Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thoughts, Stories, Critiques


This site continues to be read and periodically commented upon. I offer this post as a place wherein people who were a part of the Therafields experience or who are just interested because of some reason of their own, to write about their experiences, thoughts, questions, or critiques of the things that I have, to date, written. Others can then respond to this input, as will I. If you wish to remain anonymous, please give yourself some moniker other than simply anon, so that any responses to your comments can be clearly directed to you. I am happy to hear all and any comment on my writings, even, perhaps especially ones that challenge or contradict my ideas. Just press the comment prompt at the end of this post. Cheers one and all. Brenda.

11 comments:

  1. hi brenda, how are you? my name is tom healey. a few days ago, i googled therafiels on impulse not knowing what to expect. you may not remember me; i only recall meeting you once; that was one time you gave me a ride to the farm. i recognize paul hennig and greg sass from their blogs having lived in a housegroup together. i was in therafields for 8 years(1970-78). i read your comments on lea, her family and the various therapists with great interest. I have more to say but more later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi brenda, it's me again. most of my 8 years in therapy were spent in house groups which is where i met paul and greg(hi guys!). apart from my initial interview with lea and being a member of her monday nite group upstairs at 310 dupont, as well as various marathon groups, i had very little contact with lea. truthfully, i was afraid of her, and more significantly for me it would have been too humiliating to admit that to myself. the reasons for that are complex, and it's enough to say that i understand those reasons now. and in fairness to lea they were my problem. it was the early 1980s, some years after saying goodbye that i started to hear stories about malcolm and his betrayal of the students entrusted to his care. also, i remember a reported comment by tom o'sullivan that did not impress me at all. by-the-way, tom o was my therapist from start to finish. all of the behind the scenes things you revealed about lea in your blogs are mostly news to me. but i am not surprised. more later.

      Delete
    2. Hi Tom. Thanks for your comments and your memories. I don't know if you had much to do with Barrie Nichol/bp but Frank Davey has just released a book about his poetry and his involvement with Therafields. It's titles aka bpNichol. Cheers. Brenda.

      Delete
    3. hi brenda again, no, i have not read this biography of bpnichol, and to be honest i have no interest, but thanks for being helpful. i associate bp with sound poetry which seemed to be an attempt to free one from the "prison" of language for the simple reason that language is abstract and presumably prevents us from feeling our feelings. one of the enduring themes of therafields, i believe, was a fatal attraction to the irrational. i no longer accept the notion that the conscious/unconscious ego, and the countless ways it is expressed in our lives, perhaps tragically oftentimes, can or should be divorced from our metaphysical self-understanding(to use a big word). that's what freud the athiest tried to do. our souls, our spiritual faculties cannot be separated from our self aware egos without doing great harm to persons and communities. it seems to me that therafields was setting itself up to fail by buying into the trap of excluding god(at least the god who revealed himself through the old and new testaments) established by freud and his followers. and it seems that many catholic priests and nuns were only too willing to go along as part of the fallout from vatican II. and as a lay catholic i thought it was a great idea to get rid of the church. i can look back now and smile at my arrogance. to get back to my association of bp with sound poetry brenda i want to say that language is real. words have real meaning, and are not just convenient social constructs. i don't want to come off as a preacher , so i'll just say that language is being tampered with;today words are manipulated to suit ideological causes like abortion, same sex marriage and the "right to die".these are three of the biggies in contemporary society. for example we are told that the fetus is just a "blob of tissue". i was at u of t when i first heard about this amazing community in the annex. it was not called therafields then. in any case i thought it was going to be my salvation in spite of the fact that i had no understanding of what my problems were. it is enough to say that i suffered from unrelieved oppression without having to go into a lot of details. understanding and resolution came much later. i can honestly say that the 8 years i spent in therapy were some of the most difficult of my life, and when i left therafields in 78 i still had the same problems. however, i have no bitterness or negative feelings because i understand now that healing for me was impossible within the psychotheraputic model. healing for me could only come from fully embracing my spiritual dimensions. i of course did not know that at the time. true understanding came later. and as ironic as it may sound i now realize that it was god's guidance or providence that led me to seek help there. there's a lot of personal background here that i won't go into, at least not now, that would help to clarify these these last few sentences. it's enough to say that my life is guided by the profoundly christian spiritual and my ego life in all it's dimensions fits naturally into that context. perhaps it also helps to be irish catholic since we have a great love of irony.

      Delete
  2. Hello Brenda,

    I happened upon your blog as someone who (coincidentally) also happened upon Grant's book in a used bookstore. I really appreciate the effort you have made to offer your own perspective. Coincidentally (again), I am a therapist with a private practice in downtown Toronto. I find the history of Therafields kind of fascinating, even if that also means acknowledging that it is something many who were involved in would rather put behind them.

    I don't have much to add here - as a writer (you can check out my blog if you wish) I can appreciate the importance of preserving memory and articulating one's history.

    Kind regards,

    Matt Cahill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt. Thanks for your comment. If you give me your website link, I'd be happy to look at it. Cheers. Brenda.

      Delete
    2. You can just click on my name - it will take you there. Thanks. M

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Brenda! Thanks for all the information you have put into this blog. I was in Therafields from 1971 to 1980. I only learned later what had happened to Malcolm. I just want to say that Judy saved my life. I got a lot of help from her and Martin and I don't think my life would be as good if I hadn't met them. I read Grant's book and thought it seemed truthful, but everyone has had a different experience. I think that because I was involved with the acting community I didn't get completely sucked into the therapeutic community although I was there a lot and lived in 4 house groups. No matter the failings of some people there I will always remember that people were trying their best to help each other and themselves. Thanks again for your insight Brenda. Cheers, Wendy Thatcher

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your message, Wendy. I totally agree that there were many fine people in the community and to all of them and to each other we owe much. All the best. Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why was it shut down, was it a cult

    ReplyDelete