The Society, founded in 1998, sponsors lectures and seminars on all aspects of psychotherapy. They normally take place at 7pm on the third Tuesday of each month during the academic year (October to July), in the Existential Academy at 61-63 Fortune Green Road, London NW6 1DR. £6 entry fee for if pre-booked via Meetup, or £8 payable at the door. All friends of psychotherapy welcome!
Dr. Meg Barker took us on a fascinating journey that began with an exploration of some of the problems with the Old Rules of relationships, highlighted some New Rules and asked what a less rule-based world of relationships would look like.
The Old Rules. To some extent we are probably all familiar with some of the Old Rules, which are based on heterosexual, monogamous relationships: the idea that the norm is largely straight and aiming headlong automatically into a one-on-one status quo. Although Meg highlighted this as the Old Rules it was clear that they form the foundations of many present assumptions around what being a success in the relationship stakes is all about. They are based on gender inequalities, an obvious issue, and the discourse around objects and possessions is a transparent flaw. The Old Rules also create a gap between lack and desire, on an individual level and on a social level, for people, or groups of people, that do not feel they either want to or do not fall into the boundaries of these rules.
Uncertain Times. The Old Rules have been around for a while and to some extent their proponents might refer to the stability they provide in their defence. However, we are living in times where there is less degree of automatic progression along a linear relationship trajectory between birth and death. Meg highlighted how this results in uncertainty, that the existential tension between freedom and belonging is being played out in relationships.
New Rules? So what might an alternative look like? Meg described rules that already exist that fall outside of the status quo space, including swinging, open relationships and polyamory. However, these rules are still based around ideas of hetero-normativity and often they split sex from love and other relationships. The New Rules are still negotiated from a position of searching for a degree of certainty, rather than embracing uncertainty.
Beyond Constraints It is to a world beyond demarcated role definitions and functions that Meg beckoned our thinking, relationships with fewer borders or sense of enclosure, with multiple loves based on meeting different mutual purposes but with no sense of ownership or restriction and no requirement for enduring commitment. Whether such an attitude can be maintained or is desirable was questioned by some in the audience, who wondered about issues of jealousy and stability. Whether we can have ‘expectation-free’ relationships was also discussed and whether having some level of expectation was indeed helpful was also considered. As Meg agreed, these issues remain areas for further deliberation and I am sure that we all took away our own particular areas for further reflection.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please complete this form and return it to the administrator of the Society of Psychotherapists. We welcome counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone interested in those fields, of whatever modality or persuasion.
Society of Psychotherapy
Membership Form 2011/2012
Email address: —————————————————————————–
Please tick whichever of the circles apply to you:
Psychotherapist o Trainee o
Other (please state)
How did you hear about the Society of Psychotherapy?
Do you have any ideas for talks/seminars you would like to attend?
To join please print and fill in this form, enclosing a cheque for £10, made payable to the Society of Psychotherapy and return to:
Chair and Membership secretary
Society of Psychotherapy
254-256 Belsize Road
London NW6 4BT
Membership will allow you reduced fee entrance to Society events.
Please note that the membership year runs from 1st. October to 30th. September
Annual General Meeting
18th. March 2011
Held at the premises of NSPC LTD, 254-5 Belsize Road, NW6 4BT
Present: Digby Tantam (chair) Emmy Van Deurzen, Mike Hall , Helen Eckersley, Hugh Knopf (mins)
The meeting was delayed for 30 minutes because a quorum was not present at the advertised start time of 5.30
After some initial discussion and reminders of what the society was created for there was a formal welcome from the chair, Professor Digby Tantam. Acknowledging that the society had need of re-stimulus and agreeing that a re-invigoration of its primary purpose, to encourage and support dialogue across the many worlds of psychotherapy was now due the meeting moved to the business of the agenda.
Report from the honorary treasurer:
The society offered 3 talks last year and made a profit on 2 and a loss on the other. Overall surplus of £23 on previous year and balance was £695.23. The overall aim was to break even and this has been achieved but there was a feeling that the society could be more ambitious and seek to raise greater funds and extend its objectives. New signatories need agreeing (new chair-see below) as Mike is signing off.
Election of officers:
a) Honorary chair: Digby Tantam proposed by Emmy Van Deurzen and seconded by Mike Hall. Not opposed: Digby Tantam duly elected chair.
b) Honorary treasurer: Helen Eckersley: proposed by Mike Hall, seconded by Emmy. Not opposed, duly elected honorary treasurer
c) Honorary Secretary: Hugh Knopf, proposed by Digby Tantam, seconded by Emmy Van Deurzen. Not opposed, duly elected honorary treasurer
Propositions to be put to the vote:
a) Meetings to be held at NSPC until further notice: proposed and seconded, not opposed, upheld.
b) Administrative support to society should be provided by the chair with no expense to the society: proposed and seconded, not opposed, upheld, but chair to negotiate agreement with NSPC staff. The treasurer suggested that any unreasonable expenses to NSPC could be sought through the Sociaties funds
c) That the membership list held by SoP is made available to the NSPC passed with the following amendment that the consent of each member on the list is obtained before correspondence is sent to them that is not from the society itself. It was pointed out that the society is not registered with the data protection register but would gather this being linked to NSPC
d) That the office of chair and programmes organiser be temporarily combined. Proposed and seconded, passed unopposed.
Digby Tantam said that the website (www.societyofpsychotherapy.org.uk is now hosted on a dedicated server at no cost to the society.
Date of next AGM: 23rd March 2012: at 6:00pm
The AGM was followed by a stimulating presentation from Professor Digby Tantam on Wellbeing and Psychotherapy: What the Government can learn from