Q & A with Julia Samuel – This Too Shall Pass
Julia Samuel, MBE, is a leading British psychotherapist. During the last thirty years, she has worked first for the NHS and then in private practice. She is Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK. She lives in London with her husband, and has four children and six grandchildren. She is the author of Grief Works and, her latest book, This Too Shall Pass.
What inspired you to become a psychotherapist?
The answer to these things is almost always rooted in one’s childhood. For me, I have always been interested in knowing what was going on in the inside of people, rather than the outside. Even from a young age, I have always wanted to connect with people at a deep level.
Have you been through any personal change that you’ve found particularly difficult to confront and deal with?
As with most people, I’ve been through many personal changes throughout my life. Most recently, it was with my children not leaving home but getting married. I found that last leap away from me very hard. Thankfully, it’s something I’m now very happy and content with. But it was certainly a change that I found very difficult to confront.
How is identity at the heart of change?
Identity is at the heart of change because our identity is at the very heart of us; it’s where our sense of feeling loved, being worthy of love, and belonging resides. Change always tilts one’s relationship with oneself and others.
Do we get better at dealing with change as we get older? Or are we more resistant?
Obviously, being able to deal with change is a very individual characteristic. If we are someone who has learnt at a young age to adapt through change and thrive, then that will be our default mechanism as we get older. And the reverse can be true, too. The difficulty with getting older is we often have less emotional resources, so we may find change even harder.
How can we react to environmental/political changes and prepare to reduce the negative impact on ourselves?
Firstly, we have to recognise that we do feel a sense of eco grief and this brings feelings of discomfort and fear. But we should let that help us change our behaviour. We can’t change the world, but we can change our own choices. So that when we look back at our own lives, we can feel reassured that we did the best we could, given who we are and what was available to us at the time.
16th March 2020