There is no impact without contact.
I am unsure whether it was Eric Berne or Petruska Clarkson that coined the phrase ‘There is no contact without a contract’.
However, over the past year I have been contemplating this idea with the addition of ‘impact’. Could it be that there is no impact without contact. The human need to make an impact on others, is fundamental to all of us. Many of us, especially in our early lives, have been met insufficiently in this way, and therapy can be instrumental in meeting this deficit. The infantile experience of making an impact on the other provides us with a developing sense of agency, a mother responding to her babies cry for milk demonstrates that its needs are important and that in protest it can have effect upon its environment. Instead of this some infants are met with unreasonable delay or a communication that they are annoying, naughty, or too much. If we are adequately supported, we develop a sense of our own potency and a belief that our needs are natural and reasonable, and where possible will be met.
What then has the COVID 19 lockdown done to our sense of making an impact? We have been unable to meet freely with people, share our day-to-day experiences, large and small. Our freedom to make decisions for ourselves and action them has been thwarted by overbearing parents, this time in the form of government ministers. I am curious about the impact our time living in a vacuum will have on us going forward. Will we return, temporarily, to our old patterns? For me this would return to my fear of negatively impacting others. Or, might we become more combative to redress the balance from vacuum living?
One of my great pleasures in life is to teach psychotherapy. I have come to consider that this provides me with deep relational connection where I am both impacting and impacted. I have been very grateful for Zoom connections over this time, but I feel impatient to impact and be impacted now. Who knows, I might take up wrestling to redress my impact needs.
We are planning to offer some workshops later this year, hopefully face to face.
We are currently developing:
Another Love: A Relational Perspective on Addiction
Erotic Transference: A Hidden Developmental Story
If anyone has any particular areas of interest that you think are under represented, or that you would like to see from a relational perspective, then do let us know via PIPS.
With warm regards,
Julie and Lorraine.