How I Cleared My Depression with 12 steps – step 3

I used the steps from Alcoholics Anonymous to clear my depression. You can too.

Step 3 – I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.

This is about surrender. It was really hard for me. I thought I had to be strong; I had to defeat my own demons on my own. I had tried to do this and I hadn’t succeeded. I just seemed to be digging myself in deeper. I used to be pretty independent and self-reliant. It seemed like the only way. Then after my career disaster I became financially dependent on my husband. This still didn’t help me. I had got rid of one problem that depressed me (my work) but now I had other problems – poverty, lack of self-worth, lack of meaning and purpose…I still hadn’t made the shift. I was still looking for the wrong things to make me happy and medicating myself daily with red wine.

I had a blockage about surrendering to God. I kind of worried about being a Christian. I had met plenty of Christians I didn’t like – judgemental, obsessed with other people’s sex lives, joyless, cruel. I had met many Christian teachers like this and I did not want to be like them. Christianity has a strange history and a lot of skeletons in its closet. On the Alpha course I started thinking about the true message- the words of Jesus which really are astounding. Jesus is nothing like the sort of Christians I had met in the past. My favourite passage is the Sermon on the Mount, particularly ‘Consider the lilies…’ Go and check it out if you haven’t read it. It is about surrendering to God and letting go. It really is the hardest thing but the most worthwhile thing. God clothes even the wild flowers of the field with beauty. They don’t work for it, they don’t strive yet God looks after them. He will look after you too because you mean more to Him. Notice there is no Protestant work ethic here. Where did that come from because it didn’t come out of the mouth of Jesus? Surrendering to God causes a change in your consciousness. It doesn’t mean you won’t do things wrong (sin) and mess things up. You will but it’s ok.

The plan I had for my life didn’t work. It was a rubbish plan. I was working in the education system that I didn’t believe in. In the end it drove me to break down. Then I thought I would write books but that didn’t work out either. My plans were all wrong. I accepted help from God and at this point I realised change was possible. I am still not where I want to be. I have held back from total commitment. I am not a nun or a holy person on a mountain. I haven’t made it in to Mother Theresa territory – yet. I ask God for help every day. When I feel despair I pray. I remember that I am Divine – I am made in the image of God. That helps me. I still have some bad habits. I still drink wine but nothing like as much as I used to. I am trying to phase it out completely but I keep failing. I have a daily spiritual practice involving reading the Bible, praying, meditation and yoga. I am working on myself bit by bit. I am an ongoing project. If I mess up I ask for forgiveness and start again. I can observe my emotions and detach from them. I am training as a therapist so I can be of service to others.

Accept help from God as you understand Him. It does not have to be the Christian God. It could be Ganesha or Buddha or nature or Allah. It’s up to you.

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Personal Therapy Philosophy

In this essay, I will outline my own ideas about hypnotherapy which will form the foundation of my private practice. Firstly, I will explain my background, values, and beliefs which will affect my practice. Then, I will describe the integrative approach to therapy I will take incorporating elements from humanistic therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic approaches which I will combine with transformational hypnotherapy. I will explain my reasons and give evidence for my stance. It will be argued that integrative practice is the approach most likely to help the majority of clients with varying issues. I will then explore the argument taken by the NHS that cognitive-behavioural therapy is all that is necessary for modern psychotherapeutic treatment and find reasons to reject this argument.

Firstly, it is necessary for me to explain my own background as it is important for a therapist to work in a way which is comfortable for them and in line with their belief systems (Corey, 2001). This gives the therapist authenticity. I have a fairly academic background. My first degree was an MA in Philosophy which gave me a life long interest in ideas and the ‘big questions’ about the meaning of life and the nature of reality. I have a second degree which is a BSc in Psychology which was very science based and concerned with evidence. It was not particularly relevant to therapy. I am currently undertaking an MSc in Psychology which is concentrating on research methods and again is not particularly focused on therapy. This educational experience has given me the tendency to look for evidence to support the claims of different modalities but at the same time to be aware of the flawed nature of much evidence in psychology. I have had a long career in teaching which has given me a practical insight into human nature. I ended my career prematurely due to inability to cope with prolonged stress which also led to bouts of depression. This experience gave me an interest in mental health and I have received CBT, counselling and transformational hypnotherapy which have all helped me to manage my mental health. I sought training in hypnotherapy as I wished to help others who were undergoing similar issues to me. I have a particular interest in anxiety and depression. Recently, I became a Christian and before that I was a practising Buddhist. I now blend these two belief systems and think of myself as a Christian Buddhist. I have a daily spiritual practice and spirituality is an important part of my life and gives me meaning. My education, spiritual life, and life experience have informed my values. I believe that the purpose of life is to develop yourself as much as possible, to self-actualise, and then to help others by sharing your skills and knowledge. I am motivated by the values of kindness and compassion and I would like to see a more spiritual, caring society. I see therapy as a way of helping people with their life problems so enabling them to live more fulfilling lives and reach their personal potential. I would not wish to impose my spiritual beliefs on anyone but if it was wished by the client, he or she could find a safe space to explore these issues.

Contemplating my life story has led me to embrace some of the humanistic tradition in psychotherapy, particularly the ideas of Maslow (1993, cited in Joseph, 2010) and Rogers (1959, cited in Joseph 2010). I feel that the transpersonal approach to psychology, emphasising spiritual experience, is the one to which I feel most attracted. Rogers (1980, cited in Joseph, 2010) wrote that he felt he was most effective as a therapist when his inner spirit reached out and touched the inner spirit of another. The relationship transcends itself and becomes part of a larger phenomenon enabling deep growth and healing. Maslow (1968, cited in Joseph 2010) developed the idea of a hierarchy of needs beginning with physiological needs such as food and water and ending with self-actualization where individuals are self-directed, creative, and independent and are willing to try to understand other people’s point of view and are open to new experiences. Such experiences could be what Maslow calls ‘peak experiences’ which transcend ordinary human consciousness and can be spiritual in nature: beyond the person. The transpersonal approach also draws on the work of Jung (1957, cited in Joseph, 2010) who developed the idea of a collective unconscious that exists beyond the boundaries of space and time and reflects a cosmic intelligence. The collective unconscious provides an inner wisdom for healing. Some transpersonal notions have much in common with Buddhism as individuals come to an understanding that there is no real self. Clients can undergo a transformation where their current way of seeing the world is shattered and they realise the unity of all things (Wilber, 1998, cited in Joseph, 2010). Meditation techniques can form part of transpersonal approaches. The therapist is co-operating with the client to allow inner healing to take place. Transpersonal therapists are not much concerned with scientific evidence and it can be argued that their approach is difficult to research effectively. However, there is some research that suggests that humanistic approaches are just as effective as other forms of therapy (Grof, 2007). In spite of my enthusiasm for the transpersonal approach I am aware it will not be appropriate for all clients which is why I intend to practice therapy in an integrative way with the transpersonal approach underlying my broader range of techniques.

