This year saw the first of , hopefully, many TAP Christmas get-togethers combining festivities with a talk of general interest.
Write-up by Sarah Kay-Hawker
‘Death, Disease and Dissection’: The working life of surgeon-apothecaries – our earliest GPs
This short talk gave a mulled punch wielding festive audience a change of genre in the TAP talk programme. Suzie Grogan, the TAP administrator revealed herself as a talented, knowledgeable author and diligent researcher with a thought provoking presentation on early medical practice. Suzie has been a keen professional writer for the past nine or ten years. Hot off the back of her appearance at a literary festival, Suzie was ready to guide us through a fascinating, if uncomfortable at times, journey through some (probably) well intentioned gory bits of history. She was inspired to write the book by her love for the life and works of the poet John Keats, who trained as a doctor in the early 19th century.
We learned that during the 1750s and 1850s, there was still much to learn; anaesthetic and antiseptic were yet to be discovered in a way that we would recognise.
During this period there existed a definite social hierarchy in the medical profession. There was an absence of women in the field. They were actively discouraged and their interventions were restricted to ‘wise women and witches’. Broadly speaking practitioners were split into three groups:
The physician, dealing mainly with external presentation of ailments and were unlikely to actually touch the patient, other than hand holding…
The surgeon, the next social class down, concentrated on the internal (messy).
The Apothecary, the least socially successful, described as the ‘doctor to the poor’, able to mix potions and prescriptions to treat a variety of discomforts.
Medical progress took the times from animal dissection toward human dissection. This created greater demand for bodies, an increase in body snatching, grave robbery and on to practicing on the poor and criminal with the additional benefit of being a crime deterrent.
Details and description of practices through history are well documented in Suzie Grogan’s book.
The talk was followed by a lively social gathering over some excellent and diverse festive refreshments.
TAP also announced first details of the Spring Conference, to take place at Taunton Racecourse on 14th April 2014, when Nick Totton will speak on the theme ‘We are all body psychotherapists’. See our Conference page for full details.
Suzie has three published books to her name:
1. Dandelions and bad hair days
2. Shell Shocked Britain:The First World War's legacy for Britain's mental health
3. Death, Disease and Dissection: The working life of a surgeon-apothecary 1750-1850
She has now been commissioned to write two more - one on the poet John Keats...
A capacity audience gathered together at the Friends Meeting House on 17th November to welcome back Paul Sunderland, a very popular speaker for TAP members and guests.
Paul treated us to some thought provoking insights into ‘Boarding School Syndrome and Recovery – When Privilege is Trauma for the Early Boarder.'
Paul originally trained as an addictions counsellor, moving to senior positions in residential treatment settings and then into private practice.
As the evening’s talk progressed it became apparent that there was a theme running that also ran through a Saturday workshop that Paul put on for TAP in October. The theme was one of ‘self-soothing’ behaviours which may bring survivors into therapy.
For the young child the moment of leaving home for boarding school is the beginning of an episode of adaption. There may be tension between the idea of privilege – ‘aren’t you lucky’ and the reality of life in ‘captivity’ with no care giver present and little privacy. Being unhappy and not feeling fortunate are a good mix to promote feelings of shame in the child. Guilt and shame make up some of the foundation for self-soothing (addictive?) behaviours to take hold as the child finds an often arid environment in which to share feelings.
Boarders and adoptees are over-represented in treatment and recovery services. Do we recognise PTSD in early boarders?
Neuroscience tells us that early experiences shape the brain. Experience is the architect of the brain. If the 7 year old learns to keep themselves to themselves, the pattern will stick.
Boarding schools began around 500 years ago preparation for empire. Graduates would be less likely to miss home.
There exists an ambiguity; socially we may consider it a tragedy when a child is taken into care, but not into boarding school.
A grateful vote of thanks and applause brought the talk to a close, but not the evening. The discussion continued over fresh coffee, various teas and some very lovely biscuits.
The next talk will be on 8th December, alongside a Christmas social event to which everyone is invited! £5 on the door, free to TAP members. Hear Suzie Grogan (a sell-out at the recent Taunton Literary Festival) give a 30 minute talk about Death Disease & Dissection – a Horrible History of medicine for grown-ups.
On 15 September the greatly anticipated presentation by Cathy Towers entitled `Filthy Lucre – Therapists Relationship with Money` took place at the Friends Meeting House, Taunton and as expected attracted a large audience. Cathy is a Workshop Leader and Speaker and Mind and Body Therapist with over 30 years experience and is based in the Exmouth area.
