THE SYMBOLIC LIFE
As we move more deeply into the summer we encounter some of our deeper collective conundrums, in particular the reemergence of Covid 19 as unvaccinated people become gripped by a more infectious strand. Simultaneously the earth burns from fires at an intensity never before seen and much earlier in the year than ever before. Meanwhile other parts of the earth suffer from unusual flooding. It is harder and harder to know where to turn for comfort and solace. A good story can help, and it is an age old remedy, and good stories can speak to the issues that confront the soul. With theatres closed for most of the past year, it has been harder to find that place to retreat and just get immersed in a good story. One came to me via streaming and I pass it on to you, the 2020 film “News of the World.” Set in Texas in the post-Civil War era, the drama focuses on Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a veteran of the Confederate army who now goes from town to town reading the news from newspapers he has collected along the way. The film set in 1870 Texas artfully mirrors our own times in subtle and striking ways. For instance, one of the first stories Kidd relays is of a meningitis epidemic that has claimed the lives of ninety-seven people in a North Texas town in just two months. Whether this was intended by the film makers (Paul Greengrass directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Luke Davies) I found it was very striking since we are still in the middle of our pandemic. As Captain Kidd travels on horseback to his next town he encounters an overturned buckboard, and in the nearby woods he sees a black man who has been hung in a tree. A note posted on him indicates that only whites are welcome. We encounter an image of our racial injustice, which is still very much in evidence today. In the bushes he hears a stirring and spots a young blond girl dressed in Native American buckskins, who tries to run away. Kidd catches up to her and assures her that he won’t harm her. A troop of Union (blue coat) soldiers appears and evaluates the situation. Kidd has just found the papers for the girl, Johanna , who we learn had been kept for six years by the Native American Kiowa when she lost her parents and a sister in a raid on their homestead. She has relatives, an aunt and uncle in a town some four hundred miles away, and that’s where she was being taken. Kidd agrees to take the girl to the next post, so that she can be taken home. Once he checks in, he learns the Indian agent won’t return for three months. He is told that he can wait three months, or he can take her. He tries to find a place for her to stay, but she does not connect to a couple he hopes can provide a place where she can live for three months. When Johanna runs off in the pouring rain in hopes of catching up with the Kiowa, Kidd decides, since he found her, to take her himself. His friends help him with supplies and a buckboard to begin the journey. Her family live in Castroville, not far from San Antonio where Kidd had lived before the war. It’s a four hundred mile journey. Each segment of their journey together has its challenges and issues. In Dallas he reads the news and connects with other friends he knows, but also encounters three confederates who want the girl for themselves. He isn’t about to give her up even for a price, and his defense of her makes a deep impression on her. To me the story is about the soul, both that of Kidd and Johanna, but also the soul of America. Kidd is struggling with all of this. His stories are the way he tries to do so, to offer solace and comfort in dark, difficult times. Thus within this epic we learn more about the power of story, and the need to tell the right story at the right time. Kidd had published a newspaper in San Antonio before the war. Now he brings newspaper stories to each town, and his choices hinge on the timing and appropriateness for each place he visits, be it local news or news from around the world. When Kidd first speaks with Johanna, she tells him in Kiowa (which he does not understand) that she wants to go home, that is to go back with the Kiowa. The government would say her home is with her aunt and uncle in Castroville. Kidd takes her there and finally returns to the home he left in nearby San Antonio. I don’t want to give away anymore in case you haven’t seen the film. The film depicts the adventures of a story teller who offers news in dark times, and along the way finds a new sense of what being home means. Staff Updates
This summer we welcome two other new AMFT Associates, Adrian Bewley, M. S. and D’Marcel Napier, M. A., to our staff. Adrian received his Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Cal State Northridge. He has previously worked at The Road Ahead Family Services in Mission Hills. Before that Adrian taught English and drama for 17 years in a Los Angeles public school. D’Marcel received her Master of Arts degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute where she focused her thesis on the Latinx experience. She has previously worked at the Family Service Agency in Burbank.
This June Lyra Matin received her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and gave birth to a son! Congratulations Lyra! Staff Applications
We currently have prospective clients waiting to be seen for therapy. We invite Licensed therapists, MFT Associates, or LCSW Associates interested in working in a clinical environment that provides an opportunity for supervision in depth psychotherapy to contact us. Applicants should be actively pursuing some form of their own depth psychotherapy or analysis and have completed their degree (or be close to doing so). Visit the Staff Position Overview page of our website for further information. Donations
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization donations of any size play a crucial role in our success in fulfilling our mission to bring depth psychotherapy to others in an affordable way. Keeping fees down for patients amidst rising overhead is an ongoing challenge. In particular, unlike many clinics, we pay associates, and as minimum wage amounts increase, this makes budgeting more challenging. Donations, which are tax deductible, can be sent directly to us by regular mail. We will send you a letter as a receipt for tax purposes acknowledging your donation. You can also donate on our website by going to our Non Profit Donation page. We publish a Summer Newsletter and a Winter Solstice Newsletter. To keep costs down, we only send the summer newsletter out by email. If you would like to receive both Newsletters by email, and/or you would like to receive the Winter Solstice Newsletter by regular mail, you can email us your preferences and email and postal mailing addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor: Steve Galipeau