The 2013 Section of Psychotherapy Conference Not Waving but Drowning


The RANZCP Section of Psychotherapy 2013 Conference

Not Drowning but Waving

The consequences of early trauma on the body and the mind

Sydney 23-25 August 2013
Crown Plaza Coogee Beach Hotel


Not Waving but Drowning

by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he’s dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning.


This poem of 1957 by Stevie Smith could be describing many of the patients we treat in psychotherapy. Never quite fitting all their lives, many feel isolated with a profound sense of disconnection from others around them. It can be difficult for some to express what they really feel or it may be that what they try to communicate is not the message received by those near them. As in the poem there can be a real fear that our patients may not be able to speak the truth, that is, deal with underlying trauma issues, until it is too late for much of their lives has been lost to illness.

Once a patient can make the choice to "wave" or ask for help that patient may then be able to see that "drowning" is not the only possibility. The challenging task of psychotherapy is to help our patients make sense of their mental and physical experiences often expressed in ways that confuse us. Early traumatic experiences can lead to variability in the presentation of psychological disorder and our speakers will address this. Over the past few decades there has been remarkable progress made in the field of Neuroscience.

The Committee has invited a number of leading local speakers whose expertise and research add value to the conference theme. Unfortunately, ill health is preventing our advertised keynote speakers, Professor Stephen Porges and Professor Sue Carter, from attending the conference.

The Committee is confident that you will find the resulting programme an exciting experience.

We apologise for the delay in producing the conference brochure and the tight deadline for the early bird rates.

Judith Craig Conference Convenor

See the full conference brochure by clicking on the link below: