Hope Amidst Loss, Welcome To New Subscribers

by Feb 5, 2024Newsletter, Uncategorised0 comments

Approx. Reading Time: 12 minutes

Well into a New Year

Belated New Year greetings and wishing all subscribers as special year ahead as you can hope for, even in these challenging times

Quote for the New year by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.

and please forward to anyone who might be interested, or if you so desire, unsubscribe at the bottom
I am really pleased that the 3rd edition of Nurturing Natures is out this week, albeit with some OTT endorsements
Available on amazon
Cheapest deal, psychological therapy books

Here is chapter 6, on culture, race and difference, all too pertinent to now, and it has been made available as a free download for subscribers. Click below if you are subscribed (or if you are not yet, click the one underneath first)
Here is a video introducing the book, there are a series of these, one for each chapter, which should be available online soon
Introducing Nurturing Natures, The introduction

New Year, Beginnings and Endings

Welcome to the New Year. As the year marches along and we say goodbye to the last, I am always pulled between mourning for the losses and opening up to the new, and as a cyclist I liked the graphic above and especially the hope for the eccentric old age of the last image.

In fact, I have always felt all too deeply both the sadness and the hope of beginnings and endings; clearly psychoanalysis is perfect for me! Even as a child i remember how the poignancy of another birthday meant that another year had passed as well as there being some hope in a new one. Feel free to make interpretations (!) but I still often find deep satisfaction in those semi-painful bittersweet moments, like sunsets and sunrises, and who can ever tire of them?

So I dedicate this newsletter to losses and gains, to the bittersweet, as Susan Cain would say, to the beauty of beginnings and endings, to hearts full of feeling and lives lived fully.

Above is a picture of Isca Wittenberg. Few knew more about the importance of endings than Isca who I was lucky to see near the end of her life and who continued to learn and grow until the very end. The MINDinMIND website have a moving recent interview with her. She had such a profound influence on so many generations of teachers, social workers and child psychotherapists and her humanity always shone through. She wrote her book on beginnings and endings at 90 and a few years later went on to add another chapter! Now that’s something to emulate!
We also lost the wonderful larger than life Camilla Batmanghelich, another whose kindness I felt deeply. She was an extraordinary, lively and controversial figure, often attacked, but thankfully exonerated, albeit too late, and who did so much for the children of this country. I remember visiting her projects and was so impressed by the profound changes in the lives of the most deprived young people. Both Isca and Camilla could hardly be more different, but both were powerful personalities, both put a few backs up, and both have and will have a lasting impact, and my goodness we need more people like that in the world.
Above is a picture of the amazing wildlife that has sprung up around Chernobyl, despite the disaster wreaked upon it by humans. Sometimes hope can be found in the worst, sometimes not.

Without going all polly-anna-ish, I can also feel hopeful and heart-warmed to see much new life taking root, babies being born, new therapists qualifying, new ideas springing up, new books, new theories, paradigms being bust open, whether in our understanding of consciousness, or about trauma, or the body and nervous system, and what really helps in therapeutic work, Another hero of mine, Ray Peat died last year. he thought that consciousness did not just reside in individual brains, and he said in an interview before he died that when someone dies, then there are the same ideas, just less bodies. In other words, the ideas and something of their essence lives on.

I had a little moment of joy as a new leaf appeared on a plant in my consulting room in the depths of winter! Yes new life comes even if some goes!

Thus we welcome the new year in a tough moment, amidst war and hatred and animosity, climate disaster , scary right-wing demagogues threatening democracy. What is always hard (for me) is to hold onto is hope, but not defensively, and to face pain, but not as a defence against hope, and to live each day open to what is served up by the universe, too often unexpectedly.

I’ve always been with the great Marxist thinker Gramsci who argued for pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will, or as Maria Popova wrote ‘Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naivety,’. One thing I fear is how much certainty we are seeing everywhere, especially via social media, and how much ‘othering’ and divisiveness. Lets hope we can dare to look forward with uncertainty, stare the worst in the eye and retain hope and openness.

A few blogs to enjoy

James Kirby et al in the Conversation:
Can we expand our circle of empathy? We can and we SO need to read here.

