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into rehab

Those last-minute messages from the Institute designed to unsettle my flight across the Atlantic – the resignation of valued secretary, the news that a much-liked colleague had gone into rehab, an urgent email from a company chairman who had discovered Jung’s theory of archetypes and was convinced that it outlined the future of kitchenware design.



Back from three-day conference of industrial psychologist in Berlin. It has been a good excuse for meeting Vanessa even if only for one day.

still my mother

Now my mother is an elderly patient in a Biesdorf hospice, dying of inoperable ovarian cancer. Her huge and still swelling abdomen makes her look pregnant, a seventy-year-old woman still unaware that she is a mother.
Last night, sitting beside the bed of this barely responsive being, I realized rather sadly that I am no longer very interested in her.

to grasp the concept of childhood

Vanessa has always thought that my mother has been a bitch with me, although she has never met her.

I guess our childhood is one of reasons that brought us together.

My mother was a psychoanalyst in the 1970s She was a familiar figure on CND marches and in antinuclear sit-ins, being glamorously dragged away by the police. Free love and legalized drugs meant little to me, though I guessed they were in some way connected to the friendly but unfamiliar men who appeared on her weekend visits, and to the homemade cigarettes she taught me to roll for her which she smoked despite the protests of my wearily tolerant grandmother.
Until the age of three, I was brought up by a series of au pairs, recruited from the waiting room of my mother’s once-a-week free clinic – moody escapees from provincial French universities, neurotic American graduates unwilling to grasp the concept of childhood, Japanese deep-therapy freaks who locked me in my bedroom and insisted that I sleep twenty-four hours a day. Eventually, I was rescued by grandmother and her second husband, a retired judge. It was some years before I noticed that the other boys at school enjoyed a social phenomenon known as fathers.

By the time I joined the Adler Institute, my mother’s hippy phase was long over, and she had become a quiet and serious-minded analyst at the Tavistock Clinic. I hoped that her maternal instinct, suppressed through most of my childhood, might find a late flowering. But we never became more than friends, and she failed to attend my graduation ceremony.


Too many of my props in my own life were baggage belonging to someone else that I had offered to carry – the demeaning requests from my father-in-law’s managers, the committee meetings in my years as a governor of an approved school in Hendon, my responsibilities for my ageing mother whom I liked less and less, the tiresome fundraising for the Adler, little more than touting for corporate clients.

maverick psychologist

Luckily there  is a long tradition of maverick psychologists with a taste for oddball behavior before me.
When I read about them, I feel relieved.

Sometimes I think I am being foolish by agreeing to carry other people’s weight like I am doing.
I took up doing it spontaneously when I was very young, and later I made it my job.
It starts taking over your private life before you even realize it. And suddenly, one morning, you wake up and you realize you don’t give a shit about yourself ;you even stopped wondering how you feel, if you are happy or not.