“Children unavoidably treat their parents as though they were experts on life. They, and other adults, are the people from whom the child learns what is necessary. But the extent to which children make demands on adults which the adults don’t know what to do with is not sufficiently remarked on. It is, for example, clear to everyone concerned that the adults are unable to answer, in any satisfactory way, several of the child’s questions. The so-called facts of life are hardly a convincing answer – for anybody – to the question of why people have sex, or where babies are from. Whether children are amusing, or irritating, or ‘little philosophers’, once they learn to talk they create, and suffer, a certain unease about what they can do with words. Paradoxically, it is the adults’ own currency – words – that reveals to them the limits of adult authority. The adults are not fully competent with their own tools, but there is nobody else for the child to appeal to. Children go on asking but eventually they have to settle for the adult’s exhausted impatience and the fictions of life. ‘In the unconscious,’ Freud wrote in The Interpretation of Dreams, ‘nothing can be brought to an end, nothing is past or forgotten.’ Curiosity is endless, as every parent knows, in a way that answers are not.”
Adam Phillips (1994)
Source : an extract from ‘The Experts’ by the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in The London Review of Books Vol. 16 No. 24 · 22 December 1994.
“Not only must children not be commanded to love their parents, but nothing must be done which has this result as their object. Parental affection, at its best, differs from sex love in this respect. It is of essence of sex love to seek a response, as is natural,since without a response, it cannot fulfil its biological function. But it is not the essence of parent love to seek a purpose.”
Russell, B. (1926) On Education London, Unwin Books (1964, p104)
This is a link to the video-cast of a Gresham College lecture What’s happened to childhood? delivered in February, 2014, by Professor Hugh Cunningham of the University of Kent .
In our current social, cultural, political and economic climate, some may feel that the underlying themes of the presentation have ever increasing pertinence. You can watch and listen to Professor Cunningham : here
“One of the difficulties attending parental love in our cultural moment is that the child, and first of all, the baby, has become the focus all so much expert know –how alongside so many redemptive hopes. Bringing up children now often seems to require a concentration of programmatic activity and consumerist expenditure so intense that love can flip into frustration and disappointment, though this may have Little to do with the child’s own individuality. The pleasures of love too often seem to have been displaced by a work and a production ethic in which parental achievement is judged by effort and by the honed product at its ever receding terminus.”
From All About Love Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion by Lisa Appignanesi (p289, 2011).
On Saturday, September 19th, 2015 the next Limbus Lecture, Kid’s Company: Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Working with Children and Young People will be given by Jocylene Quenelle along with Lizzie Smosarksi.
It will take place at Studio 3, The Space, Dartington Hall, nr. Totnes, Devon.
Those attending are asked to arrive from 10am for a 10.30 start. Proceedings will finish at about 1pm. The cost is £20. For further details of the presentation You can download a flyer here.
You can book your place in advance through the website www.limbus.org.uk.
Future Events 2015/16 – Dates for your diary
Nov 14 Stephen Roundhill Neuropsychology in context
Feb 27 Otto Rheinschmeidt On Dreams
May 21 Margaret Landale Attunement & Empathy
Sep 17 Sally Sales TBA
Jo Fogel, a group-analytic psychotherapist has written to us about an invitation she is sending out to teachers to become members of a Balint-type case discussion group for teachers.
Jo writes : Michael Balint developed this kind of group for GPs to help them think about patients who concerned them. The model lends itself well to other professionals – including teachers. Here is a good introduction and description of a Balint group and what is involved. Just substitute ‘teacher’ for ‘doctor’ and ‘pupil’ for ‘patient’.
The group will be co-led by a teacher and me, a psychotherapist. It will be held monthly on Tuesday evenings at the Tavistock Centre in NW London, five minutes walk from Swiss Cottage tube station. The dates up until March are:
Autumn Term – 29.9.15, 27.10.15, 24.11.15, 22.12.15
Spring Term – 26.1.16, 23.2.16, 22.3.16
Each group session will last for 1.5 hours, beginning at 7.30 p.m. or 8 p.m. (to be confirmed) and will have up to 12 members.
The group is ongoing and the fee for each session is £20, payable termly in advance.
You don’t need previous experience of this way of working but a curiosity about it is desirable. The content of discussion will be kept confidential.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please do contact me to discuss further any aspect of the above.
07887 545 703
The new issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal is now online. This is our Mulberry Bush Issue which we publish as a celebration and recognition of the work of the Mulberry Bush School and Organisation since 1948. This issue also considers the current work of the “The Bush” as it continues with new endeavours. In this part of the new issue John Diamond the CEO of the Mulberry Bush provides an introduction to the Mulberry Bush articles before offering Reflections on the development of the Mulberry Bush,1948-2015, John Turberville explains The Mulberry Bush Approach, Caryn Onions writes A multi disciplinary case study, Annabelle Rose looks at the role of psychodynamic theory in the therapeutic care of children while Zoe McCarthy considers The role of play in the development of traumatised children. Andy Lole proposes Integrating Ofsted into a truly school led system, Dave Roberts writes about The Mulberry Bush Training and outreach team and Ray Burrows explains the MBOX and illustrates it with an outreach case study.
The second part of this issue is an array of sensitive, thoughtful, reflective, and sensitive articles. Siobain Degregorio offers an additional article about her experience of student placement at the Mulberry Bush. Jennie Bristow gives us her article Helicopters or hands off: today’s parents can’t seem to win and Maurice Fenton stresses the importance of Doing the Right Thing for Children in Care and Support Seekers, and John Molloy gives more of his penetrating reflections on the historic troubles of Irish child care in his article The Habit of Abuse.
Michael J. Marlowe writes about Building Relationships with Troubled Children: Insights from Torey Hayden, while John Stein suggests Experience is the Best Teacher, Horse whisperer Bethlehem Taylor remembers A Cockney Childhood in the East End Of London :1945-1960 and Charles Sharpe reviews Inequality, Poverty, Education A Political Economy of School Exclusion by Francesca Ashurst and Couze Venn and, Leading Good Care: the task, heart and art of managing social care by John Burton.
We believe Issue 17 of the goodenoughcaring Journal is a very special one and we hope you find something of interest to you in it.