Ben

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Background

I was a Primary School Teacher in Ireland for nine years, teaching 7-to-12 year olds from 1961 to 1970. During that time I was also busy with drama and musical productions, many entered for competitions for both choral singing and the use of musical instruments. I have belatedly hung some photographs of these activities on the walls of my sitting room. In addition, I used also produce dramas for ages 7 to 12-year olds, some for competitions (one of which I won outright in 1964), but some just for the entertainment of the pupils themselves and of their parents. I also painted scenery for these productions and some photographs of these scenes are also now, for the first time, hanging on the walls of my sitting room in my home in Dublin.

After that I was a Secondary School teacher, teaching from 12 to 17/18 year-old students, preparing them for State Examinations, and securing my secondary teacher qualifications by attending university in the evening time, at the request of the Religious Order to which I then belonged. I was also a Secondary School Head during the years, 1984 to 1990. In 1990 I was asked to become a member of the staff at the Marino Institute of Education in Dublin offering various types of educational course to qualified secondary school teachers. In my last years there I was introduced to Jack Whitehead’s ‘Living Educational Theory in which I received a Ph.D.[[1]] in 1999 at the University of Bath, while living in Bath itself. Prior to that I received an M.A. (part-time – three summers) at Regis University, Denver, Colorado, 1993). Lengthy papers had to be submitted each Autumn for three consecutive Autumns during the years 1990 to 1993. Some of the subject matter dealt with Critical Thinking, Adult Learning, Emotional and Relational Leadership and Matters of Faith and Morals.

On my return to Ireland from the University of Bath in 1999 I was requested to become Director of a recognised Training Course for Counsellors run by an Order of Nuns in a town called, Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. I resigned in 2010 when Whitehead’s Living Theory (of counselling) introduced by me was, finally, vehemently opposed by my employers, though recognised elsewhere in Ireland at the time. Between 2010 and 2014 I founded a Treatment Centre for those suffering from Alcohol and Drug misuse. It was staffed on a voluntary basis by the counselling students I had ‘trained’ as counsellors, all of us on a voluntary basis, as we had few financial resources, except for some financial gifts from companies in the area where our Treatment Centre was located. It then closed down because my helpers could not continue to work without some financial recompense.

An Example of Counselling Practice

There follows a description of an incident, which covers some of the positive outcomes for one counsellor who attended sessions that I ran:

...One student in her essay commenting on what a fellow student was doing as he was also helping a client in a counselling situation ran thus: "You have moved away from your fears ... you have great gifts." The author of the work commented thus: "I was so pleased that L. commented on my work with my client as being also about accepting myself and was my biggest goal being fulfilled in practice." Another fellow student commented on the same work, said this: "Well done for getting through such pain. It was even harder for you to read aloud about your pain. I understand now why you developed an eating disorder and now you are working at overcoming it by being able to show empathy to those having such an addiction. That could never be learnt from a book, only from live practice, as you did."

The writer said that: "reading out my story was really difficult because I was revealing one of my greatest weaknesses. Nevertheless, reading out my story as part of my work with a client, was very difficult but it also helped me to heal, as there were so many issues connected with it that I had not spoken about ever before." A client in the alcoholic recovery unit said of this counselling student: "You have helped me a lot to tell my story. You even managed to get into my head." The counselling writer said: "Your story touched my heart and I won't forget you now."

Some time in 2015 I was asked by a past counselling student of mine (who was a chaplain at one of the Dublin Prisons) to become a prison visitor, which I was delighted to accept immediately, and which I have been doing since then.

My Counselling Practice

I wrote this on compassion in counselling on 10.3.17.

Before I go on to describe and explain who I am as a person with prisoners, I need to briefly explain who I am as a counsellor when with them. I draw on Carl Rogers’ view of it as explained in Baldwin & Satir (1987):

“I am inclined to think that in my writing perhaps I have stressed too much the three basic conditions, congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding. Perhaps it is something around the edges of those conditions that is really the most important element of therapy – when my self is very clearly, obviously present.”

What I understood from this is that being at the edge of awareness is essential for me as a prison visitor / counsellor. I also want it to mean for me reaching beyond my conscious competence to aspects of yet unfathomed capability and possibility within me, where new possibilities may be possible for me in order to be of greatest help to the prisoners I meet.

