In this issue
Dennis Neill describes his systemic style of anger work; and four practitioners share case studies
Working for positive outcomes
Multi-agency support offers numerous benefits for all stakeholders. Sarah Catchpole explains
Parkour in St Petersburg
A new sport is helping to rehabilitate young offenders in Russia. Gabrielle Pearson-Heavisides reports
Peter Jenkins presents the case for a confidential space in therapy for young people
Howard Sercombe outlines the implications of the latest findings in cognitive neuroscience
The first in a new series by Julie Fallon that addresses different areas of supervision
When life has been sucked out
Graham Music discusses the needs of children who lack good-enough input
Dealing with a burning issue
Joost Dross describes why and how he offered groupwork to young people with ADHD diagnoses
Animal Assisted Therapy
Frances Weston takes a trained dog into sessions within CAMHS and private practice
Dianne Barton reports from the 2009 London conference
From the chair
Welcome from the editor
Am I the only one who muses on cross-professional issues when there are deadlines to meet (such as getting this journal to press)? Only the other day, the topic of whether therapists should work for nothing raised its head again. But it’s not a debate solely located in the counselling world. It rages regularly among freelance journalists. And although there’s no clear-cut answer, it’s useful to see the for-and-against arguments positioned in a different context. ‘Wheat’ and ‘chaff’ come to mind.
Likewise, a few weeks ago, I read about Peter Pronovost1, who introduced simple checklists in American hospitals to seriously reduce rates of infection or errors in the operating theatre. (It reminded me strongly of assessment and outcome forms to ensure best practice!) But when challenged to adopt Pronovost’s clearly successful approach, one surgeon claimed it was excessive bureaucracy: ‘Forget the paperwork,’ he said. ‘Just take care of the patient.’
Does our paperwork help us to take care of the client? Or does it hinder us? I ask, because we have an excellent article on the benefits of multi-agency working, which obviously adds to our paperwork, and an equally compelling one on working with neglected (‘undrawn’) children, in which the main work depends not on paperwork but solely on the therapist developing exquisitely attuned empathy to whatever spark of aliveness he detects in the child that might change the course of their life. Which of these (or both?) demonstrates eptitude – a word invented by Atul Gwande and defined (in the same article) as the business of making sure that those with knowledge apply it effectively? Hmm… eptitude. I like it. Doncaster’s serious case review showed that agencies missed 31 opportunities to take action that would have prevented two boys carrying out horrific attacks. Did endless paperwork militate against eptitude? On the other hand, a therapist taking a real interest in the two boys might have brought a healthy turning point in their life paths. Did lack of appropriate paperwork somewhere along the line prevent eptitude in this case?
OK, these conundrums are not solvable any time soon, nor are the possible solutions necessarily mutually exclusive. So we have also brought you immediately usable, practical articles on a number of issues that crop up all the time: anger, child protection, teenagers taking risks and ADHD. Also, a generous book offer from Jessica Kingsley Publishers and our new series for 2010 that considers the supervision of counsellors who have various levels of experience. I hope one or all of these is useful to you. But do find time to read about parkour or Animal Assisted Therapy as well – though you may personally need neither. I find that such articles extend my thinking on what constitutes therapy. With children and young people, our work must reach beyond established boundaries if we are to be effective in as many cases as possible.
A final musing? Well, I’m intrigued at how many countries are mentioned in this issue in connection with their, well, eptitude: Western Australia, Belgium and Russia, as well as the ‘four nations’ – which is a new phrase to me in counselling, possibly filched from rugby to mean England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. So, cross-border as well as cross-professional thoughts this time. Feedback, anyone?
1 Aaronovitch D. Simple ticks that save lives. The Times. 23 January 2010.