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Bishop, B. Davenhill, R. Vellacott, J. (2004). Not in Our Name. Brit. J. Psychother., 20(3):403.

(2004). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 20(3):403


Not in Our Name

Bernardine Bishop, Rachael Davenhill and Julia Vellacott

Dear Editor

In February 2003, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, a number of us felt that it was important to protest as a professional group against the impending war. We prepared at very short notice a letter for the press to be sent to all BCP members with an available email address. (We were enormously indebted to Bill Chambers for the technical work of this.) The statement read as follows:

We, the undersigned individuals working as psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, wish to express our profound opposition to the attack on Iraq currently being prepared by our government and by the United States. We wish to make clear that these actions are not in our name.

A total of 177 individuals responded and asked for their names to be put to the letter. The statement and names were then sent to ten national and London newspapers, and the statement published in The Independent on Sunday on 19 February 2003. The paper used one name (from the top of the alphabet) for each organization represented. We emailed to each signatory a copy of the statement and the list of names to use for further individual work such as writing to their local MP or newspaper.

We felt, given the time-frame we were working to, that the response was heartening, and are aware from subsequent discussions that many other people would have added their name had there been time to write to them. As people will be aware, there have been a number of other contributions from the world of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, including books, lectures and workshops. We hope that we can continue to engage as professionals in public debate on these issues.


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