A response from Karen Izod, consultant, coaching practitioner, and professional partner of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
I was fascinated to hear of these ‘object relations’ cards. I remember them well, they formed part of the selection process when I applied to do the clinical social work training at the Tavistock Clinic in 1983, which began what is now a long relationship with both the Clinic and the Institute. We had about 2 minutes per card to write an associative narrative to the shapes and shadows that we saw in them. The whole process took about 30 minutes. It clearly stayed in my mind – this is a poem that I wrote in 2003, that alludes to the experience, and which I have recently revisited.
I remember a June morning much like this –
1 was 27, maybe 28, setting off, letter in hand.
I wore my new pink dress, its dots and dashes,
tight at the waist.
Swirling I went, up to town.
I rarely went to London – let
alone – those silent corridors, Freud
solemn on his pedestal.
They had us writing about shapes,
shadows, telling a story,
though it was not an interview for a poet.
So much easier to talk about people
in-spite of the video, the one-way screen.
This is 20 years ago, I realise.
I loved that dress, the excitement,
the ‘I have it all to come’ feeling,
as I sat, face backwards on the train,
in the hope I was looking at a future.
So this morning, as the sun glints
On the wet grass, and my mind fills
with the sounds of summer
then I want all that back.
Some sense of what is to come,
some seeking of the thrill.
© Karen Izod, 2003/2016