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In July this year, I treated myself to the IARPP conference in Athens which Diane talked about in this forum. It was an inspiring experience but daunting to be immersed in the world of relational  psychonanalysis/psychotherapy, meeting and hearing some of the people who have had a strong impact on the development of my therapeutic skills. Something was also missing there and I could not find what it was. But in Cambridge, the meeting of different traditions, the exchanges that took place amongst us, the panel's discussions and the workshops I attended had a different impact: it hit something which I will call home, a place inside me where I feel that this is the way forward for me. I feel that as an association we are on the right track, asking ourselves the right questions and making the right connections with other approaches.

I have also realised that I still carry some shame about being a body psychotherapist. Part of this is probably anchored in the tumultuous history attached to our approach and the never-ending, sensitive and complex issues around touch, physical touch, which was sometimes mentioned in a provocative way and then dealt with through different aspects throughout the three days. Initiating such a conference and allowing ourselves to be seen in our work, in our tradition with our beliefs and doubts make me think that Chiron has come a long way. I felt a sense of maturity which allowed the speakers to be more exposed and therefore let themselves be more vulnerable and also more embodied in what they do. It allowed me to accept the unbearable wound of "the end" of the Chiron training which I have carried with me since I started my training six years ago. I feel I can let go now because out of Chiron something else is emerging, something that encompasses "the Chiron philosophy" but which has already gone far beyond it. It is inspiring, motivating and promising.

Many of my friends and colleagues shared my sense of belonging to a kind of family. In this family, I hope to keep learning from my colleagues, get feedback, be challenged and - yes - argue too (as this is something I do well... ). I would like to thank the organisers again for all their hard work. Well done all of you! It will take some time to integrate it all because you provided us with so much food for thought.

I would like to conclude by acknowledging two people: Bernd Eiden and Jochen Lude, the founders of the Chiron Centre for Body  Psychotherapy. If I were you, I would (dare I say it?) be proud parents!

These are my personal thoughts regarding the conference and I look forward to the future developments and projects which will emanate from it. Thank you again for this amazing three days.


Cedric Daetwyler
Integrative Body Psychotherapist


The following brief conference report appeared originally in the discussion group for members of 'The Relational School' (www.therelationalschool.com).  The Relational School is a growing forum of individuals in the UK who are interested in developing theoretical and practical understanding of relational psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
 

 'The Client and I' - Relational Dilemmas and Opportunities in Psychotherapy

 

The title, of course indicates why such a conference would have been interesting to members of this list. Perhaps many people who are not "body psychotherapists" may have assumed that this conference was not for them. I was operating under that assumption myself at first, but found the conference to be excellent, engaging, and energising. In fact, for me at least, the conference exploded many myths I had about body psychotherapy -- and probably for others, about the nature of relational psychoanalysis.

The opening plenary was in integrating endeavour in itself with Michael Soth and Joseph Schwartz each giving a talk on "The routes towards the relational paradigm shift" followed by a moderated discussion between the two of them,and a question and answer session. It did much to demonstrate both difference and similarity in traditions, and probably did a great deal to deconstruct notions of practice and theory between relational psychoanalysts and body psychotherapists. This was followed by a multitude of workshops on a variety of subjects, followed by evening sessions on body-work.

Saturday's plenary consisted of two engaging papers given by Barbara Pizer and Shoshi Asheri called "Negotiating a sense of aliveness in the therapeutic relationship: an embodied intersubjective experience". These papers discussed the risks and possibilities of relational work while at the same time addressing the parallel process that occurred in the collaborative process between Shoshi and Barbara in creating the joint venture. This was also followed by lively discussion in both large and small groups. The evening session was entitled "Making it up as we go along: improvising as an intrinsic relational capacity from birth and in therapy", given by Colwyn Trevarthen and Roz Carroll. Trevarthen covered some fascinating material from contemporary infant research, the conclusions of which were relevant to relational work with adults; and Carroll, spoke of how clinical improvisation can help facilitate attunement and relating.

The last day consisted of a new and dynamic fish-bowl exercise facilitated by Andrew Samuels, where one role-playing client encountered three very different therapists. The audience, divided into sections, was then able to comment on several levels: what they experienced in their bodies; their fantasies about what was going on in the dyad; theoretical implications of the work; and parallel process. This rather experimental approach was very engaging and brought up a great deal of discussion among participants. It was truly an experiential learning experience.

Kudos to the organisers for having created such a great experience for us all. Commendations too to the delegates; rarely have I attended a conference where delegates where so prepared to muck in and participate so energetically in both small and large group activities. It seems like the relational perspective is certainly alive and well in body psychotherapy. I look forward to seeing more of this kind ofactivity developing in the UK.

Aaron Balick

The CABP Conference 2007

Photo Gallery Conference 2007

Impressions from the 2007 Conference - Aaron Balick

Impressions from the 2007 Conference - Cedric Daetwyler

 

Colwyn Trevarthen has kindly made the PowerPoint slides from his presentation at the CABP Conference 2007 available to us. It is a large file (17.4MB) and will open as a PDF document: Colwyn Trevarthen CABP 2007 slides

 
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