Only Child: A Unique Inheritance
Weekend Conference for Adult Onlies & Counsellors
Saturday & Sunday 2-3 September 2006
Earnley Concourse| nr Chichester | West Sussex
Buy 2006 Conference Papers
A child born in to a family with siblings
enters a group experience with other children. As the name suggests,
the only child joins a family alone. It doesn’t have to compete
with other children to define its identity. As the one genetic creation
of its parents, the only child receives all the opportunities, all
the expectations, joyous and painful.
It is a unique inheritance and these two days were an opportunity
for each person to explore theirs.
Ann Richardson, Director,
BeingAnOnly and Psychotherapist introduced
the only child theme, by quoting from her own work and that of Pitkeathley
and Emerson as well as recent academic research.
Pauline Smith, Writer, Tutor & Doctoral
Researcher followed on with how her own childhood and early
writing had inspired her to start her research in to the effect
of an only childhood on published writers and authors. Hers was
a stimulating start to a rich weekend of workshops and leisure activities.
In a series of workshops, delegates tried their hand at
writing, at exploring play as children, sharing their experience
of coping with elderly parents, being curious about relationships,
their own legacy as an only child and their preferred roles at work.
To end the conference, Playback
AME Theatre, cajoled us in to
telling our stories - in life, and from the weekend, and acted those
stories back to us as part of an intimate, live, improvised performance.
It was a moving end to what had been a full weekend.
Interwoven with the formal sessions, people enjoyed
the ample facilities of Earnley. Some swam in the early morning,
some joined Susan for Tai Chi before breakfast and salsa in the
evening, others went on a seaside hike in what can only be described
as 'bracing' weather. Claire 'created' in the workshop and was joined
by others as they too made their piece of art.
Discussion sessions included brainstorming on
how the older, single, childless only can cope in later life, Dr
Harold Maxwell chaired a discussion for
counsellors on working with the only child client and yet another
group discussed their spiritual experiences as children. Worth
Reading set up their bookstall on Sunday.
And at regular intervals we were offered fine food from the Earnley
kitchen - home made cakes and puddings, a barbecue and Sunday roast
with the all the trimmings. People left on a high with enthusiasm
for more meeting.
Your Own Unique Inheritance | Ann Richardson
The legacy of key experiences in childhood and
how they might be vital for greater fulfilment in life today.
Finding Your Voice | Pauline Smith
Progressive exercises in a trusting environment
to learn the basics of writing creatively and turning life experiences
into fiction and poetry.
Playtime: Fun or Nightmare? | Veronica Needa
Many onlies speak of being over protected as children,
not encouraged to take risks, being shy in a group. By definition,
there is no play with other children in the immediate family. This
workshop explores group dynamics.
Elderly Parents and the Orphaned Only Child
| Aileen Ferguson
The reality of coping with elderly parents alone
as they become more dependent, being orphaned & becoming older
The Only Child and Relationships | Tania
Only children are often be described in polar
extremes - 'intense or distant; aloof or clingy'. An exploration
of ways of relating and what relationships mean to the adult only.
Being An Only in the Workplace | Susan Hayes
Simple physical exercises to represent relationships
in the work space, showing the 'family' constellation and effects
Ann Richardson, UKCP
registered counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice since
1994. Director of BeingAnOnly.
Pauline Smith, writer,
tutor and a doctoral research student at the University of Exeter.
Collections of short fiction Space Junk and Soho Shorts
are under consideration by a number of literary magazines.
producer, performer and teacher in professional theatre for 20 years.
Former President of International Playback Theatre Network. Co-Founder
of Playback AME and instigator of Playback Theatre companies in
a number of countries worldwide.
Aileen Ferguson, person-centred
counsellor in private practice and EAP service in Glasgow. Formerly
in human resources, chartered fellow of the CIPD. Working on somatic
therapy for trauma & PTSD.
co-director of time2relate. UKCP registered psychotherapist working
with individuals, couples and families, in private practice and
for the NHS.
Susan Hayes, choreographer/director
working with groups of adults and children in Europe, America, Australasia
& the Far East. UKCP accredited transpersonal psychotherapist
who wholeheartedly believes in the wonder and wisdom our bodies
convey through senses, signals and symptoms. In original cast of
Claire Manson, art
psychotherapist and counsellor in private practice in Central London.
Co-founder Studio Upstairs (reg.ed. charity)1988, a working arts
studio dedicated to the exploration of personal experience through
the work of art.
2006 Conference Papers
The Power of Being One
The Only Child & The Natural World
Thank you very much for the weekend - I
found it absolutely wonderful and it has taken one of those special
places in my mind that I return to and that has, in some way, changed
It was truly amazing but
exhausting, to be in the company of so many onlies. I found the
workshops really interesting and the writing one very moving and
well out of my comfort zone, I really had not expected the power
of saying words aloud.
I thought the residential location provided
an interesting "houseparty" atmosphere that worked really
well. It was lovely to have the chance to meet almost everybody
and to return to conversations the following morning. It was a sad
thing to leave that, but I'm filled with glee when I remember what
delicious goodies are in my "party bag".