The #TherapistsConnect Podcast

Therapists' Experiences of Silence in Therapy

May 30, 2024 Peter Blundell
Therapists' Experiences of Silence in Therapy
The #TherapistsConnect Podcast
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The #TherapistsConnect Podcast
Therapists' Experiences of Silence in Therapy
May 30, 2024
Peter Blundell

This episode focuses on therapists' experiences of silence in counselling and psychotherapy. You can find more details about the guests below, or listen to the episode of the #TherapistsConnect podcast where they are featured.

Sam Hope is an experienced trainer who has been working in EDI/Anti-oppressive practice for over a decade. The majority of Sam’s clients are members of the queer/LGBTQA+ community. Sam’s book Person Centred Counselling for Trans and Gender Diverse People is available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Sam is trans, queer, ace and non-binary themself as well as autistic, ADHD, and mobility impaired. 

Sara Mathews is a Senior Accredited counsellor registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She is a qualified Counselling Supervisor and Trainer. Sara headed up bereavement services in the voluntary sector for many years before setting up her Bereavement Counselling practice. 

 Dianne Sotomey is the bestselling author of her new book “Check Your Thoughts! Your Life Depends on It”! - How your thoughts shape your everyday life and who you become. She is also a UKCP-registered psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and trainer. Dianne is a visiting tutor at the TA East Institute for Psychotherapy and Counselling and currently resides in the tranquil countryside of Suffolk, England.

 Maxine Walsh has been a counsellor and psychotherapist for 11 years with four years of experience in private practice. 

Dr Fraser Smith is a chartered psychologist registered with the HCPC and BPS with years of experience and training working within therapy.

William Pullen is a qualified psychotherapist registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  William has a book and an app that explores the relationship between running and therapy.

Maria Sorokopud is an experienced GP who specialises in Gastroenterology and is a Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist.

Rachel Jane Cooke (she/they) is a queer, integrative psychotherapist, supervisor and educator from Ireland, in practice since 2009.

Dr Peter Blundell (he/him/his) is an academic, researcher, lecturer, trainer, and consultant.  He is a counsellor/psychotherapist, a social worker, and a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.

#TherapistsConnect is a platform for connecting therapists.
Website: www.Therapists-Connect.com
Twitter: @Therapists_C
Instagram: @TherapistsConnect
Facebook: @TherConnect

Origins of #TherapistsConnect

Show Notes Transcript

This episode focuses on therapists' experiences of silence in counselling and psychotherapy. You can find more details about the guests below, or listen to the episode of the #TherapistsConnect podcast where they are featured.

Sam Hope is an experienced trainer who has been working in EDI/Anti-oppressive practice for over a decade. The majority of Sam’s clients are members of the queer/LGBTQA+ community. Sam’s book Person Centred Counselling for Trans and Gender Diverse People is available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Sam is trans, queer, ace and non-binary themself as well as autistic, ADHD, and mobility impaired. 

Sara Mathews is a Senior Accredited counsellor registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She is a qualified Counselling Supervisor and Trainer. Sara headed up bereavement services in the voluntary sector for many years before setting up her Bereavement Counselling practice. 

 Dianne Sotomey is the bestselling author of her new book “Check Your Thoughts! Your Life Depends on It”! - How your thoughts shape your everyday life and who you become. She is also a UKCP-registered psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and trainer. Dianne is a visiting tutor at the TA East Institute for Psychotherapy and Counselling and currently resides in the tranquil countryside of Suffolk, England.

 Maxine Walsh has been a counsellor and psychotherapist for 11 years with four years of experience in private practice. 

Dr Fraser Smith is a chartered psychologist registered with the HCPC and BPS with years of experience and training working within therapy.

William Pullen is a qualified psychotherapist registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  William has a book and an app that explores the relationship between running and therapy.

Maria Sorokopud is an experienced GP who specialises in Gastroenterology and is a Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist.

Rachel Jane Cooke (she/they) is a queer, integrative psychotherapist, supervisor and educator from Ireland, in practice since 2009.

Dr Peter Blundell (he/him/his) is an academic, researcher, lecturer, trainer, and consultant.  He is a counsellor/psychotherapist, a social worker, and a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.