What am I doing when I visit prisoners? Let me start by saying I know what many of them have done; they have committed murder. I don’t agree with such actions, but neither do I dislike the prisoners I am with and who have done so. Without condoning such actions I can listen without judgement to their explanations as to why they did so. I actually often feel full of compassion and love for them. Present face to face with them I see human beings just like myself. My heart aches to help them achieve self-and other-forgiveness. I want their psyches to heal. I want them to both acknowledge cleanse themselves of the murders they have committed. I want to be a healer to them so that I can touch them both interiorly and exteriorly in places that are close and tender where the sensitivity is, where the wounds are, and where the angst is. This is intimacy, and I believe, it is necessary for any type of healing and self-forgiveness to take place for these prisoners. In the course of our meetings, prisoners and I move towards talking about as full a range of who we are to each other as we can, and about what we think and feel. This is somehow the greatest thing that prisoners and I can do for each other. I believe that sometimes small miracles do happen, and the life of the prisoners can eventually become ready to move towards change, healing and even happiness (Kreinheder, 1980: 17).

Many modern counsellors and psychotherapists do not avoid but, rather, embrace a healing-type and heartfelt language to describe and explain what best enables their clients to achieve healing and recovery from whatever ails them psychologically. For example, Hobson (1985) equates love with tenderness towards clients and sees it as the animating force that determines the quality of our interventions. “Without tenderness the noise of our talk does harm’ (p. 20). From feedback given either formally or informally, I believe most of the prisoners I work with find what I do helpful and useful, as I am feeling love and tenderness towards them. I know beyond doubt that I must touch them at some psychological and even physical level if we are ever to make any difference to each other’s wellbeing. The strength and vulnerability of what we mean to each other depends to a large extent on our continuing capacity for spontaneity, leading, of course, to those needing psychological recovery.

Replying to Moira’s email of 23rd February, 2017, I wrote: “Thanks so much, Moira. Somehow what you've written so far has challenged me to be more authentic. I hadn't been so at time recently, though I was unaware of it while also feeling somehow inauthentic, but not knowing why. I was mentally, if not vocally, critical of one prisoner in particular. He has a mental health problem. In my arrogance I felt I could help him by pretending that such nomenclatures, i.e., mental health problem is an inhuman way of describing and explaining a person. What I now realise is that mental health professionals need some form of nomenclature by which to summarise at least the condition that some clients may 'suffer' from, while in no way wishing to remove any aspect of their humanity, and to do so in order to be of further help to their clients. I thought I could bypass such psychiatric nomenclature in order to help my prisoner clients. This involved me mentally rubbishing their "ridiculous" ramblings! What arrogance on my part! But this afternoon with such a prisoner I listened for the first time to him and encouraged him to talk about what he has been experiencing, i.e., that he hears various internal voices and even external voices that to him are 'real', telling how he ought to live. The voice of God is one of them. My goodness I felt such relief in attempting to be authentic not just because I was 'allowing' him but actively encouraging him to be authentically who he now believed himself to be. As I accompanied him I saw his eyes light up as he was telling me his experiences, which to me would normally be ones I would be totally unable to comprehend. Now, for the first time since I met him I was able to accept him as he was construing himself to be. Oh, what a relief. He taught me something - how I can again become authentic. All I can now mentally say is this: "thank you, Gerard." I will now be able to tell him next week that I greatly appreciated his telling me who he is and to apologise if I was not always listening to him as carefully as I ought to have - until now! I will also be able to tell him that I found him to be utterly authentic and that I'm glad he was able to help me to become similarly authentic.

Email to Moira on 24.12.’15 about E., one of my prisoners

E. was in great good humour at the prison and so was I. E’s and my conversation wasn’t structured. I had thought about what I might contribute beforehand but, as usual, I would abandon it if E. wished to lead the conversation and that’s what happened. Before he did so I told him that I had a card for him but that I had written nothing on it as yet. I would write it at the end of our conversation and it would be based on what he told me about himself. He said he liked that idea. I’m always amused that he references things I say about myself, good and bad, as being more valuable than being with a counsellor who would focus on either E.’s ‘needs’ and how they could be secured, or on a counselling method that needed to be applied rigorously in order to eradicate whatever ‘fault’ one was supposed to possess. My approach, he said, puts him at his ease. It was also important to him that I liked him, he said. He added that I never criticised anything he said or did. According to him, I seemed to understand him without needing him to offer any explanations about himself, if he didn’t wish to do so.

