In the last few weeks there has been so much going on politically and socially in the world that I have struggled with this editorial and noticed myself becoming distracted every time I sat down to focus on it. And then when I did write it, it was out of date the next day. Inspired by Jennifer Cawley’s piece on Authenticity, I am nailing my colours to the Contemporary Psychotherapy masthead so to speak and acknowledging that I cannot ignore the immense uncertainties that trouble the world at this time. The US is in the throes of a presidential race, which at time of writing could go either way. People getting on with their lives have been murdered individually and en masse. Britain has voted out of the European Union and nobody knows fully what this means for individuals, for the country or for the EU itself, but what it has unleashed are attitudes and beliefs which reveal much from the shadow where lives fear and loathing, and dark and cold.
I know on one level that for many these are great opportunities. Humans are resilient. We will generally survive and then evolve. The financial markets will bounce back, Wimbledon and Euro 2016 will continue to be played and the party people at Glastonbury who went home muddy will sign up again as soon as possible for next year. Space stations and satellites continue to orbit the Earth and other planets in the Solar System for the common good, babies continue to get born and people continue to die. Clients continue to seek out therapists and researchers keep on asking questions and trying to find answers. Contemporary Psychotherapy will continue to be published twice a year. And yet…I still feel apprehensive about how the future will be shaped and by how so much seems uncertain in my world picture. I guess change has that effect, particularly when change seems out of my hands and I can contribute but little to affect it.
I think the same sentiments of fear can be applied to the experience of bereavement when a much-loved partner dies. Marilyn Lanza shares with us her own experience of this loss through the lens of her nursing and psychotherapeutic training in The Loss of an Egalitarian Relationship. I particularly appreciated Nicholas P. Sarantakis’ piece on Family Therapy with cancer patients, a surprisingly under-researched subject and again, one where feelings of helplessness and attempts at control are often the first reactions in the face of life-challenging diagnoses. He explores the differences and similarities between family/couple therapy and group therapy and comes up with some fascinating insights and subtleties of understanding which are optimistic and sensitive and which have certainly moved my own thinking forward. I came away profoundly disturbed by Matthew Rinaldi’s article on the effect of social media on the experience of grieving, i-Mortality, Death and the Internet. As a therapist specialising in grief for many years, currently working in a hospice setting with bereaved clients, I am constantly challenged in my reflective processes each time I re-read his piece. Once again, I am left in a state of unease, which I have not yet found a way to settle within.
Finally, on behalf of my colleagues here at Contemporary Psychotherapy, I would like to express thanks and gratitude to Deborah Davies, our Reviews Editor who also worked as one of our Commissioning Editors for new articles. Deborah has been helping steer the project from the beginning and played a major part in establishing the ethos of the journal. Sadly for us, she is now moving on and will be missed. In the same breath I would also like to welcome Clare Harland who is joining us and who brings her own set of talents and skills to this publication.
Image: Antennas at the European Space Agency’s Redu ground station, Ardennes, Belg.