Daniel Pick, psychoanalyst and history professor, in Psychiatry Times:
Exploring how the intersection of history, humanities, and psychoanalytic though read here.

Maria Papadima, good piece on low motivation in adolescents:
Maria is a child psychotherapist who regularly writes a blog and has a newsletter read here.

Good piece by Chris Perry about the devastating effects of poverty and inequality on our social care system, read here.

Fascinating piece on the perception of synchronicity read here.

A really interesting set of papers about ecotherapy download here.

Meditating on our planetary moment:
Some thoughts from a Buddhist thinker on how to create a more resilient world and give ourselves the best chance of survival read here (thanks to David Morgan for pointing out.)

Podcast appearances

Child, Radio 4:
This is a good series on radio 4 BBC sounds, short episodes but full of fascinating information. I appear briefly in episodes 1, 7 and 9 I think but the ones i have heard have been really good, listen here and check out India Rakusen’s other podcasts, eg Witches, its amazing listen here.

I also did a podcast on The Journey Home with Mathew Starrit which spans attachment theory, psychotherapy passions, institutional dynamics and so much more listen here.

Welcoming in a new day on new year’s day (yes on La Gomera) . Even holding the sun in my hand!

My current writing:

It is all going slowly!

I am still finishing the pregnancy book which i hope will be the first in a series of shortish guides. below is a tentative cover for it. Any thoughts?

The next one i think will be on the perinatal period, especially the first year or so. I am also thinking of fathers and one on play

PLEASE send in any stories or thoughts, advice, anything you think might be helpful to others. Its aimed at professionals and parents

Some upcoming events

I am still trying to reduce events but a few of mine below coming up and a few others of interest as well:

February 10, 2024
Courage in trauma Work
Event Link

March 9, 2024
When to Be Brave & When to Stay Safe – Working with Child Trauma
Organiser: Adoption Plus: online

March 20, 2024
Early Years Conference Cornwall
A two-day conference for early years practitioners in Cornwall
Organiser: Together for Families Wadebridge Pavilion

March 23, 2024
Working with Trauma related Attachment in Short-term work
Event Link
Part of a series from Birkbeck on short term work with young opeople
Organiser: Birkbeck Location: online

April 19, 2024
Mind-Parenting and splits between psyche and soma
Talk for Annual Conference of the FPC (Foundation of Counselling and Psychotherapy)
Location: Resource Centre, Holloway, London N7

April 19, 2024
Resparking: Working courageously with trauma and neglect
Event Link
A days training on trauma and neglect and when clients need help regulating and when they can benefit from challenge
Organiser: Brighton Therapy partnership : online

And a few other amazing looking ones

The great Beatrice Beebe for MINDinMIND Feb 18th details here

TR Together: 3rd feb. The inimitable Phil Mollon on working with Mind, Body and Subtle Energy systems details here

UCL Psychoanalysis Unit : Words matter. looking at the impact of verbal abuse details here

Tavistock 9th International Infant Observation Conference 5th/6th April details here

Writing, formats and Bookfunnel

Having tested the audio version of Respark via BookFunnel I have now also made cheap ebook versions of Affect and Emotion and re Respark ..

The audio version is still available here and using this link gets 25% off, The ebook version is available and there is a 25% discount with this link

An ebook version of Affect and Emotion is available here at £4.99 and a further 25% discount available on this link

Feel free to email me if it doesnt work .. thanks

In case you forgot (!), Nurturing Natures 3rd edition is out now.

You can get on Amazon, Bookmark, (15% off) Karnac, Routledge

‘RESPARK’ is also available in all the formats below

The other audible formats here and on Spotify and other platforms.

The physical book and ebook is available from Amazon or better, independent bookshops eg psychological therapy books
and the reincarnated Karnac books here, yay!

Please do leave a review anywhere you buy it, it really helps a lot

Affect and Emotion (the new edition) is available here on Amazon or psychological therapy books only about 6 quid too!

