Join Helen Kennerley and explore the “What”, “Why” and “When” of dialogues for discovery

Picture of Helen Kennerley

Helen Kennerley, D.Phil, Consultant Clinical Psychologist,

Founding Fellow of the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre and author

Meet the Presenter

I specialise in adult recovery from childhood trauma, dissociative disorders, and self-injurious behaviours.

I am a BABCP accredited therapist, supervisor and trainer, so I enjoy disseminating CBT skills and helping therapists to become even better therapists. This workshop will contribute towards that aim!


A Journey of Discovery

Psychotherapy’s effectiveness rests on a therapist’s ability to help clients discover new possibilities that resonate for them. The Socratic approach offers a way of communicating with clients that helps them make their own discoveries and devise new ways forward. The Socratic approach has quite rightly been called a “cornerstone” of our work as psychotherapists (Padesky, 1993), yet practitioners are sometimes unsure about best use of the approach.

In a special live and online workshop on Thursday 23 November, Socratic Methods in CBT: Dialogues for discovery, I will be talking about the evolution and role of Socratic Methods in psychotherapy. The workshop will allow you to hone your skills, to know when and how to make use of various Socratic methods and enhance your practice from assessment through to ending therapy. Throughout, there will be reference to a therapeutic alliance that fosters the curiosity, humility and empathy needed to adopt an effective Socratic intervention.

I will explore the “What”, “Why” and “When” of dialogues for discovery and in particular will review Padesky’s 4-stage Model of Socratic Dialogue (informational questions, empathic listening, summaries, analytical and synthesising questions), and I will look at ways in which the model can be incorporated with other change methods such a behavioural experiments and thought records.

There will be plenty of opportunity for reflection on the teaching, time to consider your own practice, and there will be time for discussion and questions.

I will draw on the recently published, “Dialogues for Discovery”, co-edited with a long-term collaborator Christine Padesky (Padesky & Kennerley, 2023). The book emphasises the versatility of this very pan-diagnostic Socratic process and offers guidance, tips, signposts, ways of overcoming typical obstacles. These can be explored further in the live workshop. Picture of book cover for Dialogues for Discovery: Improving Psychotherapy's Effectiveness, edited by Christine A. Padesky & Helen Kennerley

A NEW self-help guide using CBT by Dr Helen Kennerley



Picture of Overcoming Childhood Trauma, A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques by Helen Kennerley

“Brilliant for survivors and their loved ones”
“Great book with expert strategies”
“Amazing book, you have to read this!”
Helping the sufferer understand the links between past trauma and present difficulties and see a way forward

As many clinicians appreciate, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, and neglect in childhood is alarmingly common and can result in a range of problems for former victims.

With this in mind, in 2000, clinical psychologist Dr Helen Kennerley published a self-help guide based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It helped survivors of childhood adversity understand the links between past trauma and present difficulties and to see a way forward.

It offered the means to manage problem feelings and behaviours, deal with intrusive images, develop satisfying relationships in adulthood and to gain control of one’s life.

This first edition was well received by users: “Brilliant for survivors and their loved ones”; “Great book with expert strategies”; “Amazing book, you have to read this”.
The book was also commended by the British Medical Association, was recommended by the NHS “Reading Well Scheme” and was translated into several languages.

Now, a revised and updated volume is available. This new text embraces recent developments in our understanding of developmental trauma and the needs of sufferers as well as reflecting two more decades of the author’s experience working with the programme.

This new step-by-step guide provides:
• an updated understanding of the problems linked to childhood trauma.
• an expanded range of strategies for breaking free of these problems.
• further advice on how to build a satisfying life in adulthood.