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AHPb Magazine for Self & Society,

No. 8 – Winter 2022

Please note: less than a half of this magazine is free open access, and the remainder is password-protected for subscribers only. AHPb subscribers were sent the password with the email magazine on 18/2/2022. For non-subscribers, to gain full access, you can join AHPb here.

Editorial – Richard House

Richard writes: Welcome to the eighth online magazine for Self & Society – a bit later than planned, but with a rich diversity of content in this, our first issue in our 50th birthday year! ….
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Climate Change on the Couch: How Psychotherapy Can Respond to the Climate and Ecological Emergency – and Why It Should – Brigitta Mowat

Brigitta Mowat considers the place of therapy within the context of the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) and the profession’s responsibility in addressing the CEE, framing it as a social justice issue driven by colonialism, oppression and capitalism, with roots in intersubjective dynamics that the field must address. Therapy thus needs to take a proactive stance in questioning its own position and complicity in the CEE. An interpretive phenomenological research (IPA) approach explores therapists’ personal thoughts and feelings and how the CEE manifested in their clinical work. Brigitta argues for an ecosystemic approach to counselling and psychotherapy ‘where the relational space is expanded to include extra-psychic realities’.
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Commentary on Brigitta Mowat’s ‘Climate Change on the Couch’ – Guy Gladstone

Guy Gladstone. in this critical but broadly sympathetic commentary, questions the style of Brigitta’s article, while sharing her concerns about the CEE and therapy’s engagement with it. For Guy, in addition to the CEE ‘there are three further concurrent extra-psychic totalities that weave in and out of the CEE: the Covid pandemic, intensifying social-justice crises, and augmented virtual reality’. Guy takes us ‘beyond the therapy session’ to prepare for the decommodification of therapy itself, and its redirection into a variety of forms of community support. ‘This will be outside of and beyond many of its current framings, the spirit of which is evidenced in the USA’s International Coalition for Transformational Resilience, pioneered within communities where social-justice issues and the climate emergency are to the fore’.
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Our Brave New Covid World: An Abuse of Society’s Humanistic Soul through a Cult of Fear – Paul and Sinzinia Barber

Paul and Sinziana Barber return to the theme of their earlier articles in the journal, in which they question the mainstream narrative on Covid-19 and the pandemic, problematising the legitimacy of the science underpinning the global governmental and scientific response to the crisis, and what they see as the systematic weaponising of fear. For Paul and Sinziana, much of ‘the science’ underpinning unfolding events is, at the very least, open to question; indeed, it would be singularly unscientific not to question it. Paul shares being ‘appalled’ by ‘the deceit and corruption’ he sees at play, and Sinziana’s expresses great concern for the world her young daughter will inherit.
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Reluctant Researchers: Therapists in Search of a Straightforward Heartfelt Method – Greg Madison

Greg Madison ‘…attempts to offer psychotherapy and psychology trainees a seamless integration of research, practice, reflexivity and personal authenticity’ by ‘address[ing] the reluctance of… trainees to engage in research, … suggest[ing] that there can be forms of research consistent with the clinical skills they are learning as trainee therapists’. The result? – ‘more engaged [phenomenological] therapy research and high-quality qualitative studies offering a model of qualitative research consistent with relational and existential-humanistic forms of therapy training’, thus encourag[ing] trainee therapists to incorporate their therapy training into their research study’.
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Reflections on Proust – Morris Berman

Morris Berman shares his love of Proust, describing how he came to Proust ‘early, and then late’. . For Morris, Proust’s ‘semi-autobiographical novel, In Search of Lost Time, managed to make sense of both his life and the world at the same time. The profundity of his study of soul and society rendered it the greatest novel of the twentieth century.’ The ‘self & society’ motif is certainly a central feature of Proust’s oeuvre, And for Morris, ‘If mysticism involves contact with some non-ordinary reality, if it is an altered state of consciousness, then Proust became a mystic at that moment’.
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Steiner Meets Stern and Bollas: Understanding Forms of Vitality – Simon Kuttner

Simon Kuttner’s article is part of his ongoing process of exploring parallels between mainstream psychological ideas and Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual scientific understanding of the human being. Here, he attempts an initial comparison and synthesis of Daniel Stern and Rudolf Steiner’s insights into forms of vitality, further hoping to show ‘parallels between these insights and the psychoanalytical process of regression as understood by Christopher Bollas’. For Simon, ‘[The] process of meaning-making, so central to psychoanalytical as well as humanistic psychotherapy, is continuously being played out in the therapy room in the dynamic forms of vitality that are experienced between therapist and patient’.
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Twinship and Consciousness: A Psychotherapeutic Journey – Wendy Clayton

