Online workshop: The Responsiveness Ladder – Mon 10 May 2021

I’m delighted to be part of a the Link Centre‘s ongoing series of CPD workshops organised cooperation with onlinevents. The workshop is being offered on the self-select fee model. Contribute what you can, with a guide price of £20, or, if you can’t afford to contribute, pay nothing at all.

You can book a place at

The Responsiveness Ladder: A Practical Tool for Handling Communication Failures workshop with Matthew Elton

The workshop introduces the Responsiveness Ladder, a practical tool developed by Matthew to help clients and therapists understand and talk about why well-intentioned offers of support, comfort and practical advice can repeatedly go very wrong. The core idea is that at any time each of us occupy a rung of our responsiveness ladder. If an offer of support is pitched too high, at a rung that is several steps above where we are, then it is likely to fail – it’ll be seen as unhelpful, discounting, or even antagonistic. The image of the ladder and its rungs can help both client and therapist understand why things go wrong and provide ideas for how to do things differently.

The Responsiveness Ladder is a practical way of distinguishing what a person “can” manage, by way of receiving support at a given moment. In the spirit of Transactional Analysis, the Responsiveness Ladder is described in simple language that is intended to empower both client and therapist by providing them with blame-free ways of thinking about how communication can fail and practical ideas about how it can be repaired.

In the workshop participants will:

  • learn about the Responsiveness Ladder and how to use it with clients – the rungs of the ladder are not universal, so part of the fun of using the tool is working with clients to find descriptions / names for their unique ladder
  • learn how the Responsiveness Ladder is similar to but different from some other tools/ideas that help us understand communication failure, e.g. the Drama Triangle, Ego States, passivity and Games
  • look at some worries – raised by both clients and therapists – to the Responsiveness Ladder, most critically that it invites us to (unhelpfully) “Rescue” or “baby” a person instead of encouraging them to “be more adult”
  • touch on connections between the idea of developmental stages and regression and the simpler (but more tailored to the client) idea of rungs on the ladder

The workshop will mix teaching with regular breakouts for participants to explore their reactions to the ideas and also an experiential exercise where participants can have a go and drawing up their own Responsiveness Ladder.

You can book a place at