I am drawn to the integrative approach as much of the research into the effectiveness of psychotherapy has emphasised the importance of common factors between therapies. Ablon and Jones (2010) have shown that in practice skilled, experienced therapists integrate techniques belonging to several approaches, adapting to the individual needs of their patients. A positive relationship between the therapist and patient is of paramount importance in the success of the treatment. This is known as the therapeutic alliance (Grencavage and Norcross, 1990). It has also been suggested that successful treatment may depend on various non-specific therapeutic factors: the confidence of the therapist in the treatment, the patient’s perception of the therapist as skilled and confident, a patient’s expectation that the treatment will be successful, characteristics of the patient such as commitment to therapy, being able to formulate problems and a willingness to challenge themselves (Wampold, 2015), (Cuijpers, 2013), (Ablon and Marci, 2004). The genuine interest of the counsellor in improving another person’s quality of life is vital (Schneider and Langle, 2012). It is likely that it is these mechanisms of change that predict the success of psychotherapeutic treatment, rather than the type of therapy that is utilised. As a result of these findings, I intend to work on creating a strong therapeutic alliance where I collaborate with the client to find solutions to their issues. I also intend to incorporate Rogers’ core conditions from person centred therapy: congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard (Rogers, 1959, cited in Joseph, 2010). Congruence means the therapist is being his or her real self which is also close to his or her idealised self and he or she is integrated into the relationship with the client. Empathy means the therapist understands the client’s feelings. Unconditional positive regard means that the therapist will accept and support the client whatever he or she does or says. There is a real warmth and respect in the relationship.

Some clients’ issues may not be suitable for humanistic therapy so I will also make use of cognitive-behavioural techniques (CBT). The therapy focuses on the present rather than the past, and on changing negative patterns of thinking and behaviour (Joseph, 2010). Theoretically, CBT is rooted in behaviourism. Behaviourists believed that only observable, measurable, outward behaviour was worthy of scientific inquiry (Skinner, 1974, cited in Joseph, 2010). This theory was further developed by Beck (1976, cited in House and Loewenthal, 2008), who added a cognitive element. My reason for choosing CBT is that it has an impressive evidence base in research which suggests it is as good as or superior to other psychotherapies (Barth, Munder, Gerger, Nuesch, Trelle, Znoj and Cuiijpers, 2013), (Cuijpers, van Straten, Andersson, and van Oppen, 2008), (King, 2007), (Elkin, Shea, Watkins, Imber, Sotsky, Collins and Parloff, 1989). The approach is appropriate for clients who want fast solutions to their presenting issues and don’t wish for greater self-knowledge, spiritual development or to revisit the past.

The third approach I will integrate into my psychotherapy practice is psychodynamic therapy. There is great emphasis placed on the relationship between the patient and the therapist (Joseph, 2010). This has the advantage of giving primacy to the interactions between the two, which can be analysed in the course of the dialogue, thus finding solutions. However, this emphasis has raised criticisms. Unethical practitioners have abused the therapeutic relationship with its inherent power imbalance and there have been cases of sexual abuse of patients and other humiliating experiences (Masson, 1992). There is a focus on defence mechanisms and transference of issues from the past onto the counsellor. The emphasis is on the unconscious mind and early childhood experiences. At its best, the patient and therapist form an equal partnership, where the patient makes a breakthrough by working through issues from the past, bringing the unconscious causes of behaviour into conscious awareness and thus relieving current symptoms and empowering the patient (Joseph, 2010). This emphasis on the past has been criticised, as some therapists have been accused of unwittingly planting false memories in patients, particularly of sexual abuse, which can seriously harm people (Masson, 1992). Psychodynamic therapy is grounded in the work of Freud, (1901, cited in Joseph 2010) which gives it a firm theoretical basis and long history (Milton 2008, cited in House and Loewenthal, 2008). Freud developed psychoanalysis from a small series of case studies of his patients in Vienna. He believed that human behaviour has its origins in the unconscious mind, which is full of irrational, conflicting needs. In recent times, Freud’s ideas have been heavily criticised as they are based on studies of a limited number of people and they lack empirical evidence (Eysenck and Wilson, 1973, cited in Joseph, 2010). The cultural values of Edwardian Austria may not apply across the world. In spite of these criticisms, psychodynamic therapy has a strong evidence base, particularly for depression (Shedler, 2010). I choose to integrate elements of this approach in my practice as it will be suitable for clients who wish to revisit the past due to traumatic experiences. Modern psychodynamic therapy can be delivered in relatively short time frames such as 10-16 sessions. I am drawn to this approach more than CBT as I have found revisiting the past has been helpful to me in my own personal therapy so I believe it will help others.

Finally, the fourth approach which will be an important part of my practice is transformative hypnotherapy. I was very impressed on the course with the work of Boyne (2018) as he could produce real change in a short period of time by revisiting traumatic events in the past and giving new more helpful ways of regarding them and new ways of living after the release of emotion from dealing with the past. I have had personal transformative therapy recently from Peer (2018) who has developed her own version and I found it very helpful to me. I would like to incorporate this into my own practice as well as using techniques from Milton Erickson (Rosen, 1982) such as hypnotic language and the use of stories and metaphor. I also wish to use the technique of guided imagery which has its roots in the work of Jung (1957, cited in Joseph, 2010) as I have seen the powerful, transforming effect of this method and I find Jung to have spiritual values which are similar to my own. There is a growing body of research which finds hypnotherapy is useful for a great many issues, even physical medical issues such as IBS especially when it is combined with psychotherapy (Kraft and Kraft, 2007).

There is a school of thought that only one therapeutic modality should be used, particularly by beginning practitioners, as the therapist needs a firm grounding in one technique and cannot hope to be expert in all therapies (Corey, 2001). Following this line, the NHS has decided that CBT is now virtually the only therapy it offers due to its strong evidence base and its value for money and speed (NICE, 2018). While I have some sympathy for this view I do not believe that CBT is appropriate for every person and every issue. It is far too reductive in reducing complex human states to merely thoughts and behaviour while ignoring emotions, the social context, the past and the unconscious mind. One argument against CBT is that it is telling people how to think and reprogramming them in line with the expectations of society. ‘Faulty’ individuals are to be made to fit in with the current culture rather than attempting to change the culture. Thus, CBT is not counselling, but just a series of tools to ‘fix’ symptoms. As a result, this treatment does not address the underlying issues of the client (Woolfolk and Richardson, 2008, cited in House and Loewenthal, 2008). As a consequence, CBT therapy becomes a political act, aligning with governmental needs for a healthy workforce. CBT is offering a kind of sticking plaster to control the emotional and behavioural impact of a lack of meaning and spirituality, rather than addressing such existential concerns. Furthermore, it is possibly unethical, as it is imposing solutions, rather than being patient-led. There is a power imbalance between the counsellor and patient (Brazier 2008, cited in House and Loewenthal, 2008).

