Celebrating New Year is often a transformative event. Many people have expressed their desire for a transition into a better year than the past Covid-19 affected years. That is hardly surprising. As we celebrate the advent of 2022, I am reminded that this is not the only date for the beginning of the New Year. Using Gregorian dates as the “calendar-franca” of modern times, Chinese New Year is celebrated on a day determined by the Lunar Calendar between late January and early February; Nowruz is the Iranian New Year in late March; Diwali is the Indian festival of Lights and celebrated as New Year by some cultural groups in late October; Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year in early October; and Islamic people celebrate Ra’s as-Sanah al-Hijriyah in early October. There are so many individual, idiosyncratic, components to our social and cultural lives. Can we view these as reflections of the many individual elements of our personal calendar? We carry memories of events that range from the superb to the traumatic – the soup of the past that can bring us joy and pain, celebration and, sometimes, therapy!
This month we explore individual cases, and individual ideas and knowledge. My friend and colleague, psychiatrist Stefan Nezpor, has taken the time to share with us his long journey of discovery about the cerebellum in On the underside of the Brain: The psychotherapeutic potential of the Cerebellum – A Personal Reflection. Marilyn Sanders and George Thompson share an excerpt from their new book Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child: Building healthy brains, kids, families, and communities by (Norton Books, 2021). This chapter explores self-regulation as part of the process of co-regulation. Ken Benau brings us a fascinating case study in Other with Self, Self with Self: One Pathway from Shame to Self-Acceptance where he shows how he utlizes his “pro-being” concept (described in previous issues) in finding personal coherence. Another regular contributor, Roger Keizerstein, brings us an interview with renown specialist in depressive and bipolar disorders, Brian P. Quinn. Among many things, Dr Quinn elucidates how a psychotherapist can benefit from a deeper understanding of bipolar symptoms and expression. In another of her expansive reviews, Gunnel Minett discusses Chris Letherby’s new book, Philosophy Of Psychedelics: International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 2021) where she describes what is in the book – and also what is not.
As always, we are given the opportunity to consider beyond the straightforward, the usual and the expected. And this is, perhaps, an excellent message or inspiration for our approach to 2022. I wonder what is possible?
RICHARD HILL | EDITOR