On the 15th April, TAP Co-Chair Andrew Wilcox greeted members and guests at TAP’s new venue of the Friends Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. After Andrew’s welcoming words it was sad to hear that TAP’s 2016 Spring Conference has had to be cancelled owing to slow ticket sales and the financial climate. However it was stressed that TAP would be back in the future with a new conference.
The evening’s guest speaker was Terry Davey, who is an experienced Integrative Body Psychotherapist in private practice in Bristol and co-founder of the Fulcrum House Therapy Centre. His presentation, entitled `Transformational Change Through Memory Reconsolidation` centred around `Coherence Therapy` which helps the client to get in touch with hidden, core areas of meaning and feeling that are generating the presenting symptom or problem.
The difference between `Counteractive Change` where the client has simply learnt to live with the problem but is in danger of relapse in times of stress and `Transformational Change’ where change is deep and permanent was explained to the audience.
Originally called Depth Oriented Brief Therapy, Coherence Therapy was developed by Bruce Ecker and Laurel Hulley in the 1990s who questioned why Transformational Change happened after years instead of months or weeks.
The audience heard about the principles of Neuroplasticity and Memory Reconsolidation and with the aid of case studies, Terry demonstrated how a clients `old learning` of deep seated beliefs about himself perpetuated present psychological issues. When this disconfirming knowledge was identified, `new learning` dissolved the old neural circuits and created new pathways.
The meeting was told how therapists need extensive training to be able work with Coherence Therapy, but once trained they can work effectively within a limited timeframe. Terry’s enthusiasm for Coherence Therapy was evident and he concluded his presentation with the observation `It’s the best`.
The next TAP talk will be on 17th June at the Friends Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. See our Talks page for more detail
On 19 Feb a substantial audience braved a cold and damp evening to welcome back Matthew Appleton to TAP for a third time. His talk entitled `The lifelong consequences of obstetric interventions` centred on babies’ awareness both in the womb and after their birth together with the Obstetric Interventions they might experience and the long term effects of these.
Matthew emphasised that he was not anti intervention but suggested that we don’t realise how our lives are shaped by them. Surprising the meeting at the outset with the knowledge that our accepted basic position for childbirth is not the best for baby, Matthew stressed that babies are more aware and sensitive than we believe. The audience was unsettled to hear that until the 1980’s it was common practice for some medical procedures to be done without anaesthetic because it was believed very young babies didn’t feel pain.
A widely held belief that we are unable to remember our own birth is not shared by Matthew, who spoke of implicit memory and the imprint on our nervous system and stress patterns in the soft tissues of our bodies of a traumatic birth.
The effects of drugs on the baby to induce birth were explored and also the use of anaesthetics, forceps, ventouse vacuum assisted delivery and caesarean section which can be extremely traumatic. With the aid of a model pelvis and baby, Mathew demonstrated the effects of birth on a baby, described the pain and trauma it goes through and the uncertainty it feels that it will survive the process.
All this was all in sharp contrast to a film of a pygmy woman who gave birth in a forest, in a more natural position of letting gravity help, which resulted in a smoother, gentler transition.
See Matthew's talk slides HERE
The next talk will be by Terry Davey on 15 April 2016 entitled `Transformational Change Through Memory Reconsolidation` and will be held at the new venue of the Friends Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, Taunton, TA1 4EP.
On January 24th TAP welcomed their council member Ian Stevenson to talk about the Context of Management and the impact on therapy in clients referred through Employee Assistant Programmes (EAPs). He spoke about common concerns these clients present with, concerns that leave him wondering about the influence of constant changes in management and economics. With key performance indicators, management by target, as well as fear and loss of work stability for employees, it is more difficult to prevent mental health issues.
The main pressures on clients are constant change to zero hour and/or short term contracts which cause anxiety. Micro management with constant auditing, fear of sanctions and less creativity, build resentment and this fear can affect self-esteem. An increased workload with reduced staffing and a lack of dialogue with management at all levels leads to increased stress levels and an impact on home life, so people learn to stay silent or risk losing their job.
Richard Murphy’s book The Joy of Tax highlights how some large well-known companies avoid tax, a subject which has recently been in the media. These companies’ actions increase the sense of unfairness for the majority of the workforce. Paul Hogget writes of the increased paperwork, care plans, assessments and standardisation in all areas of life that lead to lack of personal encounter between two separate people. For client work this may mean being shown how to be ‘bullet proof’ to survive. Our dilemma is ‘What should our response be?’ do we ‘patch ‘em up and send ‘em back’, trying to cope in this ever changing world; or should we challenge the pathology of the system rather than the person? We are left to debate this statement.
Our next talk is 19th February 2016 when Matthew Appleton will talk about the Life Long Consequences of Obstetric Interventions at Birth. The talk will start at 7.45pm at Taunton United Reform Church, Paul Street. All welcome
Despite being a wet and blustery evening on 20 November, a sizeable audience greeted Anne Stokes for her much anticipated talk about online counselling. Encouraging interaction and questions from the audience as she spoke, Anne explained that only as far back as the year 2000 she considered herself to be a `Luddite` in the world of computing. With online counselling still in its infancy, Anne ventured into this new world as a client, in the real hope that it would fail and prove right her own belief that it was unworkable, however she found it was `brilliant` and so was completely hooked.
It was explained that modern on-line counselling encompasses almost any form of Internet technology, including text, voice and video and a brief history of this was offered to the audience. It could be said that non-face to face counselling started with Sigmund Freud who often counselled by letter, but it was in the 1960’s that real development occurred with Eliza, a computer program which simulated a therapist. The USA, Australia and Israel moved forward with this work and in the early 1990’s some UK Universities produced hit and miss results in this field. In later years the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Universities and the NHS all gave respectability to this area of work.
Practical advantages attached to online counselling include the ability to work with people abroad, those who may have irregular working hours and people with transport problems or caring roles. Pitfalls might be seen as possible breaches in online security, which might compromise confidentiality and the need by the therapist to convey his or her understanding to the client through words alone. Anne stressed that she was not advocating the phasing out of face to face counselling or claiming online counselling is better or in fact worse but just that it is different.
Anne’s interesting and informative talk ended with a lively question and answer session, culminating in a warm round of applause following the vote of thanks given by TAP council member David Trott.
The next meeting of TAP is in the New Year, on Friday January 22nd, when Ian Stevenson will give a Talk entitled “Ticking the boxes – the context of 21st Century Management”. Venue : Taunton United Reformed Church, Paul Street, Taunton TA1 3PF @ 7.45 pm.