Surreal Faces by Muffinn

As the nights draw in, I encourage you to succumb to the natural pull of hibernation; take some time out, restore to your winter quarters and be nourished by the creative and diverse contributions of the Winter 2013 issue of Contemporary Psychotherapy.

At this point in the year I have a tendency to reflect simultaneously on the past and future. We are in our fifth year of publication and we continue to attract authors who inspire us by sharing

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their perspectives and experiences. With each turning leaf our 120 Twitter followers continue to grow, as does our readership that currently stands at just over 1450 worldwide. Subscribers remind us to acknowledge both our hard work over the past years and also our gratitude for the support that fuels our enthusiasm and dedication for the future.

When I mention the DSM, what response is evoked in you? Feelings, words, an image? Maybe there is room for an alternative conversation? Recently, my curiosity was pricked when a colleague presented me with the work of Alexa de Ferranti. She uses mixed media as a creative in-road to what some might experience as a dense, reductionist manual. We share with you in this issue a few of her works. Maybe you can suspend your initial response and be drawn in by her works of art?

Continuing the theme of embracing difference is an article by Maxine Aston about working with Asperger Syndrome in the therapy room. Maxine writes with compassion and shares a wealth of experience ready to be considered and applied to the therapeutic encounter.

A fundamental aspect of therapeutic work is in some ways attempting the impossible; to understand the internal world of the other. Maybe this is why the fruits of a conversation shared, in print is so intriguing? Zachary Boren, uses the art of his conversation and, in dialogue with Greg Bellow, provides us with an opportunity to peek through a window into the life of the son of a famous father.

Peter Jenkins’ article on ‘Ethics and the Future of Psychotherapy Research’, first printed in UKCP’s Psychotherapist, remains a relevant topic in our field and connects us to the wider mental health community. As psychotherapy trainings expand and clinicians embrace the relevance of research, the salient aspects of ethical research described by Peter are worth returning to.

With research in mind, Beth Glanville uses her personal experience of teaching to explore and research the tension and synergy between trauma and autism, in her article ‘What Lies Beneath’.

Polly Mortimer describes herself as a ‘layperson and fairly philosophically naïve’ in her article ‘What is Psychiatry?’ – her take on the St Catz Colloquium ‘Philosophy and Psychiatry: The Next 100 Years’ held in Oxford earlier this year. I found her approach to this subject brought vitality and a much-needed, non-clinical perspective to what can often feel like a closed world for some.

The unique voices of our reviewers, seem to parallel the contrasting range of topics in this issue. Jo-Ann Roden presents a book about Embodied Self-Awareness and through her personal experience reflects on her frustrated response to the text. The theme of embodiment seemingly continues with Karin Parkinson’s review of Mindful Management of Difficult Clients in which clinician-readers’ reflexivity is encouraged as part of the exploration. Loray Daws reviews a contemporary psychoanalytic approach to breakdown and, on successive re-visitations of the text, finds the book itself becomes a transformative object. This draws my thoughts to the experience of the client and therapist who re-turn to therapy each week and the possibility of transformation. Julia Denington shares her responses to a book about Relational Suicide Assessment, the title of which does not necessarily speak for itself. Given the territories covered within these reviews, integration might be a suitable theme to come to, and a book about Integrative Therapy reviewed by Sally Forster may well be a good place to start.

Our resident roving reporter, Lynda Woodroffe, through her pictorial and textual exhibition review takes us again to Venice for the 55th Biennale. The theme of ‘outsider’ artists strikes me as relevant to the world of psychotherapy given the historical clash of modalities and opinion within the field. Yet out of conflict arises creativity as she draws our attention to the lesser-known artwork of Carl Jung and his depictions of the collective unconscious.

Even though this issue is full to the brim with content there is always space for one more – we are an inclusive bunch – so don’t miss the timely Mindfulness videos in our ‘Look Out For’ section which might help the transition between the end of one year and the beginning of another.

Warm wishes for Christmas and the coming year from the team here at Contemporary Psychotherapy.

Grace Hopkins

Image: Surreal Faces by Muffinn; courtesy of Flickr


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