Monday, December 12, 2016

Update: Return to California

Entry for 12 December 2016:

Last week we began a new phase of our lives, in which we will live half time in California and half time in Scotland, commuting at roughly monthly intervals from one place to the other. 

Scotland: For at least the next two years, I will continue working for the University of Strathclyde but at 60% time, working fulltime during time periods when we’re in Scotland.  I will primarily be overseeing and supporting our new MSc Counselling & Psychotherapy course, and new BSc Psychology & Counselling course, both set to start this coming September.  I will also continue supervising my PhD and MSc students, directing the Research Clinic (with Susan Stephen), and running Emotion-Focused Therapy training at Strathclyde, elsewhere in the UK, and in Europe and Asia.  That will be more than enough to keep me busy.

California:  Meanwhile, while we’re in California, I’ll be working one day a week for the University, mostly by Skype/Zoom teleconferencing.  It’s going to be challenging containing this: Last week I had 10 University-based meetings spread out over 3 days; hopefully things will settle down going forward. 

The rest of the time, I will primarily be writing: I have a long list of writing projects, principal among them:
1. Person-Centred-Experiential Therapy for Social Anxiety Outcome Study
2. An updated and expanded empathy-outcome meta-analysis (version 3)
3. Emotion-Focused Counselling in Action
4. Emotion-Focused Therapy for Social Anxiety

In California we will be based in Pleasanton, in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the eastern end of one of the Bay Area Rapid Transit lines.  There we’ve purchased a condominium (also known as a flat in UK terms, but ranch style, all on the ground level).  We take delivery on a collection of IKEA furniture flat packs today; tomorrow, movers will bring our remaining, severely down-sized US possessions from Santa Cruz, where they’ve been stored since last April. The flat/condo is a 5-10 minute drive from Diane’s mom.

We’re finding this new development to be exciting and challenging, on multiple levels: We both grew up in Northern California but have been away from it for more than 40 years, during which it has changed a lot, as have we.  It’s one thing to visit a place, as we have done in the meantime, but quite another to settle in and actually live there.  We shall have to see how we do. 

At the same time, there is a lot of interesting writing to do, and I’m looking forward to this, while still harboring the usual doubts: Can I really succeed in protecting this time against other commitments?  Can I stick with it to complete these (and other) important projects)? Do I have anything to say? I’ve done a fair amount of writing in my time.  However, it has always been squeezed into sabbaticals and summers, and for the past ten years into 20-minute bits of time when I first wake up in the morning.   My mother and her grandmother both took up writing in their later years, and I’m hoping to channel their creative energy and focus to do this.  Time will tell!