Monthly Archives: October 2014

Veronica Marsden Remembered

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Veronica 072

Veronica Marsden 1 December 1946 – 23 March 2012

Tonight is Samhain, the Celtic New Year, when the veils between the worlds of the living and spirit are believed to thin. It is a good time to remember those who have crossed over.

There are people in this world who have the ability to create real and positive change the lives of others; in my own life, Veronica Marsden was such a woman. It’s difficult to write an obituary for her, not least because she died over two years ago… and I didn’t find out until earlier this month. Whilst there are understandable reasons for this delay, the passing of real time both conflicts with and informs the immediacy of my own grief. It is comforting that such emotional conflicts were the bread and butter of my relationship with Veronica and we always managed to survive them; I see no reason why we cannot survive them now.

I first met Veronica in 1984. My own life had collapsed into a heap of feelings I had no idea how to manage and I’d entered counselling in order to learn. She was part of the Gestalt Studio and the therapist I had met at the counselling centre I was attending was her work partner. Both were graduates of the Gestalt Centre (London) and were embarking on their psychotherapeutic career. They’d created a women’s weekend to which I was invited. Little did I know then that it was the beginning of a relationship that continues to this day, even in grief. What I experienced that weekend led me to enter group therapy, train with the Studio and eventually practice as a Gestalt Therapist myself. The journey lasted 17 years and Veronica was a true companion the entire time. As an exploration of individual and collective emotional dimensions, it was a white-knuckle ride for all of us and finding true companions over such a long haul is rare and precious. Veronica became such a person for me.

Gestalt therapy is one of those psychotherapeutic tools that frequently get maligned within the profession. It’s considered crude in more sophisticated circles and it was being subject to the ‘civilising’ influences of accreditation when I entered it. All these reasons are probably why I found Gestalt suited me best – it was direct; I didn’t have to fit myself into intellectual structures in order to express my deeper feelings; and I could dive as deep as my emotions allowed in order to find a way through the obstructions that beset me. Each time I dived, I came out cleaner, wiser and better able to manage my interpersonal relationships in ways I have yet to find in other psychotherapeutic models even today. What got judged as crude was, in my opinion, simple honesty; what later got condemned as unacceptable was a requirement laid on Gestalt Therapists to be authentic; and what Gestalt eventually taught me was how to be authentically and honestly human, warts and all.

The two trainings created by the Gestalt Studio partners in 1980/90’s were informed by Veronica’s prior experience as a management trainer – she already knew how to devise professional training programmes – and both Studio trainings included unusual additions to the psychotherapeutic at that time. For example: the trainings included learning how to run the business side of private practice. They were also responsive to trainee needs emerging through the process and if the needed response was missing from existing professional expertise, the Studio sought to create it for us. The measures for qualifying were clear and attainable… providing the trainee did the work and because it was Gestalt Therapy, that work was experiential and challenging, sometimes to the point of being absolutely hellish for all of us, trainers and trainees alike.

In the years since my own psychotherapeutic career ended, I have had occasion to walk through a number of real life hells. The training created by the Studio enabled me to emerge as unscathed as any person can be under such circumstances. Veronica and the Studio enabled me to learn the kind of courage needed to survive in hell with my integrity intact. They taught me how to fight fair; how to hold my fire whilst people around me learned the wisdom I’d been taught through their own experience; they taught me how to examine the emotional content of what I was experiencing for factual evidence and respond, rather than react. The Gestalt Studio and Veronica Marsden taught me the survival skills necessary to walk through the hells we make for each other competently, professionally and as an authentic human being. If there is a measure of their training’s effectiveness, it is this: I learned to survive five years in prison without ever breaching disciplinary rules by adhering to the very high standards of ethical conduct they taught me. I have grave doubts that any psychotherapy training today is capable of teaching such skills. Given the very high levels of socially-sanctioned abuse in society today, this failing raises questions about the ability of counselling and psychotherapy to authentically support those targeted for such abuse and leaves me wondering about the purpose of such a ‘qualified’ existence.

