Our 10th Anniversary celebration of Inside Out took place during the only ‘heat wave’ at the end of May and certainly a party spirit prevailed that night with an evening which reflected the ethos of our Journal in managing to combine the different voices expressing so many aspects of humanistic psychotherapy and the context in which we practice. As you will read, our guest speakers, Sister Stan and John Lonergan, both very different in style and approach, challenged us not just to ‘listen’ to the narratives but also to be ‘activists’ in a social democracy. As well as the political call to be active citizens of a society, rather than just an economy, our profession calls that we accompany our clients into the liminal space of waiting; into the emotional and spiritual realms and it’s these intangible existential forces that fuel the creative juices for release through sound, movement, poetry, dance, music and conversation all of which, thanks in part to Diana Erskine-Hill and Ann Gill were part of the fabric of the evening.
We are now into Autumn after what was for many people a non-summer of wet, blight and poor harvest. And we now face another winter with the challenges and realities that a long recession brings: the daily grind, the uncomfortable perching on the horns of uncertainty, budget cut-backs, people crippled with anxiety, clients unable to pay and therapists struggling to earn a living. How do we sit in the liminal space acting as containers not only for our clients’ real or imagined fears, but our own? How does humanistic psychotherapy resist the pressures of medicine and academia which demand more evidenced-based quick fixes? Is touch in the therapeutic relationship really so dangerous that it will become obsolete? Do the elderly, the sick and the dying have a voice? In this Journal some very real issues are highlighted in conversation, letters, articles and poetry. In a sense all our contributors are both ‘listeners’ and ‘activists’. They bring their very different experiences to life through the written word and they offer modest solutions. Once again we have the eclectic mix of the spiritual from Anne Kelliher, the ethical and legal from Francis McGivern; neuroscience and psychotherapy from Barbara O’Connell and an interesting balance of brief learning and deep healing from Thérèse Hicks. Lest we forget our embodied selves, Joanne McGuirk reminds us that we are creatures who inhabit bodies, who need touch and this is further captured by Diana Erskine-Hill who experiences ‘touch’ through sound and vibrations. At the end of the road, Elspeth Bowman asks for dignity in death. We know that we cannot solve the problem of human suffering but our poets bear witness to that suffering. Michaela McLaughlin and Ger Murphy bring pain alive through imagery. Our job is to tell the stories, value the experiences, offer ideas, and in some cases solutions and keep today’s history alive for tomorrow. Our job is not to provide the answers but to continue to ask the questions.
There is also a call for more research, entitled ‘Everyone Is Doing It… Why not You?’ We fully support this and would go so far as to suggest that Inside Out in a modest way is a channel for research: so in a sense we are doing it! We are not designed to publish a full thesis, but by publishing short anecdotal stories, scientific articles and chapters from theses we hope to stimulate, provoke and encourage discussion. The website is now up and running and we are very grateful to those involved in all the technicalities for their hard work in getting copies of Inside Out on line in such an easy and professional manner. The website also has podcasts of the 10th Anniversary Celebration, so we are lucky to have a record of the evening.
For those of you who were unable to be with us in May for our celebration, we would like to thank you for your readership, support and contributions. We also want to acknowledge the departure of Mary de Courcy and thank her for ten years of hard work for Inside Out. Mary brought many skills to the jobs; writing, editing and organizing and she is missed. We would like to continue to grow as an Editorial Board and encourage new blood to join us, so if anyone is interested please get in touch with us.