Winifred, my first therapist is still with me, possibly more so than 44 years ago. In my therapeutic work I feel, as Winifred would say, that Something is Happening. A mysterious, numinous force unfolds in each moment and especially in certain therapy sessions. Her ideas from Life’s Currency: Time, Energy and Money are a regular topic of conversation with my older clients. I’ve added Attention as the forth primary resource we have to nurture, protect and use consciously. Almost without thought, Winifred permeates my approach to therapy: spiritual openness, spontaneity, attention to the unconscious and particularly, a focus on dreams. [Read more…] about Winifred Rushforth: Embodying the Archetype of Wisdom
Surgery and Healing
Orianne and I set off before dawn for the hospital. Check in was at 5.30 am for a 7.30 operation to remove a large cyst from the left side of my head. I’d had it since I was a baby but it had grown over the years and started pressing on my eye. Now was the time to deal with it.
As we sped along the empty highway, I felt calm and quiet. I knew I had the right head and neck surgeon: it had taken almost a year to find him. To be safe, he had invited two other experienced doctors to do their part: a neurosurgeon and ocular-plastic surgeon. A three-person team of experts was looking after me. The cyst didn’t stand a chance! [Read more…] about Surgery and Healing
The terrible devastation in Ukraine disturbs me at a very deep level. It closely resembles the launch of World War II when Hitler invaded Poland. That war is personal for me; it traumatized and damaged both my parents and as a consequence, created untold disturbance in my family. [Read more…] about War Trauma
Cultivating Knowing: a conversation
“I can’t decide,” said the young man pacing up and down. “It’s a jumble and I don’t even know if I trust myself. What should I do?”
The old man sat quietly looking down at the ground. After a pause he looked at the young man and replied, “That’s because you don’t know where to decide from.”
“What do you mean? How do I make a decision from somewhere? I just need to make up my mind.”
“So you decide with your mind? You think a decision!” [Read more…] about Cultivating Knowing: a conversation
It was winter 1979 in Edinburgh, and as usual the wind off the North Sea cut to the bone. A group of eight of us huddled in a circle around an electric bar heater in Winifred’s front room. Although we met weekly, we knew little of each other’s outer lives. Our only task was to explore the workings of our inner worlds through sharing dreams.
Dr. Winfred Rushforth sat in an overstuffed armchair, a gently commanding presence, her snowy hair forming a halo around a strong square wrinkled face framed by oversize glasses. At 96 she had been practicing as a psychoanalyst for over 50 years and her owl-like gaze could penetrate any dream to its most obscure depths. [Read more…] about Appreciating Dreams
Fishing for Dreams: Part 1
This is the first of a two-part article on how to work with dreams. Tongue-in-cheek, I explore different aspects of dreamwork using the metaphor of fish and fishing. In this section, I deal with how we catch, hold on to and recognize different kinds of dreams. A second article will address how to prepare, cook and digest these strange creatures of the unconscious.
Dreams are slippery fish—hard to catch and difficult to hold. They don’t give up their nourishment without a bit of a struggle and some resolute cooking. [Read more…] about Fishing for Dreams: Part 1
Fishing for Dreams: Part 2
This is the second of a two-part article on dreamwork using the metaphor of fishing. We have caught our dream-fish and held it tight so it does not slip through the fingers of our mind. Now comes the really interesting part: How to prepare and cook our dream so that it provides nourishment for our hearts, minds and souls.
Lay out the fish
Our dream-fish lies fresh in our minds-eye. We examine it carefully to see what we need to do next. This is when we write down the dream. [Read more…] about Fishing for Dreams: Part 2
Self-Care during the Covid-19 Pandemic
This is an extraordinary and difficult time. With so much uncertainty and social turmoil, it is easy to give in to fear and hopelessness. We must keep physically safe to avoid being infected and infecting others. We must also take care of our emotional and mental wellbeing. Below are suggestions to help you maintain your inner psychological balance. [Read more…] about Self-Care during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Getting the Most out of Therapy
Therapy is one of the few places where you can be completely honest with yourself and explore all your thoughts, feelings and actions. However, therapy is not simple or easy. Like any worthwhile undertaking, it can be demanding as well as immensely fulfilling.
To get the most out of your time in therapy, you should ask yourself: How can I best use this time? What will help me make the changes I want? What might get in the way of making progress? [Read more…] about Getting the Most out of Therapy
The Boulder Massacre
Another slaughter of innocents—this time in a Boulder supermarket where we’ve shopped many times. During the following week, my clients express their confused disbelief veiling the anger and anguish beneath. We struggled with the questions: Why does this happen? How can we make sense of something so perverted?
Mass murders (under the euphemism ‘mass shootings’) are a normal, almost taken-for-granted part of American life. We grow numb in the face of so many atrocities, hopeless in the face of political inaction. Our awareness and compassion grows thin. We shed a tear, talk with friends, attend a vigil, donate a few dollars to the survivor’s fund and then it slips away. [Read more…] about The Boulder Massacre