When peace broke out on Christmas Eve in 1914 on the Western Front, it had nothing to do with conflict resolution. Soldiers exchanged gifts with the enemy, sang carols and played football together in no man's land. How such peace can come about and its relationship to conflict is the subject of this blog. ‘Break … Continue reading ‘Conflict resolution? No thanks, I prefer peace…’
A spiritual battle with a dragon
This blog is about an encounter I had some years ago with a dragon on the morning train from Cambridge to London. It recently came to mind while reading The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Dr Kevin Dutton. A few years after this encounter the dragon would find himself at The Old Bailey accused of a … Continue reading A spiritual battle with a dragon
Why I am the best therapist
Dear reader, I'm aware your first thought upon reading the title is probably not whether I am the best therapist, more likely you are wondering why I made the statement. You might also wonder who would see a therapist that would make such a statement, me too. The usual interpretations for making such a statement … Continue reading Why I am the best therapist
Chimpanzee on the couch
As I opened the front door a chimpanzee shot straight past me upstairs to the kitchen. A moment later I could hear thudding and banging, before I was able to follow her, she emerged at the top of the stairs, fruit clutched in her hands and feet, and tucked under her chin. I wait and … Continue reading Chimpanzee on the couch
‘I seek the truth,’ spoke the liar.
Perhaps no one has ever been sufficiently truthful about what 'truthfulness' is. Friedrich Nietzsche I am a big fat liar. As if proof were needed, there are at least two lies in the previous sentence. Like all of us, I have been lying to myself for a long time; probably since I started using language … Continue reading ‘I seek the truth,’ spoke the liar.
The value of being eaten and other ‘dark arts’
I recall, during my initial psychotherapy training at the Whittington Hospital in North London, the day I had to choose a supervisor. My tutor read out the names of several candidates, many of whom sounded exotic to me. He gave us little detail unless a group member enquired further. One person, in particular, stood out. … Continue reading The value of being eaten and other ‘dark arts’
Death is like…
Everything we know about death comes from life, since it is only the living that speak about death. If we allow ourselves to see the value of what we project onto death, we might learn something we already know about life. If we affirm life as it is, we would stop projecting onto death altogether; … Continue reading Death is like…
How to spend a penny
We can destroy only as creators!Friedrich Nietzsche On a morning train from Cambridge to London a woman looks up from her paperback offering me a smile as I sit opposite her. I take out my laptop to begin writing a piece about art in the consulting room. An elderly couple join us. Before sitting down … Continue reading How to spend a penny
‘Humanistic? No, I’m more animalistic…’
If each of our lives is an unprompted answer to the question, What is the point of my life? Then the crow is such a perfect answer to its own question - that it immediately forgets the question. The best answer comes when you not only forget the question, but also the answer. Humans often … Continue reading ‘Humanistic? No, I’m more animalistic…’
‘I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar…’
Psychotherapy is a conversation between two people who are both willing to become inarticulate. This can happen when trying to say something not yet thought, when experiencing ourselves in a new way, or as a new paradigm emerges. It can also be due to the limitations of language and grammar, or our grasp of them. … Continue reading ‘I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar…’
The creation of my life as death.
I had the uncanny sense of having met my mother for the first time on the morning after her death. I noticed how I didn’t knock before entering her bedroom; there was now no need. The curtains were open as though she were greeting this morning like any other. As I sat down between her … Continue reading The creation of my life as death.
‘What am I paying you for?’
I have often wondered what you pay for when you pay me for psychotherapy. Perhaps: You pay me in the hope I cannot be bought. You pay me since not paying me would seem even odder. You pay me so you do not owe me, even if you think you do. You pay me to … Continue reading ‘What am I paying you for?’