Books…..

Environmental Expressive Therapies: Nature-Assisted Theory and Practice (Paperback) book cover

 This is a  new textbook which covers a wide range of creative therapies, and how people incorporate nature into the work. Mary Reynolds Thompson & I co-authored the chapter:

Inner and Outer Landscapes: Bringing Environment into the therapeutic relationship through Expressive Writing

 

 Don’t forget:you can request this or any of the other titles from your local library

Journal Prompt: Explore your relationship with reading over your life – has it changed? Can you remember learning to read? Who was involved with your early reading?

What ‘bookish’ memories come to you?

A version of the following article appeared in the June edition of Integrating Connections

I am a compulsive reader – I read to learn about the world and to understand my own world. The urge to create a meaningful narrative from the events of a life, to understand and to learn, is one of the reasons people come to psychotherapy. Psychotherapists and authors might therefore agree that we read to make sense of our lives and our experience.

Sometimes our professional and personal lives align in a novel in ways that can illuminate both. Recently I picked up a couple of novels from the New Books Shelf at my local library. By chance, they both contained adoption themes:

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane – Lisa See

A Book of American Martyrs – Joyce Carol Oates

I work a lot with clients with adoption stories (from different parts of the adoption triad). I run a group for adoptees. I am an adoptee. Perhaps this makes me particularly sensitive to these themes; I know I am profoundly grateful when I find them. These stories occur in adult fiction from Wuthering Heights to The Orphan Train. Children’s literature has always been full of adoption stories  – think of Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Once and Future King. Novels are extra resources I can suggest to clients and show me new perspectives on their stories and my own.


The Novel Cure – An A-Z of Literary Remedies (Berthoud and Elderkin 2013) has a very short section on adoption – if you have come across any books (fiction, non-fiction – as I said, I’m eclectic) with these themes please do let me know at kate@katethompsontherapy.com or leave a note on this post.

Janus: looking back, looking forward……..

Janus_coin

Janus

January seems to be a time for looking back to last year, and looking forward into this one. Janus, the Roman god depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions, symbolises this as we move through his namesake month. He’s also the god of transitions and links past with future. In fact there’s much more to him than I’d realised, but for now I’m looking at his ability to look back and forwards as we transition from one year to another.

One of the fascinating  projects I was involved with in 2014  was working with Carry Gorney on her memoir, Send me a parcel with 100 lovely things (to read more about this book click here). This book interweaves her parents’  journey from Germany to Yorkshire (including her father’s letters from the Isle of Man internment camp) with her own journey from Yorkshire into a wider world. I was her writing coach and editor throughout the process and was thrilled to receive a copy of the real, physical book in early January. It’s satisfying to see something through from the tentative start to completion.

Journal Prompt: Look back over 2014, notice your activities, the projects that you were engaged in. Did some come to completion? How do you feel about them? Are there some which you wish to leave in 2014? Which ones are you bringing forward into 2015?

January Ice

January Ice

It’s conventional to make New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of January for the coming year. But why not do this at other times? I now invite you to make Re-commitments to unfinished, abandoned or forgotten practices or projects. Do this without guilt or sense of failure for having let things lapse, but rather with pleasure and satisfaction at being able to bring them into focus again. What do you want to continue or bring to completion this year?

Journal prompt: Imagine that the year is already half over. It’s the end of June and you are looking back at the activities and projects of the year to date. Have some come to completion? What do you want to continue to develop? Which ones are still waiting?

 

 

Too many books….

This week I’m reading too many books.

It’s all the fault of Boulder Public Library. Suddenly a large number of the books I’d requested over the last few weeks/months arrived, all at once. There were books read about (in The New York Times, London Review of Books etc), heard about (on NPR, recommended by friends & colleagues), remembered from some distant time. They all go on my “Holds” list, and eventually they all turn up. Books borrowed, unlike books bought, have to be read on some kind of realistic timescale which is why this week I find myself simultaneously reading:

Katherine Boo – behind the beautiful forevers: life, death & hope in a mumbai undercity

Because I know Mumbai and I like non-fiction that reads like a novel and was wonderfully reviewed everywhere.

J-P Sartre – What is Literature?

For something I’m writing on Existential thought & journal therapy

Ellen Ullman – By Blood

A novel in which a professor eavesdrops on his psychoanalyst neighbour and her client. It turns out to be a search for birth mother narrative & a holocaust narrative… and identity & SanFrancisco

Virginia WoolfMoments of Being

Because I thought I remembered something but I haven’t found it yet.

Elizabeth Weil – No cheating, no dying; I had a good marriage. Then I tried to make it better.

Because it sounded interesting on NPR…….It turns out to be an Eat Pray Love kind of book where the author undertakes various experiences in order to write a book.

So many books (and that’s not counting the ones I was reading before) – I wonder how they’ll all end (or if I’ll find out before they have to be returned). And I need to get on before the next lot of requests arrive…..

What are you reading that you recommend I add to my list?

Thank you, libraries, I couldn’t have supported my lifelong reading habit without you.  That’s something I got from my father.

Here’s a journal prompt I’ve adapted from one or more of the books above:

My parents had given me what they’d known to give: eight weeks of summer overnight camp, a good education, unconditional love and trust.

What did you get from your parents?

Write it in the form of an unsent letter. [What’s the First rule of Unsent Letters? That’s right, they never-ever get sent.]

An orgy of novels……

November was National Write your Novel Month but for me it was a real novel reading month……… (more…)

Reviews

Authors always like to have their books reviewed of course, to be noticed is to exist. but there is always a frisson of excitement & trepidation on opening a publication to see a published review. (more…)

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