In the Shadow of the Mother

Five monthly modules of 4 days (20 days total, 140 hours) in London, starting June 2022 (TBC), face to face

An enquiry into the conceptions of motherhood

A paradigm shift in how we view Motherhood, developed and created by Carolyn Cowan.

Carolyn’s unique approach and philosophy are based on years of study and practice, working with hundreds of women in all stages of womanhood.
Central to her philosophy is the notion of Maternal Madness, to be defined as the shadow of the overriding ideal of the blissful, idealised, near sacred Mother. In other words: the psychotic version of the loving Mum.
Maternal Madness, may lead to real suffering in women and impacts on their partners and children and is a particularly complex presentation that may be described, diagnosed and treated as any other dysfunctions mentioned in the DSM-V or ICD-10 Manual.

An in-depth training in how to work with the physical and psychological impact of the idealisation of motherhood and how to support women (and their partners and family) to overcome and survive the shame, abuse, self harm and trauma caused by being a flawed or not good enough mother.

In the Shadow of the Mother focuses on the denial of the reality of Motherhood in all its aspects and the lack of understanding and help women need.

The course includes themes such as (anti)conception, expectations, failure to conceive, miscarriages, abortion, IVF, pre- and postnatal depression, body dysmorphia, prolapse, loss of desire, sexual dysfunctions, relationship collapse (same and mixed sex), cultural/economical and generational influences, mental health, early sexual trauma and maternal perversions.

In the Shadow of the Mother aims to develop a multi-dimensional, inclusive and empowering definition of motherhood that allows women to embrace new identities. Women are too often expected to stay within fixed lanes of identity and self-expression, rooted in patriarchal structures and institutions of our society.

This course challenges these narrow lanes and intends to expand on how motherhood and women can be perceived – so much so that all female archetypes may be embraced, ranging from Eve, Goddess, Mother, Nurturer, Madonna to Whore, Oracle, Shakti, Healer, Lover to female perpetrators of infant abuse, witches, mad women such as Medea and Medusa and women as allies of violent men.
Also see: carolyncowan.com/in-the-shadow-of-the-mother/

For whom is this training
If you are a counsellor, psychotherapist, sex and relationship therapist – or working within any related professional field, including yoga practitioners, bodyworkers, doulas, midwives, nurses, this course might be for you.

You will be encouraged to engage with the above mentioned issues and understand them in more detail but also in a much wider integrating perspective. You will practice with a wide variety of tools to deal with client’s trauma and shame, working with the body (breathing, repair, yoga) and the mind (stillness, meditation).
Course participants will critically examine the reality of the possible suffering around the idealisation of motherhood and find healing in new self-expressions of that are liberating and will lead to better support to mothers on all levels.

What is maternal madness?
We define maternal madness as a loss of a sense of ‘self-as-a-mother’, which in turn manifests as an attempt to control reality through sadistic/masochistic games, making use of shame as a tool to attack self and others, simultaneously acting out a variety of archetypes in an effort to ‘manage’ internal chaos or madness (psychosis)

Dates

Course Format and Dates 2022
5 monthly modules of 4 days (20 days total, 140 hours): 09.30 – 17.00 every day.

Dates
Fri-Mon: 10-13 June 2022
Fri-Mon: 2-5 Sept 2022
Fri-Mon: 7-10 Oct 2022
Fri-Mon: 4-7 Nov 2022
Fri-Mon: 9-12 Dec 2022

Faculty

Faculty
The course is taught by a highly experienced faculty, representing a wide range of theoretical approaches and disciplines. All have been selected for their ability to work relationally.

Course Director: Carolyn Cowan
Faculty: Elena O’Keeffe, Zoe Walker, Lucy van de Wiel, Dr Clarissa Smith

Caro small copy   Carolyn Cowan, CD
Carolyn is a Psychosexual & Relationship Psychotherapist with further specialisms in Trauma, Maternal Perversion and Violence, Addiction in all its forms, Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia. She has over 20 years of teaching and mentoring experience in the pre-and-postnatal period, working with issues including birth trauma, diastases recti and tocophobia.
she initially trained as a yoga teacher, then as a pregnancy yoga teacher, doula and yoga therapist. After 10 years running pre-and-post-natal classes in yoga and working as a doula around Camberwell and Peckham, Carolyn began training as a psychotherapist gaining a London Diploma in Psychosexual Relationship Therapy, a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Couples Work, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Trauma Therapy, both with the NAOS-Institute.

