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Hinshelwood, B. (2010). Afterthoughts on the Conference in Recognition of ‘me’!. Brit. J. Psychother., 26(4):483-485.

(2010). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 26(4):483-485


Afterthoughts on the Conference in Recognition of ‘me’!

Bob Hinshelwood

I did not at that time think of him as a scholar … When the text started to come in I knew I had been wrong about his academic abilities - dead wrong. My admiration grew as I read and lightly edited the manuscript. Indeed, when he took up the appointment as a professor at Essex he was kind enough to say that I had had a major role in his becoming one. (Bob Young1)

They say that when you are drowning, just as you go under for the last time, the whole of your life floats before your eyes. Well, I could say that the Conference on 14 November 2009 was that sort of experience. There was the whole of my professional life floating before my eyes, the people, the papers, the enthusiasms, and problems. But they were not ghosts, they were my real colleagues and friends. However, whilst not drowning exactly, I did feel flooded so that when Ann Scott, the Editor, asked me to write this Afterword, I didn't know if I had the words for my experience. Her interesting response has proved helpful; she said perhaps, if need be, a poignant silence could be the most authentic kind of Afterword. But what exactly was the poignancy that I felt? So, instead of silence, it seemed worth having a go at articulating my inhibition about expressing the experience. Was it the fear that it could be very ostentatious? To be ‘recognized’, as the event proclaimed, did it make me feel unnervingly naked?

We all met in the LTB, a less than romantic-sounding venue - the lecture theatre block built in the brutalist style of the rest of the University campus. Inside, the rock-faces of concrete were unrelieved by windows. Such ascetic devotion to bare unsentimental intellect promised a cold but clever experience. Curiously, the ambience proved less harsh. And an enduring thanks exists in me to those who came, and those who contributed, and to those


Bob Hinshelwood is currently Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, and was a Consultant Psychotherapist in the NHS for 20 years, first at St Bernard's Hospital, Ealing, and then as Clinical Director at the Cassel Hospital, Richmond. He is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Address for correspondence: []

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