This subject has more recently been expanded to cover adult relationships, whether romantic, family or friendships, and I take an in-depth look at some of the guidance contained in the marvellous book Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find – and keep – love by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A.
In the main interview, I talk to Dr Susie Christensen who is a Psychodynamic counsellor based in Brighton & Hove. Susie made a major career change several years ago, moving across from an academic and teaching background – she originally studied English Literature and obtained her PhD in the relationship between modernist literature, neurology, psychoanalysis and psychology in the period 1860-1939 – into the world of therapy, obtaining her qualifications from the University of Brighton. She has also worked as a bereavement volunteer for CRUSE.
We discuss the differences between psychodynamic counselling and various other types of ‘talk therapies’ and the crucial role of the relationship established between the therapist and the client. We also discuss the concept of ‘transference’. Susie also has some interesting tidbits about the early work of Sigmund Freud, the ‘grandfather’ of psychotherapy.
We spend some time discussing the notion of ‘story’, and how that can work in different ways: how individuals in a relationship can unwittingly develop differing stories about the dynamics of that relationship, which can actually lead to them realising too late that they have very different ‘takes’ on the situation; but also how story can be used in therapy to help the client build a meaningful picture of their past life, particularly if they have ‘blanks’ that may be the result of trauma. I refer to Rick Hanson’s brilliant book Resilient.
Susie and I also look at how the body can influence our thoughts, and the notion that the brain in our heads is not necessarily the only ‘brain’, and how what goes on in our gut and our heart can have a powerful effect on our moods, the mind-body connection, introducing the subject of neuropsychoanalysis.
In the last segment of the show, my Relaxation on the Beach meditation focuses on how we can use meditation to free ourselves of unwanted thoughts and allow them to drift away whilst we return to our ‘home base’ and achieve calm.
Resources and bonus material for this show
Sigmund Freud (Wikipedia)
The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.