Effective, integrative therapy has been summed up by Paul (1967, cited in Corey, 2001) as: ‘What treatment by whom, is the most effective for this individual with that specific problem, and under which set of circumstances?’However, there is a problem theoretically that the approaches are incompatible. For example, the humanistic approach believes people are basically good while the psychodynamic approach points to darker, irrational drives suggesting people have evil within them. My own belief is that people are neither good or bad but a mixture of both so I don’t fully subscribe to either theory though I lean to the humanistic. I am taking a pragmatic approach and using what works from each therapeutic modality in order to maximise my ability to help clients.

In this essay I have revealed that I intend to take an integrative approach to therapy using techniques from humanistic traditions, CBT, psychodynamic therapy and transformative hypnotherapy. This approach is underpinned by my belief in the value of transpersonal therapy as an overarching concept which will guide my practice. This is in line with my beliefs and values and enables me to help a great many people in the most effective way for them. I have supported my philosophy with research evidence.

References

Ablon, J. and Jones, E. (2010) ‘How expert clinicians’ prototypes of an ideal treatment correlate with outcome in psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural therapy’ Psychotherapy Research vol. 8, no.1, pp. 71-83 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1080/10503309812331332207 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Ablon, J. and Marci, C. (2004) ‘Psychotherapy process: the missing link: comment on Westen, Novotny, and Thompson-Brenner’ Psychological Bulletin vol. 130, no. 4, pp. 664-668 (Online). Available at doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.664 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Barth, J., Munder, T., Gerger, H., Nuesch, E., Trelle, S., Znoj, H. and Cuijpers, P. (2013) ‘Comparative efficacy of seven psychotherapeutic interventions for depressed patients: a network of meta-analysis’ PLoS Medicine, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 1-17 (Online). Available at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001454 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Boyne, G. (2018) Gil-Boyne.com (Online) Available at http://gil-boyne.com (Accessed on 13th June, 2018)

Corey, G. (2001) Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Stamford, Wadsworth

Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Andersson, G. and van Oppen, P. (2008) ‘Psychotherapy for depression in adults: a meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies’ Journal of Consultant Clinical Psychology vol. 76, no. 6, pp. 909-22 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1037/a0013075 (Accessed on 1st April, 2018)

Cuijpers, P. (2013) ‘Effective therapies or effective mechanisms in treatment guidelines for depression?’ in Depression and Anxiety vol. 30, no. 11, pp. 1055-1057 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1002/da.22205 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Elkin, I., Shea, M., Watkins, J., Imber, S., Sotsky, S., Collins, J. and Parloff, M. (1989) ‘National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program General Effectiveness of Treatments’ Arch Gen Psychiatry vol. 46, no. 11, pp. 971–982 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810110013002 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Grencavage, L., and Norcross, J., (1990) ‘Where Are the Commonalities Among the Therapeutic Common Factors?’ in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 372-378 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.21.5.372 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Grof, S. (2007) ‘Theoretical and Empirical Foundations of Transpersonal Psychology’ (Online) Available at http://www.stanislavgrof.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/FoundationsTP.pdf (Accessed on 13th June, 2018)

House, R. and Loewenthal, D. (eds.) (2008) Against and For CBT: Towards a Constructive Dialogue, Monmouth, PCCS Books.

Joseph, S. (2010) Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan.

King, R. (2007) ‘Evidence-based practice: Where is the evidence? The case of cognitive behaviour therapy and depression’ Australian Psychologist vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 83-88 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1080/00050069808257386 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Kraft, T. and Kraft, D. (2007) ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptomatic Treatment Versus Integrative Psychotherapy’ in Contemp. Hypnosis vol. 24 no. 4 pp. 161-177 (Online) Available at DOI: 10.1002/ch.339 (Accessed on 13th June, 2018)

Masson, J. (1992) Against Therapy, London, Flamingo

NICE (2018) Depression in Adults, London, (Online). Available at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg90/chapter/Appendix-Assessing-depression-and-its-severity (Accessed on 4th April, 2018)

O’Neal, P., Jackson, A. and McDermott, F. (2014) ‘A review of the efficacy and effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy and short-term psychodynamic therapy in the treatment of major depression’ Australian Social Work vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 197-213 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1080/0312407X.2013.778307 (Accessed on 4th April, 2018)

Peer, M. (2018) Marisa Peer (Online) Available at https://www.marisapeer.com (Accessed on 13th June, 2018)

Rosen, S. (1982) My Voice Will Go With You, London, Norton and Co.

Schneider, A. and Langle, K. (2012) ‘The Renewal of Humanism in Psychotherapy: Summary and Conclusion’ Psychotherapy Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 480–481 (Online). Available at doi: 10.1037/a0028026 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Shedler, J. (2010) ‘The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy’ American Psychologist vol. 65, no.22, pp. 98-109 (Online). Available at
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0018378 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Wampold, B. (2015) ‘How important are the common factors in psychotherapy? An update’ in World Psychiatry vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 270–277 (Online). Available at http://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20238 (Accessed on 5th April, 2018)

