Critical Thinking and Bias in Rehabilitation

March 4th, 5th & 6th 2022
In person – London

Three days of critical thinking for Voice Rehabilitation Specialists or those on our trainee VRS pathway.  In this immersive experience you will explore your thoughts, feelings, responses and interactions within the group process. 

You will be gently guided to see what arrives from the unconscious in terms of the work we do as rehabilitation specialists, the experience of what our voice means to us (and to our client), where it is felt and what might psychosocially suppress it.

Course Information

Day 1: Understanding and analysing unconscious bias, establishing what guides our decision-making.

Examining the placebo / nocebo effect and contextual factors in rehabilitation.

Cecil Sharp House, Camden

10:00 – 17:00 hrs GMT

Stephen King and Dr Jenevora Williams

At the start of three days of intense soul-searching and development it is important that we feel safe and heard; we will establish together the ground rules for the sessions. This will be followed by an exploration of our own personality traits and bias, using psychometric testing and team games. With this established, we can take a deeper look at what guides our decision-making, using the theoretical framework of evolutionary neurology. 

The relationship of instinctive gut-responses and rational thought not only guides our day-to-day decisions, but influences our moral framework. The interpretation of our ethical codes (bias) will be determined by our social environment, upbringing and education. If we examine these and recognise who we are, we can have a greater empathy with people who have markedly differing moral frameworks. 

Finally we will consider the five most important needs for our happiness, security and fulfilment. Learning how to identify which of these may be threatened and what the implication of this could be, will help to guide our understanding of the people with whom we are working.

The afternoon will be exploring and defining “the therapeutic alliance”, the 24 different types of placebo, environmental (sociological) context for sessions and nocebic effects in detail.

“Placebo” happens whether we as rehabilitators like it or not, and although there is a kind of semantic opting out of placebo (think of the saline injections and sugar pills) it is everywhere. So why can’t we maximise it congruently?

The opposite of placebo is a phenomenon labelled nocebo. In this workshop we will explore both ends of the spectrum of what makes a useful contribution to a therapeutic alliance, by firstly defining the process of a whole person interaction, secondly exploring in details the factors supporting that interaction. Within this 3 hour workshop, you will also be exploring ideas around the clients beliefs, and answering the question “Who has the loudest voice in a therapeutic alliance?”

Day 2: An introduction to evidence-based behaviour change strategies and their application for facilitating change in our clients.


10:00 – 17:00 hrs GMT

Stephen King and Dr Jenevora Williams
Morning session

Dawn Estefan BSC, DipHe, MSc, MBACP
Afternoon session

10:00 – 13:00

For the second morning we welcome an Organisational Psychologist to help us understand behaviour patterns and to learn strategies for facilitating change in ourselves and in our clients. We will consider why we cling to certain behaviours, and what the critical blockers may be. This is guided by our relationship with pleasure and discomfort; confidence and competence, action and motivation. 

Building on what we learned about ourselves the day before, we will explore our own patterns, drivers and blocks. Then learn how this can be used in an education and healthcare setting.

14:00 – 17:00
The afternoon, led by Dawn Estefan, will start with an initial group process which starts with you owning your judgments with the word ‘I’ as a way of bonding and exploration of what is in the unconscious.  We then move outwards from ‘I’ to ‘What’ ie; actions arising from this. 

The analysis is built to explore, assess and address your unconscious biases and prejudice. This powerful workshop led by Dawn Estefan will be using the ‘individual’ model of analysis to inform analysis of the student Voice Rehabilitation Specialist.

In a typical experiential analytic group, a process evolves from which everyone gains at the same time. A stimulating interaction between group members becomes the focus of the brief so that understanding group interactions, conversations and events becomes a powerful way of learning about the brief itself, the self and the client group.

Any fears that it will be too difficult to talk about the work in the group soon disappear in the animated and helping atmosphere of the group. Sharing feelings and experiences in an intense, lively and supportive group creates an atmosphere in which mutual confidence and support can develop.

Past patterns of attitudes, feelings and behaviour then appear in the group and analysis, and the thought about these patterns opens the path of growth and development.  Group members see themselves through the eyes of others and their clients. They gain new insights about themselves and learn about themselves and others through the work others do in the group to gain greater insight about their behaviour/practice and relationships. 

Through the relationships that develop within the group a living demonstration is provided of how past patterns of behaviour can reproduce themselves in their work and block growth and creativity in the work. Analysis of this process opens the way for critical thought and change.

Day 3: Examining beliefs around posture and breathing as an example of bias and placebo.

A recap and reflection of the three day process.


Cecil Sharp House, Camden

10:00 – 17:00 hrs GMT


Stephen King and Dr Jenevora Williams

10:00 – 13:00
Stephen will be exploring palpation and addressing commonly taught misconceptions around the belief of palpation, including first and foremost; safety.
As trauma aware practitioners, the VRS students must always consider the psychological safety of touch, as well as be informed of the biological components including anatomical boundaries and red flags. You as a student will be guided through the art and science of palpation with historic exercises, right through to current day, evidence based pain science thinking. You will then be guided through examining posture and the relation to tension.
14:00 – 17:00
Dr Jenevora Williams will be building on the bias and group process work from Days 1 and 2 with reflective break out groups and smaller group process activities. 

"Giving a voice to Vocal Health"

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