View “I should be souvlaki in love”

“I should be souvlaki in love”

Therapy is about love. Freud himself even asserted that psychoanalytic treatment “is effected by love”. Here, Freud really meant the therapeutic relationship. The relationship between a client and a therapist is so important – it’s the part you feel the most. When I’m in the room, the stories I feel the most are those of…

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View “How to be a Domestic Therapist”

“How to be a Domestic Therapist”

When I finished my psychotherapy training, I didn’t follow the ‘recipe’; I didn’t rent a consulting room and buy Freud’s Standard Edition. Instead, I bought knives, chefs’ whites and clogs; I decided to swap the couch for the kitchen; I went to Leiths School of Food and Wine to do an intensive course in classic…

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View “A MasterClass in life”

“A MasterClass in life”

I have always loved MasterChef. It is a masterclass in emotional life – you can live Delia dreams vicariously through the contestants and you experience all their delight and disappointment along the way. The show is also a good reminder that in cooking, much like in therapy, there is no such thing as perfect, only…

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View “I’ve set the chicken on fire. Do you want me to go?”

“I’ve set the chicken on fire. Do you want me to go?”

Those were my words. I said them during one of my finals at Leiths School of Food and Wine. The exam required us to cook a classic of French cuisine: a supreme of chicken with a tarragon sauce, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. On that particular day, however, I found that simple fare…

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View “Breakfast is the most lonely meal of the day”

“Breakfast is the most lonely meal of the day”

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This was true for my client growing up. For her, breakfast was important for reasons other than the tummy-filling, get-up-and-go energy fuelling it was supposed to be. She was the only one in her family of six who ate breakfast: “Nobody else felt…

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View “Flying the (shredded wheat) nest”

“Flying the (shredded wheat) nest”

She did not mind her youngest child leaving the nest; she just wished she could have gone with her. My client described her 19-year-old daughter as beautiful and bright; she was a young woman who had vitality and curiosity, who wasn’t afraid to ask questions or to find what she wasn’t looking for. “The world’s…

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View “Unhappy soup at an unhappy table”

“Unhappy soup at an unhappy table”

Her friends had different homes. And different mothers, who cooked different dinners. Her friends had cheery foods, all yellow in family: golden chicken nuggets, giant corn cobs, chunky chips and eggs with sunny, hope-filled yolks. At their tables there was chitter-chatter and cheekily stealing morsels from each other’s plates and squeezing as much ketchup over…

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View “She had Marmited her world”

“She had Marmited her world”

I wanted toast after the session finished. Nothing else would do. This time, however, I found myself reaching for Marmite as my choice of spreadable companion to my toast, which was somewhat unusual for me. As was my relinquishing of tea; today was not about the soothing tag-team alchemy of tea and toast. No, this…

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View “I’d get upset when the packet finished”

“I’d get upset when the packet finished”

Every day at school, two bells would ring at 1 o’clock sharp. The school bell, with its loud, shrill ring, signalled that lunchtime was finally here and that it was time to take care of hunger – of one sort, at least. The other bell started quietly, inside my client’s head. It slowly and slyly…

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