Excellent writing takes many divergent forms: the experimental, exploratory, dangerous, meandering, and difficult. Like the other Stillpoint members, I am excited to feature a diversity of voices and styles on Stillpoint’s International Journal. At the same time, I encourage most contributors to follow the short list of stylistic guidelines listed below. That is, these guidelines are intended for the majority of submissions, except those specifically working with an experimental, or otherwise unique format. My hope is that we can speak as collectively-built chorus, one that has many voices, all speaking in harmony. In large part, these guidelines are based on the nature of writing in the digital era, when readers need to be engaged quickly, told what they are getting in the piece of writing to follow, and helped along with simple formatting to account for the realities of reading on a computer screen, tablet, or smartphone.
~Anne Marie Spidahl, editor
Nuts and Bolts
1. Get your reader’s attention in the first sentence.
2. Give your reader a sense of what the essay is about in the first paragraph. Though these blog posts are not formal essays, your reader will be grateful for a “roadmap” or an overview of the essay to follow.
3. Focus your focus. You have your topic. Now what are you going to say about it? Are you making an argument for or against the given idea, approach, etc.? Are you posing a specific question about it? Are you laying out a series of steps for readers to take in relation to this topic?
4. Keep paragraphs short and unified. Think of each paragraph as an “idea unit,” unified around a single topic or subtopic. Starting a new subtopic? Start a new paragraph. Short paragraphs are an especially useful tool when writing for a digital audience; with short paragraphs you give your reader a visual break. You will also invite his or her engagement with each of your ideas by breaking them down into manageable parts.
5. End strong. The conclusion can be the most challenging part of a piece of writing. In the conclusion you can unify what’s come before, provide an effective cliff-hanger to keep your reader thinking about the topic or keep your reader engaged and anxious for the next post. You can also hint at ‘next steps’ based on the ideas you’ve explored… and more.
6. Keep it short and sweet. If possible, keep blog posts around 1,500 words.
Aaron Balick is the director of Stillpoint London and a leading researcher on the intersection of contemporary psychotherapy and technology. He is the author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: Connected-up Instantaneous Culture and the Self.
Aleksandar Dimitrijevic teaches at the International Psychoanalytic University in Berlin and is a member of the Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society. For over 20 years, Aleksandar has been working as a psychoanalytic psychologist.
Andrea Monroy Toro followed the path of Psychoanalysis from Puerto Rico to Argentina, the UK, Barcelona and Berlin. Besides working as a Stillpoint Counselor in Berlin, she co-founded the refugee initiative “Kunst hilft”, framing psychoanalysis and art to support displaced children.
Anne Marie Spidahl is a writer and PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the novel Nothing (Two Dollar Radio, 2013). She is interested in the intersections of psychoanalysis, philosophy, politics, and art, which inspired her to join Stillpoint in 2016. As part of her role as Creative Director, she is managing editor of Stillpoint's international journal. You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more on her website: https://annemariespidahl.wordpress.com/.
Dr. Andy Drymalski is a Jungian psychologist based in Reno and Carson City, Nevada. He specializes in psychotherapy for depression, grief and loss, life transition issues, personal growth, and Jungian dreamwork. He also runs the blog Jungstop. where he comments on life viewed through a Jungian lens.
Estelle Hoy is a contemporary writer, socially engaged artist, activist and academic based across Berlin and Paris. She is a current Phd candidate in Contemporary Feminist Experimental Literature. Estelle works mostly in text, video and performance, always with a social and political agenda.
A Psychoanalytic Counselor himself, Evangelos Tsempelis has co-founded Stillpoint Spaces and is the director of Stillpoint Spaces Zurich. He grew up in Athens, Greece, but has lived as an expatriate a significant part of his adult life, in different cities in Europe and the United States.
Foluke Taylor is a writer, counsellor/psychotherapist and independent social worker. Experience of the therapeutic benefits of writing has led her to develop this within her psychotherapeutic practice. She is currently pursuing this interest via an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at the Metanoia Institute.Foluke’s fiction and non-fiction writing explores relational themes – self, identity, family, and parenting – as well as navigation of the complex set of arrangements sometimes referred to as ‘Babylon’. Currently Foluke lives in London with her husband and their five children, without whom it can often feel as if she would know nothing. More of Foluke’s writing can be found on her blog.
