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CHAPTER SIX: Maintaining agency: a therapist's journey

Orit Badouk Epstein Karnac Books ePub

Sue Richardson

Professional journey 1966–1988

My professional journey started when I entered social work in 1966. By specializing in child care and family work, I became a de facto specialist in child abuse and protection. In 1986, I was appointed by Cleveland Social Services Department as their Child Abuse Consultant, a post created in the wake of a high profile public inquiry into the death of Jasmine Beckford (HMSO, 1985). I was given a strong political and professional mandate to tackle child abuse, and I was filled with a sense of agency. Together with the paediatricians, Marietta Higgs and Geoffrey Wyatt, I was a key figure in the 1987 Cleveland child abuse crisis, when what was then an unprecedented number of children were medically diagnosed as having suffered sexual abuse. Our efforts to bring this to attention and to protect the children precipitated a public outcry of disbelief, orchestrated by the media and one local MP, and led to the Butler-Sloss Inquiry.

The Butler-Sloss Inquiry was a breakthrough in societal awareness of sexual abuse summed up by the opening of its conclusion:

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Chapter Four - The Place of Fear in Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis: The Fifteenth John Bowlby Memorial Lecture

Orit Badouk Epstein Karnac Books ePub

Arietta Slade

Introduction

Today I will be talking about fear and its place in attachment theory and psychoanalysis. In the hierarchy of human motivations, Bowlby placed particular emphasis on attachment because it is essential to our physical and psychological survival. And he privileged fear of loss and danger because these elemental reactions drive and organise the activation and deactivation of the attachment system, regulate physical and psychological proximity seeking and contact maintenance, and shape the organisation of mental life.

At the time that Bowlby began formulating his theory of human attachment, psychoanalysis placed virtually no emphasis on the role of fear and the search for safety in the development of personality and psychopathology. This had much to do, of course, with Freud's particular interest in internal reality, and his relative lack of interest in relationships. Bowlby, by contrast, was greatly interested in actual experience, and believed that attending to the dynamics of fear and its regulation within the context of actual attachment relationships would fundamentally change psychoanalysis (1969, 1973, 1980, 1988). For Bowlby, an emphasis on fear and the search for safety offered a crucial corrective to the theories of motivation, development, and psychopathology that prevailed in psychoanalysis at the time. For many years, however, this corrective fell on deaf ears within the analytic community, which actively rejected Bowlby and his ideas for several decades.

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Chapter Six - Stepping into the Void of Dissociation: a Therapist and a Client in Search of a Meeting Place

Orit Badouk Epstein Karnac Books ePub

Shoshi Asheri

The premise of this chapter is that when a client enters the therapy room bringing with them their traumatic experience, in whatever disorganised or dissociated, physiological and/or psychological manifestations, they inevitably enter into a relationship with a part of the therapist that would rather remain dissociated than feel the unbearable feelings that an engagement with such trauma can evoke, particularly if the therapist carries a related trauma of his or her own. If we accept this premise, an important and intriguing question arises: how do we negotiate a therapeutic meeting in the face of the unconscious pact between a therapist and a client to remain dissociated?

In order to explore this question I will relate a clinical experience in which my client's dissociated domestic trauma entered into a relationship with my dissociated political and personal trauma. What could have been a potentially re-traumatising re-enactment between two people longing to be met, but remaining lost to each other in the void of their respective dissociations, became the key to a profound, mutually therapeutic, meeting.

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CHAPTER TWO: “An evil cradling”? Cult practices and the manipulation of attachment needs in ritual abuse

Orit Badouk Epstein Karnac Books ePub

Rachel Wingfield Schwartz

In his remarkable autobiographical account of his years held as a hostage in Beirut, Brian Keenan describes his captivity and his relationship to his captors as “an evil cradling”:

My days passed in a slow, gentle delirium; like the comfort and reassurance that a child must feel as its mother rocks and sings it a lullaby. I looked wildly at a dead insect in my cell, hanging in its cocoon. I felt a strange contentment. I felt no desire to leave this place. I found myself thinking with the shadows of panic rising in me that I was not ready to leave, that I did not want to leave. I began to dread my freedom, if it should come. [Keenan, 1993, p. 73]

In this account, Keenan enables us to begin to understand that being enfolded, cradled in this cocoon of captivity, evil though it may be, begins to present a kind of safety for the captive, the alternative to which-escape—seems to threaten only terror and the unknown. The survivors of ritual abuse and mind control that we will talk about over the course of this Conference grew up within an evil cradling; within families and cults who set out to make it impossible for them to ever escape; impossible for them to everbreak the psychological bonds with their abusers, bonds carefully welded within a cocoon of torture and programming.

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Chapter One - Attachment Theory and the John Bowlby Memorial Lecture 2008: a short history

Orit Badouk Epstein Karnac Books ePub

Bernice Laschinger

This year we mark the fifteenth anniversary of the first John Bowlby Memorial Lecture given by Colin Murray-Parkes on the theme of mourning and loss. That was a fitting recognition of Bowlby's great contribution to the understanding of human grief and sadness, while his clinical observations of separation and loss laid down the foundations of attachment theory.

In the years which have followed, attachment theory, in the words of Cassidy and Shaver (2008, xi), has produced “one of the broadest, most profound and most creative lines of research in 20th-century (and now 21st-century) psychology”. Nevertheless, given the hostility of the psychoanalytic establishment to Bowlby's ideas, it has only been in the last two decades, during which there have been dramatic advances in the congruent disciplines of infancy research and relational psychoanalysis, that the clinical relevance of attachment theory has been unquestionably established.

Indeed, it has been the development of its clinical applications, in tandem with its evolving convergence with psychoanalysis and trauma theory, that has been central to our practice at The Bowlby Centre. Looking back, our very early links with Bowlby's work were forged by one of our founders, John Southgate, who had clinical supervision with John Bowlby. Bowlby's understanding of the nature of human relatedness became primary in our theoretical framework and practice. It contributed directly to our emergence as an attachment-based psychoanalytic centre in 1992.

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