Character Styles

A comprehensive, modular course

over 8 Saturdays Sep. 2012 – July 2013

at Fulcrum House, Clifton, Bristol

with Morit Heitzler & Michael Soth

An integrative bodymind theory & approach to developmental theory

This comprehensive, modular course for counsellors and psychotherapists is designed to familiarise you with the theory and application of ‘character styles’ to your everyday practice. ‘Character Styles’ – or character structure theory, as it was traditionally called – is the most comprehensive developmental model we have available to us as counsellors and therapists. In its current form (Stephen Johnson (1994) “Character Styles”), it is the most integrative, embodied and holistic system describing types of clients, according to their basic, existential life issues.


Our clients bring to us limiting, self–defeating and destructive patterns which keep repeating themselves. They look to therapy for help in overcoming these patterns. The different therapeutic approaches have developed different models and languages to understand and address these patterns. Many of these rely on theories of childhood development and developmental wounding or trauma.

‘Character styles theory’ – integrating Reichian, Kleinian, object relations, ego psychology, self psychology and other developmental models – is a comprehensive method of diagnosing and working with the deep structure of clients’ habitual patterns. It is the most integrative and embodied framework available to therapists, offering insight into clients’ issues arising from different stages of psychological development. It outlines the therapeutic tasks and challenges that can be anticipated in working with each type and structure, as well as providing the therapeutic tools and techniques for productively addressing the client’s specific wounds and existential issues.


In this course you will learn:

  • integration of various developmental theories, including Reichian and object relations perspectives
  • the basic steps of character formation
  • the major developmental phases
  • the varieties of emotional wounding arising in each of these phases
  • the ‘character styles’ pertaining to each of these phases
  • defensive and self-protective aspects of the various ‘character styles’, as well as creative potentials of each
  • the therapeutic tasks and challenges presented by each ‘character style’
  • the various therapeutic avenues that constitute ‘working-through’ of the emotional wounding

MODULE 1 (6 Saturdays): The 5 Character Styles

29 Sep 2012:  Introduction to character formation and styles (with Morit)

27 Oct 2012:  “Schizoid” – the hated child (with Morit)

1 Dec 2012:  “Oral”  – the neglected/abandoned child (with Morit)

26 Jan 2013:  “Symbiotic/Narcissistic” – the owned/used child (with Michael)

9 March 2013:  “Masochistic” – the defeated/shamed child (with Morit)

11 May 2013:  “Rigid” – the exploited/rejected child (with Morit)

Each developmental phase will be addressed both theoretically and experientially, giving you embodied insight into your own connection with each of the phases and its inherent issues and conflicts. You will become familiar with the key characteristics of each style, and how to recognise its expression on physical, emotional and cognitive levels.
You will gain an understanding of the developmental wounding at the root of each character style and its manifestation in the therapeutic relationship, including transference and countertransference issues. For each style, we will consider appropriate ways of working, in terms of approaches, techniques and relational stance.

MODULE 2 (2 Saturdays): Applications, Limitations & Pitfalls

8 Jun 2013: Gaps, strengths & weaknesses of character style theory (with Michael)

6 Jul 2013: Therapeutic & counter-therapeutic applications in practice (with Michael)

As any model, ‘character styles’  has its strengths and weaknesses, both as a theory and in how it is applied in practice. Having become thoroughly familiar with the model and the five basic character styles, the second module will help you address the potential and the pitfalls of applying the model to your own practice. We will explore the layering and mixing of different styles which complicate the clinical picture. We will contrast and integrate the theory with complementary models and typologies (e.g. attachment styles). And we will explore the relational difficulties that arise from the theory’s implicit ‘medical model’ assumptions and its pathologising connotations, in order to find creative ways to deal with these inherent dilemmas.


Two Introductory Open Evenings:

We will run two Open Evenings, on Tue. 26 June, and on Tue. 24th July, 7.30 – 9.00pm at Fulcrum House. The aim of these evenings is to introduce the theme and ourselves to you, explain the benefits of the course and answer any questions you may have. For more information about these evenings, please contact us.


To reserve your place on the course (Module 1 and/or 2), please send us the completed booking form and your cheque.
We will set aside 10% of received bookings as a bursary fund. If you want to make use of a bursary, please contact us about how to make an application.



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29 Sep. 2012

27 Oct. 2012

1 Dec. 2012


26 Jan. 2013

9 Mar. 2013

11May 2013


8 Jun. 2013

6 Jul. 2013


Times: each Saturday: 10am – 5pm

Venue: Fulcrum House, 3 Grove Road, Clifton, Bristol BS6 6UJ

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Early Booking (before August 1st):

Module 1 (6 Saturdays) – £500
Module 2 (2 Saturdays) – £175


Full fee (payable after August 1st):

Module 1 (6 Saturdays) – £540
Module 2 (2 Saturdays) – £200


Contact Morit & Michael:

t: 01865 725 205

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