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If someone’s traumatic life story and the story of painful events in their life are never heard or made of sense of, they are very likely to be ‘behaved’ (children) and enacted (adults) in the form of attacks against self or others. As the saying goes “Hurt people hurt people.” People will try to do ‘something’ (e.g self-harm, develop neurotic symptoms, shift their focus to their body) to protect themselves against the sheer intensity of feeling which in its ‘untold state’ feels so frightening and overwhelming. Freud was right, 'A think which has not been understood inevitably reappears: like an unlaid ghost, it cannot rest until the mystery has been solved and the spell is broken (Freud 1909) and Santayana (1905) “ Those who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it.”
This conference presenters will address what happens when a child, teenager or adult does not seek help or is not given the opportunity to tell their painful story. The presenters will then explore what happens when someone does tell their story to someone who is a skilled empathic listener. Both the neural and psychological basis of the profound relief in telling your story will be discussed demonstrating how quality of life depends on this. Sue Hughes will explore the power of Therapeutic Life Story Work and Margot Sunderland will present the power of telling your story using the arts. Professor Greenberg, founder of Emotion focused therapy (EFT), will discuss the power of narrative medicine from an EFT perspective.
Professor Leslie Greenberg
Professor Leslie Greenberg graduated with a Ph.D. in psychology from York University in Toronto, Ontario. He began his career at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto, and worked with York University in their counselling centre. In the early 1980’s he completed his externship at the Family Therapy Mental Research Institute in California. He was an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia for several years, before accepting a full professorship in 1985 in the Department of Counseling Psychology. Professor Greenberg is one of the co-founders of Emotion-Focused Therapy. He has acted as developer, researcher, and trainer at the Emotion-Focused Therapy Clinic and is also the Director. He has authored over 100 articles, and has written more than a dozen books. Greenberg has been recognised for his contributions to psychology with the Distinguished Contribution to the Profession from the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Research Career award from the International Society for Psychotherapy Research.
Child Psychotherapist working with children with severe emotional, behavioural and social difficulties as well as developmental problems resulting from early life trauma and poor and disrupted attachments. Background in social work with children and their families, starting out in residential care 25 years ago, then working in child protection and managing a family centre, developing it into a therapy centre as part of a mental health service for children and young people. Particular passion for working with children and parents together, and for working with adolescents.
Dr Margot Sunderland
Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health, London. Honorary Visiting Fellow at London Metropolitan University, Associate member of The Royal College of Medicine and Child Psychotherapist with over 30 years’ experience of working with children and teenagers. Author of over 20 books in the field of child mental health. What Every Parent Needs to Know (Dorling Kindersley) won First Prize in the British Medical Association Medical Book awards 2007 (Popular Medicine section). Originator of ‘Helping Where it Hurts’, a therapy programme for troubled children in North London schools.
For more details about Dr Margot Sunderland: www.margotsunderland.org
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