what is a workshop?
As you read more about this condition, you will discover that the treatment recommended by clinical psychologists is based on standard techniques of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT): to improve self-esteem, to realign your view of reality, and to enable you to start facing your fears in a controlled way using small steps.
We use intensive residential weekend workshops. The workshops are based on those run by Professor Soifer (the President of the International Paruresis Association, based in the USA), and are described in the book he co-authored, Shy Bladder Syndrome. It is important to note that the UKPT does not provide professional treatment; instead it uses a self-help ethos, where the leaders are not medically or psychologically qualified, but are recovering from the condition themselves. They are imparting what they have learnt in a layman's capacity. Feedback so far is that this approach is helpful to participants. However it is not the aim of the UKPT to be a replacement for professional therapy; instead it is providing support, especially where professional resources are not available.
Note that no-one is cured in a weekend, but the majority make a significant start to gaining control over the condition, enabling them to see a way forward. We keep on running these workshops only because the feedback is always so positive; you can read such feedback on the Discussion Board, and also read the sample Success Stories page on the website. In the period 2003 to June 2012, we have run sixty-five workshops, which shows their popularity, and the amount of experience we have.
what is a beginners’ workshop?
A Beginners’ workshop is for people who have not attended a workshop before. They start at 7pm on a Friday and end about 2 pm on the Sunday. They are held in hotels containing en-suite rooms.
If money is a problem, don’t let it be. You can make a contribution instead of paying the full fee. If paying for a room is difficult, let us know. The policy of the UKPT is that lack of money should not prevent anyone participating, and there is a small bursary fund (donations to this fund are very welcome).
The workshop fee is at present about £90, which covers the costs of putting on a workshop (NB the leaders are volunteers and are not paid), and the cost of the meeting room. Cheques are required on booking to confirm the booking, but are not deposited until after the workshop, to give you the security of knowing that you could stop the cheque even at the end of the workshop – though no-one has done so yet.
You will have to pay for accommodation (two nights) and meals on top of that. The hotel rooms are about £65-80/night in Manchester and about £80-90/night in London, booked online. This does not include other meals. There are reasonable places to eat nearby. If you are local, you may choose to commute. Note however that:
a) the workshop runs from 7pm – 10pm on Friday, 9am – 10pm on Saturday, and 10am to 3pm on Sunday. Attendance for the full time is mandatory.
b) we need a minimum number of rooms for desensing, so if you can, its better to take a room.
The workshops are led by two “graduates” of our workshops. We provide a therapeutic environment, and use the CBT approach. It is worth repeating that we are not medically nor psychologically qualified: these workshops are provided by ex-sufferers on a self-help basis. We do not provide a cure, but aim to enable a significant improvement in how you feel and in how you perform, plus a plan of action for the future.
Participants at workshops usually say that it took some nerve to commit to booking, and even more just to turn up on the day, but that they were very quickly put at their ease; they have never regretted attending. It is run in a relaxed informal way, and no-one is ever put under pressure to do anything they do not want to do; also you will always be in control of what you do. Note also that everyone there has AP or is recovering from having AP, so there will be no puzzled looks to deal with!
what are the follow-up workshops?
Most participants find the Beginners' Workshop mind-blowing, and think they are sorted and don't really need to do any work. Alas not so. They also forget a lot of the useful stuff! Hence the need to attend a Follow-up workshop to (a) show that the improvements made at the Beginners workshop were not a one-off, (b) to go over all the topics again, and (c) to re-motivate you to start seriously working at it on your own after the workshop ends. Again participants say they find this workshop very useful, and even necessary, to push them along.
Now the crunch: CBT is not a quick fix. Mild cases (cubicles pretty safe but urinals tricky) usually need two workshops. Severe cases (cannot use cubicles, and home can be difficult if visitors are around) seem to need up to six workshops spread over say two years; but note that they feel much much better about things after the first workshop. Moderate cases (home OK but cubicles are 50:50) need somewhere in between: say 3 or 4.
A good way is to see it like training for a marathon: it takes time and perseverance, but it can be done so long as you don't rush it and expect miracles
These workshops used to be announced on this Board with a booking form.
However many people contacted us direct by email asking about a workshop. We added them to a list and emailed the announcement to them first, before posting on the Board.
Now the workshops are being filled up from this list, making it pointless posting on this Board!
So if you are seriously interested in attending a beginners workshop, email us to let us know (the email address is the support address in the heading above). That way we can send you an email notification when a workshop is set up. Sometimes our emails get trapped in a spam folder, so it is worth ensuring that your spam filters (both ISP and PC based) will accept mail from the domain kencomp.net and email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Our routine schedule is to alternate a Beginners workshop with a Follow-up workshop two months apart, and alternate this pair between London and Manchester.
January 2015: London Beginners
March 2015: London Follow-up
May 2015: Manchester Beginners
July 3-5, 2015: Manchester Follow-up
Sept 25-27, 2015 London Beginners
Nov 20-22, 2015 London Follow-up
Jan 2016 Manchester Beginners
Mar 2016 Manchester Follow-up
and so on.
Sometimes we put on extra workshops if demand is there and workshop leaders are available; e.g. there was an extra Beginners' workshop in February 2009 in Manchester.
To see when workshops are due to be run, go to News & Info, then Events.
So get thinking, get deciding, and get going :-)