E. asked me if I followed any particular counselling method in my work with others. I said, “No”, but that I preferred Carl Rogers’ philosophical musings, about whom E. had heard. “Tell me a bit about him,” he asked. Regarding relationships, for example, he said things like: “I regret it when I suppress my feelings too long and they burst forth in ways that are distorted or attacking or hurtful.” When I met E. first, some such issues seemed to be implied in what he was saying to me and so I had copied some of Rogers’ sayings and brought them with me this time. “E., what do you make of this observation of Rogers,’ when he said that: “I regret it when I suppress my feelings too long and they burst forth in ways that are distorted or attacking or hurtful.” “Here’s another one, E., and you might apply it to me. Rogers says that: I am angry with myself when I discover that I have been subtly controlling and molding another person in my own image.” I asked E., if this was what I was trying to do to him. “No,” he says, “because I wouldn’t let you.” WE both laughed at that, but I know E. well enough now to know – and I’m delighted about it -that he has a certain control of his life now.

At E.’s request, he asked why I didn’t seem to follow any counselling method. I told him that I don’t necessarily scour counsellig tomes looking for answers. On a human level, which is my preferred way of working, my priority is about trying to convince people seeking my help that he / she can change their lives and become whoever they wished to be if they meet people who totally believe in them, and are ‘real’ with them. “You are doing that with me,” E. replied.

At the end of our meeting, I told him that I was now going to write my Christmas Card to him now. This is what I wrote, as far as I can remember now, some hours later: “E., you are a wonderful, warm human being. I have been privileged to have met with you. You may have been supposing that I was helping you, and maybe this is right. You, however, have told me things about love, and about being real. I will drive home shortly knowing that this Christmas is one of the best already because of you.”

E. looked shocked, but also delighted. He caught a hold of my hands and shook them rigorously. “Thank you for your words and for everything you’ve done for me since I met you,” he said.

Summary Explanation of Certain Terms

I believe that my understanding of compassion goes a long way towards explaining why I act the way I do with prisoners. But perhaps I first need to explain the difference between sympathy, empathy and compassion in relation to Self.

Sympathy: If I am merely sympathetic to another’s predicament I may feel their anguish but am in a more or less static position in relation to them.

Empathy: It is not enough as it can limit seeing what is familiar, or is similar to my own experience.

Compassion means to wish others free of suffering.

Bibliography

Baldwin, D.C., Jr. (1987) ‘Some psychological contributions to the use of self in therapy, in M. Baldwin and V. Satir (eds) The Use of Self in Therapy, Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press. Hobson, R.F. (1985) Forms of Feeling: The Heart of Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.

Kreinheder, S. (1980) ‘Counselling and psychotherapy are they different and should we care?” Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 11, 1: 5-14.

My Prison Work

As I considered the context of my prison work I decided it would have to be about going to meet and work with fellow human beings who also happened to be prisoners. I would know, of course, that they were jailed for breaking the laws of the land and some would even have committed murder. So, what attitude should / would I hold towards them? Before I answer that to the best of my ability let me introduce you to the longest serving Governor of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, Mr. John Lonergan. On his retirement he became a friend of mine when he agreed to be one of the Directors of a Drug Rehabilitation Centre I had opened in a small town in Southern Ireland. What was it that I admired so much about him? It was his humane and progressive outlook that he exhibited as Governor of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin as he worked at getting the best out of prisoners. Though some prison officers and others considered what he was doing, and what he believed to be naïve, he just went on doing it and emphasising that there is good in every human being and that it was his job to find and nurture it. That, too, is my motto, for good or will, even when prisoners most annoy and anger me by not turning up to meet me. Despite that I still have to say: “It is my job as a human being and as a counsellor to work at getting the best out of every prisoner I meet and to nurture it. I am never to forget that there is good in every person, and that includes prisoners. But others will naturally ask: “but how are you going to get the good out of these prisoners?”

