Working with Difference and Diversity in Counselling

Date: 14th June 2023


We are generally taught not to see the differences between us and others, with a view to creating a more equal society.  In counselling work, however, we need to notice the differences between ourselves and our clients to empathise with them more fully.



Can we dare to name a difference between us and our client?  It might cause offence; it could clash with our desire to avoid seeing difference so that we treat everyone equally.  It can be downright scary?   These fears and doubts can easily arise when we consider how our client is different to us.

However, failing to notice, name and address the differences that exist between us, and our client means that a lot of implicit material and process could go unattended to.  The impact of this on the client, and the therapeutic relationship can be damaging.

In this workshop we will explore the importance of explicitly working with difference in practice and pave the way for doing so, to become more comfortable.

We will use case study examples along with models of working with difference to understand the value to the client and the therapeutic relationship, of bringing the implicit processes linked to difference into awareness for exploration.

Course details

Our CPD workshops are facilitated by experienced practicing specialists in their fields. We have a range of courses that are aimed at qualified counsellors who wish to develop their practice, as well as students of counselling. Each day is certified with 6 hours of CPD.

Timing of day: 10am-4.30pm

Delivery method: Online Workshop. Participants will learn by a lecture format, group discussions, pair work, exploring case studies and by practicing techniques learned, in the training group.

Open to: Qualified therapists, Heartwood diploma students and students from other counselling training colleges.

Cost per day: £85 (Current Heartwood students or Heartwood Alumni receive special rate of £45 per day).

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify own fears around addressing difference with a client
  • Discuss the benefits of naming difference in client work and implications of not doing so
  • Explain the potential impact of not addressing difference on the client and therapeutic relationship
  • Identify and explain models for working with difference
  • Use skills learned in the group



Mark Hartshorn has designed and taught counselling and supervision courses since 2008.  He has taught in private and adult education settings and set up an independent specialist counselling training organisation which he ran for 7 years until 2021.  He has around 30 years of experience of working in the field of holistic therapy, counselling and wellbeing.  He is author of The Connections Model, a holistic model of wellbeing and connection.  He is passionate about empowering others and brings this passion into his teaching which he delivers with humour and realness.


Cost per day: £85 (Current Heartwood students or Heartwood Alumni receive special rate of £45 per day).

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