Volume 13, Issue 1 (2021)


It is with some level of difficulty that I come to write the editorial for the Spring 2021 edition of Contemporary Psychotherapy. It feels like there’s so much that could be said right now, yet at the same time so little, and I don’t want to make more noise just for the sake of it. Maybe the sense of reticence and lethargy is reflective of the current wider context; I have been using the term ‘national burnout’ to validate client feelings of apathy, lack of motivation and general malaise over the late winter months. A burnout that more recently seems to have progressed in a number of individuals to tipping over into the minor illnesses category recently, myself and Ben (co-ed.) included.

For many of us, after months of feeling overwhelmed, run down, and over or under worked – both professionally and in our private lives – while lacking access to the usual every day resources that restore and replenish, the batteries are running on empty. Or perhaps, after a year (I note now that I am writing this editorial on 23rd March, a year to the day when the UK first went into lockdown), these resources to which I refer are no longer ‘usual’ or ‘every day’. We are all waiting to see what such terms will come to mean as we continue on this trajectory through the pandemic, trusting that one day we will come out the other side, even as the ebbs and flows of the process may make that seem an impossibility.

But, as always, onwards we go, and so to the Spring 2021 edition of Contemporary Psychotherapy, which we hope can contribute in at least some small part to your recharge, if you are able to tuck yourself away with a cuppa and just delve in!

We have nodded somewhat towards a theme of trauma in this edition, with an article from Toyin Okitikpi who looks at the experience of needing to tell, and frequently re-tell, traumatic experiences in order to be deemed acceptable as somebody seeking asylum in his article Made Up Trauma. Tanya Dorrell discusses vicarious trauma and the very real risks of this phenomenon to clinicians; a warning of paramount importance as we continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Following on from Fe Robinson’s review of Sandra Paulsen’s book, When There Are No Words: Repairing Early Trauma and Neglect From the Attachment Period with EMDR we have an interview with the author, who talks of her range of experiences, her practice and the beliefs that inform her work. She is, as far as I’m aware, the first person to submit a picture from their garden as being illustrative of a phenomenon that communicates how trauma can be worked around by clients – worth checking out. Meanwhile we have revived some of our former pieces around trauma in the ‘from our archives’ section, as feels fitting to our ongoing wider context. We also look back at a couple of pieces linking therapy with the wider political world, including Jonathan Hoban’s 2016 piece, Together we must stand: Reflections on the EU Referendum vote. Ben Scanlan (ed.) reviews a book by one the most forthright anti-Brexit campaigners, Alastair Campbell who discusses his own mental health journey in Better to Live.

Elsewhere Beth Glanville (ed.) discusses how the pandemic has impacted on managerial mental health awareness training programmes at Transport for London, while Holly Rees explores the meaning and significance of failure in a review of Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong. Vinod Thacore discusses how a holistic view can be helpful for working with clients who believe that their symptoms are of supernatural origin, while Adam Knowles pens a synoptic article of his MA research, an IPA exploration into therapeutic experience of ayahuasca, a new style of article which has encouraged us to make moves to actively seek out more articles based on students research projects; we are very aware that so much great research exists in student portfolios that never gets seen by a wider audience, and we would like to do what small part we can to at least rectify that.

Warm wishes

Beth Glanville
Ben Scanlan


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Opinions expressed in this journal are solely those of the author(s).
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