For me, it can only be through positivity, maintaining good relationships with them and, perhaps, most of all, being positive about them. How do you do all that? By loving them through thick and thin. I don’t believe there is any other way. And in the midst of all these loving and heartfelt beliefs is there anything else? There is, of course, there is my rackety humanity where impatience is my second name and I rant and rave when they don’t turn up for their appointments. But do I, then, still forgive them? No, not immediately. Why not? Because I am a human being and I am weak and I am full righteous indignation. How dare they do that to me? But they don’t, of course. They don’t intend to annoy or hurt. They are just human beings acting as human beings do and some human beings, like me, too, don’t always do what they must do either, but what just what they want to do, and that may be to do with also being annoying, out of control, and even never adverting to the fact that others may be relying on them. So, on occasions of course the prisoners do make me angry. Of course they do when they don’t arrive to meet the greatest of all gurus. And, unfortunately, this guru knows how to curse and swear like a trooper, but in private of course. And after that what then happens? I go on again loving them having cleansed the atmosphere for myself. For good or ill they are some of my companions on my present life’s journey, whether for good or ill. I love them when I hate them. And I sometimes hate them when I love them. They cause me to curse and swear in the privacy of my home. But then I remember when I laughed at them and they at me and somehow all is okay again and all is forgiven. Life is too short for anything else, isn’t it?

Working with Moira Laidlaw

In 2017 I co-wrote a paper [2] with Moira Laidlaw[[3]] about our work with prisoners as a way of locating and working on our living contradictions. At the beginning of the paper I outline some of the considerations I have whilst working with prisoners.

I am working within a living theory methodology in order to improve my counselling practice with prisoners as I generate knowledge from questions of the kind,‘How do I improve my practice?’ (Whitehead, 1993, p. 69). It includes a living epistemology for educational knowledge, which rests on a living logic of educational enquiry and living standards of judgement (Laidlaw, 1996), and includes flows of life-affirming energy with values that carry hope for the future of humanity (Whitehead, 2015). In my work with prisoners in an Irish prison I try to emulate Rogers' idea that my presence can become 'releasing and helpful' when I am closest to my intuitive self and to the unknown in me and that this can lead to healing (1980, p. 129). This means that I, '(reach) beyond conscious competence to aspects of yet unfathomed capability, where new possibilities for working are forming only in the precise moment of being with the client' (Wosket, 1999, p. 30). In my various past roles in education as a teacher, school-head, school-counsellor or occasional lecturer in third-level education, and now as a prison-visitor, I believe I have tried to be fully present to those for whom I was responsible, recognising that my presence could be a healing force that embraced emotional knowing (Cunningham, 1999).As I explained in Taylor et al. (2002):

"I rarely hesitate to appropriate and to absorb emotional, affective ideas, because I feel I have lived with them, interiorly and exteriorly, all my life. They are a lifetime's house guests, guests of my interior which I call home. They are familiar. I don't have to doff my hat to them, be polite in their presence. It's not that they own me or that I am beholden to them, even when I allow them to disport themselves, as they sometimes will. But my instincts trust them. They have always been my touchstones to reality, the real guides to my life. At the same time, I never attempted to oppose one form of rationality with another, the intellectual with the emotional but rather, I attempted to use both and linked them with the synthesising capacity of my I as I used both a propositional and felt form of language within a dialectic of relationship with others" (p. 361).

For many years in the later part of my teaching career, and especially now as a counsellor to prisoners, I have become more and more convinced that, 'in the act of giving something is born, and ... persons involved are grateful for the life that is born (in) them' (Fromm, 1956, pp. 24–25). This is now a key element, which I will be exploring as I reveal and explain the contents of my conversations with prisoners and Moira, as we account for the renewed life that is being born for them and for us as well...

Beginnings of our collaboration

In all my meetings with Moira when we both attended the University of Bath (in the nineties) and through many emails since then, we invariably spoke about many issues and often to do with justice and fairness. I remember a particular series of emails, one of them on 8th January, 2016 when I emphasised that what was of huge importance to me was the preservation of my own integrity and that of others because of my experience of its abnegation in my previous life as a member of a Religious Congregation in Dublin. What particularly impressed me was that Moira believed that issues of values needed to be pursued, to be interrogated, and something to be done about them at whatever cost to oneself. I mentioned to Moira that I had sent an email to Jack Whitehead about the work I was doing with prisoners. In his reply he mentioned, among other things, the importance of restitution. He was right, of course. I added it to my work with prisoners, knowing it has to be there. However, I did say to Moira that I still felt there were immediate issues to be dealt with and these were acceptance, love, and forgiveness from me for the prisoners. With these in place I felt there would be the right back ground with which to deal with restitution. Of course, one part of restitution is being imprisoned, and rightly so. But the start of my communication with the men wouldn’t start there. However, I felt a slight fear that the topic of restitution might mean either foregoing or not paying due regard to love, acceptance and forgiveness. My view was that I had to get to know the prisoners even before I knew what they had done. They are as human as I am; they did bad things, and so did I. They didn’t know that I harboured hatred more than once in my heart and soul for some others in my past because they seemed to have consciously attempted to damage me psychologically. When I met my first two prisoners, I couldn’t but feel compassion for them.

