Conference 2015 Abstracts

Please see below for the abstracts of the confirmed paper presentations for the 2015 NZAP Conference.



By Dr Gordon Hewitt

It is easy for psychotherapists to overlook findings in other fields that can have relevance to their practice. This paper starts by examining research findings in neurobiology as they apply to the functioning of memory and how this effects our ideas of regression and the meaning and treatment of regressed states.. It then examines findings in neurobiology as they applies to empathy and introjection, in particular how recent finding on empathy call for new ways to treat regressed states, including new suggestions on Asperger’s syndrome;

It continues with findings in evolutionary psychology and how these can contribute to drive theory, comparing it to the ideas of Freud, Berne ands Fanita English.

Finally some examples of genetic/environment interaction are used to show that similar presentation in clinical practice may require very different treatment approaches.

The purpose of the paper is to extend current theory and practice and to illustrate that psychotherapy has much to gain by embracing findings from other fields.

Gordon originally trained as a biologist and taught genetics and evolutionary biology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Gordon completed his Certified Transactional Analysis qualification in 1978 and Membership of the N.Z. Association of Psychotherapists in 1981. He passed his Training and Supervising Transactional Analysts examination in 1989 in Brussels.

From 1988 to 1993 he was Head of the School of Health Professions at the Central Institute of Technology, Wellington, where he established courses in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Clinical Supervision. He also taught for a time at Metanoia Psychotherapy Training Institute in London. He is now in private practice and helps run a private psychotherapy training institute in Wellington, New Zealand with courses based on Transactional Analysis. Gordon has run courses in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, France and Serbia.

Gordon has served on the NZAP Council and chaired the Admissions Committee. He was President of the International Transactional Analysis Association from 2001 – 2003.

He has recently been Deputy Chair and Chair of the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand which is responsible for registering psychotherapists.

Gordon is married with two grown up children.



By Jo Stuthridge

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players. Shakespeare As You Like It, Act II Scene VII.

This paper explores the shifting ground of unconscious intersubjective processes as they emerge in psychological games or mutual enactments. How does one mind interact unconsciously with another mind? We will discuss how the therapist’s participation in mutual transferential dramas can become an avenue for ‘hearing’ the client’s unspoken communication. A framework for analysing countertransference is presented and illustrated using client vignettes.

The central thesis is that resolution of a mutual enactment often requires an emotional shift within the therapist.

Jo Stuthridge MSc, NZAP is a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst and a registered psychotherapist. She maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Dunedin and is director of the Physis Institute, which offers training in transactional analysis. She has published several articles and book chapters with a particular focus on trauma. Jo is a Teaching and Research Associate at Auckland University of Technology. She is also a current a co-editor for the Transactional Analysis Journal.



By Susan Hawthorne

Since 2001 I have been working with a client with Complex Dissociative Identity Disorder. An overview of this work was published in Vol. 18 of “Ata.

This presentation aims to demonstrate how the use of metaphor enables greater understanding of her internal structure of Self, by paralleling the structure and function of the roles in Eastern European ghettos with the roles within the DID system. Both have been subjected to extreme and unremitting stress, resulting in competing forces that serve agendas of help-seeking (bonding forces), communication to outsiders about atrocities (pro-bonding forces) and utilitarian efforts to prevent destabilization (anti-bonding forces). From approximately 100 known alters, I will track communication with one who shifts from anti- to pro-bonding positions in the course of this therapy. I title this work: “Hallowed Ground: from trespass to invitation.”

The use of the earthquake metaphor has also been prevalent in our work. Several years ago a child alter called “Earthquake” introduced herself. Recently a young alter (who holds responsibility for communication) had a dream of being in an earthquake. She was in a dilemma whether to warn the others inside that there had been an upheaval and they were in danger, or maybe to say nothing in case her fears did not eventuate and her credibility would be questioned. This elucidates how it has always been for her.

And the archivists within have not yet told all the stories that they have stored, so not all information is known and processed by the others. There is more shifting ground ahead.

