This summer edition of Inside Out coincides with a general public malaise about the unsatisfactory state of our health services, A&E in particular. Many individuals have publicly expressed their distress and outrage at witnessing sick and dying persons being treated without dignity or respect by an inadequate system. In a kind of “parallel process”, many of the articles in this edition reflect on, question and call for dialogue about core issues regarding our own profession of psychotherapy and its role in our society, with some common emerging trends and concerns.
In Some Thoughts Ger Murphy, who was involved in the beginning of Inside Out fifteen years ago, offers analysis and reflection on how psychotherapy has changed during the life of the journal, with the emergence of a specific Humanistic and Integrative psychotherapy, the establishment of psychotherapy as a distinct profession with recognised training standards, and – nowadays-related Health Board positions. There are still, however, many tensions between professional groupings, which he does not shy away from naming i.e. “the battle still being waged as to which professional grouping will receive expenses cover (from health service insurance groups, VHI, BUPA etc.”). He also expresses his concerns about the inadequacy of some training courses for counsellors and counselling psychologists, expressing a strong belief that “to work in an in depth way with clients a strong element of personal development or reflective practice is required.”
Similarly Geraldine Grindley, in her article on The impact of training on the practice of psychotherapy and counselling raises serious concerns about the changes over time in the type of training courses available for psychotherapists, with many of the current third level academic courses appearing to emphasise theory and skills, to the detriment of individual and group therapy and the personal development of the trainee practitioner. Like many of the contributors in this issue, Geraldine brings us back to the core values of humanistic psychotherapy; “a non-pathologising model, which places the highest value on the uniqueness of each client and of the human potential for self-actualisation.” She is concerned that if we are to preserve the very nature of humanistic psychotherapy, more dialogue needs to happen between practitioners and training institutions. As an experienced trainer and supervisor, she points out some of the practices that concern her, and calls for the opening up of dialogue regarding the dangers involved in designing courses to comply with academic criteria, rather than the formation of practitioners.
Happily, many of the articles in this issue seem to embody and illustrate therapeutic practice that is deeply humanistic and/or integrative, respecting and working with all aspects of the person. Several articles focus on working with and through the body, from Marion Dunlea’s BodySoul work and Mark Keogh’s introduction to the Feldenkrais approach and Mary de Courcy’s article on Memory, speaks of “a sense of hope and homecoming – no longer needing to abandon the body to survive the trauma.” Patrick Lennon writes a beautiful and engaging piece about his experience of therapy. The deep and enriching connection between the spiritual self and psychotherapy are explored in a number of articles and a review, stimulating also reflection on the malaise of Western society, including the egoistic overindulgence and a lack of a sense of community which are, unfortunately, features of the Celtic Tiger…….