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If the painful events in a person’s life are not heard, acknowledged and made sense of by an empathic other, they can blight quality of life, ability to function well, and relationship with self and others. What’s more, in an attempt to cope with the distress of unprocessed trauma or loss people often do something which actually makes their life worse (e.g. self-harm, shift their focus of panic and anxiety to their body, develop obsessions or phobias, withdraw or attack). All these coping mechanisms are designed to protect them from the sheer intensity of their psychological pain, which, in its ‘untold state’, feels so frightening and overwhelming. Freud was right, "A thing 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). Similarly, Santayana (1905) said "Those who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it."
On this conference, presenters will address what happens when a child, teenager or adult is not given the opportunity over time to tell their painful story to someone who is trained to listen, understand and help them make sense of what happened. The presenters will also explore why telling your story to someone who is a skilled empathic listener can modify painful memory and set a person free to enjoy real quality of life.
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 Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist, author of Users and Abusers of Psychiatry (2nd edition Routledge 2000) and co-editor of Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People's Problems (Routledge, 2nd edition 2013) and A Straight-talking Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis’ (PCCS Books 2014), along with a number of other chapters and articles taking a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate and was the lead author of 'Good Practice Guidelines on the Use of Psychological Formulation' (Division of Clinical Psychology, 2011.) She has worked in Adult Mental Health settings for many years, most recently in a service in South Wales. She was lead author, along with Professor Mary Boyle, for the ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’ (2018), a Division of Clinical Psychology-funded project to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis.
Lucy is an experienced conference speaker and lecturer, and currently works as an independent trainer. Her particular interest and expertise is in the use of psychological formulation, in both its individual and team versions, and in promoting trauma-informed practice.
(More info: https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/03/dr-lucy-johnstone-power-threat-meaning-framework/ - Mad in America and The Power Threat Meaning Framework, BPS)
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
CCMH, 2-18 Britannia Row, London N1 8PA, UK