There’s nothing quite like death to put life into perspective. It was just days before the December issue of this journal went to print, that I received the sad news that our colleague, Nick Luxmoore, had died. His influence is manifest throughout the history of this journal, and the current issue is no exception. Nick’s colossal contribution to counselling children and young people is more formally recognised in a tribute in this issue.
Issues of life and death are often at the core of our therapeutic work with children and young people. We might help them to explore existential issues about the meaning of life, or the psychological pain inherent in contemplating death through suicide. Sometimes issues of life and death are more explicit; for example, in cases of bereavement through illness, accident or suicide, or in end-of-life care. Working with life and death takes an emotional toll on professionals – not forgetting that we also have personal lives that are impacted by life and death from time to time – and we all benefit from supervisory and peer support. If you have particular experience or expertise that you would like to share with our readers, then do get in touch.
Many will agree with the assertion that counselling children and young people requires a different skill set to counselling adults. Sue Keggereis argues the need for specialist training in her regular column, while the development of a children and young people counsellor training is discussed through the lens of the agency, the course creator and a student in Becoming a CYP counsellor. Elsewhere, Angela Keane and Niki Gibbs share their insights on the particular challenges of school-based counselling. If their thoughts chime with your own experiences, please share them with me so that we can create an ongoing dialogue between members.
While child counsellors and psychotherapists may share key competences, we each bring to our work a particular set of idiosyncrasies, influenced by our model of training, personal beliefs, blind spots and personal experiences – the things that make us us. Trust in Allah, but tie your camel is an absorbing read from Samia Quddus. She shares her experience of integrating spiritual and therapeutic counselling in her work with young people; there are more similarities than you might think. While in our lead article, Samantha Johnson takes us on a voyage of discovery, through the lyrics and videos of popular music in The gentle power of the playlist. If you’re curious about the songs she explores, as I was, you can listen to the playlist that Samantha has published on YouTube to accompany her article. Let me know what you think of these thought-provoking reads as well as our regular news, views and reviews. Enjoy all that the spring season brings forth and I’ll be back with more fabulous reads in June.