The article is an evolutionary/historical explanation of how things have become so complex, especially for young people in the western world, and why they may have reason to rebel against the current system.
An article I have written, connecting our evolutionary past with our present ecological crisis has been published on Earth Talk (https://emagazine.com) website. This essay is partly a summary of the field of epigenetics and cultural evolution studies, and partly a discussion document to try to integrate arguments in the environmental field. I welcome any responses to it through email or through the magazine website. A list of the main sources that inspired my writing is attached to this entry, though not laid out as a numerical reference list.
For two weeks over the Christmas holidays I visited Kerala, having wished to go to India for a long time. The reason I am writing this as a blog entry is that I feel it had more effect on me than reading many books. What touched me wasn’t so much the tourist pleasures, though there are many, but just for a brief time, living in a culture that has had remarkable continuity for the last 5,000 years, and still feels so very vibrant with it. In their cultural evolutionary trajectory, they have not had many of the collapses and invasions that have typified European history, but over time, have integrated and absorbed many other religions and traditions along the way. This is perhaps more so in Kerala than Northern India with it’s great separations of the last century, so there is a great sense of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic acceptance without the emotional distancing and conflict – mosques, Hindu temples and Christian churches are often only yards apart. Everyone seems to take part in the economy, and when one gets used to being pestered to buy tourist stuff, this feels quite democratic, engaging and real. Most of the population is also living at a far more sustainable level of consumption and energy use. The social values are much more communal, and, on coming back to the UK, it occurred to me how much time, effort and expense we go to, to create space and distance between us, without really noticing.
November 2017. As my last action as chair of the Psychotherapy section, I chaired the conference at the BPS London office. The title of the conference e was: Trauma and development: culture, contexts and narratives.
The subject was looked at from a variety of perspectives. The three main speakers were:
Rudi Dallos and Arlene Vitere on trans-generational transmission of attachment ‘scripts’. Their book is entitled Attachment and narrative therapy model.
David Morgan on the effects of migration through broken attachments, loss and trauma, on the mental health of refugees and other migrants. Very moving.
Christopher Scanlon and John Adlam on organisations that become traumatised and traumatising for clients and staff in the managed care and welfare arrangements that we have in our society. They also led a plenary session to look more deeply into the issues we had experienced during the day.
Much of this linked in with the theme of Social Justice, which had also been the main theme of the two previous conferences I had attended, so I wrote an article for the Psychotherapy Section Review, which is attached.
The title of the article is ‘Epigenetics, Evolution and the mind’, in which I outline some of the new breakthroughs in evolutionary science, and relate these to the practice of psychotherapy. Therapy today article
Mentalisation in psychotherapy. Final I have published this article in the BPS Psychotherapy Section Review on ‘Mentalisation’ – our ability to understand the workings of our own and other’s minds, following on from the ‘Social brain hypothesis’ as proposed by Robin Dunbar. I characterised this ability as a human trait that has evolved as part of the neural circuits that regulate social behaviour through empathy, guilt, shame and self-awareness, and quoted research that showed the importance of mentalisation in the psychtherapeutic process.