Mick Cooper


This interactive workshop provides participants with an opportunity to develop their understanding of, and skills at, working with goals in psychological interventions.  The workshop looks at the teleological philosophical principles underlying working with goals, and what we can learn from the psychological evidence about what makes good goals for therapy, and how they should be established. The workshop will then provide a hands-on guide to setting goals with clients, including the use of a newly developed goals form. The workshop will include and live demonstration and be based around material for the forthcoming book: ‘Working with Goals in Counselling and Psychotherapy’ (Oxford University Press, eds. Law and Cooper)


Learning outcomes:

  • Comprehend the philosophical principles underlying goal-focused work
  • Define goals, in relation to counselling and psychotherapy
  • Comprehend the core properties and dimensions of goals (such as approach vs avoidance goals), and how this relates to psychological wellbeing
  • Critically understand the value of goal setting for counselling and psychotherapy
  • Comprehend core principles of good practice with goals in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Help clients to articulate their goals
  • Use the Goals Form in their therapeutic practice


Workshop content:


  • Personal reflection on your own goals
  • The philosophy and psychology of goals
  • N Goals and affect
  • The nature of goals
  • n Value and limits of goal-setting in therapy
  • Working with goals in therapy
  • The Goals Form and its use in therapy



Psychological therapists from across orientations who are interested in developing their work and thinking around clients’ goals.  The workshop may be of particular relevance to clinicians from humanistic or psychodynamic backgrounds who do not typically work in a highly goal-oriented way but are interested in, and open to, such practice.