By the time of publication, over two hundred of us will have come together for the best-attended and most unusual IAHIP AGM to date. We would like to extend our gratitude to Gearoid Manning and the outgoing Governing Body who have guided the organisation through a difficult period over the last few years. We also welcome incoming chair Mary Shiell and wish her – and the newly-formed GB – all the best for the year ahead. And of course, our heartfelt gratitude to the office staff for bringing us all together this year in spite of lockdown restrictions.
Technology allowed us to come together and has facilitated psychotherapists in continuing the important work that we do, particularly at a time when we may be needed the most. Creative adaptations have sprung into being and as a nation, we’ve perhaps realised that outdated, restrictive ways of living and working were causing anxiety and stress. In this age of realisations, we learn that connections can still happen when unhampered by confusing login details or passwords. And yet…
And yet while our minds may be fooled into the idea of being together on video, our bodies achingly know this is not so. We are used to processing together: in the room with clients, in hotels for AGMs, at conferences, at workshops, at committee meetings. It’s easier being in each other’s presence than being in the constant presence of each other’s absence. The dissonance of working online, the deprivation of what we cherish, creates a new type of exhaustion as our minds play along, but our bodies know better. ‘I-Thou’ relating requires presence. When physical presence is missing and we are faced with the ‘I-It’ of our laptops, we may wonder as Christopher Murray does ‘Am I being helpful?’ or as Patricia O’Reilly asks ‘Can I hold hope?’ or indeed ‘Will I become gripped by my own sadness and loneliness?’ as Jim Fitzgibbon muses. Inside Out gathers the psychotherapy community together for authors such as these to share their experiences. As both Christopher Murray and Matthew Henson point out, saying out loud what is unspoken may be enough for both our clients and for ourselves in these strangest of times. We are reminded in this issue that we are made up of many parts. We are not just our loneliness, not just our anxieties, not just our losses. Debbie Hegarty’s article offers ways in which we can help keep our clients safe using a polyvagal framework, highlighting the place of connection in healing. Sarah Kay, who received an Honorary Membership at this year’s AGM, shares the insights she gained throughout the process of her mother’s death. Her article poses questions around how we might learn to live our lives as best we can while facing the stark reality of death; a most relevant area now, as we continue the art of living while surrounded by the tragic deaths of many.
Also in this issue, Frankie Brown looks at working therapeutically with adolescents; Marie Tierney brings us into the now-familiar world of working online; and we have an array of poetry from Deirdre Madden, Simona Tudor, Tom Boggins and Jess Cottee. We look forward to the arrival of new themes and contributions for our next issue, with a submission deadline of 1st September 2020.