Carolyn is an embodied psychotherapist who works with internal trauma cycles as they affect the mind, behaviour and regulation of the self. She is a member of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT) and accredited with the National Counselling Society (NCS). For over 20 years (1999-2019) Carolyn worked with 2 NHS midwives, training 100s of yoga teachers from all over the world to work with pre-and-post-natal women. After experiencing 6 pregnancies that resulted in 2 children, both born naturally at home, Carolyn worked with attachment parenting for the first 8 years.
With further Diplomas in Perversion & Violence and Eating disorders & Body Dysmorphia with Tavistock & Portman, Carolyn brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the notion of Maternal Madness, and the array of human experience that encompass issues in fertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion birth, the postnatal period, psychosis, pre-and-postnatal depression, body dysmorphia, prolapse, loss of desire, sexual dysfunctions, relationship collapse (same and mixed sex), early sexual trauma and maternal perversions.
In addition to her private therapy practice, Carolyn also provides training for the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions, sexual compulsion, compulsive porn, shopping, gambling and cutting. Her Mastering the Addictive Personality Teacher Training course certifies the practitioner to work in prisons and rehab centres.

Carolyn is a successful yoga teacher and teacher trainer who harnesses her experience as a psychotherapist to train yoga teachers to be aware of the role an embodied yoga practise can have in supporting clients to deal with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, negative history and physical responses to trauma in the body. In 2019 she was named among the top 16 yoga teachers in London.

 Clarissa Smith Dr Clarisa Smith
Clarissa Smith is Professor in Media at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK. Her work has centred on sexual media and representations for more than twenty years. She is particularly interested in the tensions between pornography, freedom and protections, ideas and experiences of intimacy, and how and why audiences engage with sexualised content.

Lucy van de Wiel  Lucy van de Wiel
Lucy van de Wiel is a lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London. Her research deals with reproductive technologies and reproductive politics, including egg freezing, embryo selection and telemedical abortion. She is the author of Freezing Fertility (NYU Press, 2020, open access) and is featured in a new feature-length documentary of the same name inspired by her research (Backlight, VPRO, 2021). Lucy was formerly a Research Associate at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group at the University of Cambridge and continues to be a network member of its collaborative research project Changing In/fertilities.

Lucy van de Wiel (2020) Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Aging – New York University Press (2020)

Zoë Walker
Zoë is an integrative transpersonal psychotherapist who completed five years’ teaching on the Postgraduate Diploma at CCPE and now works towards UKCP accreditation. She has an inherent fascination in who and how we be-came; the journey of the soul. The ‘trans’ personal perspective traverses across and beyond our lived experience (our personal stories and experience) and draws upon what came before our incarnation, what we may leave behind and our calling on how and what we might transform. Ultimately the transpersonal explores our consciousness, our relationships, our shadow and our unconscious through the spiritual, archetypal, intergenerational and intersectional exploration. All of which can be curated and examined through psychological, emotional and spiritual concerns, dreamwork, visualisation, symbolism and the soma.

Zoë is currently studying an MA in child, adolescent and family transpersonal therapy. She is a mother to 3 very different souls.

She is a certified Yoga Alliance breath and yoga teacher and has a daily spiritual practice.

Elena O'Keeffe  Elena O’Keeffe
Elena O’Keeffe was born and raised in Soviet Union. She is a former British midwife, childbirth educator and author of book “The Mothers Journey” (published in Russian). She believes in gentle and safe birth. She has taught variety of techniques for conscious conception, pregnancy and birth for over decade. Her vision is simple – bridging the gap between spiritual and mainstream midwifery.