The ‘hells’ of our training eventually resulted in formal complaints about my trainers from some of my peers and which were never satisfactorily resolved for Veronica. Notwithstanding this, she never stopped sticking up for her graduates. At the time, the psychotherapy ‘trade’ was in the business of seeking social respectability as a profession; membership of the UKCP being the desired status (which, for Gestalt therapists, required individuals to be professionally accredited by those the AHPP approved of) – whilst Veronica’s own standing was being subjected to investigation, she argued that the faults of the trainer should not be visited upon the graduates. To meet the professional demands of the AHPP, and with two other Gestalt training organisations, she created the Association for the Accreditation of Gestalt Psychotherapists (AAGP). These were the women who accredited me and the way the AAGP was treated by the AHPP was, in my professional opinion, an absolute disgrace. Eventually we all had enough of the abusive avoidances, evasions and behind-the-scenes manipulations, and told the AHPP we no longer wished to be a part of any professional organisation which behaved that way. It was not a case of our failing to meet their measures (whose goalposts kept moving whenever we did meet them); it was a case that they didn’t meet our standards. I still believe it was one of the very best professional decisions we ever made together. Nevertheless, the whole process came with a price tag.

One director of the AAGP, Flora, was diagnosed with cancer soon after we reached that decision. This was followed by Veronica suffering a subarachnoid haemorrhage so severe that she pronounced dead at one point, even though she did survive. When I google the name of the third director, her information is as scant as Flora’s and Veronica’s, which suggests Freda probably experienced something equally life-threatening. Biodynamically speaking, that two out of the three are known to have subsequently faced lethal health consequences speaks to the emotional content of the professional issues they tried to address on my behalf. If Freda went through similar then the AHPP could regard its ‘triumph’ over those they considered professionally ‘undesirable’ as complete, although what it says about the behaviour of so-called ‘humanistic’ psychotherapists is extremely telling.

The stroke ended Veronica’s career in psychotherapy; it also left her childlike and vulnerable. She’d lost none of her wisdom Veronica 075and knowledge but the psychological shields needed to survive the darker aspects of therapy were missing. It was at this point that my own health failed too and I retired into my new journeys through the hells we create for the ‘othered’ in our society. Because I sensed her vulnerability, I withdrew contact from Veronica whilst I was going through them but we spoke to each other before she died.

Veronica hadn’t known I’d been in prison but she didn’t let me down after I told her. I was still someone worth relating to even after I’d shared most of my dark secrets. The only reason she didn’t hear it all was down to my own protectiveness of the defenceless and vulnerable woman I sensed she had become. Eventually, I found a way to address the problems without pulling her into them and it was acting on this was how I learned she had died in 2012.

When someone is living, there is always the chance that our relationship with them can be subject to harm. When someone dies, that relationship transforms to a place where it cannot be touched because it is complete. There are no earthly obstacles that can harm Veronica now no matter how hard some might try. Nor can anyone take my relationship to her away from me. She wasn’t perfect because no-one is and Veronica is just as entitled to her version of 50% ‘shadow’ the rest of us… but she is also entitled to her Light. The human being who was Veronica Marsden had a great deal of Light. It takes Light to not only teach someone how to walk through the experiences of Hell but also how emerge from them. Veronica was someone blessed with a deep capacity for empathy, kindness, compassion, sensitivity and forgiveness, especially for the abused. Her own journeys through the dark side of human experience enabled her to teach me the skills of honourable and ethical survival. The boundaries she enabled me to learn have proved their worth many times over and the theories of Gestalt she taught inform even now but of all the skills and qualities I learned from Veronica, the greatest is gratitude. I am so very grateful to have known her so well for so long. It was one hell of a ride we shared together… and I don’t regret a single moment. The training I received from her and the Gestalt Studio was everything it promised it would be and more because it was authentic, honest, truthful and courageous – just like those who delivered it. Veronica Marsden was one of those women. The professional qualifications I achieved as the result of her efforts are among some of my most valued accomplishments and her friendship is one of my deepest and most honest.

Veronica once talked about her beliefs around death – she believed we were healed of our earthly wounds after death; that we returned to our original wholeness. May it be true for her for she surely earned it here on earth.

So, tonight, I send a message through the veils to a friend

“I love you, Veronica Marsden – always did and always will. Hope your Heaven has turned out to be everything you ever wished it to be… and more.”

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#Inequality: Reframing the Narratives of Spirit #BlogActionDay #Oct16 #BlogAction14 #BAD14

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This is my offering for Blog Action Day – My hope is I don’t let my fellow bloggers down. This subject is too important.

