59 Slices
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CHAPTER NINETEEN: That sense of awe

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Jane Reid

Ifirst knew Nina when I arrived at Sherborne School, aged twelve, in 1945 and she was an awesome eighteen and head of my house, more grown up than the grown-ups, more distant than the staff. Soon, she departed for Oxford to read—languages was it?—and I, in due course, followed her there.

Later, I got to know her quite well and had great delight in her company. We met at her sister Gill’s house only every five years or so, but nevertheless we were friends. We had wonderful conversations, picking up topics from the last time, exploring every kind of subject from every kind of angle. It was always stimulating, always fun. But I never quite lost that sense of awe. As a young woman, in the conformist climate of the 1950s, Nina had the strength and determination to be different, to go back to O-levels to qualify for medical school after finishing her Arts BA, and to undertake the long years of study and practice that brought her to the pinnacle of a profession chosen, perhaps, because through it she could help people deal with the trauma in their lives. I admired her for her humour and her humanity, her integrity and her wisdom, but perhaps most of all for her courageous and high-minded pursuit of distinction.

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CHAPTER FIVE: A one-off visit

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Kathleen Murphy

Ifirst met Nina Coltart about 1980, when my doctor referred me to her, as a one-off visit. She quickly put me right on one point on which my thinking was at fault. She came across as a very kind person and one felt at ease with her.

At some point, possibly a couple of years later, and I cannot now remember how it started, after I had written to her, and she replied with a long friendly letter, and to that I replied, and, hence, a long and interesting correspondence began, and I looked forward to her letters coming, and to quickly responding.

Some time after this her housekeeper was taken ill, and I offered to do the vacuuming, if it would be of any help to her. I felt her life and her work were of so much help to others that to try and fit in housework seemed such a waste of Nina’s precious time. So I did the vacuuming and a few small errands (for which she paid me handsomely!), and I hope was of some help to her.

I might add that her housekeeper accomplished far more than I ever did!

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CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: The assessment of psychological-mindedness in the psychiatric interview

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

In the last paragraph of his paper “A defect in training”, Yorke (1988) has a sentence which serves as an excellent link to the opening of this paper : “For all their importance, empathy and awareness of patients’ anxieties do not in themselves amount to psychological understanding” (p. 160). In his paper, he had made a plea for more psychoanalytical psychology to be included in a general postgraduate psychiatric training, and I am in complete agreement with his cogently argued case.

However, I want to concentrate on a particular aspect of this point. When an experienced psychoanalyst is carrying out a diagnostic consultation with a view to assessing a patient’s suitability for analysis or analytical psychotherapy, he is exercising his own skill and psychological-mindedness in this intensive exploration. The prospects of a successful treatment will be greatly enhanced if he finds the patient is “psychologically-minded”—whatever the presenting complaints, or however unpromising the superficial impression. Therefore, I would like to detail some of the qualities of this feature, with a view to offering some guidelines to colleagues who are still learning their technique. Because of the value of brief lists for the purpose of consigning to accessible memory, I shall lay out these points in an approximate order of discovery, rather than of importance, under two main headings. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that the whole may be larger than the sum of its parts.

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CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN: Cultivating Intuition: An Introduction to Psychotherapy

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Peter Lomas’s new book, Cultivating Intuition, carries on in a tradition he has already established for himself in his previous writings, such as True and False Experience (1973) and The Case for a Personal Psychotherapy (1981). The subtitle of the volume under review is significant: Lomas gives the impression that there is, in the mildest possible way, something polemical about his works, as if he is always introducing psychotherapy, to audiences who need convincing that there is something in it, and that that something does not include some unattainable mystique. “Demystifying” is one of the words that come to mind to describe his work. Without being obvious about it, he produces “how to” books; his method is to give us pictures of himself at work, with particular attention paid to minutiae of style, especially in the language used. Nooks and crannies of a day in the consulting-room are explored in his idiosyncratic way, and without didacticism; he conveys details of his technique and his ways of thinking about what he is doing, or about to do, as well as vignettes of him doing it and the patient responding. This gives us opportunity to compare and contrast ourselves at work and to react to his signposts.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: A very special time

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Anne E. Knight

Nina was a marvellous friend, indeed my best friend at Oxford, and we remained close until her death. She made Somerville a memorable experience for me, though what I remember most of all is that we had a blast. She had the most brilliant and enquiring mind I have encountered. She “read” modern languages, but yet knew more about PPE (Politics, Philosophy&Economics—my subject) than I ever learnt! She had a commanding presence, but was never bossy or arrogant; she was generous, with a marvellous sense of humour, and was intellectually ahead of us all. She was a very popular president of the JCR (Junior Common Room, equivalent to a Students’ Union). An unforgettable three years, including haunting tobacco shops for cigarettes, in short supply in those post war years! And what was the pub we frequented regularly? I forget! She introduced me to squash and chess (and regularly beat me), and her home in Cornwall was my home during my time in the UK. One long vacation was spent bicycling through the Highlands of Scotland in some appalling weather; never shall I forget the Moor of Rannoch. We went climbing on the Isle of Skye. Another vacation, we worked for a travel agency (run by the husband of the Principal of Somerville, Janet Vaughan) escorting schoolchildren across Paris, putting them on trains to join French families … or, for all we knew, the white slave traffic. I don’t think we lost any.

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