This day-long event left me with the impression of a hand-crafted tapestry or quilt, a rich whole made up of contrasting textures and patterns. Patchwork-quilt-like, there were 30-40 participants in their little boxes, body psychotherapists and dance therapists and yoga teachers and more. Everyone had a chance to speak if they wanted, in the Open Mic or discussion times, or in the AGM, or by leading or participating in a workshop.
And people did speak, from their hearts, about whatever body- or therapy-related matter was on their mind. There was talk of COVID long and short, vaccination or not, autism in the therapy room, the highs and lows of working online, the weariness some of us were experiencing after months of remote sessions, and more. There was even some movement and sound, each in our little square.
In the afternoon a choice of workshops was offered, one of which had been withdrawn the previous day due to lack of participants: ‘Living in the white body’. So was nobody interested in that subject? Far from it, and thoughts were shared about why some of us had hesitated to sign up, and how this was experienced by others. I’m being purposely vague because this professional Gathering was often a personal time, and although there was no confidentiality agreement, it would feel quite wrong to quote anyone else.
I joined a workshop on working with chronic pain, in which some of the classic questions quickly emerged. We talked about accepting what is, about shame, about the search for ‘psychological triggers’ and meaning – is all sickness home-sickness? – and more. The hour flew by and everyone agreed that they’d like a longer workshop another time.
There was space too for ideas about the purpose and future of the Body Psychotherapy Network. How about a system for placing interested members into peer supervision groups? Yes please, thought I, if only because I am earning so little at present that I need to make sparing use of my excellent individual supervisor. There was some mention made of the possibility of having BPN as a registering body, and I was left hoping that this would not happen, in case the bureaucracy involved took energy away from focusing on the body and how we work with it and live in it.
Thanks to the organisers for all your thoughtful planning that made it such a brilliant day. More, please!