Blog Action Day

FireShot Screen Capture #1395 - 'Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report I Business I The Guardian' - www_theguardian_com_business_2014_oct_14_richest-1percent-half-global-wealt

Click pic for related article

This is likely to be a long blog, so I invite any new visitors to go make a favourite beverage, tune out the world and settle down for a journey through the different dimensions of equality/inequality. I don’t know all of them simply because I am limited by my individuality and these are global-size dimensions. However, within the framework of Blog Action Day, I can contribute my own unique perspective around the subject of inequality. To get a grasp of how ‘unboundaried’ global inequality has become, please read the Guardian link above. We have to start somewhere… it might just as well be at the top. If anything fits my definition of obscene, it is this. Half our global resources in the hands of the most selfish, egotistical, callous, soul-less criminals the human world has ever seen. In the subjective realms of such unboundaried behaviour, it is important to ‘place’ the perspective of the individual you are listening to – in this space, that’s me

By contributing a global discussion about inequality, it is important to know where to ‘place’ me in this ‘inequality’ hierarchy we all currently ‘assume’ as ‘normal’ for reality. It is important to know that as a 60-year-old white woman living in poverty in Britain, some of my comments, attitudes and viewpoints will be saturated with white privilege. I hope I use it as wisely and usefully here as I did when a psychiatric patient and a prisoner; a woman now forever ‘criminal’ in the eyes of the world according to the UK state and therefore beyond redemption. My psychotherapy Bullingdontrainers told me it was useful to know my place in the hierarchy. Being ‘beyond redemption’ is a class as well as economic aspect of inequality in the UK – where impoverished British people are rendered soulless; of no social worth; a ‘drain’ on society; value limited to toil filling the coffers of the elite; untermenschen; ‘useless eaters’; better off dead. This, highly material, dimension of inequality IRL is assumed as normal, acceptable and desirable within our global mainstream media – the mouthpiece of this predominately white, filthy-rich, male elite. This is the narrative we are forced to live within. It is a narrative of polarity – of haves and have-nots.

In polarity narratives, however, it is important to remember that it is not possible to see the ‘bigger picture’ without hearing from the other end of it.  In polarised dimensions, one side cannot exist without the other: the wisdom of the Tao.

Economic inequality resembles a monetary iceberg in my mind – measuring who lives above the monetary waterline and who does not. There are so few clinging to the top that the slither-down routes are infinite – where our own lives manifest depends on where the hook of life catches you. I’m fortunate I’ve lived at the waters edge for a while – I got the chance to find out what this life of privilege is like. When my failing health and mental health‘ melted my ‘hold’, I slipped below the waterline and into a looking-glass ‘Otherworld’ where everything is turned upside down. What is it actually like to live this ‘side’ of the waterline?  Read what other bloggers are saying about global inequality today. We can slice and dice this stuff so finely – individuals are very good at that sort of thing – until it cuts into questioning our right to the existence. When we enact ideas of inequality to existence itself, we enter the realms of the sacred in my understanding of matters divine.

This is the blog of a spiritual woman; the realms of the sacred are of deep and abiding interest to me and always have been. These dimensions hold great importance and, from my perspective, the soulless quality of the rich elite end of inequality suggests an active presence of matters sacred at the other. With extreme material inequality, there is remarkable unanimity amongst global spiritual wisdom about where the sacred is likely to be found, even if structures take different forms. For example: the only ‘religion’ that specifically excludes all human manifestations of ‘Love’ (however inequality might define it) is that of the global elite – we can see evidence in the policies being inflicted upon us.. Those who do understand that soulful life includes compassion, kindness, humility and other infinite expressions of the sacred human. Here all souls are equal in the eyes of existence; we are measured by our behaviour towards others.

I can cover an awful lot of ground when exploring different narratives around inequality – some will resonate with you, some won’t and others will sound like gobbledook. The narratives that don’t resonate are there for others, not you – or maybe more accurately – not you, not now. They may become useful later on.  I’ve experienced gobbledook turning into perfect sense before now – it’s a matter of experience. It’s also a matter of Gestalt.

