‘Only connect’ – to echo E.M. Forster – as this phrase reflects our professional need quite well right now – in this time of uncertainty for all of us. Our families and colleagues continue in quarantine status, and as one possible anchor during these unsettling times, I would like to propose a virtual reading group.
Recently noted by one writer, a book club ‘embodies the common humanity’ that has surfaced in this time of coronavirus. Paradoxically, our connection with colleagues from around the world can be ‘linked by this predicament and our imagination.’
This reading group will give us the opportunity to share our thoughts and ideas freely with colleagues across the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia. Several colleagues in Britain, Italy, Thailand, and the United States – in psychology, psychoanalysis, psychiatry - have already expressed their interest.
To ensure that no one feels pressured or overwhelmed, I suggest that we focus on Donald W. Winnicott – beginning with a very short paperback written by Adam Phillips – reading one (1) chapter every two weeks. (This book offers a good introduction to his ideas without being theoretically overwhelming – but will certainly provoke questions). The book is Winnicott (1988/2007) by Adam Phillips.
We then reply by email (replying to ALL) - our comments, criticisms, quotes we like, and questions. I will attempt to summarize your contributions every two weeks – so that we all have a coherent (?) record of what resonated with you and others. I want all of us to feel the professional connection that we have undoubtedly missed these past several months. I want to learn and deepen my understanding of Winnicott – as his influence has become far more important in my clinical practice – and several of you have expressed a similar wish with respect to his work.
I prepared the synopsis/notes on the Introduction to the book. These are available upon request. Though I relied on Winnicott (1988/2007) by Adam Phillips for this summary, several others have influenced my thinking here - including Thomas Ogden, Michael Parsons, Neville Symington, Angela Joyce, and Lesley Caldwell.
I look forward to hearing from you – and please let your colleagues or friends know of this opportunity, as we can all come together in this professional endeavor. As mental health practitioners, our services will be in increasing demand over the next couple of years - given our current state of uncertainty.
I have created a new email address to use for this project.