25 June 2015
The June issue features the following articles...
Working with sex offenders
Psychotherapists in private practice could play a key role in preventive work with people at risk of sexual offending, writes Andrew Smith. An experienced therapist who has worked with sexual offenders for many years, here he outlines the particular challenges that these clients present for the independent practitioner and emphasises the importance of having specialist expert support, training and supervision. Given the growing numbers of online sexual offenders, he says therapy can be very effective in helping those at low risk reduce and even stop their behaviours.
What’s in a label?
How does it affect the therapeutic relationship when a client has a mental health diagnosis? Carol Swanson interviewed four experienced counsellors about their views and experiences. Risk, particularly for the lone practitioner, harm (might they do more harm than good?), workplace culture and attitudes towards people with severe mental illness, the challenges of the work itself and a determination to look beyond the label to find meaning in a client’s presentations all emerged as key considerations. All felt that their core training had not prepared them sufficiently for this work and the article ends with recommendations for possible ways to address this.
Circle Diagram: a visual aid to therapy
David Waite qualified and worked for many years as an engineer before deciding to switch direction into counselling. Here he describes the Circle Diagram, a visual aid he developed, drawing on his engineering background, to help clients understand how therapy works. A simple diagram can explain therapy just as well as it can sophisticated engineering concepts, he argues. He finds it can make it easier for adult clients to talk about their inner world, just as more conventional drawing tools can be helpful for children to express their feelings.
Counselling across cultures
British Indian counsellor Mané Kumria describes a recent trip to India where she volunteered with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs). She talks about how much she learned from her work with one women’s group in particular. Even the little counselling she was able to do helped these women grow in confidence and understand better the power dynamics in their relationships with their husbands and in-laws. Despite the deep-rooted social injustices they face, they are, she writes, ‘strong women’ and, with her experience of living in Britain, she feels she was able to offer something to help them make changes in their lives.
Living with a deafened partner
Richard Hill explores the experiences of the partners of people who have become deafened in later life. In interviews they described to him powerful feelings of grief for the loss of a shared life with their partner, their anger when former friends and society in general shunned or dismissed them, and how easily relationships can crumble under this new strain. Counselling would help partners as well as deafened people rebuild their lives and relationships, he argues.