#TherapistsConnect is a platform for connecting therapists.
Website: www.Therapists-Connect.com
Twitter: @Therapists_C
Instagram: @TherapistsConnect
Facebook: @TherConnect

Origins of #TherapistsConnect

Dr Peter Blundell:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the therapist connect podcast. My name is Dr. Peter Blundell, and today we've created an episode with a little bit of a difference. So over the last 12 months, I've been asking our podcast guests what they think about the use of silence in therapy. So, this is a topic that often comes up with students when they're at the early stages of their training. And sometimes I find students find it difficult to sit with silence. They have questions about the appropriateness or length of silences in their therapeutic work. So I thought it might be interesting to explore this with our podcast guests. And we've got a selection of those. Questions and answers in this episode today. So it's been an interesting episode to work on as I've come back to think about an edit these clips together. It's made me reflect on some of my own therapeutic work with clients, my own comfortableness and challenges with silences. If you'd like to join this conversation, and you can tag us on social media or use our hashtag. And as always, we'd really appreciate it. If you could leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. I hope you enjoy this episode. So for this first clip, it's a throwback to an interview. I completed with Sam Hope. Sam is an experienced trainer who has been working with EDI anti-oppressive practice for over a decade. They may be working the third sector. In education and offering CPD as a therapist, as well as being a visiting lecture on several therapists, training programs in the UK. Sam's background is an accredited person centered therapist with specialisms in trauma anti-oppressive practice and working with diversity. Sam's book person centered counseling for trans and gender diverse people is available from Jessica Kingsley publishers. You can hear a full interview with Sam, where they talk about their life and work in our podcast episode from January. But here's Sam reflecting on their experiences of silence in therapy.

Sam Hope:

I feel like I talk about this a lot with my supervisees. Um, and I was interested. Um, and I can't remember who it was. Somebody or other has done some research about how clients really don't like silence as much as therapists think they do. Um, which I think is very interesting research, but I feel like it misses something. And I feel like this whole conversation about silence misses something because. And I don't know whether this is your experience, um, but it's certainly mine, that there are different qualities of silence with different clients. And for me, there's a, you know, yes, I have to learn to be comfortable with silence, but I also have to learn to read my discomfort. Um, is my, am I still in connection with my client in this silence? Because if I'm not in connection with my, with my client in this silence, then the silence is still there. Totally useless and possibly damaging. Am I holding my client still? Is my client floundering in the silence? Do they need something from me? Um, you know, am I leaving the silence for them? Or am I leaving the silence? Because somebody during my counseling training said I have to learn to be comfortable with silence and I interjected that so hard that I just leave a silence, no matter what and I don't read the room. So for me. There is something really important about presence and connection and knowing if I'm with my client in that silence and knowing, having a sense of what's going on for that client. It's a bit like, you know, when they, they say to you when you're training. If you're asking a client, how, how do they feel, then your, your empathy is failing. Yeah, like, it's not enough to, um, just have some kind of off the shelf idea of silence. Good. You have to know what this silence means and what is going on for that client in that, in that silence. Um, So, yeah, for me, it's an it depends question, really.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Um, I love that when you were talking, I was thinking about the idea of, like, the texture of a silence. Because if you say silence, it can, it can create this image, you know, this blank space. But actually, there is something going on within that, both within me as the therapist and the client, um, and trying to, and between us as well, I suppose actually trying to get to a point where you understand what is going on, um, so you know how to use or not use silences, um, or how to be or not be in silences is, um, I think kind of what you were trying to, trying to say there.

Sam Hope:

Absolutely, absolutely, and you know I have some clients who, you know, there is a lot of silence. Um, and then I have other clients, and particularly I work with a lot of people with ADHD and, and, and often silence means that mind has, and you know, this happens to me as a client too. Um, and the mind's just sort of gone off somewhere and, and it, and if I leave them, then will flounder. And, and knowing the difference is really important.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Oh, it was Sam describing their thoughts on silence and therapy. It's interesting. As I've been editing this podcast, I use some kind of software that also helps me with the process. It's new to the series of the therapist connect podcast episodes. And one of the features on it is that every time I go to edit something like it asks me, do I want to remove the long silences automatically from the recorded, interviews? So it automatically takes them out of, people's speech. And I usually just click. Yes. And, except, those silences be taken out, to help with the flow of the podcast. And sometimes we're trying to make it short and. Punchy so that people can listen to it quickly, wherever they are. But as I've been editing this episode, I've just, questioned a little bit of why that I feel the need to do that. And so I've left some of those, longer silences in, I'm particularly. In this next clip, where Sarah talks about her relationship with silence. From your, experience as a, as a grief counsellor, could you tell us your experience and your understanding of, the therapeutic use of silence in therapy sessions?

