Training Workshops

One Day and Two Day Workshops in person or via Zoom
John Barton offers a two-day workshop usually entitled "A Practical Introduction to Working with Small Figures In Counselling and Psychotherapy". It is designed for counsellors and psychotherapists as well as other clinicians such as as social workers, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses and GPs. Students of these disciplines are welcome to attend. Others such as life coaches and managers may also benefit from this work.

The one-day workshop is essentially the same as the first day of the two-day workshop.

At the end of the first day participants will be able to use small figures in their work and at the end of the second day will have several techniques for using the figures and will be generating their own ideas. Each day can stand on its own and provides good training.

The workshops are primarily experiential. The participants will learn by being both client and counsellor. There will be some teaching of theory and plenty of opportunity for questions about theory and practice as well as discussion between participants. John has a lighthearted teaching style which shows his enthusiasm for small figure work and his joy in the practice of psychotherapy.

The First Day workshop teaches:
1) A method of dealing with relationship difficulties (a family systems/ psychodramatic approach). This exercise also demonstrates many of the basic principles and ideas about small figure work.
2)How to combine the use of small figures with talk-based therapy, and
3)A way of using the figures with depressed clients.

The Second Day workshop begins with ”A Walk Down Memory Lane”. This is a way of using the figures with a client to explore a relationship. It also teaches a psychodramatic approach to using the figures.

This is followed by two or three of a number of specific ways of using small figures which the participants select from the following list:

1)A way of working with an unwanted repetitive behavior. This has some relevance to addictions.
2)A way of looking at the client’s social system and relationships in the present;
3)A way of looking at the client’s social system and the nature of their relationships at earlier times in their life, such as in their family of origin.
4)Action Genogram. Making a genogram with the figures and then using this to find further meaning for the client.
5)An exercise that links some of the client’s present roles with the earlier events that led to the development of those roles.
6)The Empty Chair: Using the figures to enable the client to have a psychodramatic conversation with another person.
7)The Diamond of Opposites: A way of assisting the client to make a decision.

All workshops end with information about how to obtain small figures and the figures used in the workshop are available for sale to participants who wish to buy them.

Participants will receive, via email, around twenty pages of written material. They will also be given a Certificate of Attendance.

John Barton has run variations of these workshops for clinicians, over one hundred workshops in the past twenty years, mainly in Australia and New Zealand and also in USA, Europe and Singapore. They have been very positively received on every occasion.

It is important to note that John Barton is a psychotherapist who works with adults and the workshops are about working with adult clients. Nevertheless around one third of all those those who have attended the workshops have children as clients and these people report that they find the workshop very useful and they can easily modify what they have learnt for use in their work with children.

Cost: In Australia (no GST):
Two day workshop A$ 360, $200 concession.
In NZ: Prices as above in NZ$. (No GST).
In other countries, see individual flyers.

Other workshops
There are now a few other practitioners who can run training workshops in this work and contact with them can be made by emailing John Barton and asking for a trainer in your area.

Carlos Raimundo, who is based in Newcastle ,Australia and who also travels to run workshops, runs a larger training in Play of Life® with a total of six days of workshops available. For more information go to

How to organise a workshop in your area
A list of upcoming workshops can be found on the Future Workshops page. If you would like a workshop in your area please contact John Barton by email. If you are willing to assist in the organisation of a workshop (eg find a venue, send flyers to local counsellors and therapists, use your networks to encourage people to come) you will have free entry to the workshop and likely be given a set of figures as well.

If you or your organisation can supply a venue then usually two people can come for free or some similar deal negotiated. John is keen to teach this work and likely to say yes to most offers.

He will also run the workshops for a set fee which can be negotiated and will respond positively to any invitation.

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