In this issue we are taking as our theme Violence and Therapy. We are all capable of violent emotion though, as adults, we do not retain a child’s enviable ability to express all-consuming rage, and to give vent to violent and destructive feelings which Klein believed to be essential to the child’s development into a social being.
Violence in therapy is an issue to be worked with, much like any other. As mentioned in one of the articles in this issue Winnicott believed that substantive humanity can only be established when a person can tolerate and manage his or her own feelings of aggression. The need to take responsibility for violent emotion is emphasised by two of our writers who work with prisoners, but it also underlies many of the other articles in this issue, since this need applies just as much to society at large. The benefit of working with violence in a therapeutic setting is that explosive material which is intensely felt, can be worked with and integrated in a safe environment and without anyone coming to physical harm.
This subject, violence, raises fears and doubts not only for therapists, but for the rest of society. In society, the outcome of violence is frequently a legal, and not a therapeutic, issue. However, it is essential that therapists do not believe themselves to be placed in the position of having to be judges. We must be watchful that we are not placed in a position where our role is seen as accuser or possible prosecutor. If we cannot offer confidentiality and honesty within our profession then we are acting unethically. Yet it is quite possible that we might be expected to testily in a court of law as to the actions of clients who have come to us believing that nothing they say will be repeated. To us this seems totally inappropriate.
After six years of Inside Out we felt it was time to make some changes to the journal: to give our readers a new format and to improve our clarity and presentation. We hope you like it. The theme for our Summer issue will be Group Therapy. We look forward to receiving any letters or comments you would like to make about the journal, and any contributions from readers will be welcomed and considered for publication.