Rather busy at the moment - I am doing a counselling course at Lambeth College. I passed the first module earlier in the year, but things are hotting up now, with lessons twice a week and homework in between. I thought I knew a thing or two about this before I started, what with commissioning psychotherapy services as part of my job, and having read a fair bit of Freud, Lacan and others. But going back to basics - what does it mean to be with somebody as they describe their issues? how does one set boundaries so that the other person knows what they can and cannot expect of you? how can one help a person to feel safe and thereby help them to speak their mind? - has shown that what I thought I knew is all well and good from a theoretical standpoint, but is insubstantial if you cannot use it in a particular room with a particular person with a particular set of issues.
I am enjoying it very much, not least because my fellow students are warm, interesting, challenging people, very different from me and from each other. If you have a passing interest in this sort of thing, you may not have seen the film Gloria, made in 1965, in which a patient called Gloria undergoes therapy with three major psychotherapists from three very different background: Carl Roger, Fritz Perls and Albert Ellis. If you haven't seen it, you should. The first part is here - you can find the rest on Youtube.
A couple of other things. First, my wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this weekend, which we celebrated by going on the flight simulator at the Science Museum. She bought me a book from the wonderful, East Anglia based Full Circle publishers: a book of short stories by Rose Tremain. This is the front cover which, as with all FC books, is gorgeous:
Second - and vaguely linked to the other reason I am busy, which is that my public sector employers keep finding me things to do (the cheek of it) - here is a wonderful post on "Camden council brutalism". If I worked for Microsoft, I suppose you'd call it brand loyalty or commodity fetishism; but as I work for the people of Camden, I am happy to call it pride. It's rather precious, I know, but there is something very gratifying about working in such a wonderful borough, whatever one's misgivings about its various decisions, both past and present. Only recently, I went to Gospel Oak, an area of Camden which has a certain "reputation", to talk to a local GP about dementia care. It was a sunny day (unlike the day EuV had to endure), but I don't think it was just the weather that made Lismore Circus feel so welcoming - more the sense of a shared purpose, of public services and community bodies working together for the good of the estate and the neighbourhood. There is a fuller post waiting to be written about Gospel Oak, and maybe in the new year, when I'm finished writing coursework about empathy and congruence, I will write it.