What an excellent day training Home and Migrations turned out to be with wonderful modelling in my view by the speaker, Cecile Buckenmeyer, of good psychotherapy in action.
Luckily (!), there was a computer malfunction and we were spared the power-point slides and treated to a fully experiential day with the only visual aid being one line on a flipchart: a spectrum from Hestia to Hermes.
We were invited to reflect on the qualities of home-loving and home-making represented by the archetype of the goddess Hestia and the qualities represented by the god Hermes such as travel and change. We scored ourselves along this spectrum.
We reflected on the clinical excesses of these archetypes such as agoraphobia on the one hand or mania on the other.
The difficulties of feeling at home can be particularly difficult for people who have migrated to a different country. It can be problematical and stressful to make a good attachment to a new place. A lack of connection can lead to a descent into meaninglessness and depression.
We examined our own histories and examined where we had felt most at home in our lives and looked at our present relationship with the place where we live. Does our current home meet our deepest needs or is there a call to find a new home which may offer us a spirit of place to which we can attune, allowing us to belong in that place fully?
Cecile told us how she had found a new home in the north of England where she now feels at home, having lived previously in France, Japan, the USA, and London. She spoke of how seeing heather in the summer near Lancaster was a sign that this was the right place for her to be.
Several people at the workshop were born in countries other than the UK and it was poignant to hear of the struggles that people have had to adjusting to new countries and cultures. We heard from one person how she had had to do a lot of “grown ups’ work” such as reading the bills and calling tradesmen when her family had moved to the USA because she was more proficient at English than her parents. Another person spoke about how she felt disliked by her in-laws because they didn’t cook for her when she visited them. In her country, feeding a visiting relative is expected as a sign of welcome.
We were also treated to a case study of Cecile’s of a client whose parents were not from the UK, and how this contributed to the client’s uncertainty of who he was and where he belonged. His journey as a client was telling portrayed in summaries of his dreams throughout his therapy where the earliest dreams showed him as vulnerable and frightened and later dreams showed him becoming more powerful and finally beginning to accept his current life and home.
I feel that we were invited in the day to deal with the central issue of how to be authentic and truthful about our needs or our clients’ needs.
All of us on our feedback forms indicated that this was a very successful day led by Cecile with skill, warmth, curiosity and humour.
It was a truly nurturing day reminding us of the power and value of psychotherapy well done.