She currently works in female PICU in mental health hospital writing about perinatal mental health . Her second book “Broken Daughters of Eve” is due to be published at the end of this year.
www.themothetsjourney.co.uk

Location

Location
Overton House, 74 Castlebar Road, Ealing, London, W5 2DD

Full Course Content

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able:

  • to define maternal madness and how it leads to sadistic expressions, chaotic behaviour, self-harm and harming of others
  • to explore different states and stages of maternal madness
  • to critically examine maternal perversion (maternal madness in proxy)
  • to critically examine maternal shame
  • to explore the cycle of shame and its consequences for the psyche
  • to make use of a unique model of shame and trauma, specifically developed in relation to maternal madness
  • to examine a wide range of tools to repair trauma and shape
  • to understand how the functioning of the brain, the different hormones and in complex stress-systems are related to maternal madness
  • to recognise specific presentations of dissociation, loss of boundaries and psychosis
  • to critically examine how primal wounding leads to a specific belief system
  • to critically examine how the Hinterland (the unconscious, the Jungian internal hell) is present in women suffering from maternal madness
  • to familiarise yourself with archetypes from all over the world to identify forms of maternal madness (Kali, Durga, Lillith, Coatlicue, La Jabless, Witch, Isis, the Gorgon, the Furies, Medusa, Shakti, Whore)
  • to work with the archetype of the Universal Mother as a way to healing through compassion, kindness and holding
  • to have a better understanding of intergenerational and collective trauma related to motherhood, including sexual trauma and abuse
  • to critically examine the healthy and unhealthy forms of attachment and parenting and to reparent the client through kindness and reparative gaze
  • to understand the physical working of the body, how it is impacted by pregnancy, how to repair the body and how to work with touch, especially in the first 40 days after giving birth
  • to diagnose and work with pelvic floor related complications, as vaginismus, prolapse,
  • to work with rituals and ceremonies leading to repair
  • to integrate inner child work in working with maternal madness
  • to work with contracts and agreement as a way to change dysfunctional neural path ways
  • to support a change of identity formation in the client around self beliefs
  • to demonstrate to clients how to self soothe and self regulate
  • to familiarise yourself with all aspects of IVF
  • to critically examine and work with cultural differences
  • to work with the impact of loss, death and grief, including abortions, miscarriages
  • to support clients in repairing their intimate relationships with partners
  • to work with stillness as a therapeutical tool

5 modules of 4 days

Each module will include practicing:

  • Compassion
  • Presence
  • Affirmations
  • Stillness
  • Breathwork

Module 1 – Describing the Landscape

  • Definitions of maternal madness, maternal perversion, how to recognise it, as opposed to the blissful mother ideal, states and stages of maternal madness
  • History of Motherhood (in different cultures)
  • Theory
  • Framework that we use throughout the training:
    • 3 part trauma model
    • abuse and shame model
  • The Hinterland (archetypes – model of the self)
  • How to work with silence as a therapeutic tool

Module 2 – Recognising the Physical Presentation

  • Diagnostic aspects of maternal madness (through questioning/mapping):
    • Personal history taking
    • Generational history taking
    • Void
    • Sadism
    • Identity loss
    • Self harm
    • Own birth process
  • What happens hormonally, in the brain and the nervous system? Neocortex/amygdala. Includes teaching how to regulate: the Poly Vagal model, window of tolerance.
  • Aspects of neural diversity
  • What kind of behaviour can you identify:
    • Images
    • Phantasies

Module 3 – Attachment and Reparenting
This central module is about working with self, about the inner work you need to do to be able to fulfil a reparenting role for the client.

You will explore your own history again, traumatic events, the way your parents brought you up. You will be asked to share about our inner child and primal wounding.

  • What tools do you use for self-regulation or regulating others?
  • What are your atunement skills?
  • How did your mother look at you?
  • How did your mother look at her parents?
  • We explore attachment theory in relationship to motherhood and how it expresses itself in relationships.
  • We look at communication styles, verbal and non-verbal, signalling, manipulation, and especially at the Gaze of the (psychotic or loving Mother).