Sneak peak of my third novel: The Mountain Hotel


Chapter 1

Laura concentrated hard on the road in front of her. The light was beginning to fade as she drove along the single-track thoroughfare bending through the West Highlands of Scotland.
‘Can’t be far now,’ she said out loud.
She expertly guided the black Range Rover through the twists and turns of the mountain highway. She enjoyed the challenge of the unfamiliar journey. Laura drove just at the right speed for the conditions, changing up and down the gears with precision. There had been nobody coming in the opposite direction for miles now. The road took her attention away from the scenery; she passed green fields full of scraggy sheep, grassy hills, conifer plantations, bare, dark mountains in the distance threaded in mist, occasional glimpses of grey sea. The satnav had seemed to lose her position at the last settlement so now she was relying on instinct to get to her destination. She travelled by a grand house set back a short distance from the road, almost hidden behind thick trees, and then a village sign came into view: Cragganford. This was it. Laura’s pulse began to throb faster with excitement. She whizzed by a small development of modern houses on the left hand side. They were white with newness but built in the traditional Highland style with two windows poking out of the roof. Then there was a little shop and café with a bright green sign on the right bearing the legend: The Quiach. Laura knew from her research into the traditions of the area that this meant ‘drinking cup’ in Gaelic.
‘How quaint!’ she said to herself.
Laura had been talking to herself throughout the trip to stave off the loneliness of her long journey. She drove on a few hundred yards and found what she was looking for on the left. She had arrived at last at the Cragganford Hotel. It was a large, straggling, stone-built Victorian building set straight on to the road.
Laura guided the 4 by 4 into the empty car park at the back and got out. She opened the boot and retrieved her pull along suitcase and dragged it along the tarmac and then back round to the front. She appraised the hotel façade critically. It didn’t look like the photos. In the images she had viewed online it had been high summer and the building had been covered in the rich red of Virginia Creeper. Now it was late October and there were no leaves on the branches stretching over the stonework. Laura suddenly became aware of the chill in the air and she hurried inside the imposing front door.
There was a little lobby where several people had left walking boots to dry off and then another door led to the bar. Laura strode purposefully through. There were no customers whatsoever and no sign of anyone working there. The room had an air of gloom. The bar stools in front of her looked like they were upholstered with actual offcuts of patterned carpet. Laura perched on one of these precariously and waited. Nobody came. Laura noticed a bell on the bar and she dinged it twice. A gaunt man appeared from the back and shuffled unsteadily towards her. He was middle aged with light brown wispy hair starting to bald on the top. Laura had the distinct impression he was slightly drunk from his wandering gait.
‘Hello. I’m Laura, the new owner. Pleased to meet you,’ she said and put out her hand towards him.
He eyed her hand with its perfectly manicured fingernails as if he wasn’t quite sure what it was for some moments and then shook it surprisingly firmly. Then he lowered his hand and stood surveying the room with an air of someone who was surprised to find himself there.
‘And you are?’ Laura enquired feeling shocked at his odd behaviour.
‘I’m Angus. Barman. At your service madam,’ he said in a singsong soft accent that Laura had never heard the like of before.
He continued just to stare, not smiling, not scowling and he didn’t offer her anything more. Laura could feel frustration rising within her but she pushed it down, determined to remain professional.
‘Look, I’ve been driving for a long time. Would it be possible to have some coffee?’
Without a word he disappeared into the back. Laura took the opportunity to appraise the bar. The gantry was filled with all kinds of whisky, too many to count. There were a couple of hand pumps for beers she hadn’t heard of and then an assortment of wine bottles on the back shelf. Multitudes of glass and metal beer tankards were hanging over the bar. The room was divided into two with a dining area at one end furthest away from the bar with little wooden tables and chairs and then the odd stools in a row on this side. The walls were decorated with old prints of grouse moorland scenes and portraits of spaniels. The paint was starting to peel away in the corners and cobwebs were lurking in the hard to reach places. There was a huge stone fireplace at one end but no fire was lit in it even though there was a pile of split logs at the side in a woven willow basket. Laura hadn’t realised that pubs like this still existed. Her heart began to sink but she told herself sternly that she wasn’t in London now. This was a lesson in how not to buy property. Laura had purchased the hotel on a whim without seeing it. This was risky but it had looked so perfect in the estate agent details and it had certainly been cheap. She hadn’t really been thinking straight at the time of the sale. Her thoughts had only been of escape. Things were going to be different up here from what she was accustomed to. She would just have to get used to it. Anyway, there was plenty of room for improvement.
She started making plans in her head for all the changes she could make. Laura was thinking rustic but modern. She imagined wooden benches at long oak tables with the kitchen on view from the dining area. The bar could be remodelled and offer a range of reasonably priced wines from all over the world and carefully chosen craft beers. She would keep the wide selection of whiskies, as this was Scotland after all. The fireplace looked historic so that could stay as well but with a welcoming fire roaring at all times of the winter months. The walls could be repainted with a simple classic off-white paint with oil paintings of seascapes to break up the expanse. Laura was roused from her thoughts by a young woman heading towards her from the kitchen area. The girl plonked the coffee rather too heavily on the bar in front of Laura and smiled widely.
‘Hi. I’m Amy. I’m kind of the chef and barmaid. Really I do a bit of everything,’ she said in an Australian accent.
Amy had long blonde hair she wore loose and a smile that radiated sunshine out of her young, pretty face.
‘Laura,’ said Laura and put out her hand towards Amy.
Amy looked surprised at the offer of a handshake as if people didn’t normally do this to her but she took Laura’s hand and shook it firmly, rather too firmly as if she were in a cartoon.
‘I’m the new owner. I’m glad you’re here. I’m sure you’ll be a great help to me in finding my feet. Angus seems a little bemused,’ said Laura.
‘Er, yeah, you could say that. He’s all right really. You’ll get used to us all I’m sure,’ said Amy. Then, she laughed nervously.
Laura drank her coffee with relief. It was just what she needed to perk herself up.
‘Is it possible to have any food?’ she asked Amy.
‘Sure thing. I’ll get you a menu,’ Amy said and disappeared again.
While waiting for her return Laura became aware of footsteps behind her. She turned around to see a tall, bulky man heading towards the bar. He was dressed head to foot in navy waterproofs and had a leather cowboy hat on his head that was dripping raindrops onto the floor. He was wearing black wellington boots that were caked in mud. He removed his hat as he approached to reveal blonde curly hair that was starting to thin and grey. His face was tanned brown and his eyes were watery blue. He had a wide nose that looked like it may have been broken at some time in the past. He was craggy, not quite good looking, and his face showed he was running to more fat than was good for him. He ignored Laura completely and banged his hand down heavily on the bar several times.
‘What do you need to do to get a drink round here? Amy!’ he shouted.