On 13.3.17. in preparation for our joint paper[4] I wrote this:

Hi Moira,

I decided to write about LOVE first. I hope that’s in order. I, more or less, say I am helped in my relationships to others by offering them love. So, below, is what I say about it.

In our correspondence between June 2015 and February 2016, there was continual emphasis on creating knowledge, “our knowledge,” as Moira put it. The reason for it is contained in what she then also said: “We’ve known and trusted and cared for each other for a long time.” She summarized it thus: “This trust – and I would say love – means that we venture things (Cunningham and Laidlaw, personal communication, 2.2.’16).

I outlined to Moira my philosophy of love in my relationship with prisoners in my work in a Dublin prison since August 2015, thus:

What I give to prisoners I receive back from them as well - affection and even love. I’m overwhelmed by their contribution to my life. I'm thinking that I ought not to expend too much time into over-worrying about crime, uselessness, neuroses, feelings of inferiority, and so on. Others would ask, of course, as is their right, where is restitution? For me, restitution finds it’s beginning in the prisoners being able to begin to love themselves. They are doing so because they see me doing it with them - I forgive (and love) them and they know it. (Cunningham and Laidlaw, personal communication, 8.3.’17)

When I say I am helped in my relationships to prisoners by offering them love, I have been aware of Adler’s view in his work, Understanding Human Nature (1992), where he emphasized that the work of understanding human nature should be a vital task for everyone, love (my emphasis) being one of the means for doing so.

When thinking of prisoners and their circumstances, I am continually astonished but also fearful that I may not sufficiently follow what Levinas (Dialogues, 59-60, Totality and Infinity, 1969) advocates in his description of the primary of the ethical, which he says is, as follows:

The approach of the face is the most basic mode of responsibility … The face is not in front of me but above me; it is the face before death … it is the other who asks me not to let him die alone.

For some reason I got a severe shock when I first read Levinas’s words above when I was at the University of Bath studying for my Ph.D. with Moira Laidlaw. It got me wondering whether I was up to the task of seeing others, and approaching them with anything approaching this degree of love, as I would see it, but I was determined that I would try to do so.

Moira closed her previous email thus: “I really think that readers will find the ideas you are expressing there – and which I so heartly concur with – will be of interest to other people, living theorists or not.”

Love,

Ben

Extracts about my prison work

Some of the following text is taken from letters addressed to Moira Laidlaw. To see detailed communications between us, see Letters between Ben Cunningham and Moira Laidlaw

Values in my prison work: One of the key letters I wrote was something about the values I bring with me into the relationships I have with prisoners.

...In passing I mention certain writers who influenced me. Although I haven’t mentioned him for some time, Scott Peck did too. I have his other two books but I seem to have lost his “Road” book. However, I do remember writing in my diary at the time some of his quotations. One was this: “I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.” That fits with what I am trying to do when helping prisoners grow and develop.

It is good to learn I don’t sensationalise things. I hadn’t realised that. I am supposing that perhaps some elements of Christianity creep into my thinking unknowingly. Jesus Christ and his message of love do mean something to me practically. I allow – welcome - deep feelings of love and compassion enter my psyche because I think it is these that are going to have the influence I am wishing for in order to help me relate to others. I don’t forgive murder, and I won’t. I don’t have to. I most certainly don’t approve of it, but I do know that I have to ask myself: “when did I feel like doing it?” Often, I would have to say, especially when I felt outraged by somebody who denigrated me or when I am a witness to somebody being humiliated or denigrated. That’s what happened this time when I was listening to Eric tell me how he was humiliated and, to make it worse, in front of males far tougher than he is. I could have cried for him, not only because of what happened but also because I so often experienced it when young myself and how it debilitated me, made me feel worthless.

I often think the way I deal with prisoners and others is essential to my being ethical because not to do so would be tantamount to agreeing to what I often experienced and, on a worldwide scale, of course, what the Nazis did to other human beings. I know that I can never allow my feelings to be obliterated because to do so would be tantamount to agreeing that unspeakable things may be done to human beings and that it would be okay to do so. So, I am constantly aware that some of those I counsel did commit crimes against humanity, did commit murder. I cannot condone that and never will. For now, though, I have a need to see in what way those prisoners who did so can be rehabilitated. I do believe in redemption, but how far it ought to go I haven’t yet measured, and to be honest, I don’t believe I will. But, I cannot think of any other way for now except to let those I counsel know they are cherished so that even out of the evil they did or, more correctly, despite the evil they did, some good may still come, as contradictiory as that may sound and be. They may still deserve to be the recipients of a warm humanity that somehow and, in however minute a way, may help them love and forgive themselves, and then continue to make restitution by a different way of living as part of their rehabilitation.

