The East Anglian Psychotherapy Network
Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter for 2023.
The East Anglian Psychotherapy Network : Looking Back and Looking Forwards – what makes a ‘good conference’?
Ever since the pandemic ushered in the age of Zoom all of us have had to evaluate the benefits and the drawbacks of online conferencing and , indeed, of online psychotherapy. As a regional network covering very many square miles – from ‘the Broads to the Estuary’ as our very first conference was entitled – negotiating the best ways of serving and engaging our growing membership is always with us. That first conference – held in the wonderful Norwich Cathedral education centre – attracted 80 psychotherapists attending in person from different corners of East Anglia and inaugurated our Network. Now five years on, and recognised as a non-profit making charitable organisation, the EAPN has over 200 members.
Our second conference, originally scheduled for Bury St Edmunds, was eventually held solely online after a year’s postponement due to the pandemic and at a time when social distancing was still a crucial consideration. Online access enabled a similar number of people to see and hear wonderful presentations from Margaret and Michael Rustin and Angela Foster on the then highly pertinent theme of ‘risk’ .
Last month, for our most recent Autumn Conference - Understanding and Treating Trauma: Current Psychotherapeutic Approaches - we grasped the nettle by holding our first ‘hybrid’ conference , enabling people to attend either ‘in person’ at Homerton College in Cambridge or to do so online via Zoom.
The conference, with internationally regarded speakers – Joanne Stubley, Renos Papadopoulos and Richard Meiser-Stedman (two of whom are based in East Anglia) - was clearly greatly enjoyed and appreciated judging from the feedback we have received. Fifty people attended in person, while the Zoom provision enabled a further 37 to participate online, including a delegation of 17 clinicians from Iran.
Earlier in the year, on a much smaller scale some twenty or so colleagues attended two separate presentations and discussions on The Psyche and the Soma with presentations by Peter Shoenberg, Robert Withers and Dorota Jagielska-Hall – all highly experienced in the psychotherapeutic treatment of psychosomatic disorders. Whilst a small number of people joined on Zoom, it was the presence and participation in the room that made these smaller events an intimate and valuable experience for all of us.
Which brings us to the point. It is not the size of the audience , but the engagement and – especially – the networking experience that members above all seem to value… that makes it a ‘good’ – that is, a successful event.
It is the case that the online option brings great benefit for those living far from Norwich or Bury St Edmunds or Cambridge… or from the several other East Anglian venues that we would like to visit for future events. It is also the case that ‘people expect an online option nowadays’. And in the metropolitan centres of excellence, it now seems normal to spread the online coverage far and wide, across national boundaries and over widely differing time zones, secure in the support of full time professional technical expertise.
However - anyone who has witnessed or experienced the fumbling efforts of many in our well-regarded profession to connect a laptop to a projector and deliver a faultless PowerPoint presentation screen-shared contemporaneously with an active ‘chat facility’, uninterrupted by a dog barking its presence via an unmuted participant’s microphone … anyone indeed who has experienced the screen-frozen equivalent of a mid-conference digital Bermuda Triangle moment….. will know that putting on a slick and successful hybrid conference comes at a cost, financial and emotional, and at best several sleepless nights and days of impeccable planning.
We were incredibly grateful that our investment of finance and effort did deliver a seamlessly good and successful Autumn Conference at Homerton. The presence throughout the day of quiet technical expertise ensured that we could relax and absorb the brilliant presentations and enjoy a carefree Homerton lunch and tea. Moreover, our delegates clearly enjoyed the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones during the breaks. This surely, is among the foremost outcomes - what a regional professional network is for.
As a non-profit-making body that currently charges no annual subscription of its members, where even the £80 booking fee felt somewhat uncomfortable, it is important to recognise that we are first and foremost a Regional Network that exists for our regional members. It is gratifying that we seem increasingly to be known about beyond East Anglia – but it is not parochial to say that we don’t aspire to draw people in from other time zones, nor even from south of the Thames. We don’t have the resources to fill the Albert Hall – even for an online conference. The hybrid model – excellent as we believe the conference to have been – challenged our resources to their limit… Reluctantly , as we go forwards, perhaps we may need to look at ‘one or the other’ – in-person or online – as, it seems, many other well established organisations have found.