Amy returned looking unconcerned and gave Laura the menu. Then she poured the man a large whisky and a half beer and placed them on the bar in front of him.
‘Calm down Alban,’ she said, ‘you mad dog you.’
He grunted and took a swig of the whisky. He turned slightly and looked sideways at Laura with an expression of complete disgust and then headed off to the furthest part of the room where he sat down with his drinks and a newspaper he had fished from somewhere inside his coat. It was The Guardian, which seemed out of place with the rural ambience.
Laura was unsure if she should introduce herself to him or not. She decided against it and perused the menu. It was as basic as she had feared. You could have fish and chips, pie and chips, gammon and chips, steak and chips or a sandwich and chips. Laura sighed.
‘I’ll have steak and chips please, Amy. Medium rare,’ she said.
‘Coming right up,’ Amy said flashing her smile and then waggling off into the back.
Laura sipped her coffee and deliberately did not look at Alban in the corner. She bristled with irritation that he was so rude. People said Londoners were rude but this place was something else.
Thank goodness for Amy, the only human being in the place, she thought.
Laura placed changing the menu on her mental to do list. She had heard the west coast of Scotland had some amazing seafood: langoustines, lobster, crab and mussels. That should all be on offer here.
Angus appeared once again and stood dolefully in front of her, swaying back and forwards on his toes and heels. Laura ordered a glass of red wine from him. He didn’t give her a choice but brought back a large glass of what she guessed was Rioja. Actually, it wasn’t half bad and she felt relieved that at least this was something they had got right. She enjoyed the warm feeling it gave her as it slipped down her throat and started to relax a little.
The food arrived and looked better than Laura had expected. She picked up her plate and took it to one of the tables. Unfortunately, this was nearer to the glowering Alban but she didn’t want to eat at the bar. The tables had cutlery wrapped in red serviettes, red plastic place mats and little wooden crates with condiments in. The steak was cooked just how Laura liked it and the chips were thick and crispy. This was simple but good. Amy could cook at least. Laura felt sure she could persuade her into more adventurous dishes. While she was eating another customer appeared. He was another lone man but with a more amenable expression than Alban. In spite of his youth he was dressed in traditional tweedy country clothes and he had a collie dog with him. He nodded briefly towards Laura and Alban and then stood at the bar and nursing a pint. A little while later a group of tourists walked in and sat down to eat. They spoke to each other in German and smiled kindly at Laura. They drank beer and joked with each other, laughing loudly. Laura surmised they were the owners of the walking boots in the lobby. They were two couples approaching retirement. Laura envied them their easy friendship. After she had finished her meal she walked up to the bar and asked Amy to show her to her living quarters.
‘One minute,’ said Amy and disappeared into the back. She returned with a large bunch of keys and walked back out to the lobby, beckoning Laura to follow. They went out of another door and up some narrow stairs covered in threadbare tartan carpet. They walked down a long corridor lined with unremarkable country prints and then up a short flight of stairs. Amy struggled with the key in the lock of a cream coloured door and then managed to open it.
‘Here we go,’ she said, ‘This is yours. I’m just downstairs, the first door. Nobody else lives in. We only have four guests at the moment and they are downstairs as well, just along from me. You have this floor all to yourself.’
‘Thanks Amy. For everything,’ Laura said and squeezed Amy’s shoulder in friendship.
‘No worries. I’ll leave you to it. We shut the bar at eleven so I’ll lock up then. Just get some rest,’ she said and vanished.
Laura wandered around her new living space. She was right up in the eaves of the hotel in the attic rooms. They had sloping roofs and little windows looking out onto the road at the front. Opposite there was a field of sheep. Laura had never had a view of sheep before. It was strangely uplifting. There was a small sitting room and then a bedroom with an en-suite shower room and a tiny kitchen. The furnishings were ancient and couldn’t have been expensive even when they were new. Laura was determined to remain optimistic. She had some money over from the sale of her terrace in Dulwich which, in spite of its modest proportions, had shot up in value in recent years due to its location. She could buy a few things to brighten up her apartment. Everything would be fine. She managed to make herself a cup of tea in the kitchen. Everything had been just left as if somebody had walked out one day and not given a backward glance. Laura sat on the lumpy sofa and hugged her knees. In spite of the disappointment of the dilapidated surroundings she was still excited. There was potential here and Amy looked capable and might even be a potential friend and ally. There was an age difference between them but they could probably get on well together. She noticed it was pitch dark outside and drew the thin curtains together. It was eerily silent. She needed to distract herself from thoughts of the past so she unpacked and hung her few clothes in the post war utility wardrobe. More of her things were arriving by van probably tomorrow but she had left most of her possessions in London as this place had come fully furnished. Then she showered and rubbed herself vigorously. Laura found her laptop in the suitcase and fired it into life. There was no Wi-Fi signal. Damn. Another thing to sort out. She still needed to keep her mind of things so she flipped on the TV. The news came on. It was the very news programme she had worked on herself. She had been a highflying television journalist, top of her profession until her disgrace. There they all were, carrying on without her. She imagined the activity behind the scenes, the after work drinks, the friendships, the laughs. No, she refused to think about that time. She refused to think about Jacob. She switched over to a chat show. It was cosy and entertaining. She paused the show to ring Harry on her mobile. He answered quickly for once.
‘Hi mum, how’s it all going up there?’
‘Great. I’ve not been here long. The hotel’s a bit old-fashioned but there’s so much potential,’ said Laura.
‘Brilliant. I’m so pleased for you mum,’ said Harry.
‘You must come and visit soon. Promise you will,’ said Laura.
‘Of course. I’ll bring all my mates. We can surf. Do they do surfing in Scotland?’
‘I assume there’s surfing. There’s plenty of sea anyway. I think this hotel’s only ten minutes walk to a beach.’
‘Really. Wow. We’ll definitely come then. Can’t wait,’ said Harry.
‘Oh, I’m missing you such a lot. Remember to come soon,’ said Laura.
Anyway, I’ve got to go. There’s a party,’ said Jacob.
‘Oh that sounds fun. I’m glad you’re settled in so well. Speak soon. Love you,’ said Laura, trying to keep her disappointment at the cut short conversation out of her voice.
‘Love you mum,’ said Harry.
At least she still had Harry to love. Their relationship was still strong. It had become stronger during the supposed difficult teenage years rather than weaker. He was a good kid. Laura hoped they would be able to keep their bond now she was so far away up here.
She went back to watching TV. As time went on Laura felt her lids getting heavy. It was time for bed. She crawled under the duvet in the little bedroom. The bed was a small double and surprisingly soft. Grateful for this small mercy she nestled down for the night. She could hear owls hooting and then a strange sound in the distance almost like crying. It made her slightly nervous but she told herself firmly it was probably just animals or the wind. There was no sound of cars and Laura realised how much she had become used to the continual hum of traffic back in London.
Laura had arrived in Scotland.
Things could only get better.

