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Jennings, S. (1988). The Loneliness of the Long Distance Therapist. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(3):297-301.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(3):297-301

Personal View

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Therapist

Sue Jennings

Walking in the midst of others, one returns alone.

I Ching

Often the journey metaphor is used to describe our passage through life. Within this larger journey we all embark on other kinds of journeys, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of others. For me to reflect on journeys is particularly relevant at the present time since I am in the midst of transitions. The most major one is my imminent departure from an institution where I have played a major role and been responsible for some difficult navigation. After nine years of implementing and assisting others to make therapeutic journeys of various kinds, I am about to enter unchartered territory where the direction is as yet unclear. It is giving me time for reflection and a pause as I wait for new writing to appear on a sign-post.

History and myth are full of many famous journeys: the Odyssey and Canterbury Tales, Pilgrims Progress and the Search for the Holy Grail, Jason and the Golden Fleece and the Ancient Mariner. The symbols and images in these epic journeys enable us to be aware of the wider canvas against which we struggle with our own meanderings.

Many of us choose to have holidays as journeys when we trek, explore, sail and climb mountains. Others have journey jobs when we are sailors, pilots or guides. However we appear to have an optimum level of tolerance both legally and socially to the amount and type of constant journeying that we are prepared to accept. There is a social stigma attached to ‘being of no fixed abode’ which has implications if we make court appearances or attempt to open bank accounts.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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