oximeter or other instruments/technology to measure blood pressure and heart rate will be able to monitor the effectiveness of the relaxation techniques practised within the skills-based session. Participants may wish to use smartphones with alarms to ensure they wake up if they are prone to fall asleep when relaxed. Short videos will be shown to demonstrate some of the techniques. 

The workshop is suitable for practitioners who are inexperienced in using relaxation techniques in their therapy or coaching sessions either in face-to-face sessions or over online platforms such as Zoom or Skype. Also it may be of interest to more experienced practitioners who have not attended any formal CPD in relaxation techniques but have used it with their practice.

Suggested Reading

  1. The ‘RE-LAX’ technique and its application to the fields of coaching, counselling and stress management
  2. Multimodal Relaxation Method applied to counselling, psychotherapy and coaching
  3. Is there a growing need for Relaxation Based Coaching?

Professor Stephen Palmer PhD CBiol CPsychol CSci FAREBT is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Biologist, Chartered Coaching Psychologist, Registered Counselling and Health Psychologist. He is a BABCP and AREBT Accredited Therapist and Albert Ellis Institute REBT Certified Supervisor.

He is Co-chair and Fellow of the Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, President and Fellow of the International Society for Coaching Psychology, Vice President and Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Health Promotion and Education, former President and Honorary Fellow of both the the International Stress Management Association (UK) and Association for Coaching. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Royal Society of Biology. He is former Co-Editor of International Coaching Psychology Review, former editor and now Consulting Editor of the International Journal of Health Promotion & Education. He has written/edited 60 books including Stress counselling: A rational emotive behaviour approach (with Ellis, Gordon and Neenan), Counselling for Stress Problems (with Dryden), How to Deal with Stress (with Cooper), Positive Psychology Coaching in Practice (with Green), and Handbook of Coaching Psychology (with Whybrow). His academic posts include being Professor of Practice at the Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Research, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), and Adjunct Professor of Coaching Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark. Previously he has been a Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit, City University London; Honorary Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit  at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil, and BABCP London Branch Co-chair. He is a Director of Studies and supervisor of PhD students at UWTSD. 

Dr Siobhain O’Riordan PhD CSci CPsychol FISCP MIHPE (Hon) MAREBT (Acad) is Chartered Scientist and Chartered Coaching Psychologist. She has full divisional membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology (DARTP) and is a member of the BPS Psychobiology Section. She is Course Co-Director on the stress management and coaching programmes and a trainer at the Centre for Coaching. She is an Honorary Member of the Institute for Health Promotion and Education, Fellow of the International Society for Coaching Psychology and Accredited Coaching Psychologist and Supervisor. From 2013-2015 she was Editor of the International Journal of Health Promotion & Education. Currently, she is Founder Chair of the International Society for Coaching Psychology, Editor of the International Journal of Coaching Psychology, Consulting Editor of The Coaching Psychologist and Editor of Coaching Psychology International. Her other roles include supervising doctorate students at the Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Research, University of Wales Trinity Saint David where she is a Research Fellow. She is also a Director of the International Academy for Professional Development Ltd. She has published research and practice papers and her latest book is Introduction to Coaching Psychology (2021, with Palmer).


Cost: AREBT Members Free. Non-Members: £20.

Booking: Eventbrite