Wendy Clayton offers us far more than a client testimony in this engaging article based on her recent book, on her experience of twinship, psychoanalytic therapy and awakening consciousness, that takes in thinkers like David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti. The article is at once visceral, impressionistic, poetic, reflexively engaged and insightful. Wendy begins: ‘I am a twin. Am I broken? Broken-up or broken-in after psychoanalytic therapy. Is duality – the logic of opposites – the name of the game? The world a game? Duality and divisiveness. Racism. Famine. Abuse. War. World with sun behind the clouds.’ After which one cannot but keep reading.
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Exploring the Paradox of Terror Management Theory (TMT) in Individuals with Schizophrenia: A Theoretical Perspective – Denise M. Frank

Denise M. Frank argues that terror management theory posits that death-related anxiety is buffered as a function of forming secure social bonds regardless of culture, with all humans being motivated to decrease their existential vulnerability of fear of death by seeking out social inclusion. Denise shows why this may not hold true for individuals with schizophrenia. We therefore learn how important it is not to uncritically import mainstream theories into our working with those who are highly distressed – and about the dangers of theoretical over-generalisation.
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Letters to Our Children – Simon Kuttner

Simon Kuttner’s deeply moving letters to children speak directly to child consciousness, and the ways in which adults need to stop getting in the way of the birthright of childhood – playfulness and imagination, Adults certainly need to read these letters at least as much as children. As Simon writes, ‘These letters were inspired by my therapeutic meetings with all the children i have tried to help over the years, and especially by the impact on children of the events of the last two years.’
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‘Wintering’ by Polly Howell

These are the fallow days.
My leaves long fallen, I stand naked –
stripped like the solitary tree,
shivering in my aloneness.

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Regular Columns

Philosophical Notes – with Martin Cohen

In ‘Books as Sources of Ideas and Intuitions’, Martin Cohen explores books that have influenced society’s leaders. We read, inter alia, about the influence of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now on Apple’s Steve Jobs, with its ‘intellectual playfulness’, and of the influence of Laurence Sterne’s playfulness on famed philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. For Martin, ‘new ideas… contain within them something science and logic cannot provide. And this is creative inspiration.’
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The Miki Kashtan Column

In ‘Surrounding the Patriarchal Field with Love’, Miki Kashtan maintains that ‘Even when we embark on a personal journey of healing, we still usually keep it at an individual level, without any pathway from there to systemic change….’. For Miki, ‘…whatever anyone does that isn’t aligned with love is the result of internalising patriarchal conditioning’… and ‘Within our groups, communities and organisations, we can bring love to our own collective limitations, and find pathways to increase our collective capacity.’ She concludes that ‘If we have enough time left, I trust we can untwist the entire human field back into love’.
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The Manu without Portfolio Column – with Manu Bazzano

In this characteristically thought-provoking article ‘A Conspiracy of Orphans’, dedicated to the late and much-loved Riva Joffe, Manu Bazzano invokes the biography and work of Albert Camus, in the process taking on the sacred cow that is Attachment Theory, and positing the counter-notion of what he terms ‘existential individuation’. Always full of delicious wrong-footing and intellectually stretching surprises, Manu invokes Beethoven (via Adorno), with the former’s ‘desire to create a new aesthetic that values fragmentation and challenges the norms of his era’. And ‘Without daring visions of the new’, Manu concludes, ‘what chances are there for genuinely progressive politics and truly transformative psychology?’.
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Paul’s Political Column – with Paul Atkinson

Invoking the recently deceased Anglican bishop and theologian Desmond Tutu’s statement that ‘I wish I could shut up, but I can’t and I won’t’, Paul Atkinson lives Tutu’s creed in the spirit of Foucauldian ‘fearless speech’ with his ongoing crusade to make therapy as available as possible to the disadvantaged and dispossessed, with his Free Psychotherapy Network, set up in 2014. We read that ‘independent-sector counselling and psychotherapy in most ways constitute a standard professional environment in terms of work ethic, aspiration and middle-class life style’. We also learn about the launch of the uACT (universal Access to Counselling and Psychotherapy) campaign at the end of January. For Paul, ‘Everything I do under the heading of “My Political Practice” is simply me trying to be creative with small groups of like-minded people, in furthering my understanding of the common good’.
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Skeena’s Column – with Skeena Rathor