Susan grew up in Tolaga Bay on the East Coast.  She graduated with a B.Com and a teaching qualification in Wellington and became active in left-wing political causes, helping to raise awareness in racism and sexism and to confront injustices.  In the 1970s Susan and her husband Burke Hunter, with their son Matthew, taught for two years in Western Samoa with VSA. Their daughter Phoebe was born after their return to NZ. During the mid 1980’s the family lived in San Francisco and Susan worked in a programme for the homeless. Returning to Nelson, she worked for the next thirteen years in the public health system in social work and counselling, while completing her Masters in Counselling from Massey University and then NZAP membership in 1995. Since 2000 Susan has worked in the Psychotherapy Partnership practice in with Burke, choosing semi-retirement this year with plans to write. She has served on NZAP Council, holding the portfolio of Public Issues and was the ACC SCAG representative on behalf of NZAP for a few turbulent years. In 2001 she began working with the first of several clients who had been diagnosed with DID.



By Burke Hunter

Throughout my life I have been fascinated by myth, symbol and dreams as a way of understanding greater depths of myself. Mythological and archetypal Hermes is the guide who accompanies us over the threshold, at transitional times of life, from the known of the past that we leave behind, into the unknown future. I have been influenced by the Jungian therapist, Murray Stein, in his work with clients through transitional passages in life. He uses the background of Homer’s Iliad and Hermes as the guide who enables us to find what is dead in our lives (the corpse) and that has been covered over, so that we can give them proper burial rights. The memoir of Lloyd Jones touches on the earthquakes of Christchurch and what is exposed that wants to be forgotten or denied. Hermes helps us find the way to the denied and forgotten. The Nykia is the Greek term for the descent into the Underworld and meeting the dead. The psychotherapy extension of this is to enter the realm of the unconscious. In this workshop I use examples from my work with a male client during his midlife passage to make discoveries about himself and this descent. At the end there will be a reflective experience by participants in terms of what they have heard and been touched by in the presentation as they view a picture of ‘Hermes in the Underworld with Hades at the Solar Stone’. I intend this presentation to be a psychotherapy installation possibly similar to an artist’s installation. Perhaps this way, together, we may meet Hermes.

Burke Hunter: I am 67 years of age and married to Susan Hawthorne who is also a Member of NZAP. We have two adult children Matthew and Phoebe. I was born in the United States. My mother was from the US and my father came from New Zealand. I came to New Zealand in 1973 to find my connection to my Kiwi roots. Once I arrived here in Aotearoa, I knew this was home. I became a Member of NZAP in 1992. I spent 4 years on Council and am an active NZAP member in our region, Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Māui (the top of the South Island). I am chairperson of the Online Communication Committee and a member of the Te Tiriti Committee. Since the 1980’s I have been facilitating workshops in relation to racism awareness and Te Tiriti. I am committed to working towards the creation of a more just world. I am passionate about singing and a member of two choirs.



By Mary Farrell

In this paper, I will consider the dangerous and heated issues that can often underlie the outwardly happy relationship. Just as the earth can be unpredictable and smoldering under its calm surface, many relationships that exist between couples I see for relationship therapy have deep fissures that bubble up with unexpected force, often in the consulting room.

I will present a case study of one such couple and consider the parts played by unrealistic expectation, idealization, denigration, previous hurts and fractures and cultural background. I will also illustrate the paper with video clips from the American TV series “Mad Men”, looking particularly at the marriage of Don and Betty Draper. Don has a false identity, both literally and metaphorically, and the facts of his earlier life, and even his name, are completely unknown to his wife.

My premise is that when most couples become attached, it can be an attachment based on primarily unconscious needs and expectations of each other, especially when little has been explored and divulged. It is similar to an area of land which has unknown underground volcanic activity. The work of the therapist is to help the couple to understand the pressing individual needs and longings that lie beneath the accusations, blaming and shaming that are the ruin of many relationships.

