Conference Review: Consequences of a Conference in a Castle

by Ursula Somerville

Looking forward to the First National Psychotherapy Conference “Healing The Hurt” by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP) and it is to be here in the beautiful setting of Dublin Castle.  Venue is great – hopefully the conference will live up to its surroundings. I get a sense that someone with “clout” has secured such a venue.

A few weeks to go and there are lots of blanks in the programme – am not feeling too encouraged, yet, to book.

I have another look sometime later and decide to take a chance.

I arrive at check-in and immediately see my name badge proudly sitting on the table and I get my “brief-case” and my welcome from those checking us in.  I am impressed with the presentation of the programme and I am a little confused at first by the “stream” system.  After a little time digesting this I have some sense of what I want to attend.

Upstairs, downstairs past the books for sale – I must resist buying….

First on my list to go to is the presentation by Professor Alan Carr, the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy: a Review of Research.  A most enlightening presentation and one particularly close to my heart at the moment.  (Professor Carr had been commissioned by ICP to publish this research).  Professor Carr was a most eloquent presenter and generous to a fault when he suggested that the research should be put on the ICP webpage.  What a magnanimous gesture by the writer.

My next choice of workshop was given by Dr Angela Joyce, Adult and Child Psychoanalyst from the Anna Freud Centre, London.  A most informative workshop and despite the fact that the room was over-full Dr Joyce still managed to do a most beautiful piece of experiential work based on a video presentation.

I then made my way to the top of the Castle for the presentation by Ed Boyne – Psychotherapy and Primary Care in the Light of “A Vision for Change”.  Ever since I first read Ed Boyne in the Inside Out issue in 2003 I have been fascinated by where psychotherapy is going next and how we can be a part of this move.  So I was really looking forward to Ed’s presentation and he did not disappoint.  The room was absolutely full to the rafters with lots of delegates asking most pertinent questions.  This told me that lots of other psychotherapists were feeling the same as me – anxious to know what was going to happen next.  The chairman of the ICP was at the very back of the room while I was at the very front – not wanting to miss a word from the presenter.  Did I really hear the chairman tell Ed Boyne that ICP was awaiting the deliberations of Government and IACP – surely not!

Armed with the energy this conference gave me I contacted the ICP the next week and asked for a copy of the Research by Prof. Alan Carr.  I was told it could not be available to me as an individual.  I was also told that copies of it would be sent to the various Associations.  I asked if I could attend the Book Launch to be held on the 26th June 2007, as the Chair had advised in his address to the delegates on the Friday, but I was told “it was by special invite only”.  I asked about the research going on the Webpage as suggested by Prof. Carr but I was told that due to copyright this would not happen”.

So, as all good psychotherapists will know, resistance like this only makes us dig deep into our resourcefulness and, you guessed it, I have secured a copy of the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy.  But I am left wondering when we (psychotherapy) get left behind who then will Heal the Hurt?

Ursula Somerville MIAHIP aiming to be a would-be spontaneous psychotherapy activist.