Skeena Rathor’s column is a deeply moving sharing of her recent loss of her father, Gulam Ali Rathor. It is concerned with grief and Co-Liberation… – ‘Dada and I have been on a Co-Liberation journey of epic proportions’; and ‘this was a revolutionary relationship for both of us’. And ‘Grief is a portal, a gateway to our love. The suffering of it is a purifying fire that can light us up to experience more expansive, deeper, truer joy.’ And ‘I feel my grief “saving” me. Saving me from a life unlived and unfelt.’
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Interview: A ‘Critical Psy’ Perspective on Covid, Part II… – Bruce Scott with Richard House

This is the second part of Bruce Scott’s engaging interview, going penetratingly into the psychodynamics and spiritually vacuous nature of mainstream Covid discourse, in the process taking on such issues as ‘mental healthism’ and totalisation. And notwithstanding the multiple existential vicissitudes of the Covid era, Bruce concludes on a positive note:
‘I think many people are in a state of forgetfulness. But, I believe, as it is a war of good versus evil, this will in time bring out the best in humanity. There will be casualties, psychologically, spirituality and physically, but we can already see the signs where people are coming together as not seen for a very long time.
But a comfort warning is in order: after reading this interview, one’s take on, and understanding of, the Covid era is likely never to be the same again.
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Long Interview: Bringing Critical Humanistic Thinking to Contemporary Biomedicine – Vincent Di Stefano with Richard House

Vincent Di Stefano shares his wisdom on what is wrong with the current biomedical paradigm, and what a more holistic, less pharma-dominated system of health care might look like. As Vincent concludes, ‘I certainly have deep sympathy with the idea of supporting forms of medicine that are outside of the mainstream, that are not dependent on elaborate and expensive technologies, that welcome a plurality of approaches, and that serve the needs of individual patients rather than conforming to prescribed biopolitical protocols that assume the indefinite continuity of techno-industrial infrastructures and global supply chains.’
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Mini-Symposium on Men’s Issues

The Poet Robert Bly (1926–2021) Has Died – Nick Duffell

Nick Duffell remembers the late, great poet and icon of the mens’s movement, Robert Bly. Nick writes, ‘I feel grief and gratitude: Bly’s work influenced me deeply….’. And further: ‘I can still hear the thud of drums from inside some hall as we beat away the morning, waiting for the man with his weird nasal voice and colourful waistcoat to appear on the dais and read another poem to the ninety men rapt in attention. We weren’t being “wild men”, we were being regular men, leaning to share and celebrate the ecstatics. What a loss.’ Indeed so.
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Festival Review: Celebrating Men: 12–15 August 2021 – Senan Clifford

Senan Clifford tells of a recent Men’s Gathering at which the spirit of Robert Bly no doubt burned strong. Senan concludes beautifully: ‘men’s liberation… requires that we start to explore ourselves, allowing softness, colour, joy, difference, love and self-acceptance, learning and practising how to empathise, to express and to share our feelings. We must open our eyes, see the beauty around us, smile; connect with our selves, our feelings, and become whatever we want to be. This is to connect with a sense of our divine masculine, and to become the men we were born to be.’ I can hear Robert enthusiastically applauding in the front row.
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Book Review: Richard Beard’s Sad Little Men – reviewed by Nick Duffell

Nick Duffell favourably reviews a new book that penetrates deeply into the psychological and soul damage wrought on boys and men by Britain’s public school system.
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Book Review: Dancing with the Zeitgeist – Eric Utne’s Far Out Man: Tales of Life in the Counterculture – reviewed by Christopher Schaefer

Image of the book 'Far Out Man'In a review that will enthrall anyone involved in the breathless countercultural days of the 1960s and 1970, Christopher Schaefer reviews the autobiography of a surprisingly little-known legend of the counterculture movement, Eric Utne.
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Poetry Review: Edward Boyne’s The Day of the Three Swans – reviewed by Julian Nangle

Image of the book 'Day of Three Swans''Julian Nangle reviews this poetry collection by new Self &Society Deputy Editor Ed Boyne, whom Julian Nangle sees as a ‘magnificent poet’.
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Chair’s Page

With Lucy Scurfield

Lucy Scurfield reaffirms the importance of Humanistic Psychology in today’s world, has very positive things to say about this journal, and gives some clues as to how the AHPb might seek new and exciting collaborations in the near future, as we hopefully emerge from the limiting restrictions of the Covid era.
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By Jim Potts

‘The Devil’s Advocate and the Coronavirus Pandemic
A cynical friend, somewhat concerned
about his nearest and dearest,
and vulnerable rellies,
shocked me when speaking of the pros and cons,
of the contagious virus and a population cull;

‘Corfu Blues’ (song)
I’m thinking back to sixty-seven,
back to the summer of love
when Corfu seemed like heaven,
and we all got in the groove.

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