In this issue
Working with values in clinical practice (free article)
Andrew West discusses values and how they might or might not relate to a values-based practice
Setting up in private practice
Rebecca Kirkbride addresses significant practicalities for private work with children and young people
Person-centred play therapy
Idyli Kamaterou and Sofia Paragiou offer a single-session case study
Julie Griffin continues her series on different media in the therapy room
More TA in supervision
Further transactional analysis concepts that Lynn Martin uses in her practice
Roslyn Byfield believes we need to make provision for our clients after our death, or an incapacitating accident or illness
Containing the angry client
Nick Luxmoore thoughtfully analyses a supervision issue
ADHD and Asperger’s
When parenting isn’t to blame, what might be going on neurologically? asks Rachal Zara Wilson
Reflecting on… Justin Bieber
Thinking about… systems around the child
Considering… the lonesome school counsellor
Welcome from the editor
If I start work with a young client and find that he values, oh, I don’t know, let’s say grass snakes and Darth Vader, then I will use those facts to enhance the therapy, whether in parallel interactive storytelling, relationship building or analogy and metaphor. My own values of – again, let’s say – art and music are subsumed until or unless called upon for a reason. All these are micro values to some extent, but inherent in and necessary to the therapeutic endeavour. We use a values balancing act to avoid falling too far one way or the other into bias.
And, of course, the thing that a young client values in their life is not only a boon to help the therapy progress: their passions may also have significant unconscious relevance to the issues they bring and the behaviour they display or hide. Whether this appears overtly as ‘I want my dad to visit more often’ or is disguised with ‘grass snake slitheriness’ and ‘Darth Vader challenging’ of all male teachers, it’s worth thinking deeply about their values. Also, what they value about our sessions with them, and want from them, will have a definite bearing on the outcome of the intervention, and needs our attention. All this, in the light of the counselling world’s and funding bodies’ espoused values that try to dictate our approach. Which brings me to Andrew West and our lead article.
I tracked down Andrew with ferocious tenacity to ask him to write for us. I’d read his new book on cultivating therapeutic attitude and really liked the way that he manages to stick to his (original therapeutic) guns in his work, as far as possible, while accepting the circumstances in which we all have to work nowadays. I liked his honesty about the complications and challenges – including, but not limited to, those pertaining to values – and how he manages them. I hope you will find much thought-provoking material in his article. And much to enjoy reading.
In the wider world of counselling, regulation and funding constraints in which we find ourselves, values are easily claimed and proclaimed, and the macro values tossed around are complex and multiple, and have a number of blend modes with which they can interact with our own initial layer of values (to take a concept from photo-editing software). We – and Andrew – are often challenged when it comes to finding the right blend for the right young client and situation.
And as if that wasn’t enough, our new Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions,1 which comes into force in July, continues to pinpoint and add to the many values we must recognise and juggle as ethical practitioners.
I’ve been thinking that there should probably be a CPD requirement to not only assess but also constantly revisit our value system. As Heraclitus said, a century and a half ago: ‘You cannot step into the same river twice – you will not be the same person and it will not be the same water.’ So reassessment is crucial, year on year. We have two excellent articles on supervision in this issue. I’m hoping that our supervisors are helping us to (re)discover and consider the values (espoused or in action) that are informing our work. Just maybe, this supervisory focus would alert us to any encroachment by a subversive grass snake – and pre-empt us from succumbing to an Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader defection to the dark side of unaware practice.
1 Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions 2016. This can be downloaded as a PDF or Word document from www.bacp.co.uk/ethics/EFfCP.php