In the early 90’s, I trained in Group Analysis at the Art Therapy Unit, Goldsmiths College, a place many of you will be familiar with, from the London symposium, 6 years ago.
My psychotherapy work has included private individual and group work, supervision of NHS teams and individuals working in the NHS as well as teaching on GA trainings. For the last fifteen years, much of my clinical work has been with students as a member of a university counselling team.
I have been a GASI member since 1992. The first triennial symposium I attended was in Heidelberg; Brian Boswood was then President and this was when the first debates took place about internationalising our society’s name and taking the ‘(London)’ out of GAS.
In the late-90’s I was Chairperson of the British Association of Group Psychotherapists, which sought to develop links between Group Analysis and other group psychotherapies.
I was a member of the GASI Management Committee for 6 years, between 2008-14. I understand the importance of sustaining a well-functioning, committee – with an open and receptive relationship with the membership – at the heart of the society.
My particular contributions included: setting up and moderating the current GASIforum; with others, setting up and managing the Quarterly Members Group in London; and taking a leading role in creating and organizing the first three GASI Summer Schools, in Belgrade, Prague and Athens. The summer schools have proved to be a rich experience for those of us who have been involved in them, reminding us how development thrives on international collaboration. The Quarterly Members Group works for the whole society, allowing us to think about themes of democracy and representation, as well as many issues affecting us in our professional, political and personal lives; I am hoping that we will be able to seed parallel QMG’s, so that, in future, a number of groups may convene, in different centres on the same days.
These three projects reflect my interest in creating opportunities to explore the shared understandings and vital differences that link us across national borders. During Robi’s presidency, the society’s membership and international scope has grown significantly, and this allows us to gain deeper insight into the ways in which Group Analysis is developing in different national contexts. Further development of Group Analysis needs the contributions of new, and younger, training groups and individuals. I am looking forward to more initiatives from those sources. And then, as I write this, I read about the recent conference in St Petersburg and start to look forward to a GASI Winter Workshop there.