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SPRING 2021: EDITORIAL

We had hoped that by Spring 2021, Covid-19 would be a memory, but unfortunately this issue once again reflects our struggle with the inevitable anxiety, grief, and loss of these times. Happily, we can also offer some creative responses to help our work to continue.


Pádraig Cotter’s concept of StaffSPACE offers frontline workers a safety zone where they can open their hearts to their vulnerability and humanity. Joanne Hanrahan presents another location, offering the wide world out of doors as a back-to-our-roots alternative to the remote and disembodied way of seeing clients that has become our new normal. She reminds us of the healing energy available by simply taking a walk in the woods and how the therapist can structure the experience differently for each client. This approach is well-suited to working with the universal trauma of living through the pandemic which can also rekindle past individual traumas as well.

Trauma is sadly a sign of the times, and the subject appears in some other contributions, one being a reflection on “Decoding the trauma” by Siobhan Rock. She explores the ways clients can present obstacles to their own healing, and how the therapist can help circumvent them on the journey toward facing their hidden truths. In “Whose wound is it?” Jim FitzGibbon describes how he sometimes experiences physical sensations after working with his trauma-affected clients. Another survivor speaks to us through the poetic voice of Attracta Gill, and reminds us that “the only way is through the pain.” Her mention of being “cruelly pushed back in time by tyrant therapists” introduces another trauma-related theme: the questionable ways in which clinicians can be overly intrusive, insensitive, or focused on their own preconceptions, overshadowing their clients’ own reality.

This problematic prejudice is central to Kathleen Duffy’s book reviewed by William Pattengill, in which the author delves into Freud’s writings on his early work with “hysterical” and possibly traumatised young women, and discovers his feelings of kinship with, of all people, the judges presiding over medieval witch trials.

Emma Philbin Bowman makes the case for the preservation of longing as a state of being, not necessarily with desire for anything specific, but for its unexpected spiritual rewards. While she insists that our culture devalues and is even hostile toward longing, it seems that the pandemic has provided us with ample opportunity to explore that shadowy territory.

In addition, we present a thorough overview of Gestalt Therapy by Debbie Hegarty, and the book On Being a Supervisee by Michael Carroll and Maria Gilbert, as reviewed by Paul Daly, who wishes he had known about it when he himself was in training. “The musicality of the therapeutic voice” is explored by Brett Kahr, while Sarah Ruane introduces “My old friends, grief and loss” who are also present in the moving memoir of a mother dying, The Silly Thing, reviewed by Áine Hutchinson.

The editors take this opportunity to thank Diane McDonald who is leaving the Board after three years of excellent service, and also to pay our respects to Maria Gilbert and her many achievements in our profession as we present her obituary in this issue.

By the time we see our Summer Edition, let’s hope we will be able to sit in a restaurant and be close enough to our companions that we won’t have to shout out our conversation. Remember hugging?




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