Cathy began her talk with a classic pop song extolling the virtues of money and with the distribution of chocolate coins. This quickly moved into Freud’s obsession with his poorhouse neurosis and his strict viewpoint on charging for his services. The audience heard how in modern times, the therapist’s relationship with money is often fraught and so requires the therapist to make decisions on charging based on a clear, coherent and consistent rational.
Cathy explained how she used to rent out rooms to therapists, only to find that they would put in their leaflets and just wait for something to happen. Because they had not addressed the issue of marketing or constructed a viable business plan, many of these enterprises were doomed to failure. With quite a brave change of policy, Cathy began to turn down many of the applications for rooms and instead started to have people that she felt had thoroughly researched their venture. However this initially resulted in a drastic plummeting of her income.
The question of a free counselling service was addressed and the audience heard how at one point Cathy worked for such an agency. Even though there was no charge, attendance was poor with only 70% of clients actually keeping their appointments. This changed significantly however, when a fee was introduced and attendance increased to 90%. This shift appears to indicate the lack of accountability attached to pro bona work.
Interacting with the audience, Cathy explored attitudes to money and found it can represent success, freedom and can enhance self esteem. The downside was seen as shame, either at having too much or too little. The talk concluded with the audience dividing themselves into three groups – those who regard themselves as charging averagely, higher than average and those below the average. This exercise, although light-hearted, focused many on their own charging structure.
Tea and coffee was served following a vote of thanks by TAP Council member David Trott and a warm round of applause acknowledged an enjoyable and educational presentation by Cathy.
The next TAP Talk takes place on Friday 20 October when Lisa Foote speaks on the subject of `Looking Beyond labels – Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder. However, before then TAP has a Saturday workshop on 7 October when Paul Sunderland presents `An Introduction to Modern Addictions: The Financial, Work, Sex and Love Addictions. How do they work and how can we treat them? To book a place at this rare event, please phone 01823 661601
TAP Talk 16/8/17 - A new approach to healing the past. An introduction to Pesso Boyden psychotherapy by Matthew Harwood
TAP members and guests gathered at the Friends Meeting House in Taunton on Friday 16th June 2017 to hear a thoroughly engaging presentation: ‘A new approach to healing the past. An introduction to Pesso Boyden psychotherapy.’
The presenter was Matthew Harwood, a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Bath and Bristol. He enviably trained at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich. More recently he has undertaken training on Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems (IFS).
Matthew described having a healing experience during a CPD Pesso Boyden workshop and was inspired to develop his knowledge and application.
Pesso Boyden therapy began life thanks to Albert Pesso and Diane Boyden, a married couple from the USA, now sadly deceased. Interestingly they were originally both dancers and then dance teachers. It became apparent to them that some dancers appeared blocked from performing a full range of movements, hampered by past trauma.
The approach is not well known in the UK, but the couple developed and evolved the approach over 50 years, together and then just Albert after his wife died.
So, what is the aim of Pesso Boyden Psychotherapy? In keeping with other approaches; ‘to help us become who we really are.’
Mainly a group work approach differing significantly from other therapy group processes, it concentrates on an individual in the group, with other members role playing and bearing witness to the evolution of healing the individual’s past.
The approach can be used in a one to one setting too, although slightly less common, with the facilitator assuming the witness roles.
The audience was fascinated by a series of chronological video clips charting the process in action.
It is generally accepted that the roots of trauma lie in early life and we are born with a genetic expectation that our basic needs will be met by loving care givers. The Peso Boyden approach works towards supplementing memory experiences, not cancellations. It is the protagonist that does the work.
The speaker emphasised to the audience that the best way to understand Pesso Boyden, is to have the experience.
An engaged and enthusiastic audience was represented by a vote of thanks on behalf of the TAP Committee.
The next TAP Talk takes place after our summer break, on 15th September 2017, when psychotherapist Cathy Towers will speak on the subject 'Filthy Lucre - Therapists' Relationship with Money'.
TAP Council member
'The Phone Call From Hell` - the therapist’s reaction to when a sex offender calls - A TAP Talk by Juliet Grayson
Report by David Trott Tap Council Member.
On 14 October, TAP members and guests had another opportunity to expand their own Continuing Professional Development when Juliet Grayson presented her talk entitled `The Phone Call From Hell` - the title reflecting a Therapist’s possible reaction to when a sex offender calls.
Juliet is co-founder and chair of StopSo (Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending) which is a not for profit organisation that is working to stop sexual offending through therapy. StopSo has formed a nationwide network of therapists who are trained to work with anyone who is concerned about their sexual behaviour and feels that they may be at risk of committing a sexual offence, or re-offending.