As a therapist, Johanne examines the narratives in people, supporting a process of "re-authoring" identity, including sufficient commitment, hope and resistance to problems.
Kate Holford is a visual artist and writer and the Front of House Manager of Stillpoint Spaces, London. You can find out more by visiting her website here: http://www.kateholford.com/.
Kenneth E. Kovacs, Ph.D., is pastor of the Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Catonsville, Maryland, and has served congregations in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Mendham, New Jersey. Kenneth studied at Rutgers College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. His current research areas include C. G. Jung and contemporary Christian experience.
With a background in critical theory and media science, Leonie today works as a journalist and editor in Berlin. She critically analyses media structures and politics for several publications, with a deep interest in the psychology of contemporary dynamics. She is the editor of Stillpoint's Journal.
Having worked in the corporate world for several years, Liane Preston turned to psychotherapeutic coaching in order to help individuals and collectives realise their potential. As a practicing psychotherapeutic counselor, truth and choice are central to her work. Liane is currently based in the UK.
Lyn French is an art therapist, counsellor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. As a Director of A Space for Creative Learning and Support, Hackney, East London, she supervises trainee and qualified therapists and manages school-based services. She also teaches on the MSc in counselling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Nance Harding changed careers at midlife due to a personal crisis. Since 22 years now, she has been working as a counselor in supporting adults during critical change events that challenge their identity and ability to thrive as they age into and beyond midlife, both online and offline.
Nitya was working as a visual artist and yoga teacher before she stumbled into psychotherapy through strong personal crises. Fascinated by the deep peace she began to find herself in through the combination of psychotherapy, artistic expression and mindful bodywork, she started extensive training as an art therapist and later, as a body psychotherapist, to be able to assist others effectively in dealing with their inner demons. She now offers this experimental, integrative and often joyful work at Stillpoint Spaces Berlin as well as from her private practice in Potsdam. More information can be found here: www.soulinfusion.de
“I think that people are influenced by their particular environment and that the idiosyncrasies of the culture outlines each person’s personality. This influences both therapists and patients.” Visit Rafael’s profile here.
Robert Downes is a psychotherapist, writer, and visual artist, he works primarily as a photographic artist and explores our intimate engagement with the environment as a psychological and transpersonal space. He has been practising as a psychotherapist and counsellor for 20 years, originally training at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy. He is currently the chair of The Relational School, UK. More can be found on his websites: http://www.robertdownes.co.uk/
Ron Jontof-Hutter was born in South Africa to German parents. With a background in performing arts and radio, he works as a Clinical Psychologist in several centers. Ron provides mentoring for the children of aged parents and relationships. Occasionally he tours with his Orchestra.
Sean J. McGrath is a professor of philosophy at Memorial University of Newfoundland. A specialist in the philosophy of religion, the history of ideas, and continental philosophy, McGrath has been researching psychoanalysis for many years, in both a personal and professional capacity. From 2008 to 2012, he was funded by the Humboldt Foundation to research the influence of German Idealism on psychoanalysis. During this time, he enrolled as a training candidate at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. The culmination of his research was published by Routledge in 2012 under the title The Dark Ground of Spirit: Schelling and the Unconscious. McGrath remains convinced that, in spite of its many flaws, psychoanalysis is a site for the ancient and perennial practice of care for the self.
Silvia Behrend works as a Stillpoint Spaces counselor in the US. She intends to help people recognize and change patterns of thoughts, beliefs and behaviors which no longer serve them. She believes that stories, dreams and images reveal how each individual is aligned to human patterns.
Stephen Setterberg, MD, a co-founder of Stillpoint Spaces, is a pediatric, adult and research psychiatrist and a candidate in Jungian psychoanalysis at ISAPZURICH. He is also the founder of PrairieCare psychiatric hospital and clinics in Minnesota, USA, and a co-director of CONFER in the UK.