Gestalt involves the idea that seemly separated, individual fragments can, when seen from a different perspective or dimension, form surprising and unexpected patterns, or forms – a murmuration of starlings is an example of a living Gesalt. The internal structures of our humanity are also a gestalt – we see this in astrology with the kaleidoscopic symmetries as each individual birthchart presents a unique map of how we plug into the universe by accessing the same energies in unique patterns. We are fractal; a gestalt.

Where we encounter each other is also fractal – where we ‘meet’ will represent the meeting of aspects of self – they cannot, nor should not, be regarded as representative of the individual within until other aspects are permitted to emerge too.

I’ll contribute what I’ve got… your response is your own business.

The thing I like most about Gestalt is its ideas work collectively too: Blog Day Action is likely to be a prime example of this.  I anticipate ‘unexpected’ patterns emerging on the issue of inequality that won’t have been seen before for reasons astrological: Uranus in Aries (collective creative sparking point); Pluto in Capricorn (clearing out the old to create anew); Neptune in Pisces (letting go the spiritually outworn); with these three alone, there are astrological explanations aplenty. The thing is, we’ve manifested the actions of these planets on earth. Those narratives are known. I’m talking about something new, astrologically speaking.

When we talk about global inequality now, the edges of our astrological collective awareness  are no longer governed by Pluto – that power is now in the actions of Sedna (discovered 2003) and her yet-to-be-named companions. The sacred awareness of abused and violated Indigenous women is now firmly in charge of our collective global boundaries. Given the size of this “consciousness” upgrade – Sedna’s orbit takes 11k years, Pluto’s is only 250 – I’d suggest that there is room to include planetary awareness too. I’m speculating – the folk most likely to know the answer to that identify as ‘millennial’. If I have a hope for Blog Action Day on inequality, it’s that this new awareness reveal its presence.

With Sedna, we  exclude the voices of the violated and abused Indigenous women of our planet at our own peril – she is not a goddess to be trifled with lightly. Additionally, being an Inuit Sea Goddess, Sedna falls outside the Greek/Roman pantheon. This points to collective shifts in the collective Water element which allow for complete restructuring of feeling element using different narratives. I hope to see signs of this too with #BAD14. Millennials might be well advised to use some of their heightened awareness when naming Sedna’s new companions – I suggest inviting non-Greek/Roman healing and creation goddesses if humanity is going to stand any chance of surviving but that is for them to decipher; my generation’s expertise ends with Pluto.

This is some of what I know about dimensions of inequality; note that included in those narratives are potential solutions requiring a longer view from an 11k year perspective. If we truly want to transform this present human barbarity that passes for life  into a narrative where the seventh generation of our children is on the right road to knowing our true place on planet earth – one precious aspect of a far greater and more complex gestalt – then we need to start putting those foundations in place now.

The narratives we tell ourselves; the narratives we choose to believe in matters of inequality are not just matters of life and death – they relate to our very existence. The narratives of the elite about those they regard as ‘less than equal’ now involve matters of existence, which in turn relate to creation and destruction. If we look at the energetic effect of the elite end of inequality, the results are destruction – if we fail to shift this collective pattern, we will all die. Simple. We’re well down that road already.

Thanks to Julienne for this picture.

Thanks to Julienne for this picture.

To dissolve and create a truly balanced and sustainable economic paradigm out of the obscenity we are forced to dwell in now, is going to require huge manifestations of  creativity – tuned to planetary wavelengths and sacred to women because these are the deepest sources of creativity we can access on a global level. Our planet is ‘gendered’ to female creative power; the narratives of Sedna and her companions will indicate the healthy route out of this global nightmare. That’s my astrological opinion based upon the patterns linked with Sedna but it is also supported by the Anishabe Prophecy of the 8th Fire.

This is, however, a matter for the Indigenous women to comment upon, not me. I do note the synchronicity.

As a poor woman listening to the UK’s political bickering over my existential social status and value using the elites’ inequality measures, I am already annihilated by  the absence of any compassion for either my peers or myself. The UK’s mainstream media conspires to exclude political narratives that fall outside its very limited perception of reality – nowhere do I see myself represented except as someone to be judged, condemned, controlled and ‘eliminated’ from the welfare statistics preferably through death. In all other respects, I am invisible, ‘unmentionable’, like millions (yes, millions) of others.

Today, we are visible – go have a look at us. See what we really look like; find out who we really are!