Interview about Gateway into the Dark

Q: Why did you write Gateway into the Dark?

A: I became very interested in and of course appalled by the Syrian War. I wanted to write a novel that featured it somewhere. I was also interested in how Islam is perceived. I wanted to show the good side, how it can help someone on a personal level to live a good life but also the extremist side with the behaviour of ISIS.

 

Q: Tell me about the main character.

The story is seen through the eyes of Molly. She is a working class girl from Manchester who gets into university and then marries a Muslim man. I wanted to tell a story about someone who starts out poor. Marginalised people are almost never written about and I wanted to tell a story through one of them. I lived in Manchester for years when I was a teacher so I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the centre of the city.

Q: How did you research the novel?

The Manchester scenes were easy because I could write them from memory and mix in my own imagination. Syria was much harder as I’ve never been there. I did a lot of research on the internet and looked at videos and pictures to get a sense of the place. It is a very restricted view as Molly is a Muslim woman in a very controlled society so she does not see everything that happens.

Q: What genre is your novel?

I always find genre difficult as I don’t really write in genre. I just write about life and things that interest me. I have called it a romance as love does feature but then so does war and loss and religion. It has a lot of themes just like life itself. It’s definitely not a thriller. There is no daring do and not much action. I don’t write books like that. It is quite contemplative, particularly about spirituality and what it is to be a woman in modern society.  I wanted to make people think about the different facets of Islam and the experience of faith itself.945265338

Gateway into the Dark – New Novel

Buy it here

945265338

 

Molly is just an ordinary woman living in Manchester, England with her Muslim husband Taj. She wakes up one morning to find him gone. The horrible truth dawns on her. He has left for Syria to join the Islamic State. What is she to do? Should she follow him to try to bring him back?

This is a novel about eternal themes: love, loss and love discovered once again against the brutal backdrop of war. It is also a quiet contemplation on a woman’s growing Islamic faith. Not the usual romance.

On being a new Christian

I have been a Christian for about two months now. I got a real high at first when I was filled with the Holy Spirit on the Alpha Course but it hasn’t lasted. I have been studying the Bible, praying and going to Church. My moods have been up and down. In general, I really like having a structure to my life. I think I need a framework to hang things on and Christianity has certainly given me that.

I am fully aware of my many faults and failings and I am working on them daily. I have learned to speak in tongues which I am quite ambivalent about. I use it sometimes to pray and it comes out as song which is quite beautiful and joyful. I feel like I am worshipping God through it though I have no idea what I am saying. The nonsense language aspect of it is the bit that bothers me.

My main problem has been with the Church I have been attending. It is charismatic and evangelical and the service is quite American in style in my view. There is a lot of arm waving and crying out. The services are mostly the pastor speaking and the Bible is referred to briefly. Leaders from the congregation are invited to preach and sometimes there are visiting preachers. The songs are modern. There is a prayer team who lay hands on people at the end and pray for them. There is a great emphasis on emotion and I have  found myself crying many times.

In spite of the un-Britishness of it all I was just about coping and I did feel God was at work in the Church. The thing that bothers me the most is the words of knowledge. These are supposed snippets of information from God, often though not always about the future. A section of the service is handed over for this. People go to the front and announce their words of knowledge. Last week it was all quite innocuous about bad backs and changing jobs and so on. It may be harmless but it worries me that these messages are said to come from God. How does anyone actually know?

This week was the final straw for me. There were three baptisms of teenagers. After they were dunked in the tub their faces were really joyful so that was a lovely thing to see. They were given ‘words of knowledge’ saying things like they were flowers just about to open. All inspirational and fine and dandy.

We went back to the main hall and two of the congregation were preaching. All they were really doing were giving words of knowledge. Somebody was told they had leadership qualities and I can’t remember the others. Then the female turned to me. I was picked out as the lady with the tartan scarf. Then I was harangued for five full minutes. I was accused of not giving my burdens to Jesus. I was informed in a raised voice that Jesus is not in his grave but is alive today so why don’t I accept him? I had already accepted Jesus a month previously so I had no idea what this tirade was about or why it was being addressed to me. Her face was full of malevolence. I could feel the tears pouring down my face. Everyone else gets beautiful flowers opening and I get this. I must be a black hearted sinner indeed.

I was in shock afterwards and for the rest of the day. I won’t be going back to that Church. As far as I can see this is bullying. It could happen again or to anyone at any time. As a fragile new Christian I really don’t need this approach. Even my novice reading of the Bible has taught me that words of knowledge are controversial and should be tested. Parts of the Bible warn against them. Parts seem to condone them. Such is the Bible.

I have contacted another Church, a local abbey. I will be going there next Sunday. It will be full High Church Mass and all the trimmings. I’m hoping nobody will see the need to shame me from the pulpit.

I am sad as I shall miss some of the lovely people I have met but I have learned to protect myself by now.

Goodbye to all that.

PSYCHOANALYSIS

 

Discuss one Theory used in Psychotherapy

 

 

Lynn Matheson

This paper will discuss psychoanalysis. It is both a therapeutic technique and a theory of mind. Psychoanalysis is important, as it is the founding theory behind psychotherapy. What psychoanalysis is will be examined, the theory behind the method, and how psychoanalytic ideas have changed over time as well as its purpose and goals. Its influence on more modern psychotherapy theories will be detailed. Finally, its usefulness in the modern day will be discussed and it will be argued that it still has value.

 

Firstly, what is psychoanalysis? In classical psychoanalysis two people – the patient and the psychoanalyst meet as much as five times a week at set times usually for fifty minutes each time. The patient lies on a couch and the analyst sits behind him without eye contact. The patient says whatever comes to mind. This is known as free association. The analyst is often silent but not passive. The aim is to act as a catalyst, clarifying and interpreting what is said. This exploration of the mind can bring about lasting change for the patient leading to improved mental health (Pick 2015).

 

Secondly, the theory that led to this method of therapy will be examined. Psychoanalysis was developed by Freud (1856-1939) in Vienna. Freud referred to his method as the ‘talking cure’ and he used it with his patients, who had been diagnosed with hysteria, beginning in the 1880s. These patients were suffering from psychological stress which affected their physical as well as mental health. His theory used empirical data from case studies of his patients, most famously Anna O, as he referred to one of them (Pick 2015). The main idea developed was that thoughts can exist of which we are unconscious. This unconscious is dynamic, full of conflicting forces trying to gain access to consciousness and ego defences preventing such access (Eagle 2018). Freud (1920) provided evidence for these unconscious processes from slips of the tongue, which reveal hidden intentions, as well as dreams. Freud (1920) also finds evidence of a sort from fantasies, or as he refers to them phantasies, which are disguised fulfilments of instinctual wishes. Listening to his patients led Freud to develop the concept of transference; baggage from the past is brought into present relationships. Patients can transfer feelings onto the analyst, which are really meant for someone else.

 

Freud believed that his patients repressed thoughts of unbearable early memories. Many patients described experiences of childhood sexual abuse often from family members. Freud later came to doubt that these were always real events but could be fears or fantasies. Freud held that children feel both hate and love for their parents and this leads to ambivalence which is necessary to separate from them to gain a sense of identity (Pick 2015). These ideas led to Freud developing the famous Oedipus Complex which includes: universal incestuous wishes towards the opposite sex parent and hostile wishes towards the same sex parent, the incest taboo, and choice of mate based on parental templates. How the individual resolves these conflicts determines their psychological development. The infant goes through stages of psychosexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. People can become fixated which means they are stuck at one stage of development (Eagle 2018). Freud conceptualised the conflict between immediate gratification and the need to delay gratification as one between the pleasure principle and the reality principle. This leads to Freud’s model of the mind involving the superego (largely unconscious reproaches), the ego (mediates internal and external reality), and the id (unconscious instinctual urges and passions which can erupt and overtake us). Analysis can strengthen the ego and make the superego and the id less destructive. A very critical superego can lead to feelings of worthlessness and abjection (Pick 2015).