I will use as reference points Clifford Sager’s work on The Marriage Contract (1971); the work of Jill and David Sharff (New Paradigms for Treating Relationships” (2006) and John Gottman’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” (2000).

Mary Farrell is an intersubjective relational psychotherapist working in private practice in Titirangi and Mt Eden, Auckland. She studied Theatre and Fine Art for her first degree and worked as a theatre director in the UK for 17 years before training to become a psychotherapist in 1990. In the UK, she worked for the British Law Society, directing the Counselling Service at the Chester College of Law until she emigrated to New Zealand with her family in 1995.

Her passion lies in tracing the links between psychotherapy, theatre, film, literature and art. Her book “Acts of Trust – Making sense of risk, trust and betrayal in our Relationships” was published by Exisle in 2005, and she has given several illustrated papers to NZAP conferences, branch meetings, forums and at Elam Art School.

Her website is



By Kerrylea Sampson

This study explores the phenomenon of shared trauma from the dual perspectives of the personal and the professional, and the implications for practice and research. Shared trauma is the extraordinary, yet unavoidable, multifaceted situation where the therapist is going through the same or similar traumatic experiences as the clients they work with.

The aim of this research project was to explore my own and other therapists’ experiences of working with shared trauma, using reflection and interview techniques. Deeply impacted by the recent Christchurch earthquakes, undertaking this research alongside my colleagues was for me, a necessary and yet daunting task. The participants were interviewed using open questions with a qualitative focus. The results of my research provided the basis to construct a theoretical framework around that which I and others had to do on the spur of the moment. The significance of these outcomes furthers our understanding of shared trauma.

My research on shared trauma explores this often uncomfortable and yet rewarding situation, while also challenging some of the long standing views of working with trauma. I discuss the differences in working with adult onset trauma and childhood trauma in adults, and identify a need to shift away from pathologising normal responses to large scale trauma, be it war or natural in origin.

Kerrylea Sampson is a psychotherapist and counsellor. Due to the impact of the recent Christchurch earthquakes, she engaged in a study of working with shared trauma, to help make sense of her experiences. This study formed part of her dissertation for an MSc in psychotherapy, which she has recently submitted. Kerrylea is a registered psychotherapist and a member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. She has worked in a range of settings including community agencies, women’s refuge, mental health services and in private practice. Kerrylea holds a contract to provide earthquake trauma and recovery services alongside her current private practice work. With her background in early childhood education, Kerrylea enjoys working with individuals, couples and families. Kerrylea lives with her husband Michael in Christchurch, New Zealand.



Gerald Maclaurin and John Farnsworth

For many of us, dynamic formulations may be a routine in our work, but for others, particularly beginning a career, it can seem a bit of a dark art. The same applies to supervisors asked to guide Provisional Members in writing formulations. This brief clinical workshop is both an introduction and a refresher for writing and thinking about this important tool.

What is a dynamic formulation? We regard it as an early assessment that guides a therapist in how the work ahead may go. We’ll focus on a client’s history, their unconscious conflicts and how we experience a client in the room.

Dynamic formulations provide clarity in our thinking with clients. They are also central to the Written Assessment for the ACP, and a common discussion point amongst markers.

Our approach will be simple: after an introduction, we are going to present two or three dynamic formulations and then ask participants in small groups to discuss their wording, effectiveness and clinical value. We’ll then compare notes and draw conclusions about good practice.

We assume this approach will be useful for supervisors, ACP candidates, or any psychotherapist who would like to brush up on a tool that’s a valuable part of their practice.

Our intention is to create a stimulating, illuminating and enjoyable time together.

Gerald Maclaurin is in private psychotherapy practice in Mt Eden, Auckland, seeing individuals and couples. He also supervises a range of health professionals and mental health teams. He is a member of the Northern Regional Supervisors Group, a member of the ACP Committee and a moderator for the ACP.

John Farnsworth is a psychotherapist in private practice in Dunedin. He works with individuals, couples and groups and has had a long interest in thinking and writing about psychotherapy and psychoanalytic issues. He is a member of the ACP Committee and is an examiner and a moderator for the ACP. He is also a member of the NZAP Council.



