Guest Blog by Dermod Moore
This month I will be heading to the Netherlands for the European Federation of Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy (EFPP) Summer School (21 - 25 Aug 2019) in the Netherlands, which is taking the theme “The Power of Synthesis in Times of Polarisation”. These summer schools are an incredible opportunity to connect and to be inspired by psychosynthesis colleagues from all over Europe as well as a chance to deepen and broaden our knowledge of psychosynthesis and its application. If you haven't already, do sign up, it's a very special week not to be missed!
During the Summer School, I have the privilege of facilitating one of the main seminar strands every morning, which I’m calling @womanmanhuman. I’m happy to take the opportunity here to explain my thinking behind the workshops. If you can’t attend, then even by following this Twitter account you may get some idea of the territory. Please feel free to contribute to the conversation!
Over the course of the four days, I hope to:
• Get people thinking about sexual politics and how it connects to the realpolitik of the world around us
• Explore what psychosynthesis can offer us in effecting real change in our relationships with each other, and in our engagement with society
• Find ways in which we can all stand shame-free in the radical centre, in a world where shame is weaponised and victimhood is competitive, especially in the discourse of gender; all the time being aware that the centrifugal forces of the Internet draw us constantly away from the centre in these febrile times.
My reaching-for-the-stars vision for a successful workshop!
If there’s one thing I’d like from this workshop series, is for us to take as our starting point the wonderful first half of this conversation between Russell Brand and Brené Brown, and run with it, applying our psychosynthesis thinking to it, and creating a Will Project from our explorations and reflections. Things may not, of course, work out as planned! But I can dream, can’t I?
When I was a teenager in the seventies, I used to read avidly my mother’s Spare Rib, the feminist magazine, posted monthly from heathen England to the Catholic theocracy that was then the Irish republic, where contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality were all criminalized. I absorbed key political messages from that time that still resonate with me today: “the personal is political” and “keep your filthy laws off my body”. I learned about “consciousness-raising groups” and lesbian feminist separitism. I understood that the capitalist patriarchy was exploitative and rapacious, with Mother Earth its plundered object of tyranny. Petra Kelly, the German Green, became one of my heroes.
It is still a matter of complexity for me that I realised, at a certain stage in my adolescence, that I was inescapably male, and that so much of what I was reading was problematic for my emerging identity. Despite engaging as a queer activist (the first gay teenager on Irish television, co-founder of the first Irish gay youth group, a long-time contributor of a queer column to an Irish music and current affairs magazine) the sense that I couldn’t find a place in the polarized “gender war” discourse remained. And remains, still.
Now that Trump and Bolsonaro and many others are manifesting exactly the kind of macho misogynist capitalist ecologically devastating politics that I was warned against as a teenager, with climate change worsening at a rate that would have seemed pessimistic and dystopian in the seventies, it seems to me that polarization itself is part of the problem.
We in psychosynthesis know about polarization, we work with it all the time; we take pains to notice to what we are attached, and disidentify where possible; it’s a life-long journey.
Dermod Moore is a psychotherapist and supervisor, and a trainer at the Trust, teaching Essentials, Subpersonalities, and the Sexualities and Genders modules. He’s based in Dublin, where he has run a training programme with colleagues offering psychosexual training to therapists for the past three years. Three years ago, he ran a version of this workshop in Mullsjö, Sweden, for the Swedish Psychosynthesis Association at their summer school. A former actor with the Irish National Theatre, speech and drama teacher, and columnist, he loves creating a sense of play in his group work.
Join the EFPP Summer School (21 - 25 Aug 2019) by booking here. Please note that ticket sales are being managed by EFPP directly, and not by the Psychosynthesis Trust.