My friend John looks out his living room window, past the antlers of the large elk munching on the sweet tips of the long grass and hopes it will snow soon. The snow is beautiful, it glistens on the mountaintops and provides a playground for skiers. But the snow is more than that: it replenishes the underground water table for the trees, helps mitigate fire danger, and marks the onset of a new phase of the season. These natural signs of change allow us to look forward with positive anticipation and feel comfort and safety as the tell-tale signs create the present and predict the future. But if the natural order is disrupted, this can be a nociceptive trigger that something is unsafe producing an intuitive feeling of foreboding. This is when we need each other to co-regulate and to engage our capacities for social connection to help each other.
This month, we look at some things that help and some things that harm. Douglas Flemons’ new book, Heart and Mind Hypnotherapy: Inviting connection, inventing change (W. W. Norton, 2022) explores hypnotherapy as a practice and functional therapeutic tool. His excerpt sets the framework for understanding what hypnotherapy is, which the book explores in greater detail with case examples. It seemed ideal to then include an excerpt from Sarah Peyton’s new book, Affirmations for Turbulent Times, because these are, indeed, turbulent times. The gentle re-assurances and affirmations are a tonic for self-regulation and engagement.
Next is the first of a new series of articles exploring the work of Iain McGilchrist. Matthew Dahlitz begins his discussions of the two volumes of The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the UnMaking of the World with Perception, Relations, and the Divided Brain: A guide for therapists (Part 1). I follow this with an article of mine about a pervasive and unseen danger that, although not a new idea, has yet to be recognised broadly – Stereotype Threat: The silent danger surrounding us all. The title of Gunnel Minett’s book review has a similar theme. How to Deal with the Elephant in the Room is a book review of Spirituality and Mental Health Across Culture. Gunnel’s book reviews continue to be invaluable contributions. And we conclude with a human story as we shine our Spotlight on Sam Visnic, a fascinating clinical massage therapist that we first met on our podcast series. He is the founder of Release Muscle Therapy based in Temecula, California.
These articles remind us that we have many ways to shift away from discomfort and facilitate repair and resolution, a useful reminder as we journey into the unknown of 2022.
RICHARD HILL | EDITOR