Online Workshop: When Therapy Feels like “Whack-a-mole” – Mon 29 Apr 2024

Thanks to the Link Centre and onlinevents for hosting another workshop. Booking is available on eventbrite.


What do we do when we notice the “whack-a-mole” pattern emerging in therapy? This is the pattern of a client making progress on certain issues, only for new issues to emerge, as if to replace the old ones. Transactional Analysis (TA) provides one way of thinking about this pattern by suggesting it occurs when we work on resolving “contamination” (a cognitive issue) but miss out on tackling “confusion” (a pre-cognitive issue). This distinction can be useful for both clients and therapists, not least because it helps make sense of approaches that, on the surface, don’t seem to relate to the “headline” issues the client is bringing.

The workshop will:

  • introduce some client case studies illustrating the whack-a-mole pattern
  • explain the TA concepts of contamination and confusion in a friendly way
  • talk about how the client’s “confusion” can also get the therapist confused and in this way keep the whack-a-mole pattern going
  • discuss the pros and cons of sharing the concepts of contamination and confusion with your clients
  • explore practical ways of breaking out of the whack-a-mole pattern


The self-select fee is a radical inclusion policy to open learning for all colleagues. The guide price for this event is £20.00, however, we appreciate that income varies greatly in different locations and circumstances. Please contribute what you can to help us maintain inclusive professional training.