We interviewed Margaret Landale in 2016 in the run up to her workshop of that year on working with developmental trauma. Margaret is back with us this year to deliver a workshop called Exploring mindfulness as an effective resource in psychotherapy. Here is our earlier interview with Margaret…
Trauma is an experience that will effect most of us at some point in our lives, and it is an experience that we will work with often within clinical practice. Whether this is trauma caused by an event, an accident, abuse (current or past), bereavement and loss, or change of circumstances; any experience of trauma will impact upon the mind, emotions and body and interrupt normal functioning. While most clinicians will work with trauma at some point, working with developmental trauma in particular needs to be a thoughtful and careful process so that re-traumatising does not occur.
There have been significant advances in the understanding and treatment of trauma in recent years which has led to the development of a range of effective trauma processing models. However these models have their limitations when we are faced with complex trauma issues which may have their roots in early childhood and represent unstable, neglectful or abusive attachment scenarios.
We have worked with Margaret in the past… just check out the testimonials on her page to see how well received she has been! In addition to receiving rave reviews for her fantastic training, Margaret is a renown psychotherapist and body psychotherapist, specialising in stress-related and psychosomatic disorders, and an author.
Margaret has also written a variety of blogs for Brighton Therapy Partnership on the subject of mindfulness called The Present Moment. There are five blog posts in the series on the topics of empathy, compassion, mindfulness, challenges, and conclusions. Mindfulness is currently at the forefront of discussion around finding peace and balance in 21st century life, with recommendations ranging from private, self-practice, all the way up to adoptions by big business.
1. How did you start out in counselling & psychotherapy?
Having worked for several years as a social worker, I came to London from Germany in 1984 to train as a body psychotherapist with the then newly established Chiron Centre. After completing my training I worked in Mental Health and was fortunate to be able to help set up a stress clinic as a preventative mental health project. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to develop my own interest in stress related and psychosomatic disorders.
2. You could be described as a trail-blazer! I understand that you first trained as a body psychotherapist in the days when this was still in its infancy as a form of therapy. In your view how have things changed for the discipline of body psychotherapy?
I definitely don’t see myself as a trailblazer although I was involved pretty early on and may have helped shape the training at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy in some way during through my work within the training committee.
As for how things have changed – one of the biggest shifts I see is how the somatic dimension in psychotherapy has been affirmed by neuroscience, trauma research and attachment theory. This has given the discipline much more respect and has helped to change the misconceptions of the body within the context of our profession. Equally the field of body psychotherapy in the UK has integrated many of the above and thus has made it a much richer and more diverse field.
3. You have specialised in stress-related and somatic issues. What drew you to this area of work and in your view what is the most helpful way to work with these issues?
As I mentioned above, part of what drew me to this work was making the link between mental health and stress disorders.
It can be very difficult for us to pay attention to our somatic experience so by learning to pay attention at that level, it often becomes possible for us to improve our patterns of self-regulation and thus become able to regulate stress levels more effectively. Paying attention to our embodied experience also helps us to be more in touch with what we are feeling and any thoughts and behaviours that arise from this. In this context I have found mindfulness-based approaches particularly helpful and accessible both for me as well as my clients.
4. What got you interested in delivering training?
I just love teaching and working with groups or teams. And one of the strengths of the Chiron training was that it had a strong practical and experiential orientation. When I apply this style of training today I find it helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice. I see the trainings that I run as joint enquiries into a subject matter and often the contributions from participants help shape our learning and help bring alive some very complex but important issues.
5. If you weren’t a therapist, what would you be and why?
In a parallel universe I would have worked in the field of international peace and reconciliation because the issue of how we live together peacefully and with a deeper understanding for our diversities is ever urgent and pressing. Or I could also have imagined myself becoming an environmental campaigner for similar reasons.
6. Where can people hear more from you? (eg, your own Blog, Website, Twitter, Email?)
I have a website but am notoriously bad at keeping it updated. I’m also behind when it comes to social media. Lots of posts and articles and blogs in my dreams however!
In the meantime my work with clients, supervisees and groups balances well with my family and private life, which keeps me grounded and networked into the ‘real’ world.
Thanks to Margaret Landale for speaking to us, and we hope to see everyone at her training day in November 2019.
For more information, please visit Margaret Landale’s speaker’s page