FireShot Screen Capture #1378 - 'susie orbach on Twitter_ _At Tory Party Conference to argue for spend on Mental Health_ Ask what they will do about the homeless_ Fuck the homeless is the reply__' - twitte

Turning the world upside-down

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one of those days

Earlier this week, I had a twitter conversation with an active member of the Labour Party. I like the woman, even though my cynicism around Labour is running at an all-time high. When she invited feedback, I gave her my honest opinion which, as regular readers of this blog will know, tends to be extremely upfront with both barrels. Bev is the kind of person who values this and I was invited to contribute further. It was at this point I did something that interests me, although I’m sure all traditional advice would have counseled against it. At the time of writing, she has yet to respond, so I thought I’d share my action to see what others might make of it.

In my current society, the ‘norm’ for introducing oneself to others favours the good: a CV will, for example, promote our successes whilst seeking to minimise our failures and failings. Well, whatever the prevailing norms, I have never been able to fit them no matter how hard I’ve tried. When I have tried, I’ve always felt as though I am something of a fraud. It’s not that I don’t have good qualities – I have them in probably the same proportion as any other human being which, if we’re being balanced about it, check in at 50:50 good versus ‘bad’. Whenever I’ve tried to accentuate the positive, the negative in my shadow usually sabotages my efforts, so these days I’ve learned to keep both in view when engaging with others. But Bev was seeking information without the benefit of knowing my ‘history’ and this concerned me. So what did I do? I turned the CV ‘rules’ upside-down.

One of my complaints about Labour is its total failure to engage with our ever-growing population of British outlaws and social exiles. As a member of this ‘class’ for the past 13 years – now fully qualified and accredited – it seemed only fair to her to give her all the reasons why she shouldn’t talk to me in order of importance. My upside-down CV looked like this:

Firstly, I’m a criminal.

Secondly, there are outstanding questions about my past professional conduct.

Thirdly, I’m a benefit scrounger/skiver.

Any one of those qualifies for social rejection in our current political climate and, no doubt, it becomes more alarming to the socially-accepted that I have three. Certainly, its enough to spook the horses! The more I’ve reflected on my actions, however, the happier I’ve become. Here’s why.

Firstly, poor people are more likely to acquire criminal records and I was certainly poor when I got mine. Our present social structures FireShot Screen Capture #1372 - 'Unlike people charged with criminal___ - Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights' - www_facebook_com_blacktriangle11_posts_826517220703586vilify anyone with a criminal record and impose penalties on the poor for being… well… poor. There’s no escaping it. Society has a great deal of ‘understanding’ and compassion for the socially-acceptable (ie: rich) whilst delegating blame, responsibility and criminality downwards. It has to land somewhere and I happen to be someone it landed upon. My peers-in-poverty can expect the same absence of understanding and compassion should they ever transgress the ever increasing number of rules designed to keep us in our place: silent, obedient and invisible.

The general thrust of this style of political social ‘management’ is to judge and shame us. Instead of a balanced 50:50 good and bad, we end up carrying the bulk of the bad and are regarded as having no good in us worth mentioning. Whilst it’s neither true nor factual, we live at a time where truth and fact seem to be firmly gagged and tied-up in the boot of British politics by our so-called social ‘betters’. If someone like me is being invited to share, a ‘negative’ CV like mine is likely to be the norm rather than the exception. Since I happen to value factual truth more than propaganda, it’s actually a relief to be so open.

The other point worth making here is that of management. The accepted way of highlighting our ‘good’ history and minimising or disguising our ‘bad’ leaves those dealing with us at a serious disadvantage. The only way they get to find out about the human messes we are capable of is through bitter experience. When I taught this stuff as a management trainer, I encouraged participants to be upfront about mistakes because they are actually easier to manage. If we know what the problems are, we can deal with them; management decisions are informed and can contain the problem. It’s far more difficult to resolve fuck-ups if everyone is hiding or evading the truth. At least Bev knows what she’s getting into with me – how much more difficult might it be if she had to learn as she went along. My upside-down CV gives her the facts she needs to make educated choices.

The next advantage I identified dealt with what I describe as ‘whispering campaigns’. There’s little or nothing the subject of such campaigns can do because the whispering goes on behind their back and it requires considerable trust between the

Click for original article

Click pic for link to original article

‘whispered-to’ and the ‘whispered-about’ in order to manage it. Such trust rarely exists in new working relationships… unless, like me, you’ve submitted an upside-down CV.