Sara Mathews:

What I think is at the heart of grief counselling, and I'm sure lots of other kinds of counselling as well, is around people having to struggle to find their own meaning, and make sense of what is the purpose and point of me, and where am I in this new landscape that I find myself living in, and I think that, is probably core to what might be going on for lots of people, for example. And if you then think about how, how might you therapeutically start to create the space for that, you're not going to fill it with words. And I'm quite chatty. I would say it's probably on my list of things to constantly keep an eye on because I start chatting away and making jokes and all that kind of stuff. So really trying to bring myself down all the time. To hold a silence, um, so that meaning can emerge because it's not my meaning for sure. It's the other person's meaning that needs to emerge. And the moment you say anything, I have learned that even if even an in judicious at the wrong time can shape and take a client somewhere. You know, that isn't perhaps where they need to go. So really working hard on just holding the space. I'm not uncomfortable with silence. I just have a naturally chatty nature, I think, which I just need to be aware of. And I guess all therapists need to know who they are in the room and how they are. So I think silence is, um, Oh my god, it is rich with possibilities, uh, and it's through the silence, and, and silence allows you to feel things in a way that is, you know, different. And I think interestingly enough, being silent with someone else whilst they feel it, and possibly you feel some of it as well, is an extraordinary transformative potential in that. So I really believe in the transformative possibilities of silence. Um, and I mentioned earlier that I like a bit of poetry and I wanted to, um, share a really short poem and just, But just offer it now, if I might, and then just hold a second or two of silence at the end so that we can just see what that feels like. Is that right?

Dr Peter Blundell:

That would be lovely. Okay,

Sara Mathews:

cool. So poem. Poem is by someone called Kate Fox, and it's really very short, and I will say one sentence about what I think it is rather than too much, because I think it's about the silence afterwards. But I think this is about the courage of the bereaved. That's all I'm going to say. So the poem is called Portrait. Something brave in reading a person's light To make a still of their image Which catches them in flight Something brave in reading a person's light To make a still of their image Which catches them in flight And that courage to actually look at what you're feeling And look at who's died And look at what was really going on There certainly is something brave in that And I think that emerges. You can hear my voice. I find it very moving through the silence that you can hold inside yourself just to feel those words. So that I thought I wanted to show you, demonstrate to you what silence means rather than talk too much about it.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Thank you, Sarah. I felt really moved hearing, hearing that and then in the silence as well.

Sara Mathews:

What is that courage? God, it's extraordinary, isn't it? Absolutely extraordinary. And,

Dr Peter Blundell:

and going back to what you were saying earlier about the, almost like the creative possibilities of the silent because so much can potentially happen in that moment. And although it might be unspoken, it's still, it's still felt or thought.

Sara Mathews:

Yeah. Yeah. Peter. That felt really connecting between us as well. I hope that communicates to other people.

Dr Peter Blundell:

If you want to hear more from Sarah, you'd need to go back to the episode we recorded, which was released in April, 2023. Sarah is. Uh, senior accredited counselor registered with the BAC P she is a qualified counseling supervisor and trainer. She's also headed up bereavement services in the voluntary sector for many years before setting up her bereavement counseling practice. Then our next clip, um, is taken from my interview with Dianne Sotomey Which was released in September, 2023. They announced the best-selling author of check your thoughts, your life depends on it. How your thoughts shape your everyday life and who you become. She is also a UK CP, registered psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and trainer. Diane is a visiting tutor at the TA east Institute for psych therapy and counseling, and currently resides in the tranquil countryside of Suffolk. In this clip, Dianne reflects on what the potential benefits of silences are for clients.

Dianne Sotomey:

I do feel like silence is necessary because it can be a way of drilling the work with your client a little bit deeper in the sense of if, if you were to ask a question and sometimes Um, just leave that question, a powerful question with a client, it can allow them to take a back step to stop and reflect and actually come up with something that might have been bubbling that they hadn't quite thought about. But because of that silence, it creates the space for that to emerge. So, and I think it can also work just as well for the therapist because it enables. One to stop and think, okay, where am I? What's going on? What is needed right now? So I think silence is really useful for both the client and the therapist, but I think it can deepen the work for both.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Absolutely. It's almost like a pause in the interaction, but space to think uh, for both people, the client and the therapist. Yes. Um, and, and possibly new insights come from that or that's it, or just new feelings or reflections as you think about the question or the Yes or the, or what's happening in that silence. Yeah. Yes.

Dianne Sotomey:

And new shifts.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Yeah. New shift and changes. Yeah. Whilst it's important to talk about the benefits of silences within our therapeutic work. I think it's also important that we're honest about the difficulties and the challenges that can come up. And this next clip, Maxine talks about the challenges that she faced when thinking about and using therapeutic silence.

