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Strengthening client engagement: A personalised therapeutic approach

Harry O’Hayon

Tuesday, 18 June 2024


The key to community is the acceptance, in fact the celebration of our individual and cultural differences. It is also the key to world peace. M. Scott Peck (2010)

The application of clinical and therapeutic strategies and techniques is widely recognised as an effective means of reducing emotional distress and enhancing psychological wellbeing. Recent research and training initiatives have appropriately emphasised the need to consider cultural influences and individual differences when delivering clinical interventions. However, there has been a relative lack of emphasis on extending these considerations beyond specific interventions and evidence-based models to the vital topic of client engagement. 

Client engagement plays a pivotal role in fostering a robust therapeutic relationship, which has consistently demonstrated its vital and active role in influencing treatment outcomes. We must continually strive to strengthen our engagement skills by considering and adapting our client engagement strategies to culturally bound beliefs, norms, and attitudes. We must do similarly when working with those in society with individual differences who traditionally were marginalised. We must move beyond using the term client engagement as a single approach we use uniformly with all clients. Culturally sensitive engagement awareness and approaches must be considered and applied for our clinical and therapeutic strategies to work. The two go hand in hand, and that’s why the focus of this introductory workshop will be on developing a personalised approach to client engagement. 

Recognising and understanding cultural norms, as well as individual differences prevalent among various minority groups within society, including linguistic factors, can effectively facilitate client engagement in therapy. By personalising our client engagement approaches, we create a safe and meaningful environment that fosters deep connections, where therapy can become more effective in addressing the needs of diverse clients who can otherwise feel vulnerable talking to a stranger about some of their individual differences. Such connections serve as the foundation for strengthening therapeutic outcomes.

The event will be equivalent to 2 hrs of CPD.


In light of the aforementioned considerations, it is imperative for clinicians and therapists to broaden their focus beyond the mere application of specific interventions and evidence-based models. By delving into the realm of personalised client engagement, practitioners can effectively address the unique needs of culturally diverse individuals, thereby creating a more inclusive and effective therapeutic experience. Ultimately, this broader perspective serves as a catalyst for achieving positive outcomes that are comparable to those experienced by individuals with origins in this country.

During this two-hour webinar, the following topics will be covered;
• Adapting client engagement approaches based on race, ethnicity, and cultural background
• Understanding the intersectionality of gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and religion on client engagement
• Honouring your client’s culturally bound worldview to strengthen engagement
• Enhancing self-awareness of personal biases, beliefs, and attitudes that may impact on client engagement
• Consider sensitive topics within marginalised individuals and groups that can either impact or facilitate client engagement

Learning Objectives

At the end of this training, you should be able to:

• Describe some of the key considerations required to strengthen client engagement when working with clients from a culture that is different than your own
• Describe key concepts to strengthen client engagement for people from traditionally mariginlised groups.
• Reflect and identify some of your own biases that may impact on your client engagement skills when working across cultures, and clients with individual differences

Training Modalities

Didactic content, interactive components, polls, Q&A.

Key References

1. Bachelor A. Clients’ perceptions of the therapeutic alliance: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 1995; 42(3):323. 

2. Bordin ES. The generalizability of the psychoanalytic concept of the working alliance. Psychotherapy, Theory, Research and Practice. 1979; 16(3):252–260. 

3. Dearing RL, Barrick C, Dermen KH, Walitzer KS. Indicators of client engagement: Influences on alcohol treatment satisfaction and outcomes. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2005; 19(1):71–78. 

4. Horvath AO, Symonds BD. Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 1991; 38(2):139.

5. Thomas ML. The contributing factors in a therapeutic process. Contemporary Family Therapy. 2006; 28:201–210.

About the presenter

Harry O’Hayon grew up in Montreal, Canada and is trained in both Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, and in Counselling Sciences. He is accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). He is a practicing clinician with extensive experience working with people who have a mood disorder. His previous role as Clinical Lead and Head of Prevention Services in a major NHS Trust in London involved leading an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – IAPT service; a Self-Management & Behavioural Change Specialist Service for people with chronic long term physical health conditions; and a Smoking Cessation Service. He previously worked for several years in both out-patient and in-patient rehabilitation clinical services for people with substance or behavioural addictions. Harry is a Jewish immigrant, whose native language is french, and who proudly identifies himself as a member of the LGBTQ community. He has travelled extensively, and lived in many countries. His exposure to the richness of various cultures, norms, and languages provided him the many personal and professional opportunities, and with a richness of understanding and appreciation for differences of all kind, including his own.

His work experience at The University of Reading with The Charlie Waller Institute for Evidence-based Psychological Treatments has given him a solid understanding, and hands on experience, of the development and dissemination of evidence-based psychological treatments, and the challenges and opportunities associated with translating research and science in clinical practice. He regularly trains mental health clinicians on how to deliver evidence-based psychological treatments using CBT approaches both in the UK and internationally. Clinically he also offers consultation, supervision, training, and advice to various NHS Trusts and private organisations on delivering evidence-based psychological treatments. His clinical specialism is the assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting from either type 1 or 2 trauma. Harry credits the twelve years he spent working for a large NHS Trust, within a culturally diverse London borough, where over two hundred languages are spoken, for enriching his knowledge, skills, passion and creativity on the topic of personalising client engagement approaches.

Who should attend

This webinar is most suitable for anyone working in a healthcare.

Details coming soon

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