 

The concept of defence is also central to psychoanalysis. This occurs when there is an incompatibility between the ego and an idea presented to it. These unacceptable thoughts are banished from consciousness by an act of will; they are repressed. Not all Freud’s ideas concerned sex. He also believed in the death drive: a tendency to self-destruction and also aggression towards others. Coping with these internal and external forces leads to anxiety. The process of analysis between the analyst and patient can lead to a release of these conflicts and an understanding of them, which can provide relief for the patient, and a lessening of their ‘hysterical’ symptoms. Many of Freud’s patients reported an improvement in their conditions but the treatment was not always successful (Pick 2015).

 

Next, how psychoanalytic theory has changed over time will be examined. Freud himself did not have static ideas but changed and developed his ideas over the course of his life. Freud worked with other psychoanalysts but many disagreed with many of his ideas and split from him and developed their own theories. Jung diverged from Freud and introduced a spiritual dimension (cited in Pick 2015). Adler and Klein (cited in Pick 2015) also split off from Freud. Klein did a lot of work with children and developed a theory of the relational dimension of the mind. Hartmann (cited in Pick 2015) developed ego psychology and became convinced that the ego could operate conflict free with the help of analysis. This view was also held by Anna Freud (cited in Pick 2015). Lacan (cited in Pick 2015) was interested in words and felt that the ego is constituted by our relationships to our own images. We are involved in a constant searching for others. Winnicott (cited in Pick 2015) became interested in the primacy of the relationship between mother and infant and developed the idea of the good enough mother. Bion (cited in Pick 2015) was interested in work with groups and introduced the concept of projective identification. Less desirable qualities in ourselves are projected onto others. Ferenczi (cited in Pick 2015) was concerned that there should be more warmth in the analyst. Psychoanalysis has developed differently in different countries. Currently it is in decline due to the rise in popularity of other therapies (Pick 2015).

 

In spite of this decline there are still practitioners today working as psychoanalysts though many do not fully accept all of Freud’s ideas. What remains accepted is that our behaviour, thoughts and feelings are influenced by factors outside of our conscious awareness and that we do indulge in defences and self-deceptions. These illusions protect our self-image. There is also much evidence supporting the idea of unconscious mental processing. However, there is not much evidence for Freud’s notion of a dynamic unconscious as a seething mass of primal desires. The unconscious in modern research is seen as consisting of internal working models which are acquired in childhood and can be difficult to change. There is little evidence for a universal Oedipus complex or that it has a role in psychological development. Modern psychoanalysts have reconceptualised this as a tension between the regressive lure of identification with the caregiver and the progressive urge for separation. How these tensions are resolved are important for healthy psychological development. Research evidence has provided support for viewing delay of gratification, affect regulation and executive functions as concerning the adequacy of an individual’s ego functions. In essence, modern psychoanalysis has moved from seeing psychopathology as resulting from repressed conflictual wishes and impulses towards seeing it as early acquisition of maladaptive representations. It is not always necessary to become aware of one’s representations and their influence on behaviour but these representations can be altered through the therapeutic relationship itself without interpretation. Therapy can provide emotional correction. However, it still seems that self-knowledge can be important in becoming a healthy individual (Eagle 2018).

 

Psychoanalysis has been criticised for lacking scientific rigour. It cannot be falsified. Freud only used a small sample of patients to generate his theories so they cannot be generalised to all human beings (Joseph 2010). However, Bergin (1971, cited in Lambert 2013) found that 80 % of patients undergoing psychoanalysis showed significant improvement, which suggests this style of therapy can have considerable value.

Next, the purpose and goals of psychoanalysis will be examined. The goal is better mental health by a patient understanding his or her neuroses. Freud’s patients often had physical symptoms such as paralysis. Through ‘working through’ how neuroses have developed through talking about painful memories and thoughts the patient can be helped to understand the condition and resolve it. Formerly unconscious material is brought into conscious awareness and reintegrated into the total structure of the personality. Symptoms are seen as having a psychological rather than a physical cause (Joseph 2015).

 

This paper has chosen to concentrate on psychoanalysis, as it is important as the founding father of psychotherapy. It brings in the notion that psychological processes rather than biological processes can sometimes result in psychological problems. Freud was the first to point out that unconscious motives and defence mechanisms influence behaviour and that early childhood experiences influence adult personality. The idea of transference is utilised by many therapists today.

 

Finally, other modern psychotherapy techniques will be examined to tease out the influence of psychoanalysis on them. Many modern therapists refer to themselves as psychodynamic. These therapists use many of the techniques of psychoanalysis but they have adapted them to a modern context. It is not considered necessary to see the therapist as much as five times a week and most have abandoned the couch and will sit face to face with the patient. They are more likely to intervene in the interaction in order to help the patient. Psychodynamic techniques like this are still recommended for some cases of depression and schizophrenia. They can also be useful for clients wanting to develop interpersonal skills, to enhance self-understanding and overcome self-defeating behaviour (Joseph 2010). Modern psychodynamic therapists do not usually support all of Freud’s ideas but will still work with inner conflict and transference to help their patients.

 

Humanistic approaches to psychotherapy emerged in the middle of the twentieth century. They were a reaction against the pessimistic view of human nature painted by psychoanalysis in which people are selfish, driven by sexual and aggressive impulses. The humanistic approach sees human nature as essentially positive and emphasises choices, values and purpose. Carl Rogers (1902-1987) is one of its most well known proponents. He developed the person-centred approach. The foundation of the theory is the actualizing tendency, which is a natural force in people directed towards constructive growth and development. This tendency in a child is thwarted by an internalized belief that he must please others. The therapist provides a supportive environment where the client can become their actualized self. This approach can be seen as a radical departure from the ideas of psychoanalysis. However, its echoes can still be felt. Person centred therapy is still a talking therapy and events in childhood are given prominence. Not much research has been done on the effectiveness of this therapy but some work has suggested it is just as effective as other forms (Joseph 2010).

 

Another humanistic approach is Perl’s Gestalt therapy. The client experiences the total configuration of who they are. It emphasises choice and responsibility. It is a more confrontational approach than that of Rogers, encouraging the client to heighten their emotions. Little research has been done into the effectiveness of Gestalt (Joseph 2010). Its emphasis on the here and now suggests a clear break with the approach of psychoanalysis.

 

Berne (Joseph 2010) introduced a form of humanistic counselling called transactional analysis. This approach assumes people are ‘ok’. The therapist values and esteems the client. Each person can make decisions about their life and the way they think is their own choice. It is closer than the other humanistic approaches to psychoanalysis and can be seen as a development of this theory as Berne himself trained in psychoanalysis. Berne developed a model of the mind consisting of the child, the parent and the adult. In many ways this model echoes Freud’s ideas of the id, ego and superego. The approach also echoes the Freudian idea that problems have their roots in childhood.

