The talk subject: `The Long Goodbye: A psycho-social investigation of endings in life and therapy`
Widely anticipated as an especially valuable and useful presentation for TAP members and guests, a large audience gathered on 18 October to hear Dr Jane Woodend present her talk.
The Talk was built around Jane’s research, findings and learning for her PhD (and included theory from Freud) together with the some of the life stories she heard from interviewees. Jane’s early career included working as an Occupational Therapist and NHS Manager and following her training as a psychodynamic counsellor she then completed a post-graduate training and is now with Five Valleys Counselling in Gloucestershire where she works with individuals and couples with a wide variety of issues. Jane also has a MSc in applied Psychology.
With the aid of slides, Jane offered the observation that endings were an inevitable part of life and can be experienced in personal relationships, family life, work and social life and of course in counselling and psychotherapy. The impact of these endings on our lives and how that plays into our endings in therapy was examined and looked at from the perspectives of both the client and the therapist. The rationale behind Jane’s work was revealed and may have surprised the audience who might have expected Jane to have experienced a raft of dreadful endings: the reality was very different. Jane explained that within her childhood there had been no divorces, house moves or deaths and her education was comparatively local. Her upbringing had been happy and consistent and this very state of affairs had spurred her into her research.
The title of Jane’s Talk comes directly from her investigation for her PhD where the 1953 book The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler was studied. The book concerns the nature of attachments and the illusion of endings, cleverly presented within the genre of detective fiction. A literature review early on in her research took Jane to Freud and she spoke about what he had to say about endings including the quote “We must first of all decide what is meant by the ambiguous phrase ‘the end of an analysis’…”. The audience heard how Freud addressed issues of loss in his 1917 paper ‘Mourning and Melancholia’, where he defines `mourning` as the reaction to the loss of a loved one or one’s country, liberty or an ideal. So we see that Freud is writing about mourning and loss and not exactly endings. Jane suggested that Freud inadvertently set the theory and practice for ending psychotherapeutic relationships where we see the connection between endings and death running through the psychodynamic model.
All too soon this beautifully sculptured and presented Talk came to a close and ended with a number of thought provoking questions, observations and a warm round of applause.
Talk write-up provided by TAP Council Member - David Trott
The next TAP Talk takes place on 15 November 2019 when BERKELEY WILDE presents 'Diversity in Practice', which addresses how professionals can improve the engagement, services and support offered to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. All are welcome.
If you would like to attend the next talk, please register your interest on the form below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org