On the subject of ‘resources’
Here we don’t just mean financial but the human resources that make the world go round.
We very much need some new faces on our team in the Planning Group and we’d really like to hear from you if you’d like to join us.
At the recent Conference we were very aware of how thin on the ground we were , especially on the day itself when there are a range of tasks to attend to in order to welcome people and keep things running smoothly.
Since becoming a charity, several of the core members of our Planning Group have become Trustees with primary responsibility to ensure the good governance of the Network and the fulfilment of a public benefit from our activities – a key element of our charitable status.
In addition, however, aside from the Trustee function there are all sorts of areas where fresh energy and vision could help us to generate new and innovative ways of meeting our charity commitments in tandem with our own founding aim of building a strong professional identity for psychotherapy in East Anglia.
Planning conferences and other educational events is a big part of this, but smaller and more local ventures - setting up peer groups, reading groups and short courses - are as important and all require ideas and energy and fluent communication within the network. With teamwork, such projects need not be onerous.
An enlarged Planning Group would provide us with much needed time and space for creative thinking in subgroups dedicated to conference and event planning, development of the website, and building our external relations. More generally, perhaps, it could provide the space we need for some ‘blue-sky thinking’ about the future development of psychotherapy and psychotherapy training in the region. How, for instance, might we envisage – one day – a new East Anglian Clinical Psychotherapy Training that builds on and advances existing theoretical knowledge.
The EAPN is an important enterprise that is clearly valued. We’d love to welcome more people to help us to ‘run it’ especially if you have a flair for IT , writing , organisational or communication skills.
Some important announcements
Vacancies for low fee intensive psychotherapy
● Penny Maddrell is a trainee on the Jungian analytic training at the British Psychotherapy Foundation (BPF) and has a vacancy for a training patient in Cambridge (Arbury) for two years at three times a week.
The BPF website explains how to enquire and apply :
https://www.britishpsychotherapyfoundation.org.uk/therapy/low-fee-intensive-therapy See the attached flyer.
Please bring this to the attention of anyone who might be interested. They need to get in touch with bpf e.g. through the website, rather than contacting me."
● Also in Cambridge - Dr James Fitzgerald has a simlar vacancy
“I am training with the SAP to become an analyst. I am based in Cambridge and my background is as a psychiatrist in the NHS. I am looking for 4 times weekly patient. It will be low fee as the fee will be going to the SAP clinic. The minimum commitment would be 2 years with view to working on longer. I would like support finding such a patient so that medium-long term I can bring these skills to the NHS as well.
Please contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org”
● Catalyst Counselling & Training
Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Supervisors required.
Catalyst are looking to recruit to their group of supervisors for psychodynamic counsellor-trainees on a BPC approved training, at Catalyst. Please see the attached advertisement for full details
● Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust are advertising upcoming Job Opportunities in an NHS Physical Healthcare setting of interest if you are a Psychologist, Psychotherapist or Counsellor .
For details, please see the attached advertisement
● The B.B.Zeitlyn Psychotherapy Training Fund
One for your diary – On Saturday 3rd February 2024 The B.B.Zeitlyn Psychotherapy Training Fund will be hosting a presentation by Mark Sohms on Clinical Implications of recent Neuropsychoanalytic research findings.
You will be able to find the full details of this event in due course on www.bbzeitlyntrust.org.uk/calendar.
● And finally, we receive many enquiries from trainee and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists for supervisors.
Please let me know if we can include your preferred contact details on a list of available supervisors.
Your full and updated Membership List is attached along with three flyers on the bpf low-fee psychotherapy scheme, Catalyst counselling and training, and the announcement by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
With seasonal best wishes to all EAPN members