 

The transpersonal approach is associated with Maslow. He saw human beings as striving to achieve their potential. Maslow described a hierarchy of human needs with physical needs such as food at the bottom and self-actualisation at the top. Actualized individuals are self-directed, creative and independent. Self-actualized individuals can have peak experiences, which transcend ordinary human consciousness and can be regarded as spiritual in nature. This approach has little in common with Freud. There has not been much research into the effectiveness of the transpersonal approach (Joseph 2010).

 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a widely used approach used today both in the NHS and in private practice. This is a merging of cognitive and behaviourist ideas about the human mind. The approach works on changing a client’s behaviour and the way they think about themselves through checking their internal dialogue and removing negative, critical thoughts. Much research has backed up this approach and it has gained respectability by adopting psychiatric language. However, it has been criticised for being overly simplistic with scientific experiments not always relevant to complex, intractable problems of patients (Smail 1996, cited in Joseph 2010). This approach with its emphasis on the present shows a resounding rejection of the ideas of psychoanalysis.

 

Now, psychoanalysis in the present day will be examined. Classical psychoanalysis as described by Freud is rare today. It is still possible to train in at various institutions around the world. As the client is required to come for sessions as much as five times a week and the therapy can go on for years it remains too expensive, time consuming and impractical for many people. Many of Freud’s key ideas have also been severely criticised as having no scientific basis. As a result of this psychoanalysis is in decline. It survives in private practice and is rarely used in the NHS, which is constrained by economic factors. It has been overtaken in popularity by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. However, it still survives in modified form in psychodynamic therapies in private practice. Many psychodynamic practitioners use psychoanalytic ideas of unconscious conflicts and transference in their work. They may follow other theorists more closely than Freud but who are still within the analytic tradition such as Jung, Klein, Adler and Erikson. This kind of approach can still be useful for deep-seated depression, which has not responded to other techniques. Modern therapy is moving towards an integrative approach where the therapist uses what works best for the client. In this way, psychoanalytic ideas still survive (Joseph 2010).

 

 

This paper has examined psychoanalysis discussing what it is, its purpose and goals and its influence on other psychotherapies. It has been seen that its legacy has been great though it is currently in decline. Psychoanalytic ideas have been much criticised but many practitioners have found their use in therapy to be beneficial in helping patients. New research into the effectiveness of different approaches may well show that psychoanalytic ideas still have value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Eagle, M. N. (2018) Core Concepts in Classical Psychoanalysis Abingdon: Routledge

 

Freud, S. (1920) A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis New York: Boni and Liveright

 

Joseph, S. (2010) Theories of Counselling and Psychotherapy Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Lambert, M.J. (2013) ‘Outcome in Psychotherapy: The Past and Important Advances’ Psychotherapy American Psychological Association, Vol. 50, No. 1, 42–51

Pick, D. (2015) Psychoanalysis A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I know we are all tired of resolutions and I have failed to keep many in the past but I still need goals so here are mine.

 

1 Read the Bible every day

2 Pray every day in English and in tongues.

3 Meditate every day

4 Find out all I can about different mental health therapies  by reading and having therapy. Choose one that works for me

5 Diligently work on my hypnotherapy training and become qualified in it.

6 Diligently work on my MSc Psychology and complete the first module.

7 Do not drink alcohol

8 Do not eat meat

9 Attend the Alive Church every week and decide if it is the right Church for me.

10 Find paid employment.

11 Do voluntary work.

12 Find out all I can about Christianity by reading and talking to other Christians.

13 Rework my second book and self publish it.

14 Start and complete a third novel.

15 Increase my social circle.

How not to get your Book Edited

So having failed to get an agent for my second novel I thought I would enlist some help in the shape of an editor. Not knowing where to turn I tried The Writer’s Workshop.

I got the manuscript back after a few weeks. I was quite horrified by the comments of the editor. I know there are things wrong with my novel but I wasn’t prepared for the total decimation that happened. She didn’t like anything about my book at all. She didn’t like the beginning. She didn’t like the middle. She didn’t like the end. She didn’t like the characters. She didn’t like the dialogue. She didn’t like the story. She seemed to have expected it to be some kind of tacky thriller with lots of edge of the seat action. This couldn’t be further from the kind of book I was trying to write. It is a book about a girl’s discovery of faith through Islam and what love is and what it is not.  I don’t want to write thrillers. The advice was full of patronising comments. At one point she tells me the plot of Cinderella. It’s the kind of writing advice you would give to a class of ten year olds. I know because I used to do that for a living. There was a whole segment about the plots of various books which I feel sure I have read somewhere before, probably in a book about novel writing. So she had lifted her advice straight from someone else.

A quick google gave me the information that my experienced editor and agent was in fact someone who only started writing in 2014. They had one novel published which sounded deathly dull middle class home counties fare. She had failed to get a publisher for her second one so had self-published and had set up her own publisher to publish the third one. Hardly experienced. I felt I had been misled by the kind of editor I would get. Her main achievement on her web page seemed to have been home schooling her children. She also had the cheek to put a blatant ad for her book on the end of the email.

I felt angry and then I just felt sad. I can hardly bear to look at my book now. There is an art to giving feedback. When I was a teacher however pitiful the child’s offering I always found something positive to say first. I thought the Writers’ Workshop was about nurturing new writers. Assassination is not nurturing.

I was advised to read On Writing by Stephen King and go on a course run by their company. I have nothing against Stephen King but I don’t particularly like his novels and I don’t want to write like him. It seems to me everyone is now writing the same kind of books because they have all been on the same courses and read the same advice. It’s all so boring. I haven’t read a really good book in ages.

I would not advise anyone to use the Writers’ Workshop but to find an editor by other means that at least gets what you are trying to do to some extent.

I will probably just self publish my book as it’s not commercial. Then I will have  a go at another one. I doubt I will ever land an agent.

I must go on…

Trying to get a Book Deal

So I kind of almost finished my second novel and tried again to get an agent. I sent off the first three chapters and the synopsis and cover letter as advised by all the sites. I chose the agents from the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Yet again I failed to get any interest.

I did think this novel was better than my first one. I wrote the most powerful opening I could manage but still not a spark of interest. I tried to be more commercial and fit into a genre. Yet again I failed. The rejection letters are generic and just mention the huge amount of submissions they get. I realise I am wasting my time.

It is hard to keep positive in this situation especially as the British winter has set in with its usual viciousness and we have nothing but damp and cold. I am fighting off my depression like St George with the dragon.

I now don’t know what to do. I could try rewriting my novel completely or I could tart it up a bit and self-publish.

I don’t think if I keep reworking it that it will ever be finished.

So here I am again.

Going on.