Whispering campaigns have a habit of developing a mythology of their own. For example, mythologies about me have included reports that my claims to a psychotherapeutic career were altogether untrue (but fail to mention what I was supposed to be doing instead) and, of course, there’s the myth of how that career ended. We only get to find out what mythologies are attached to us when actually someone tells us – otherwise we are entirely in the dark regarding the imagination of ‘concerned’ others. An upside-down CV is a remarkably effective remedy. It demonstrates our willingness to address problems arising from our own selves and because the conversation is already opened, it enables the ‘whispered-to’ to ask questions if its a subject I haven’t already mentioned.

I suppose my action could be regarded as ‘risky’ behaviour by those who have an investment in staying hidden, but when I consider the potential pay-offs in terms of trust and relationship, it begins to look more like insurance.

corruption and transparencyFirstly, if Bev is someone who is likely to be spooked by my actions, it saves both of us time and energy. We both learn I’m not someone she’s ever likely to feel safe-enough with. She doesn’t have to engage with someone who spooks her and I don’t have to go through the process of living within the prison of her fears. Because I start from a place of integrity, there’s no requirement for either of us to journey through disappointment and disillusion – a painful journey at the best of times and one I’ve travelled too often to want to do again if I can avoid it. All these considerations point to a win-win for both of us, even if she does decide I’m too hot to handle.

If Bev is someone who can manage these negatives – and they are my most ‘flamboyant’ – then all roads lead up, not down. Her experience of me is more likely to be one of pleasant surprise than horrible shock, which seems only fair to someone strong enough to get over a negative CV like mine. That seems to be much fairer on her than the ‘traditional’ route as someone willing to take a risk with me.

Lastly, there’s a final bonus.

Although I have traveled respectable pathways, my journey through the realms of ‘outlaw’ carry more value and worth to me than anything I did before. Certainly the professional skills I acquired whilst ‘respectable’ paid the bills but they weren’t really tested by experience. Respectability looks like a safe cocoon after the white-knuckle ride I’ve been through. The dimensions of social exile tested the theories I’d been taught and stripped them of middle-class self-delusion. When I claim to speak from the perspective of the outlaw, no-one can question my integrity. Additionally, I not only demonstrate my capacity to fuck-up but I also show how I deal with it, what I have learned, and how I managed my behaviour afterwards. My humanity is authentic and measurable.

‘Nice’ CV’s can’t do any of above, which is something that is really worth reflecting upon. So even if Bev decides I’m someone it’s wiser not to get involved with, I’ve learned something truly invaluable from our contact and I am extremely grateful to her to that.

Blessing others

My only comment on the matter

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FireShot Screen Capture #1376 - 'Quotes About Envy (218 quotes)' - www_goodreads_com_quotes_tag_envy_page=2

There is an outstanding matter in my history concerning the professional side of my psychotherapeutic practice that now requires comment, particularly given I have been tweeting to a couple of the profession’s alumni today.

I have not spoken before, nor will I speak of it again after posting this blog, for a number of reasons:

1. It concerns an allegation of professional misconduct with a client.  For me to discuss professional complaints concerning a former client within any forum other than that regulated by the ethics of psychotherapeutic confidentiality is absolutely forbidden.

2. The ‘allegations’ against me are extremely serious and have resulted in pretty much total shunning from my ‘peers’, with one outstanding exception. She may wonder at my silence with her personally but this stuff is so toxic – I felt protective of her vulnerability. I’ll be sending her a copy of this because she’s earned an explanation from one of us; it might just as well be me if no-one else will tell her. Lucky for me she has a fondness for Sagittarian black sheep.

3. I can speak of the allegation itself only as it was reported to the psychiatric unit I was a patient in, in 2003. It was recorded in my ward notes and said (paraphrasing):

“Patient was a psychotherapist but she slept with a client and was drummed out of the profession”

There was no indicator who the source of this information was… possibly… I no longer care to remember but my recall of the allegation is perfectly clear.

This report is factually untrue and the evidence can be checked.

