Conference 2006
Only Child: A Unique Inheritance
A Weekend Conference for Adult Onlies & Counsellors
Saturday & Sunday 2-3 September 2006
Earnley Concourse| nr Chichester | West Sussex

Conference Theme 2006
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.

Workshop Titles
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 yourself.
The Only Child and Relationships | Tania Hosburn
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 from childhood.

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.
Veronica Needa, 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.
Tania Hosburn, 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 ‘Evita’.
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

Other Conferences

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 my life.

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".





















Other Conferences

Conference 2005
The Power of Being One

Conference 2008
The Only Child &
The Natural World