The Caspari Journal of Educational Psychotherapy
The Journal of Educational Psychotherapy is an annual publication which aims to support and influence practice in educational and mental health settings. We publish articles concerning the role of feelings in education, and methods of helping pupils overcome emotional blocks to learning.
The journal is a valuable resource for teachers, prospective students, current trainees and established Educational Psychotherapists. Our back copies include articles recommended by course lecturers or supervisors and also offer valuable research material, covering many themes central to child mental health. Each edition includes reviews of books relevant to our work.
Issue 29, 2023
This academic year, the Caspari Foundation celebrates fifty years since its inception by Irene Caspari in 1973 with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. We hope that by sharing the ideas, skills and experience of the authors in this edition of The Journal of Educational Psychotherapy we stimulate thinking, encourage learning, and contribute to the sharing of knowledge across the psychotherapeutic community, fostering a feeling of inclusion.
We start with Siyathokoza Mbanjwa’s moving case study of a seven-year-old, looked-after girl in South Africa. Although this work took place in a clinic and not a school setting, the intimacy of the therapeutic relationship, jealousy of other clients, interruptions to therapy, change of room, and importance of adults who have parental responsibility are all topical issues for Educational Psychotherapists.
In our second article, Jane Nash uses aspects of systemic theory to inform her work as Assistant Head Teacher for inclusion. Race, religion, language and culture are among the aspects of identity explored by Jane, both in others and herself.
Our first two articles focus on therapeutic work with children and acknowledge the importance of supervision as a space for thinking and growth. Luke Palmer takes us into that space as he holds reflective sessions with staff in schools. He explores the pervasive phenomenon of imposter syndrome, which thrives where the sense of belonging is weak, suggesting a depleted feeling of inclusion.
Our fourth paper describes the role of an Educational Psychotherapist in a multi-disciplinary project which started nearly twenty years ago. Angela Greenwood reflects on both institutional dynamics and personal interactions in her relationships with co-workers and families at a Women’s Aid centre. Her work has left some vivid memories, which are shared through powerful vignettes, illustrated with examples of children’s drawing and writing
We finish with two book reviews. Juliet Mitchell’s recent book Fratriarchy: The Sibling Trauma and the Law of the Mother, reviewed by Alison Fish, places emphasis on lateral sibling and peer relationships, leading to a reframing of the role of the mother and cultural patriarchy.
Ingrid Cleaver looks back to a volume first published over twenty years ago, the second edition of which was published this year, updated with the latest research from neuroscience and trauma-informed practice: Introduction to Internal Family Systems by Dr Richard Schwartz.
Too young to remember: untangling the past from the present
by Siyathokoza Mbanjwa
This paper discusses the case of Amahle, a seven-year-old girl who had experienced severe childhood abuse and neglect and was subsequently living in institutionalised care. The paper traces Amahle's therapeutic journey, exploring her difficulty with the concept of time, which made it impossible for her to distinguish between the past, present and future, and resulted in her spontaneously acting out unprocessed feelings and experiences. The paper also considers Amahle's lived experience in institutionalised care and how the system appeared to perpetuate a lot of her fears and unresolved trauma.
This case study was presented in 2022 at the Ububele Education and Psychotherapy Trust, a centre established in 2000 on the border of the Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Internal Line Manager: Considering Imposter Syndrome in Reflective Sessions with Staff in Schools
by Luke Palmer
“This article won’t be good enough! People will see through it as a lot of hot air."
So my Imposter Syndrome sandpapers in my inner ear and nervous system. To think spatially about Imposter Syndrome, it comes from all sides: it is often overwhelming and undermining. It speaks from the superego (super means above). It is part of the inferiority complex (inferior means below). It imposes upon. But it is not the voice of our ‘true self’ as Winnicott (1960) framed it. Rather, it is an aspect of the ‘false self’, a self created in reaction to a perceived threat to, or loss of, the feeling of connection. Imposter Syndrome thrives where the sense of belonging is weak and when reflection is undermined.
Educational Psychotherapy within a Women’s Aid setting
by Angela Greenwood
I am going to describe and reflect on some aspects of my work at the Southend Women’s Aid New Start (SWANS) project from 2004 – 2010. Although the early 2000s were very different from our post-covid era, both politically, emotionally and financially, much of what we learned about organisational dynamics, outreach opportunities and therapeutic thinking and understanding is still relevant in today’s climate...
We gave the children time, space and a safe, secure setting to slowly become aware of the unspeakable things they had witnessed, and their muddled, scary and preoccupied inner worlds. Through their stories and play, we slowly helped them find ways to express thoughts and feel contained, but they also gave to us, hence my wish to share what we had learned in workshops and training sessions with other professionals.
We Need You
We are always looking for new contributors. If you would like to contribute to this publication please contact Elizabeth Denton, one of our journal editors.
We welcome articles from a range of contributors, including Educational Psychotherapists, other mental health professionals and staff involved with teaching and learning in schools. We aim for a balance of articles by contributors who are highly experienced and sometimes eminent names, alongside fresh, new voices. We are also pleased that several editions, especially in recent years, have included articles by practitioners from other parts of the world, notably South Africa, Greece and the USA.
Contributions are currently invited for our 30th issue, to be published later in 2024.