Welcome to the summer issue of our journal and Happy Pride month to those who celebrate with and commemorate LGBTQ+ lives.
As editor of this journal, I strive to challenge biases and misconceptions, and encourage you to talk more comfortably and inclusively, about sex and gender in particular, and I know from reader feedback that this is widely appreciated. Gender and sexuality were some of the most enjoyed themes of the past 12 months and topped the list of what you would like to see more of over the next year, according to the most recent Readers’ survey. I’ve shared other take aways from the survey.
Our collective curiosity and willingness to engage in these topics is making a real difference to LGBTQ+ young people, and I was therefore delighted when Harry Nicholas agreed to write our featured article, What I wish you knew. Harry said that when I invited him to write about what counsellors and psychotherapists working with young trans people should bear in mind, his first thought turned to language. He shares his experiences, as a young trans man, and suggests the ways we can support trans young people in our counselling rooms. I think you will find his article both impassioned and inspiring.
Language is also the theme of Jack Lynch’s piece, Beyond the binary. They assert that young people who identify as gender non-conforming and transgender are driving the explosion of language designed to explain and understand gender and sexuality. Jack argues that upskilling ourselves in this area could literally save LGBTQ+ young people’s lives.
Language is the main stock-in-trade for both talking therapists and writers. But as we know from our training and clinical experience, communication isn’t always verbal. In No good at art?, Steph Eastwood explores the ‘third focus’ of art and play, which, she writes, can deepen conversations and facilitate connection and expression in the counselling room. In Observing an infant, Malka Gluck reflects on the nonverbal communication between herself and her grandson and draws parallels with her role as a trainee psychotherapist.
Language is what connects (and sometimes alienates) us – to (and from) clients, friends, family, peers and the wider world. It was a privilege to attend our BACP CYPF Conference in person in March. There was a such a buzz around the venue (which I hope translated to those joining remotely) as child and adolescent psychotherapists and counsellors talked, exchanged experiences and made connections. I shared many wonderful conversations – and quite a few hugs – with contributors to this journal, some of whom feel like old friends and others whom I’ve never met before, as well as BACP’s CYPF Lead Jo Holmes, members of BACP Events and our new CYPF Executive Committee who I introduce in Meet the Committee. I also chatted with many eager writers-to-be and very much look forward to bringing their voices to the pages of this journal over the coming year. Whether you attended the conference or not, please do get in touch if you feel inspired to write.
Jeanine Connor, Editor