I really enjoy Steven Porges’ wonderful contributions from the field of neuro-science. His studies of our nervous system have helped to deepen the scientific and therapeutic understanding of what actually happens between people. What he describes is a process common to all mammals, co-regulation, where being together allows us to calm down and assess danger/safety by perceiving (or Neuroception) another’s nervous state. In this time of physical distancing and isolation, we have increased need for contact. By contrast, texting, emailing and “social”media remove the vital elements of vocal tone and facial expression which have evolved over time to help us sense what each other feels, wants, needs, fears etc.
Thanks once again to Serge Prengel’s Relational Implicit podcast for a clear and timely conversation.
Personally I prefer the term physical distancing because we need to work hard retain the social contact, as Porges says. We need to keep a safe distance to prevent possible viral transmission, but we need to maintain contact to reduce unnecessary anxiety and counter the feeling of isolation. So we talk, we make jokes, send love,… I heard of people dressing as animals and dancing outside their neighbours window on a child’s birthday…we do what we can to make contact and keep connected.
To this end I am seeing clients online wherever possible, and using the various video/phone calling methods to meet and make contact with people.
A free discussion group as part of the Pushing up Daisies festival 2019 May 16th at 7pm
at Todmorden Therapy, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL14 7AA
The death of someone close to us can be devastating and disorganising, and loss through suicide can be especially complicated.
If you have been affected by someones suicide or an attempted suicide, or if you yourself have had thoughts of ending your life, please join us for an open, non-judgemental discussion.
This group is for men because they are a group at high risk of suicide and who may also find it hard to talk about such issues. Please join us to help explore or unburden, to illuminate and understand this complex issue. Whilst the subject is serious, we often find that humour and solidarity can make these sessions uplifting and life affirming.
This essay summarises the ideas and research in this well written and researched book Suicidal: why we kill ourselves by Jesse Bering. It speaks of the effect a suicide can have on children, and in particular, how the information about the death is handled. It resists oversimplification and instead details subtleties, evolving narratives and different possibilities, using many examples and case histories. I found it a very good read.
Archive info of event at Todmorden Therapy Space 2018
Saturday 8th September 2.30-4pm at Todmorden Therapy Space. White rose Mill, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL147AA
As an addition to the exhibition of Geoff Read’s collaborative portraits we will host an open discussion broadly around the theme of expressive arts and mental health. More specifically we are interested in how people use expressive activities to understand and tolerate difficulties in their lives.
This is part of the Todmorden Open Studios 2018 event where artists across the town open their studios and invite the public to see their work and workplaces.
Geoff’s work opens up the traditional role of artist into one of collaborator – he involves his subject in decisions about their portrait – and in some ways, this brings him closer to my role as a counsellor. He offers his skills and experience to facilitate expression, as do I. Non-verbal expression can be as important as words, so I was intrigued to see how Geoff’s work opens up these possibilities to people who may not consider themselves artists, or even creative.
A self-portrait can be a statement of identity and a message to the world about the subject’s experience. A person experiencing difficulties may really appreciate some help or assistance in making such a statement and through the process they may also get new perspectives or acquire strength , self-confidence and resilience.
We hope you can join us to share your ideas and experiences of how expression has helped you in your life, or how you might view your role as an artist, or how you use art and non-verbal mediums to understand your experiences, or how art can be used to impact or change society…
Geoff describes his approach and ethos very well here.
Transactional Analysis or TA is a great way of understanding yourself and how you relate to the rest of the world. It uses simple concepts to help you understand your personality. People use it in many ways, eg to work out why they keep getting into difficult relationships, or why relationships keep stalling. They find interpersonal issue that previously seemed unchangeable can become freer, less scary or less upsetting. Some people use it in work or schools, or even to change an entire organisation. It can go deep into childhood or you can stay in the here and now to analyse your own behaviour, thoughts and feelings.
My training was based in this model of understanding personality and human relationships developed by Eric Berne. Whilst I have added other models and approaches to my work, I still enjoy the simplicity and thoroughness of TA. There are 3 youtube videos by Theramin Trees which explain the basic concepts. Books on TA cover a huge range of topics, too numerous to mention.
A conversation between Pat Ogden of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and Serge Prengel. I like the way Pat speaks about the body and I feel like my way of working has some crossover with hers (although I have not trained at her Institute). I also run workshops on Body Language and non-verbal expression (see The Human Cry)
This is one of a series of interviews or conversations as Serge prefers to call them. I think he is an excellent interviewer who skilfully summarises what he is hearing and often helps the subject to open up and share what needs to be shared. See also https://somaticperspectives.com/
We all live continuously in relation; to others, to ourselves and to our environment – we are created and shaped by our experiences of relating and thus our complex and layered personality structure is formed. Therapy allows us to learn more about the workings of our unique structure and to work through problems – in relation. Relational therapy pays attention to our relationship, using you and I, in the moment, as a way to observe in real time how we are reacting to another person. We can also then observe what is happening internally; our relationship(s) to ourself(selves).
We may look into the past or think about the future, but there are many clues in the here and now, in what happens between us. How you are in the world and what you want from life can be explored in the safe space we create each week, through openness, compassion and non-judgemental exploration.