Welcome to this seasons issue of Frontiers Magazine
Anger seems to be the defining emotion of our world at the moment. In every corner of the globe political movements are feeding on division and the threat or reality of violence to motivate their supporters, or garnish new support from those who feel angry or threatened. Society feels on a knife-edge to a degree perhaps not seen since the height of the cold war. Clients come into the therapy room not only with their own personal anger, but with wider political and social concerns that are impossible to avoid taking account of. The challenge in this climate as practicing therapists is to find a means of transmuting this emotion into something alchemically potent and initiatory – something that will motivate positive change and action. For this reason our issue this season is on anger and fire – and we have a range of different articles trying to approach ways of working with this difficult material.
Firstly Kelly Hearn in ‘Anger Management for Troubled Times’ takes stock of some of the enacting of anger within the political sphere, both in the US and UK. She looks at how splitting and projection can fuel the dismissal of one political ‘side’ by the other. She brings in some Buddhist based advice for how to deal with these issues from the work of Pema Chodron. Next Suzie Chick’s piece ‘Firestarter – A Beginner’s Story’ takes a personal view as she approaches fire as a metaphor. She looks at the energies behind both anger and assertiveness and looks at how her open fire became an arena to explore her fiery qualities. I then draw on my long career as a martial arts instructor and Thai boxing coach to ask how these arts can be drawn on by psychotherapists in their practice. ‘Combat Sports and Psychotherapy – How Ritual Fighting can Contain Aggression’ asks how the martial arts and combat sports help to ‘contain’ anger safely.
Besides these, we have two reviews – firstly the Jung – Lacan dialogues, a free-to-attend regular meeting of experts looking at the views of both of these important psychoanalytical theorists. Secondly a book review of ‘The Black Sun’ by Stanton Marlan – this focuses on what is not ever fully integrated, the truly difficult material of therapy, which fits well with our theme this issue. We also have our regular dilemma page, in which difficult situations which we may encounter as psychotherapists are approached by our readers and contributors.
Finally we have two workshops offered by our authors – I am running a workshop offering participants a chance to find a way of converting their own fire and rebellion into something nourishing and beneficial. The ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ workshop will be looking to find the divinity in rebellion. Meanwhile Kelly Hearn will be offering her ‘Opening to Intimacy’ workshop exploring the barriers that prevent us from having truly fulfilling relationships.