Maxine Walsh:

I was saying that I wasn't going to think about this question too much because I know that I could have. So, I mean, it was, I remember, I remember in training. You know, we, we did do a lot of work around silence, you know, the use of silence in the therapeutic space. And I'm going to put my hands up and be really honest and say that as a new accredited psychotherapist, I found it really difficult. Um, I think, you know, as well as that because it was during the pandemic and I think online it's even more uncomfortable than it is face to face. I think the thing about the use of silence is that not only does it give the, the, the client a chance to think it also gives the counselor a chance to think. And that's, that's not always a good thing. Because what as a, as a new counselor for me, rightly or wrongly, that space was filled with, Oh, Oh, Oh, what? What do I need to do? What can I do? Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. And a little bit of panic. And it took a while and a bit of supervision and a bit of introspection to, to settle myself with that and to be okay with that. And I think that's probably a process that a lot of people go through.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Maxine, I'm so happy that you said that because teaching students all the time and seeing the difficulty with silence, it's kind of one of the reasons why I was interested in asking different therapists opinions on this was because how difficult silence is, I know, can be for some people. people. And so I think people listening to this who are, who are just coming, you know, in training or just kind of becoming qualified and thinking, Oh my goodness, like, you know, having difficulties with it to hear that other therapists have gone through that, that process, I think is really, it's really important.

Maxine Walsh:

And it's a pro it is a process. It is a process. Yeah, absolutely.

Dr Peter Blundell:

And if you want to hear more from Maxine, you can check out our episode from October, 2023, where I interviewed her about a life and work. Maxine has been a counselor and psychotherapist for over 11 years with a over four years experience in private practice. She has been accredited with the Irish association of counselors and psychotherapists since 2019. And up until the end of 2023, Maxine was also one of the therapist's connect volunteers who was running our Twitter accounts on a Mondays and Maxine. We still miss you on the accounts. So. We wish you, well, wherever you're doing now. And our next clip we hear from Dr. Fraser Smith, who is a counseling psychologist and clinical director for psychology Scotland. There was a therapist connect podcast episode released interviewing him in May, 2023. You can go back and check that out. If you want to hear more from him. Fraser is a chartered psychologist, registered the HCPC and BPS with years of experience and training, working within therapy. He specializes in working with men's mental health and has worked in therapy with men. researched the field and become a recognized speaker within this area for a number of years. Can you tell us your experience and your understanding of, um, the therapeutic use of silence, uh, in your therapeutic sessions?

Fraser Smith:

Yeah, when, when that question comes up, the first feeling I have is dread. I think that, you know, for me, and I'll explain what that is, it's because when I was training, and I think again, when, when studying that, the idea of silence in a therapeutic relationship meant you were doing something wrong. And, you know, when a client sits and stares at you, waiting for you to say the next thing, or when you don't know what to say, that often kind of, it sparks that kind of, um, That initial stages of training dread for me, but as my experience is built, you know, I've understood the value in silence a lot more for me. The importance of it really kind of stems from not how to best word. That's not saving my clients as such are allowing clients to feel that they need to be saved. And I think. That is something I've wrestled with a lot and still get wrong and still and still grapple with this idea that it's not okay to be silent in that therapeutic space because I need to be saving and I need to be doing the work and I need to be pulling my clients through to change and actually the silence can really reveal I think what's most important to that client and and also the fact that I believe in I'm a huge believer in the individual in the in the power of autonomy and that that individual can can overcome their difficulties and I think that's explored in silence often and I think there's also something like I do a lot of and this is just some for me I do a lot of work in men's mental health. And what I've come to know, excuse me, what I've come to know with the men I see in therapy is that, um, silence is something that they find very uncomfortable. Maybe that's the demographic, maybe that's the geography of the West of Scotland here. Um, but there's something about discomfort in that silence and, and not having something to say and not saying something and being in connection in relationship with somebody that can feel uncomfortable for, for some people in general, but I also experienced it particularly with men at times. I, I've, I've tried to utilize silence much more rather than trying to save these people and again, pull'em through to change. How can I sit with that silence and explore, explore the discomfort of it as well, both in me and in my client. And, um, I've, I've understood the value. It is come from a place of real dread at first and fear that I would have nothing to say that my clients would've, nothing to say to, to one of recognizing real value and therapeutic growth in it. So, um, yeah, it's, it is kind of, um. It's grown in its importance for me over my career, so to speak.