By Seán Manning

In 1930 Sigmund Freud wrote in the preface to the Hebrew translation of Totem and Taboo, that he was, ‘an author who is ignorant of the language of holy writ, who is completely estranged from the religion of his fathers—as well as from every other religion’ but who is ‘in his essential nature a Jew and who has no desire to alter that nature’. Thus he separated his identity and culture from spiritual faith. He wrote of God as an illusory father figure, and of religion as something that humanity used to need but which can now give way to science.

Mental disturbance was, and sometimes is, attributed to gods or spirits or the teleological consequence of past actions, or various ‘humours’ or body parts (especially the womb). In Europe this began to change in the 1790s when Pinel started talking to patients in the Salpetriere, and first identified the syndrome dementia praecox in a case file dated 1809. Half a century later Kraepelin’s (1883) classification system established scientific diagnosis in psychiatry. Kraepelin and Freud, born in the same year (1856) had differences, but they shared a common quest for a secular science of the mind.

However, in recent years spirituality has made a comeback in psychotherapy and psychiatry and spiritual healing, also known as ‘energy therapy’, is widely practiced. This paper upholds the rights of people to choose treatment within their cultural system, but argues that secular science must have a strong presence on any menu of options. In an environment where such talk is considered dangerous, it insists that psychotherapists have a responsibility to challenge spiritual systems that make misleading claims based on placebo effects, and practice ineffective or harmful methods. It also suggests a rational origin for gods and ghosts.

Seán Manning is a registered psychotherapist with a small private practice and a position as kaihaumanu – clinical specialist – at Moana House, a bicultural therapeutic community in Dunedin, of which he was a founding Trustee. His background is in psychology and social work. Raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he has lived in New Zealand since 1975. He has three children and two grandchildren. He has been a trustee of the International Transactional Analysis Association, a member of the Training & Certification Council of Transactional Analysts Inc., Chair of Ethics for the Western Pacific Association for Transactional Analysis (WPATA), a member of the Ethics Committee of the Australian Association for Transactional Analysis (ATAA) and held a seat on the Council of NZAP for ten years, including two as president. His specialty is criminality and addiction. He has some command of Maori language, which is better than his Irish, and he is working on his Spanish. His tendency to collect stringed instruments is almost under control. He describes himself as a practicing atheist.



By Isabella Cooper

When the “ground shifts” our lives can fall into a frightening turmoil of disorder, turbulence and loss, literally and metaphorically, and our needs can change in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. Then we may need the care of another, whom Alice Miller in The Body Never Lies describes as “a partial companion who can share with us the horror and indignation that is bound to arise” when suffering becomes intense and overwhelming. In her writing about child abuse she names this companion “an enlightened witness” who can enable the child to find their own truth in “the partial, non-neutral company of such a (therapeutic) companion”.

The first part of this presentation will address enlightened witnessing in the wider context of a life-long need in our personal and professional lives. Participants will be invited to explore the meaning they make of “witnessing”, the significance of the word “enlightened” and thereby a definition of the role. Briefly, we will share stories of times when our lives were changed by the attentiveness of others who responded to our need – when our truth was affirmed by a witness who saw and intervened on our behalf.

In the second part we will focus on the difficulties of the role, both as the witness and as the witnessed, (or not witnessed). We will explore what could block us from fully seeing and choosing to act when an intervention would lighten the burden of another. We will affirm the courage that is in us when we overcome such impediments – when entering and journeying in the personal landscape of another may be at a risk to ourselves. And we will perhaps have time to consider how we can become expert enlightened witnesses for ourselves.

