ACAP Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy Dr Elizabeth Day recently presented at the ‘Psychology and the Other’ Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. We caught up with Dr Day to talk about her experience of the conference and her recent research into relational psychotherapy.
Were you excited to be involved in such an eminent conference?
Yes, it was an excellent opportunity. The conference linked me to an international engagement with the philosophical basis of relational therapies. It was stimulating and regenerative to take part in an intellectually rich enquiry with researchers and practitioners who are working from the centre to the edges of their disciplines in order to find common ground in the philosophy that underpins relational psychotherapeutic practice.
Tell us a little about your presentation.
I presented some of my research on intentional field attunement in relational psychotherapy, and this led to productive discussions with fellow gestalt-trained practitioners, Lynne Jacobs, Dan Bloom and Ruella Frank, each of whom are active researchers and teachers who lead training centres in the relational psychotherapy field. My presentation was based on work funded by an ACAP research grant.
What were some of the highlights of the conference?
I enjoyed the philosophical rigour of the presentations from psychoanalysts including Donna Orange, Jessica Benjamin and Lewis Aron, philosopher Simon Critchley, and critical theorist Ann Pellegrini, amongst a host of other luminaries in this liminal field. The display of books relevant to the conference theme was tantalising and I brought home a stack of them to work through. Bostonians were generous hosts and Boston in Autumn is picturesque.
‘Psychology and the Other’ is an interdisciplinary organisation housed in and supported by Lesley University’s Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, established to provide venues that enrich conversations at the intersections of philosophy, psychology, and theological/religious studies, particularly emphasising scholarship around the notion of the “Other” in various intellectual traditions. Dr Elizabeth Day presented at this Conference in October 2013.