Although hugely busy with StopSo, Juliet explained that her main work as a psychotherapist lies with couples who are experiencing sexual problems in their relationship. She is also an accomplished author and one of the most experienced practitioners of Pesso Boyden System Psychotherapy in the UK.
The evening commenced with some audience participation in the form of a quiz entitled `Sex, Statistics and the Law`. This gave participants the opportunity to test themselves in current law with regard to sexual offending in the UK. The cleverly compiled twenty questions produced some head scratching and a few surprises when the correct answers were revealed. This resulted in the mild suspicion that there were possibly some gaps in the audience’s knowledge.
Later a video of Dr James Cantor, who is a Canadian clinical psychologist and sexologist was shown. In this, he discusses the work which has been done to understand the minds of paedophiles as well as some common physical characteristics, such as lower IQ, left handedness and below average height.
Juliet revealed that there are only around 86,000 places in UK prisons and so it’s not possible to incarcerate every offender. This simple fact highlighted the value of the work of StopSo and other similar organisations in this field.
The slides from Juliet's presentation are available to download HERE.
Tea and coffee were served afterwards which gave everyone the chance to discuss and reflect on yet another superb presentation. The next TAP Talk is on18 November when Dr Sue Whitcombe presents Smoke Without Fire: The challenges of identifying and working with Parental Alienation. All are very welcome.
Extra chairs were needed on 16 September to accommodate a pleasing number of TAP members and guests to a presentation entitled `Understanding and Recognising Sex Addiction` by Nick Turner. Nick is a Sexual & Relationship Psychotherapist and Sex Addiction Therapist and explained that his work encompasses clients of all social differences, ages and genders.
The audience heard how sex addiction is defined as any sexual activity that is used to modulate emotion and which `feels` out of control with an inability to stop or stay stopped, despite significant harmful consequences. It’s also seen as an unhealthy relationship with a mood-altering experience, however it was stressed that it is not the activity that defines addiction but the dependency upon it.
Nick explained how our brains become addicted by the creation of Neural Pathways that `wire` the brain from sexual activity such as porn, which then becomes an optimum source of dopamine to the dependent person. This can lead to increased shame that increases the desire to escape painful feelings with more of the chosen activity.
The impact on partners was discussed and this included the damage to intimacy and the sexual relationship, the reigniting of old wounds, the compromising of parenting and the triggering of unwanted behaviours or other addictions within the partner. Unsurprisingly common reactions include shock, betrayal, disgust, isolation, despair and hopelessness, many of which closely resemble bereavement.
Thankfully, there are many treatment options for those considered to have a sex addiction and these include individual Counselling/Psychotherapy, Group Therapy, Group Support – 12 step or similar and Couples Counselling.
In his vote of thanks, TAP council member Ian Stevenson said that this is what TAP is all about i.e. the provision of quality speakers, who in turn provide useful and long lasting information for people to take away with them and use in their work. A very sociable tea and coffee time concluded the evening.
Nick Turner's presentation is available to download HERE
The next TAP Talk takes place on October 14th 2016 when JULIET GRAYSON presents `The phone call from hell: What do we do as a therapist when a sex offender calls? ` All are welcome. David Trott TAP Council Member
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
It is that time of year again (where does the time go?) when we ask members of TAP to pay their renewal fee. Over the years we have got to know hundreds of members from different fields coming from across the South West; most, but certainly not all, being therapists across all different modalities. We have also welcomed many who were simply interested in the mind and in the nature of being human. TAP has much to offer anybody with an enquiring mind.
The membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March, so this is a great time of year to get the full benefit of those opportunities TAP offers. As a member you get free entry into all our monthly TAP Talks for example, a discount on the cost of our annual conference (this year taking place on 21st May, see our Annual Conference page) and a place in our membership directory. Members can circulate details of their own courses and workshops to the TAP contact list, and get a 10% discount in Brendon Books in Bath Place, Taunton. A new benefit for 2016/17 will be launched in the next few weeks - a 'Members Only' area on this website, where exclusive content (featuring recordings of TAP Talks and presentations) will be available. We also have a Facebook and twitter feed (@TAP_ings) where you can keep abreast of developments and news and post about your own work.
So why not join? At £28 it is a bargain (if you were to attend all the Talks for example, and the Conference, you could save over £60) and you would also have the opportunity to network with peers, hear from speakers at the top of their field and gain CPD at the same time.
You can download the membership form HERE, and find out more on our 'Join TAP' page.
We look forward to meeting you!
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.
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.