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An investigation into the importance of language in terms of identity, culture and the meaning of “home”. This book is for those interested in understanding the role multi- or bilingualism plays in people’s lives. Traversing the personal experiences of therapists from Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as their practices with patients from diverse parts of the world, the book contains contributions from Cédric Bouët-Willaumez, Giselle China, Patricia Gorringe, Natsu Hattori, Monique Morris, Esti Rimmer, Edna Sovin, Shula Wilson, and Ali Zarbafi.
Ali Zarbafi and Shula Wilson
Paperback, e-Book, Print & e-Book
We are living in times where the issue of identity and difference has taken on a more defensive hue. The tide is turning towards an inward-looking nostalgia of sameness based on fear rather than on understanding. The experience of hearing another language, the way it is spoken, and being faced with the image of the other is now more complex, imbued with projections of powerlessness, fear, terrorism, and survival. The issue of identity appears to have become even more complex.
All cultures are concerned with how we speak and communicate as this represents identity, history, and home. Communication is also essential for survival, both emotionally and socially. The speaking person is an individual but also part of a culture or cultures with dense collective and individual shapes. The issue of identity, that feeling of belonging, is essential, full of possibility, and, at times, very uncomfortable, as it touches the tensions between who we are and who we are becoming. This sits next to more complex historical experiences and memories of languages and cultures being changed or lost or banished due to the colonial, imperial, and regional moves of powerful nations in search of conquest and economic gain.
This collection addresses how language affects therapists and their patients, and how it can be understood culturally and therapeutically. Drawn from talks given at the Multi-lingual Psychotherapy Centre (MLPC), the contributors not only bring a therapeutic slant but also their other roles as academics, writers, and artists. These reflections, memories, and stories give a glimpse of the multilingual journey the MLPC has been exploring for over twenty years, and leave much food for thought.
Shula Wilson has been a practising psychotherapist and supervisor since 1991. She is the founder of SKYLARK (1995–2012) an organisation that offered counselling and psychotherapy for people affected by disability. She is a founder member of the Institute for Psychotherapy and Disability, and a consultant psychotherapist at St Thomas’ Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she is also a lecturer and supervisor. She is a committee member of Multi-lingual Psychotherapy Centre. Shula is the author of Disability, Counselling and Psychotherapy – Challenges and Opportunities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and has written chapters and articles on disability and psychotherapy for various publications.
Dr Ali Zarbafi is an Anglo-Iranian Jungian analyst and supervisor and member of the Society of Analytical Psychology with thirty years’ clinical experience. He is a founder member of the Multi-lingual Psychotherapy Centre. Ali works in the NHS and private practice. He has written and given talks on trauma, the refugee experience, and social dreaming, and has an academic background in international relations and Middle Eastern studies. He is co-author (with John Clare) of Social Dreaming in the 21st Century: The World We Are Losing (Karnac, 2009).
About the editors and contributors
Introduction by Ali Zarbafi
1. Language of the mountains, language of the sea: living with exile and trauma as a journey between languages
2. Living in-between languages and cultures
3. Childhood, spoken and written selves
4. When the mother tongue is contaminated
5. Outre-mer et la langue de ma mère
6. Silence, dissonance, and harmony: integrating the multilingual self
7. Return to Berlin: my forbidden mother tongue
8. Once upon … a silence
9. The challenge of “home”
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