Isabella Cooper was born in 1938 in N. Ireland, the middle child and first daughter of seven children born to farming parents. She has witnessed and remembers much from an early age, including the burning of an effigy of Mussolini as she wondered what he had done that was so bad. Only recently has she begun to believe that she may be becoming enlightened. She is an avid reader and student of the human condition and loves people in all their personal landscapes, including herself and her own. Her C.V., if she had one, would include Maths teacher, school counsellor, relationship counsellor, mediator, counselling trainer, restorative justice panellist, psychotherist, supervisor and author. She is most at home with nature and books, gardening and listening to people’s stories. Isabella has been a member of NZAP since 1994. She is the self-published author of Making Emotions Meaningful, and feeling your way to well-being. She lives in Oxford, North Canterbury where she can see mountains and big skies.



By Joy Ryan-Bloore

“We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning – for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”… “Seen in correct psychological perspective, death is not an end but a goal and life’s inclination towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed.” CG Jung

Entering the ageing process is often countered by: ‘but 70 is the new 50’ or ‘60 is the new 40!’ Such trivial comments deny its deeper purpose – late life transformation. As we enter the ‘afternoon’ of life our inner and outer ground inevitably shifts, because this transformation requires a death – the breakdown of the old and the ‘reversal of all ideals and values cherished in the morning’ – to make room for something new in the ‘evening’.

Every new stage of development requires conscious participation in the cycle of death and rebirth. When we enter the ageing process we are invited into the unconscious once again, in order to be returned with a deeper awareness of the meaning and purpose of our lives, particularly our increasing diminishment, suffering and death. ‘The ageing process then becomes meaningful, opening the way to our future in this life and in the beyond’.

The presentation will address what this might involve for the older therapist; how we co-operate with it and how it affects the way we accompany others; what happens when a therapist dies; and the need for a ‘world-view’ which enables us to prepare ourselves and others for death. It will draw on personal experience, case work, analysis of dreams, and the implications of this transforming time whereby we enter the wisdom years and become elders.

Joy Ryan-Bloore High.Dip.Tchg, Dip.Theol, BA, Dip.Analytical Psychology; is a Jungian Analyst and registered psychotherapist in Christchurch. She taught in secondary schools for 20 years and was a Sister of Mercy (1964-1981). She trained with NZAP (1984-89); and at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich (1993-1997) with her husband Allan Bloore; and complemented her analytic training with body therapy. She is a member of NZAP (1989); AGAP, IAAP, ANZSJA (1997); an overseas member of GAP London (2012); and served on the ANZSJA Executive (2006-2012) and Ethics committee (2012-13).

Much of Joy’s work and experience is at the inter-face of psychological and spiritual development – more recently as it applies to the ageing process. She regularly facilitates retreats and seminars particularly for Rosary House Spiritual Life Centre, Christchurch and in Melbourne. She presented papers on the psychological and spiritual impact of the Christchurch earthquakes to the AGAP Forum, Zurich; GAP colleagues, London (2012); NZAP Conference (2013); and has presented to the NZ Spiritual Directors Assn (2013) and NZ Christian Counsellors Assn (2014). She is currently involved in psychotherapy, Jungian Analysis, spiritual direction and supervision.



By James Driver

One of the key findings of my 2014 Master’s dissertations was that clients with gaming addictions had negative experiences of therapy when they felt that their gaming addiction was dismissed or not well understood by their therapist. By drawing on clinical experience, international research and my own Master’s dissertation, I will introduce you to key concepts to be aware of when working with gaming addiction clients to help you ensure that your clients feel seen and understood.

While gaming addiction shares many similarities and common mechanisms with other addictions and compulsive behaviours, other aspects are unique. In particular, for many people online gaming plays a significant role in identity formation. Players may experience themselves as potent, valued, competent, appreciated and as having a clear identity and purpose in their games that they do not experience in other areas of their life. Accordingly, assisting clients to overcome gaming addiction must involve an appreciation for this very real loss of identity and the social connections that go along with it. In addition, clinicians have a role in helping clients to find ways to experience these positive aspects of themselves outside of the game.

I will outline the social and psychological factors most commonly present in gaming addiction, illustrate why this addiction can become so destructive and so difficult to overcome, and suggest an approach to treatment for working with this client group. Clients’ experiences of therapy will be illustrated through the use of transcripts of interviews I conducted as part of my Master’s dissertation.