Moira wrote to me, “You too have a way of presenting your own ideas and feelings and senses about what you experience, whilst always being aware, it seems to me, that the other is as true and real and significant as you are.” I am glad to think that is true. I hadn’t full realised this, but you are right. I always know I am looking at somebody other than myself and I’m very curious to know what way this person thinks and how we’re going to relate. I seem to like them before they even speak, but I don’t know why that is. I’m curious also as to whether I will be able to relate to this person and, though this sounds like unbelievable pride, I know I’m going to be able to do so. I think this is really about a decision to do so. Before I ‘know’ the person I decide that I wish to like them, as is, my decision to love them. Once the decision is made then I easily find reasons to like them. I also know that in some way they have also made deisions about me. I always know what it is going to be. Sometimes, I must admit that I’m also often amused by them as well. They may do or say something that is actually childlike though I haven’t represented that in my writing lest it be believed that I am in some way trying to belittle them or make them appear less important than they are or too childlike to be real...

I do have an intense interest in people, a desire to know. In some ways I believe it came from my forced internalism - If I can call it that– because of all the times, too numerous to mention, when I was forced into silence in my own home for hours on end, not allowed to read or, indeed, do anything but think which, of course, couldn’t be stopped.

Comments from the Living Theory community

Hi, Ben. It's been a long time (20 years) since I stayed with you in your home in Bath and had the pleasure of your company and your support as I made my journey to creating my own living theory. There were days when I felt incapable of completing the research and you encouraged me to keep the faith that I would find my way. I hear you talk about your anger and lack of caring but I never saw it; only kindness and caring.

I can hear in your writing both in the wiki and also in the EJOLTS paper with Moira that you feel that you are doing important work with the prisoners and that the friendships provide reciprocal benefits. When I was superintendent of education, one of my schools was a prison facility. Although I did not work directly with the inmates, I visited the school and heard from the teachers that they enjoyed working with the students there. Indeed, among the principals in the school district, the position in the school was a coveted one, partly because it ran all year which raised your salary and partly that the students were no trouble.

While I talk often about loving my students, and I do love them, it seems easier to do that when they have not broken the law and caused harm to others. I admire your courage and willingness to help those men who probably have very few friends or supporters in their lives. When Pope Francis welcomed gay members of the Roman Catholic church, he said, Who am I to judge?" Good point with regard to prisoners, too.

I wondered if any of the men had returned to normal lives and had been able to turn their lives around with your caring and faith in them. Living a good life after incarceration would be the best kind of restitution. Good to see you in the EJOLTs community, Ben.

Dear Ben (from Jack on 12/08/18), I'm looking forward very much to continuing our conversation within this Living Theory wiki community space. [Your letters of the 27th July and 4th August 2018]http://www.actionresearch.net/writings/ben/bensletters2707-040818.pdf and my responses help me to ground my responses to you and others within my relational dynamic of community feeling and social interest. I was introduced to these meanings of community feeling and social interest my Margaret Wadsley and a group of Adlerian psychotherapists who are using Living Theory research to research their practice. I identify with Margaret's expression of these meanings in her presentation to the Research Students Conference on the 12th July 2018 at the University of Cumbria:

['Validating Embodied Knowledge Experienced As Social Interest' ]https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=q1bjDjF4Wh9aJjLf&u=/watch?v=-cOl2ehWO8E&feature=em-share_video_user In my responses to you, Moira and others in this Living Theory wiki I am also identifying with Joy Mounter's doctoral enquiry:

‘How can I (do I) contribute to the creation and enhancement of the educational influences of a community of learners, supporting each other and their own development?’ Love Jack.

Hi Ben, I hope in learning to be part of this community of learners, inspired by your wiki posting, to also develop an understanding of how 'we are developing our democratic ways of working together to create EJOLTs'. The doctoral enquiry of Joy Mounter also seems to be connecting and her posting responding to you also feels connected. Looking forward to further developments - love Marie