Click on links below to view or buy these:

Nurturing NaturesAffect and Emotion, Nurturing Children, The Good Life, From Trauma to Harming others

For other journal papers and chapters papers and chapters see here

A few recently read, mainly non-therapy books (get links to the books by clicking on the pictures)

Ian McEwan , Lessons:
A bigger book than normal for him, a life story and saga which i was gripped by. i dont usually love all of his books but this had me from start to finish,, despite its length. I think because he was describing a life which mirrored much of my own and my generation. Touching, powerful and evocativbe for me anyway – details

The Bee Sting, Paul Murray
Beautiful and an always fascinating Irish family saga, a kind of (Frantzen) Corrections for a generation, with themes of social class, sex and sexuality and so much more, it was shortlisted for the Booker, it was gripping and funny although I was less intrigued by some characters than others.

An amazing book about plant life, ie not only humans are sapiens, and he tells a great story, outlines the science beautifully to make his case and i ended with even more respect for plants than I had at the start
see here

Ellen Langer is a fascinating researcher, she uses the term mindfulness quite differently. This is her latest book which is fascinating. To give a flavour, one of her most famous experiments she got 70-80 year olds to live in a retreat for a week, and while there she made everything 20 years younger,, the music, furniture, pictures, food etc. Compared to a control group 2 thirds improved in mobility, cognitive scores, inflammation and much more. I am sticking pictures from the 80’s around my house!

Details of book here

My psychoanalytic reading tends to be the older stuff, and i am highlighting a favourite author and text each month

This month the inimitable Neville Symington (link on picture and here,) such a good writer, so clear and yet so open minded, so much his own person and so able to encourage others to become theirs. I wish I had heard him speak at the Tavistock before he went to Australia.

I read chunks of the narcissism book again, and below are a few others of my well thumbed ones.

A quote from The Bee Sting, mentioned above:

“People imagined poems were wispy things, she said, frilly things, like lace doilies. But in fact they were like claws, like the metal spikes mountaineers use to find purchase on the sheer face of a glacier.”

A Rilke, I know, a bit gloomy

Behind The Blameless Trees

Behind the blameless trees
old fate slowly builds
her mute countenance.
Wrinkles grow there . . .
What a bird shrieks here
springs there like a gasp of warning
from a soothsayer’s hard mouth.

And the soon-to-be lovers
smile on each other, not yet knowing farewell,
and round about them, like a constellation,
their destiny casts
its nightly spell.
Still to come, it does not reach out to them,
it remains
a phantom
floating in its heavenly course.

I cant leave everyone so gloomy so here is a more uplifting one I still love by Maya Angelou, I suspect Neville Symington would approve


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐩𝐬

𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐥𝐨𝐚𝐭𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦

𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬

𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐬

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐲.

𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐚 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐬

𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞

𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡

𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞

𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝

𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐝

𝐬𝐨 𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬

𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥

𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧

𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝

𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝

𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐳𝐞

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐟𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐬

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐬 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐚 𝐝𝐚𝐰𝐧-𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐥𝐚𝐰𝐧

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐲 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐰𝐧.

𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐚 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐬

𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐰 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦

𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐝

𝐬𝐨 𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬

𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥

𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧

𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥

𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝

𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐥

𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐢𝐫𝐝

𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦.

A few interesting podcasts

An extraordinary ( i thought, but then my taste is not that widely shared!) fascinating podcast about consciousness using some of the latest cutting edge ideas, linking panpsychism, neuroscience (Koch/Hoffman/Penrose) Vedanta Hindu philosophy, microtubules.. and i cant help but wonder what the implications are for therapy
Watch or listen here

Joanna Macy Widening Circles on Emergence :
A wonderful discussion with a woman, now 94 years old, still working, who has been campaigning and working to save the planet tirelessly for so long, as well as loving and translating Rilke.
Listen here and here is her website.

Richard Schwartz Internal Family Systems (IFS):
A good one for anyone interested in finding out about or refreshing their knowledge about IFS
listen here

Perhaps not for everyone but i love getting into the weeds about this kind of stuff . How mitochondria respond to illness and disease
Listen here

Well, there had to be one on death in this issue and this is a beautiful dharma talk by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield
Listen here

And finally …

Bad joke:

How many narcissists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Just one. All he has to do is hold it in place while the world revolves around him.

also funny (or not?) image below, in fact sent by my mother, and I have to say that this is perhaps the first joke she has sent that ever made me chuckle! (think about it!)

And thanks to Danya Ross, who has sent me lots of jokes so this had to go in!

That’s it! Thanks for reading everyone

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