Dr Peter Blundell:

I think that's really interesting and it, um, reminds me now of kind of being a, uh, a lecturer sitting in personal development groups and kind of the silence comes along and students kind of sat there going, Oh God, like, what is this? Like we're not doing anything. I think it's so, it's so horrendously awful. And so, so for me, there's like that, that, that dual thing of like, yes, being able to say, comfortably in silence, but then also, like, silences can, can, people can suffer like in silence as well, you know, and they can be quite cruel. So it's, it's a real difficult balance, I think.

Fraser Smith:

It really is. It's a, it's a great point. You know, the idea of sitting and staring at someone, I think that's a wonderful point, actually, it's a very fine balance because the idea of sitting and staring at someone for therapy hour, or, or, you know, When somebody has been, you know, viscerally tortured in that silence, you know, that's, I think, something very much to avoid, but I also think it's within context, you know, when we're exploring, for example, maybe, maybe if we're utilizing a trauma model, and we're exploring stability, or we're exploring, exploring an element of processing of certain traumas, and certain things are said, or certain things are unpacked and explored, I think silence is more important than ever to allow a space for healing, particularly within trauma work, where it's not about just seeing the next thing and getting through the next stage of processing or getting through to that reintegration stage or establishing more stability. Actually, the silence is a healing place for when certain things of processing are done and spoken about. So, yeah, I think you make a very good point. It's not a case of just sitting and torturing people, but it's using silence in the right way at the right time in my eyes.

Dr Peter Blundell:

I had a similar conversation with William Pullan where we discussed actually his silences always beneficial for the client, or could there be times when actually we really need to think about the use of silences. I interviewed William in July, 2023. So you can go back and listen to that episode. If you're interested, William is a qualified psychotherapist registered with BAC P you offer short and long-term psychotherapy to adults and young people on an individual basis in West London. And. He has a book and an app that explores the relationship between running and therapy. You also offers running therapy. So we talked about silences within that context.

William Pullen:

Silence. Silence is the great terror, isn't it? I mean, you're asking me what I, what I think of it as, as the therapist rather than for the client, I assume. For myself, you know, the risk of, of, of, um, of saving my clients, I suppose is a term we'd use. I try to minimize it. And certainly until I'm absolutely sure that we're comfortable. Um, I'm certainly not overdoing it trying to overdo it either, but I certainly I'm not employing it. Um, and. If it gets to a point where I can tell it's uncomfortable for the client, um, and we're not making any progress with that comfort discomfort, the discomfort isn't informative. It doesn't tell me something, which I can then use usefully if it's just there, then I'm going to address it. Um, so there's your answer.

Dr Peter Blundell:

I think that's really interesting. And I like that idea of kind of minimizing it to start with and then kind of gradually kind of seeing, seeing how it, how it fits. I mean, I know some therapists who would use it like consistently to start off with and use that as a therapeutic tool. So, but I think I'd lean more towards your approach, I think. I wonder if it made any difference, being outside with clients, and also the fact that you know there's. potentially people around and stuff like that. So there might be moments of silence, uh, in, in the running therapy, potentially that might be different from in a, in a therapeutic space or in a room.

William Pullen:

Yeah, definitely. Whenever we're passing, uh, some people, uh, whether running or walking, I'm very conscious of whatever those people might hear. So I'll just stop talking, but it's very brief. My client understands from the first time it happens that I pick up very quickly, right off to what's. So, uh, so that's another thing, but I think what you're talking about there is how silence different when moving on the outside. It's a lot easier as the answer because this is a beautiful thing about nature and I say nature because I work in the parks, but it holds you. Doesn't it? There's so much to see and smell and feel. Um, and, and, and you're involved in something. You're the therapeutic moment is much less terrifying because. As you amble your way through this park or you lie down, somehow you're active in your therapy in a way that just sitting there in somebody else's therapy room feels a lot less active.

Dr Peter Blundell:

I mean, that really struck me as you were talking, I was thinking about that actually sat across from somebody having a silence can feel very, very different. I imagine then, as you say, being active and running or walking or whatever, there's lots of things going on. So although you might be silent, um, there is, there is still lots of things going on, um, either in the environment or between you as, as client and therapist. So, yeah, that's really interesting.

So we're coming into our final couple of clips now. Um, and this next one is, um, from Maria. Maria Sokopud Maria, is an experienced GP who specializes in gastroenterology and is a transactional analysis, like a therapist. Maria is a therapist working in Ukraine. And so our conversations were framed obviously by the ongoing conflict where she lives and works. If you missed Maria's episode, I do encourage you to go back and listen to that, which was released in March, 2023.

