What a long winter it has been and the Editorial Board is delighted to present you with the Summer Edition of Inside Out which is brimming with articles containing useful suggestions that will support your practitioning and no doubt bring you pleasure. Earlier this month we were reminded of the words to the beautiful ballad written by Prince entitled ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’. Aside from the unusual sight of snow in April, we think some of what has been occurring this month at home and abroad is worth noting. None can be more figural than the events as they continue to unfold regarding the recent atrocity at the Boston Marathon.
As humanistic psychotherapists we hold the view that fundamentally at the core of human nature is the potential for love, altruism, compassion, mutuality and cooperation. Having said that, there is also a propensity for hate, aggression, rigidity in thinking and uncooperative anti-social behaviour. Has psychotherapeutic research and theory helped us understand what drives destructive behaviour? How can we explain the motivational forces behind what recently happened during a sunny family day-out in Boston? So far five are dead, including one of the suspected bombers and a police officer, and one hundred and seventy are injured. The bombs were made and placed to cause maximum damage with debris from the blasts including nails and ball-bearings.
So far the two suspects have been identified, pursued, shot and wounded, during an intelligence operation that was relentless in its pursuit for justice. A visibly infuriated President Barack Obama speaking at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston declared ‘Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act’.
The background story as it emerges of the two suspects describes brothers Tamerlan, aged twenty- six, and Dzhokhar Tsamaev, aged nineteen, born in Chechnya to a Muslim family and living in Watertown Massachusetts for ten years approximately. In an online essay Tamerlan is quoted as saying ‘I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them’. Perhaps the clue to what drives this type of destructive behaviour lies in this quote? Carl Rogers (1961) argued human beings need what he called a unit of recognition from others and will act according to what they perceive elicits the attention of others. It is just a theory.
Sometimes destructive impulses are directed towards the self instead of others. South Kerry Coroner Terence Casey recently appealed to young people in Kerry to heed the words of sixteen- year-old Donal Walsh who is dying of cancer. He is asking his peers to think twice before taking their own lives. This is in the wake of the findings of recent inquests which returned verdicts of suicide in five out of six deaths in the area. All of them were male aged between sixteen and thirty years of age. At the previous two sittings of the coroner’s court presided over by Mr. Casey seven out of eight deaths were by suicide.
We wonder what Dr. John Rowan, author, psychologist, psychotherapist and past member of UKCP Governing Board representing Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy, would have said about the above. These events had not yet occurred at the time of John’s conversation with our own Shirley Ward in this issue, but readers can discover his views on several other interesting topics. The Editorial Board are delighted to have been given the opportunity to share this significant conversation with our readership. We are also delighted to welcome Aisling McMahon onto the Editorial Board and look forward to working with her.
Rogers, C. (1961) On Becoming a Person. London: Constable.