The fact is I retired from the psychotherapeutic profession on health grounds in March 2001. The events that gave rise to the ‘essence’ of this ‘complaint’ occurred in October 2001, some months after I retired with an unblemished professional record. Had the ‘drummed out of the profession’ fiction any truth to it, there would be a record somewhere. In that record would be my defense or mitigation – and since this is my one and only time comment on the matter – that can’t be proven as fact but hearsay. In a profession that claims compassion, acceptance, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness, the projections upon me are remarkably telling. This ‘peer’ group process becomes even more curious when set alongside our shared professional history and  experience. Did they learn nothing from Freda Sharpe?

This group behaviour was present in the psychotherapy profession when I worked within it – I found it in the UKCP; the psychotherapeutic ‘professional’ lynch mob there to protect the ‘sanctity’ of their self-image. There was nothing holy or ‘fair’ in their rejection of my professional accreditors: standards too stringent, was their given reason but UKCP ‘humanistic’ played dirty and responded with silence when confronted on the matter.  I know because I did the confronting.

Fortunately, this was my only contact with the gossip of my behaviour – I am supremely disinterested in knowing any more. That is a problem for those who engaged in it, not me.

A reminder for those peers involved in this ‘lynchmob’ that, as far as I was concerned at the time of this incident in 2001, I was no longer using psychotherapeutic ethics because they were proving to be unreliable in practice. I was doing my best to adhere to shamanic ethics as best I understood them. This involved making copious ‘mistakes’ and is in no way different from the ethics I learned from my psychotherapeutic trainers and accrediters. My ‘learning-through-terrible-mistakes’ was familiar behaviour during our therapeutic experience together. I was also under the impression we learned a very great deal about envy and scapegoating, or perhaps it was only me?

Since my ‘mortal sin’ in 2001, I have had contact with only one of my peers – she and her husband came to visit me when I was in prison; she’s that kind of woman. We knew each other well enough for seventeen years. She commented, during that visit, that I had the air of ‘knowing’ something she didn’t. She was right and this – my once and only comment on the matter – is what I know. I’m curious that she, too, appears to have added me to her shun list. That’s not the behaviour of the woman I knew who qualified top-of-the-class in our training together – I thought she knew better than that; to at least have asked me what I might have to say on the matter but no-one ever did.

No matter how cynical the group process became during my psychotherapeutic learning with my peers, we never lost sight of the Sacred. This ensured the presence of compassion or ‘return’ to compassion through some of our more darker journeys in the Pluto / Scorpio realms. Yet somehow a ‘permanent’ absence of compassion managed to get in and take up residence within the relationship; not so much righteous as self-righteous. As a human being, I have a right to a fair trial; not a kangaroo court set up in my absence and judging on the basis of prosecution ‘evidence’ that fails to accord with known fact. Any psychotherapist who suggests such a process acceptable within the profession requires lessons in Human Rights Law; any psychotherapist needing lessons in Human Rights law for intra-professional problems has an identified and urgent training need. If this is what such practitioners do to each other, what the hell are they doing to their clients?

Whilst I may be disappointed in my peer group, I have a continuing and deep respect for all those involved in my training, development, supervision and accreditation because they delivered on their promises where humanly possible and trusted to the Sacred when they could not. They taught me the value of leaping into the void and trusting that some of the awful situations I experienced were, above all, meaningful. The skills they shared enabled me to spend nearly five years in prison, on enhanced regime and with a clean disciplinary record throughout, all the while confronting abusive behaviour. I was a real pain in the arse, just like always, but within the professional ethical boundaries they taught me. The only time this ever changes is when I am responding to a situation without boundaries or rules. My peers knew of my shamanic activities and intentions before I retired.  The process transforms a potential shaman undergoing initiation which can sometimes look like mental illness to uninitiated eyes  – I honestly thought my peers knew better than to always accept a single narrative in matters of envy.

It is hard not to have some feelings about how things fell out, especially as we can be sure such matters will be whispered in ‘private’ if I don’t drag out those few aspects that can be examined in the cold light of day. I speak now only to depower this particular narrative’s capacity to be an obstacle to my intention. There’s something I’d like to create for the women of my adoptive community and I don’t want this so-called ‘complaint’ to sabotage my creative efforts In this situation. Given that the best defense is no defense in psychotherapeutic confrontations, I can offer facts whilst giving thanks for the ethics empowering me to keep silent in this situation.

That is all I have to say on the matter.

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