James Driver: I am a Christchurch-based psychotherapist with a particular interest in addictions and the psychological impacts of gaming and technology. Much of this interest stems from my own experiences as a teenager when I developed an addiction to online gaming, spending up to 16 hours every day immersed in the game. With the help of psychotherapy I overcame this addiction, and ten years later I trained as a psychotherapist myself. During my training I was on placement at a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. This experience renewed my interest in understanding gaming addiction and increasing clinical knowledge about clients’ experiences of treatment, and this became the focus for my Master’s research.

I am the founder of Netaddiction NZ, a resource site for information about gaming and technology addictions and have presented in a number of forums both within New Zealand and internationally on the topic of gaming addiction. I continue to see clients with gaming addiction issues in my private practice and provide clinical training on this topic.



By Brian Broom

Psychotherapy for treatment of physical disease is rarely considered within the dualistic framework of Western medicine. In New Zealand a new movement of ‘whole person’ psychotherapists (and other clinicians) is emerging, triggered originally by the recognition of vivid symbolic elements in a range of serious physical diseases. This has stimulated a non-dualistic modeling of all bodily disease, focusing on story, meaning and symbol, ‘wholes’, co-emergence of physicality and subjectivity, persons, persons-in-relationship, multifactoriality, and integral aperspectivalism.

Over the last ten years, in the AUT University Department of Psychotherapy, a multidisciplinary, part-time, post-graduate MindBody Healthcare programme has taught this non-dualistic model, and the requisite skills, to psychotherapists and counsellors, who train alongside ‘body’ clinicians such as physiotherapists and doctors.

In this paper the focus will be the role of the psychotherapist in physical disease, emphasizing: a) that physical disease is ultimately a representation of the ‘whole’; b) that non-dualistic psychotherapy can make a very significant contribution to healing and recovery; b) that patients with physical diseases typically need ‘midwifing’ into the psychotherapy process; c) that patients may not be psychologically-minded initially, but can become so quite quickly; c) that, initially, the therapist may need to play a strong educative role; d) that typical problems arise when the ‘medical body’ is included in therapy; e) the importance of medical ‘holding’ of psychotherapists, and vice versa; g) the therapy process must be deeply grounded in a non-dualistic awareness (see first paragraph); and h) that ‘whole person’ psychotherapy is potentially appropriate in all patients with physical disease, especially chronic conditions.

For many psychotherapists this is a clinical ground-shift; stimulating, challenging, even scary. Good psychotherapists who can actively and safely ‘hold’ the body and physical disease in the psychotherapy room are in short supply. Conceptually and culturally we remain implicitly (and comfortably) hostage to mind and body dualism. The good news is that this can be overcome.

Brian Broom has been described as a ‘philosopher physician,’ and has a passion for ‘whole person’ approaches to ill-health and disease. His long journey into whole person-centred healthcare grew out of dissatisfaction with the way body, mind and spirit have been compartmentalised in healthcare, secular and religious culture. In terms of Western healthcare professional roles, he is, on the ‘body’ side, a Consultant Physician in Immunology, at Auckland City Hospital. On the ‘mind’ side he is a psychotherapist focussing on physical illness. On the ‘spirit/soul’ side he was reared in a highly dualistic religious framework in which truth was strongly dogmatic and faintly experiential, but retains a strong interest in spirituality. He developed and (until recently) led the post-graduate MindBody Healthcare Diploma and Masters programme at AUT University, Auckland. He has large experience in training and supervising psychotherapists and other clinicians. He is a finalist for the 2015 Senior New Zealander of the Year Award.

His three books are titled: Transforming clinical practice using a mindbody approach. A radical integration (2013); Meaning-full disease: How personal experience and meanings initiate and maintain physical illness (2007); Somatic Illness and the patient’s other story. A practical integrative approach to disease for doctors and psychotherapists (1997).