In this issue
Homophobic and transphobic bullying
Eleanor Formby gives us the current picture in our schools and youth groups
David Taransaud wonders if therapists of young people need superpowers to deal with supervillains
Top and bottom of class
How does our sense of class and its values affect both us and our young clients? Mike Trier and Simone Daniels converse
Managing risky disclosures…
…in school-based counselling. Joanne Palmer investigates what counsellors do
Thinking of bad parents
How do we help a child process the information? asks Joanna North
School bereavement policy
Somebody’s died and pupils are affected. Jennifer Pitt advocates for a practical policy in advance
An e-portal for learning
Interview with Executive member Edith Bell, plus information about the current election of a new member
Ethics and voice
Hildy Bennett on the therapeutic relationship as a means of hearing the voice of vulnerable research participants
Interview with Katie McArthur. Val Taylor’s final column
Reflecting on… suicide
From the chair
Welcome from the editor
I read reports endlessly. It goes with the job. Last year, one of them was Stonewall’s The School Report: the experiences of gay young people in Britain’s schools in 20121. The report is both encouraging (because, since their first report in 2007, Stonewall has made many resources available to schools and local authorities to help them tackle homophobia) and discouraging (more than two in five gay pupils still experience bullying and think of taking their own life as a direct onsequence; many self-injure). It seems as if we can’t quite beat this deeply rooted feeling, even with a Prime Minister intent on legalising gay marriage.
Since many of the teenagers who come to see me are struggling with issues of their sexual identity, and if and how to come out amid such an atmosphere of homophobia at home and at school, I asked Eleanor Formby to write for us on the topic, based on her own research among LGBT young people at school and in youth groups. I commend this article to you because we now have a school culture in which LGBT pupils are unhappy and heterosexual pupils are offering blow jobs at break and sending images of their body parts to their contact list – supposedly, the ‘new flirting’. As I overhear the forceful language used by schoolchildren to assure us they are not gay, I find myself questioning if it’s their great fear of being homosexual, lesbian, bi or trans that is, in part, fuelling some of this sexual activity, and thus the bullying. There must be something at the bottom of it, because homophobic bullying and sexting doesn’t seem to confine itself within any particular social grouping but is currently endemic.
Other things in life, however, do appear to be connected to ‘class’. Mike Trier and Simone Daniels offer us an interesting conversation on the subject of class and values and the effect that these have had on their own upbringing and therefore, possibly, on our young clients.
One important thing that crosses all class boundaries, of course, is death. Jennifer Pitt has written for us an article about how one school arrived at a bereavement policy. I’m pleased to publish this because I think that those of you who work in schools are in the excellent position of being able to propose and lead on formulating such a policy for your schools before a crisis arises, when everyone will be in disarray and confused about how to proceed. It’s quite practical in nature. Have a look.
I would be happy to receive letters about any of our articles – it’s good to share opinions and engage in dialogue in the journal. All the articles I’ve highlighted require us to engage in dialogue, with each other and with our clients. Reading is never quite enough on its own – I must remember that myself as I peruse all the reports that come my way!
1 Guasp A. The school report: the experiences of gay young people in Britain’s schools in 2012. Stonewall; 2012. Downloadable from www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/school_report_2012(2).pdf