Guy Gladstone

WORDS OF DEPARTURE

It’s been my privilege to be a member of The Open Centre since 1984. I decided in July 2019 that I would retire in July 2021 from running on-going weekly groups (always a particular focus of my practice) plus a variety of occasional weekend events (Bioenergetics, Psychodrama and psycho-educational theme workshops ) as well as providing individual sessions. But as ever shit happens. Along came Covid in March 2020 and so The Open Centre had to shut up shop until further notice. Indoor body-oriented groupwork had become too hazardous. An unforeseeable intrusion of the Real.

Though some from the weekly groups could see their way to continuing work on a one to one basis online by zoom or telephone, this was a harshly abrupt premature closure of our work together; a kind of shock bereavement for myself and each of the three groups as entities, many of the members having been together for years. As the pandemic waxed and waned, -with a third wave at time of writing now building, it was impossible to determine when or if we might reincarnate. So the more normal mix of feelings attending an ending, this time around my retirement, with the time needed to work this through on both sides, was hijacked, as so much has been for so many world-wide. We have been presented with a hyperobject, that is an event too huge to ever fully get our heads round.

It has however been part of my experience that a therapist’s identity is too integral to their whole person for retirement in the usual sense to be either advisable or meaningful. Accordingly rather than wear an “old therapists never die” badge or perhaps in my case “an old hippie never dies” t-shirt, I would advocate we recycle ourselves. Thus, though for now I retain a link to the psy field as a supervisor and group process facilitator, a new direction has already opened up in a largely pro bono mode, via the Climate Psychology Alliance. Firstly in the form of support sessions for Extinction Rebellion activists (being one myself since early 2019) and running Active Listening Circles for my local XR group. Secondly through hosting Climate Cafes for the general public, for now outdoors, but as and when in person meetings can be resumed indoors, I will be offering a range of expressive workshops I have already trained for, in climate-related “emotional methodologies” e.g. The Work That Reconnects, Carbon Conversations and Climate Coaching (see www.activistcoaching.co.uk). While there is next to nothing I can do about the pandemic emergency, there is at least something I can do about the (related) climate emergency, coming ever closer to us, back from the future.

So maybe this is an au revoir rather than a goodbye!

Guy Gladstone
July 2021