Sorry for not getting back sooner: I was trying to compose a full reply! The guy you are referring to is Martin; the specialist he was passed on to was our Honorary Advisor Professor Alex Gardner. It was a pity they did not show him after he had seen Alex. It could have given others some encouragement. Martin did attend two or our workshops later: some time ago now.
Your comment about the benefit of the workshops is insightful. I have debated with myself about the pros and cons of the workshops and of a CBT therapist.
The pros of a therapist are
a) such help is available all over the UK i.e. locally to the client
b) repeat appointment are the norm, making it more likely that the client will do the work
the cons are;
a) though the therapist knows the theory and practice of how to use CBT on social anxiety conditions, she (and the majority of clinical psychologists are female) will not have personal experience of male toilets. She cannot buddy the client and so help the client in identifying the steps in the hierarchy and, more importantly, how to split steps into smaller and seemingly illogical mini steps.
The pros of a workshop are:
a) meeting others in the same boat and realising that they are a cross-section of normal men and women. This is powerful plus, because many clients have an unspoken fear that the others will be inadequates. It is a pleasant surprise to find them to be personable and competent guys with whom they can have an enjoyable drink.
b) benefiting from real life experience and anecdotes from the leaders showing that what they fear about public toilets does not in fact happen. Admittedly they can hear this message from us and not really believe it, but once we get them to the point of going in public toilets, they then see the proof of what we say, resulting in a strongly positive impact on their confidence.
c) The expertise of the leaders in helping them to establish their personal hierarchies. This cannot be over-estimated: as you know the slightest thing can be a set back, and it never ceases to amaze me in how many ways the amygdala can be spooked, and then fooled into acceptance – if you know how to.
d) the experience we have built up on a whole range of helpful techniques and topics: most are on the forum.
The cons of a workshop are:
a) we cannot do the follow up on a weekly basis. We depend on the guys doing the works themselves, and that is hard.
b) We can manage the demand just; any increase in demand would overwhelm us.
I suppose a partnership could work well. Use the workshop for its benefits, in tandem with a CBT practitioner back home who would provide the ongoing weekly, then monthly, support, discipline and guidance.
You mention the need for national TV exposure. Back in 2002 we got onto the Richard and Judy show; OK it was daytime viewing, but it did get a large audience. We also got a quite a lot of radio telephone in interviews: both Radio 4 and local radio.
We get requests from journalists from time to time: the problem there is that they want named individuals and photos. Both being a no-no for people with paruresis.
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