Neither counselling, therapy nor publishing take place in a vacuum, and it is therefore imperative that we take time to consider the social, environmental and, yes, political contexts in which we work. Some readers may find that statement contentious, while others will welcome it with a sigh of, ‘At last’. Whatever your reaction, I invite you to consider how your position of privilege/under-privilege, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age and social class influence your biases and assumptions – we all have them, and they influence our every thought and (re)action, inside and outside the counselling room. I also invite you to ponder the question, ‘How does what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world effect what’s going on ‘in here’ in the room?’, a question which has woven its way throughout this issue.
In Honest and curious, Kate Saunders shares how she is supported to talk about sex and reproductive health with her clients by the Welsh Government’s new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum; that’s political. In Difficult parent or traumatised parent?, co-authors from the Parent Carer Trauma Working Group discuss how hard it is for parent carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to navigate educational, health and social care systems; that’s political. Aleesha Khan takes a more overt position in Why therapy is political, in which she urges us to address issues of identity and cultural competency in counselling.
We’ve got the social and environmental contexts covered too. In Muddy waters, Phoebe Johnson discusses her dilemmas around confidentiality and information-sharing in her work with adolescents, while Sue Kegerreis explores the pros and cons of training larger cohorts of counselling students in her regular column.
I have revised an article I wrote for this journal in 2011, about the potential impact of chaos and violence in the home and online through a 2023 lens. Where lunatics (still) prosper (p06) feels just as relevant today as it did then, in the context of almost daily reports of misogynistic media and gender-based violence; that’s social, environmental and political, and it’s our featured article.
"I invite you to consider how your position of privilege/ under-privilege, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age and social class influence your biases and assumptions – we all have them"
Back in the room, there are two pieces in this issue which share the same title, Just listening, for which I make no apology. Elizabeth Holt demonstrates the ways she supports supervisees to listen to their clients, while Mary Alexander uses poetry to illustrate listening to adolescents. Both subtly challenge the misconception of the prefix ‘just’.
If you’ve been wondering whether you have what it takes to write an article for this journal, read my responses to the questions I am frequently asked about the requirements in Do you have what it takes?. It might sound easier or harder than you assumed, but if you have the right sort of skills and enthusiasm, I would love to hear from you; please get in touch in the usual way.
Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations to BACP’s events team and Private Practice Executive Committee. The 2022 BACP Private Practice Conference, ‘Beyond the room – finding your inner entrepreneur’, was highly commended in the Best Virtual/Hybrid Event category at the Memcom Excellence Awards. I was there, and agree it was an excellent event. Bookings are open for BACP’s CYPF Conference on 9 March 2024. ‘Neurodiversity: the therapeutic encounter’ is also shaping up to be commendable. Presenters will share a wealth of experience and there will be opportunities for networking with fellow divisional members. I’ll be at the venue, so do come and say hello!
Jeanine Connor, Editor