Maria Sorokopud:

Mm hmm. Uh, I guess a couple of years ago I would have said, what? Silence? Hmm? Uh, but right now I think I really appreciate it in work. Um, I would formulate it this way. We are bombarded by noises, by news, by information, by media, by our phones beeping, whatever. When you have the space with the clients and you can actually shut up. And give them the room, the arena, or can, where they can finally step outside, not be judges, be themselves in their purest form. It's amazing what it does. It gives that room to go that some clients never had that growing up in big families and big communities. I mean, here we have, um, quite traditional, uh, families, a lot of kids, things like this. People didn't have that space. And when they finally get it, it might be, I mean, some of them are shocked, some of them are afraid of silence, they're not used to it. But when you experience it in a safe way, that silence doesn't mean something horrible is going to happen. That's the beauty of it. I guess that's why I kind of appreciate it and work when it starts happening more and more and more. Sometimes you reach the point where you can keep quiet most of the session that happens too, especially right now. I mean, we have way too much intrusive stimuli starting with bombs a lot.

Dr Peter Blundell:

It was interesting when I, um, I sent you that question. I was thinking, I sort of thought about obviously therapeutic use of silence, but then it made me think about, because I knew some of the things we were going to talk about, made me think about silence in a more general terms as well, in terms of how important it can be, but then also potentially how damaged it can be when people are silent about, you know, Particular topics and, and, and, you know, not talking about the difficulties or things that are happening in Ukraine at the moment. Um, not necessarily in therapy necessarily, but I was just thinking in the broader kind of, um, broader sense of silence. Yeah.

Maria Sorokopud:

I guess there's a lot of, um, pressure right now, what to talk about, what not to talk about. And sometimes you have to process it for quite a while. to define what you actually want to say. Because, I mean, obviously I can go into a temper tantrum and be raging and be angry, etc, etc. Will it help? I don't think so. So, yeah, I, I did take a break for a while, uh, for quite a while. A few days when I was processing the beginning of the war, I just kept shut. I had to figure it out for myself.

Dr Peter Blundell:

And that's important in silence as well, I suppose, isn't it? Having that contemplation and reflection. Not necessarily reacting, but having time to kind of think about what, what does this mean to me and how am I going to make sense of this?

Maria Sorokopud:

Uh, I remember the morning on the 24th of February. Um, as I mentioned, I grew up in Istanbul and we did have bombing in there, the terrorist attacks. So I knew what that sounds like. Uh, that moment talking about silence, I was standing in front of my window, looking at it. Missiles exploding and the red hue and flames, et cetera. And I was standing there kind of like, Oh, for almost like 20, 30 minutes, I was shut down. Then I started calling people, et cetera, et cetera.

But that moment, you know, when you're standing and looking, observing your reality, crashing down silence. Yeah, that was silence.

Dr Peter Blundell:

For this last clip, is Rachel Cook, Who we featured in last month's episode when we discussed the book therapists, challenging racism and oppression, the. Unheard voices for which he has an editor. And also one of the book chapter authors. Whilst Rachel, wasn't asked about the use of therapeutic silence in our discussion of the book. The topic of silence within the profession came up and I thought this was the poignant clip to end on. So I asked Rachel for her permission to include this in, at the end of the episode.

Rachel Cooke:

Yes, the final just note that I wanted to share was about, it goes back to the political aspect of this, something that I've really noticed is the the reticence of a lot of practitioners, and understandably, for many different reasons. For some people, it's frightening in private practice. For some people, it's frightening working for people, it's frightening. the NHS or different organizations, but around speaking out against injustice. And I've seen that particularly with what the kind of therapist silence around Palestine over the last few months, that it feels as though it's now becoming more accepted to call what's happening a genocide. And also it's been, really quite striking how little I've seen practitioners, now, maybe there's a lots of private discussions going on, but publicly there's been very little so far, and I'm guessing that a lot of that is out of fear but I think we're only beginning to find the language after three months of what's been happening there to be able to say that, critiquing a government's choices is not the same as casting discrimination on a whole people or the people who, who live in that place. And, that this is something that I really hope that we are going to be talking more about because the silence has been pretty deafening.

Dr Peter Blundell:

Thanks for listening to this episode of the therapist connect podcast. I hope you've enjoyed listening to it as much as I have recording and editing it, If you have enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and I'll be back next month, interviewing another therapist about their life and work in the therapy community.