The relationship between mothers and daughters can be complicated. It can also result in conflict. Is the conflict generational, as the older generation tries to assert its authority and the younger generation attempts to declare its independence? Perhaps. Could hormones create conflict, as pubescent girls and menopausal women struggle to manage hormonal changes, possibly at the same time? Perhaps. But maybe there’s another way to look at the relationship dynamics between mothers and daughters.
Rosjke Hasseldine argues in her article that we can only really understand women’s emotional lives in the wider context of their generational experience of sexism and misogyny. How are women treated in the family? What roles are they expected to play? And what is the psychological impact of the prevailing belief system?
It is a compelling argument. It’s also a compassionate argument, as it neither blames nor pathologises women for their emotional struggles.
Clients with chronic depression (dysthymia) can be a challenge, because they often don’t believe they can get better. It’s hard work for the therapist, who can start to lose confidence in the efficacy of the therapy, and so feel as hopeless or worthless as the client. And that’s why the article by Andrew Bates is a must-read.
Andrew explains how interpersonal psychotherapy can prove effective with dysthymic clients. It’s a short-term, active therapy, which emphasises the difference between ‘state’ and ‘trait’, so encouraging the client to think of their depression as an illness and therefore treatable.
The article takes us step by step, session by session, through the treatment model. It therefore instils confidence and optimism in the reader, much like interpersonal psychotherapy awakens trust and hopefulness in both the therapist and the client.
When Sarah Pennock first started working with clients with addiction issues, she followed a treatment model based on abstinence. But she started to notice that its effectiveness in the short term wasn’t matched by its success in the long term.
Clients would often relapse and so return to an abstinence programme in an almost never-ending, dispiriting cycle. As Sarah explains, it was only when she combined the addiction model with an attachment model that she could explore with her clients the root causes of their dependency, helping them towards a sustained recovery.
Sarah offers a case study, which not only charts her client’s journey of self-discovery, but also her own. It is an honest and moving portrait of the relationship between theory and practice, as well as the relationship between therapist and client.
The pandemic has made its mark on our work. In particular, it has made many of us think about how we maintain the boundary between client and therapist, when we are collectively living through coronavirus. Andrew Keefe writes about his own lockdown life – and what he has learnt about safe and effective practice.
Naomi Caine, Editor