Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Today is the autumn (fall) equinox of 2020. Today the day and the night are of equal length. Tomorrow, at least here in the northern hemisphere, the night will be longer than the day and we will totter down into the darkness until the end of December. For you lucky people in the southern hemisphere, your year starts to open up again, the days lengthen, the sun rises in the sky, and gardens and beaches beckon you back.
Six months ago, back in March, when we were all far more naive, I was pretty certain that life would be back to usual by the end of the summer. I'm not sure what miracle I expected. These six months have given us all time to wonder, and ponder and consider. I'm not sure I've made a lot of headway but I certainly can't complain about lack of opportunity.
My good friend Dr Anne-Marie Albano (@AnneMarieAlbano) reminded me today that when we Do more that Matters, this includes looking after ourselves. You might forget to do this as often as I do - perhaps like me you consider yourself fortunate simply by being able to compare our personal world against those of the people we work alongside. For me, today is one of those days when I am acutely aware of this and yet my own personal losses are hitting hard. Over in Ireland I have a beloved uncle, in hospital and on his own. I last saw him in February, since then visits have been impossible. He has been in and out of hospital for months. Hope is always strong and on Friday my cousin John painted the outside of his house to welcome him home. Today though they called the priest, and we know what that means. We can't go and hold his hand, we can't say goodbye, and his family can't be with each other either. Millions of us have felt acute loss over the past months but now we lack the traditional customs that helped us get through, together. I comfort myself with the knowledge that he of all people would be ready to leave, he has faith and love (at least at a distance), and I have to hope that is enough. It isn't for me, at least not right now. Now would be a great time to find consolation in Rachel Clarke's new book 'Dear LIfe'. If you don't already know Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor who writes wonderfully about the end of life and the process of death. If you are scared of death, as most of us surely are, read her books. And Barney, god bless xx
Reading isn't strictly part of the FREE online training in mental health and psychology that this website is about but mixing it up helps break the monotony of screen time and seems to engage a different, more reflective, introspective, personal thinking process that can be hard to emulate online. And after all we can get books for free from the library so I will make the occasional exception.
But I am certain that the need for distanced and online training in mental health and psychology is going to continue. I'm involved in planning a conference for September 2021 and even if we are able to meet in person, which I dearly wish for, we will also be providing a parallel online programme. My stopgap website to fill the space that face to face training couldn't provide is likely to be needed for a little bit longer. When I began this website I thought I would quickly run out of new material, but creative and clever people just keep on adding important and exciting resources for us to share. So please help me make this go from strength to strength. If you know about any fantastic online resources that are not here already, PLEASE let me know about them.
Today I have had the pleasure of sharing two really excellent and quite distinct sets of resources. The first, is by a colleague Dr Beverley Costa, who I met a few years ago when we both worked on an ESRC and British Council funded project about language, resilience and refugees https://www.britishcouncil.org/language-for-resilience Beverley works as a therapist, consultant, and trainer supporting people who are refugees or asylum seekers and those who support them. Beverley is a doer as well as a thinker and a creative therapist. The website she has shared with us is evidence of her ability to do - and in line with the theme for this website 'To do more that matters'.
To help more of us to to 'Do more that matters' and to support change and activity beyond the therapy room Beverley has created an online training programme for counsellors and psychotherapists, hosted by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. The course considers the ethical and theoretical frameworks that help scaffold positive action we can take to tackle social injustice and discrimination. The course takes about six hours (flexible) and provides a CPD certificate to add to your portfolio. As I know that many of us are frustrated by the limits of our professional role but lack the certainty and training to go beyond, I am sure that this will be very popular and useful.
You can go straight to the course from here:
For those who would like to learn more about working with multilingual clients Beverley also has out a new book - see below.
The other excellent new resource that I've added today is from the UK Trauma Council
https://uktraumacouncil.org This multidisciplinary organisation, hosted by the Anna Freud Centre, brings together expertise from academics and clinicians and a whole bevy of resources for professionals and and carers. The site integrates evidence from neuroscience, about the impact of early trauma on the brain, emotional, cognitive and social development, as well as taking a wider look at policy and practice around childhood trauma. As you would expect from the experts who are involved in this excellent new organisation the site also invites visitors to learn about and contribute to research and to help develop and refine the evidence base. If you have any involvement or interest in the well-being of children and families I urge you to take a bit of time to explore what is available. Also keep an eye on the website - it is new and additional resources are planned. Below is a screen shot highlighting one of the many bespoke animations that have been developed as part of the resources.
I hope your solstice has been memorable. For me this solstice marks the turn of the season as well as the passing of a life well lived, of a dear man who did more that matters, every day, without even thinking about it.