Public event

In this Coffeelogue Mike Gray will introduce, discuss and explore alongside the group the idea of differentiation within relationships, and the implications for couples counselling.

Date: Saturday 6 July 2019

Time: 10.00am–12.30pm

Venue: Room 2, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, Waterloo, London SE1 7NQ

About the topic

“Marriage is the nearest adult equivalent to the original parent–child relationship. Thus its success must revolve around the freedom to regress.”

Henry Dicks (1963)

There has been a polite little spat going on in the world of couple counselling, between the ‘attachment’ people and the ‘differentiation’ people. The view that what makes a good relationship is the ability to meet one another’s emotional needs, versus the view that a good relationship is one that pushes us to grow.

Surely these are not contradictory?

And the whole idea of ‘growth’ – is it valid? Is it Jung’s ‘individuation’, is it Bowen’s ‘differentiation’? Or the stuff of the modern ‘personal growth’ industry?

This is not idle questioning. If we want to help couples have a ‘better’ relationship, we might want to know what that means. Do we help people to tune in to themselves, or to their partner? An excess of either can be problematic.

In this Coffeelogue, Mike will cover:

  • differentiation as a view of couples
  • the much-misunderstood concept of boundaries
  • the bizarre story of Murray Bowen and his family
  • how individuals and couples evolve (and get stuck)
  • typical problems that arise at each stage

“Even the best of marriages cannot expunge individual differences so completely that the state of mind of the partners is absolutely identical.”

Carl Jung (1925)

About Mike

Mike works as a couples’ counsellor in private practice in Kingston, and also at Relate. His training involved both psychodynamic and systemic approaches. Over the years, he has also been interested in hypnosis (although, like Freud, he has turned away from it as a way of working with clients); in how people hold their issues physically in the soma; and how the somatic and the verbal are linked by metaphorical language (for example, the ‘pit’ of despair, or, indeed, ‘growing up’).

He is also a practising Buddhist, a grandparent, and a registered member of BACP.

About the Coffeelogue

For those new to this event, the Coffeelogue is a space where we get together to learn and socialise, meet some new colleagues and find out what others are up to, as well as digest new ideas over coffee and croissant.

The term ‘Coffeelogue’ was coined by Doron and Darren, to depict both causal and deep space that can occur in short and informal settings.

We hope to learn together and from each other in the form of a casual learning community in a friendly atmosphere with the added fun of late morning coffee/tea and pastry.

(And of course for all you health freaks like us there will be alternative surprises…)

The added bonus is that we structure it as a CPD event so you’ll be able to count it as CPD hours (a CPD certificate will be provided as well).


10am–10.30am: Coffee/croissant/meet etc

10.30am–11.15am: Presentation

11.15am–12.30pm: Writing, sharing and discussion

Booking information

Places are:

  • free for Relational Spaces members
  • £15 for non-members

Relational Spaces members

Book your free spot by emailing us at


Places cost £15.

Cancellation policy: please note that for non-members we do not offer refunds for our Coffeelogue events.

How to book

To confirm your booking please email us at and we will reply with details of how to pay.

Please use your name + CL7 as reference.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Warm regards,

Darren, Dianne, Doron and Cressy

07848 013 328
07426 336 322

Photo: Doron Levene