The NCHP Conference, June 2017

A weekend of excellent presentations

Hi there

A month ago I attended the NCHP’s annual conference in the Mercure Hotel, Leicester. I began my professional life with the NCHP and their conferences are always fun and lively affairs.

This is just one of two glorious rooms in which the conference is held. The photo is misleading, however. Champagne was not provided as a part of the fee and neither were balloons. Nonetheless, this was an interesting and exciting weekend.


Joy Reeves wowed the crowd with a wonderfully heartfelt exposition of the joys of mindfulness. Her openness and somewhat adlib performance were a ‘joy’ to behold.


I had my slot too. I presented on the topic of scrupulosity, one of my favourite conditions with which to work. I may, at some point in the future, offer some fuller training on the subject.

Here’s what Hilary Norris Evans, who reviewed the conference, had to say about it:

‘The next speaker, Paul Hughes, talked about Religiosity and Scrupulosity, a subject I was keen to know more about as I was aware of the anxious state of mind of a friend of mine, ex- Jehovah’s Witness, whom I’d visited a few days prior to the conference and who had told me the whole story of the world according to witnesses .

This presentation was as dramatic as Joy’s was passionate; indeed, some of it was a mini play to explain certain facets of religiosity and scrupulosity. The power point presentation was fascinating, set to appeal to those with a visual turn of mind, although there was plenty of interesting verbiage for the auditory members of the audience and even an appeal to the kinaesthetic. This was very different in style from the first presentation.

Paul explained the concepts in playful and illustrative way (if you are in the dark, then make sure you turn up at conference next year). Scrupulosity is the fear of sin and doing wrong or in a more atheist version: I hate myself.

We were taken through hell fire preachers, vegetables that may have reminded us of genitalia, obsessive thoughts and rituals, the Ten Commandments and there is an endless cycle of fear, which has its co-morbidities, including depression, OCD, drugs and drink.

If it is emotional, you don’t grow out of it, whereas if you are not naturally anxious or your parents haven’t encouraged anxiety you are safe.

Clients spend a long time seeking relief through words which needs to be curbed in the therapy session. Paul illustrated many techniques therapists knew already which we could use and reminded us to work within the belief system of the client.

I am now in a good position to give my friend some gentle suggestions as I have now been able to label his anxiety, although, as he is a friend , I am unable to do therapy with him.’

I think that’s a pretty positive write up of a well-received presentation. Here’s what others had to say:

‘Very informative. Wonderful energy!’

‘Very lively and engaging style. Excellent for after lunch slot. Focused and humour. Good’

‘Interesting topic, something which I know very little about. Presented in a very humorous way’


Lots of lovely scores were given on the feedback sheets. 10/10 for both content and style was the most common combination of grades.

It wasn’t a presentation without its risks, however. Presenting a topic on religion which featured a good deal of sexual content (scrupulosity frequently focuses on sexuality) didn’t go down too well with one or two people. Oh well. Live and learn!

Best wishes







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