Module 4 – The First 40 Days

What happens before, during but especially after birth giving?

This module focuses on all issues surrounding birth giving which we will examine in depth.

  • Birthing is surrounded with many possible difficulties as:
    • Loss of identity
    • Fracture – breaking open of the body
    • Loss and death; neonatal loss, abortion. Miscarriage, postnatal loss
    • Postnatal depression
    • Breakdown of relationship and sexual
    • Hell states: failure to
      • not living up to the ideal/norm
      • deliver
      • breast feed
      • put yourself together again
    • Damage to the body, e.g. prolapse, caesarean, forceps
    • Specific BAME issues
  • Specific IVF issues we will look at:
    • Genito-Pelvic Pain disorder/Penetration Disorders, incl endometriosis
    • Impact of hormone treatments
    • Egg freezing

Module 5 – Repair

How do we put the body and the person together again? Contain, recreate, rebuild.

We will do so on the following levels:

  • Shame and trauma
    • teaching and practicing trauma models
    • teaching and practicing shame models
  • Touch and repair of:
    • the bones
    • the crying
    • diastasis recti
    • caesarean
    • binding the mother together
    • prolapse
    • neural pathways
  • Ceremonies and rituals
  • Acts or reparenting
    • Building a new identity
      • writing new contracts
      • writing new agreements
    • Working with qualities of the Universal Mother
      • compassion
      • kindness
      • allowing the client to lean on you
      • to hold the client
    • Normalising the maternal madness through
      • absolution
      • forgiveness
      • allowing/containing anger/rage/fury

Methodology
The programme combines didactic theory seminars, work discussion groups and experiential learning, skills training in triads and small groups, guided reading and large group process. Each course member will be required to bring case material for presentation and discussion once each term.

All NAOS programmes are taught at postgraduate level and course participants are expected to work academically on this basis. Discussion within the student body is as important as the tutor-taught components. Participants are encouraged to integrate the ideas from the course into a personally coherent clinical model; this will be demonstrated in the written assignment for this course. 

Entry requirements
No less than 1 year experience post-qualification working as counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist or mental health professional, sex and relationship therapist – or working within any related professional field, including yoga practitioners, bodyworkers, doulas, midwives, nurses.

Students are expected to bring in and work with their own material during this course.

Faculty
The course is taught by a highly experienced faculty, representing a wide range of theoretical approaches and disciplines. All have been selected for their ability to work relationally.

Course Director: Carolyn Cowan
Faculty: Elena O’Keeffe, Zoe Witchell, Lucy van de Wiel, Dr Clarissa Smith

Handbook
All course participants will be provided with an extensive course handbook, including handouts, code of ethics, assessment forms, essay title, a reading list and more.

 Course Format and Dates 2022
5 monthly modules of 4 days (20 days total, 140 hours): 09.30 – 17.00 every day.

Dates
Fri-Mon:10-13 June 2022
Fri-Mon: 2-5 Sept 2022
Fri-Mon: 7-10 Oct 2022
Fri-Mon: 4-7 Nov 2022
Fri-Mon: 9-12 Dec 2022

Assessment
To qualify for the Certificate students are required to write a project of 5000 words, have fully paid all course fees and attend a minimum of 85% of the course.

 Fees
£3,600 (incl VAT). Payable by one deposit of £300 (to reserve your place), plus 10 instalments of £330 a month.

 Application process
Applicants are required to complete the application form (click here). This will be followed by a telephone interview. If offered a place, a course contract will have to be completed and an initial deposit of £300 paid to secure a place. The remainder may be paid in one lump sum or in 10 equal instalments.

 

 

Fees

Fees:
£3,600 (incl 20% VAT). The fees may be paid in 10 equal instalments of £330 and a deposit of £300 to secure your place.

Application Process

Application process
Applicants are required to complete the application form (click here). This will be followed by a telephone interview. If offered a place, a course contract will have to be completed and an initial deposit of £300 paid to secure a place. The remainder may be paid in one lump sum or in 10 equal instalments.