I don’t think any of us could have predicted, when we went into lockdown in March 2020, that we’d be here again in March 2021.
I love my home and who I share it with, but it would be nice to be somewhere else, drinking coffee I didn’t make myself, among bodies I don’t usually meet. I say bodies rather than faces because I’ve seen plenty of those. Connecting online, all I ever see are faces, and the occasional shoulder. I think it’s peculiar to call therapy in the room – the way most of us trained and did it, most of the time – face to face. Therapy online is face to face, it’s literally my face seeing and being seen by another face, and it’s intense, occasionally awkward and pretty exhausting. Being in the room is body to body and it’s that whole person-to-whole-person connection that I crave.
This year’s BACP CYPF conference, at the end of March, will be virtual, and I’ll miss the opportunity to mingle with readers and contributors in person. Online is good enough; but it’s by no means the same. Anita Knight shares a similar sentiment in Bridging the gap, an article about maintaining counselling provision for younger children during lockdowns. Also on the theme of COVID-19, Rachel Casper highlights the impact on children with special educational needs in COVID crisis for SEND, while our three regular columnists shine a spotlight on the impact the pandemic is having on training, counselling and supervision.
I’m delighted to share the results of the 2020 reader survey and my response as editor, in In conversation with… you!. Over three-quarters of respondents said they read this journal to keep up to date with relevant news and developments. I do try to be topical, which isn’t always easy, given that we are a quarterly publication. For our featured article, I invited four counsellors to respond to the recent High Court ruling against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Puberty blockers: whose choice is it anyway? examines the decision, as well as the wider considerations of competency and consent. I invite you to share your response in letters to the editor. Other topical issues this time are school counselling with asylum seekers and refugees, in Samantha Johnson’s beautiful and encouraging, Trauma and the art of just being there and Neema Fauvrelle’s examination of the masculinisation of boys, in her thought-provoking article, Time to grow a pair.
March 2021 is different from March 2020. One consequence of COVID-19 is that learning no longer happens the way it used to, with dozens of bodies hustling and bustling in corridors and classrooms. Another is that secondary school students and staff are routinely tested for coronavirus, as a matter of course as well as when they come into contact with a positive case.1 Additional restrictions and precautions highlight increased risk, and young people are responding with fear and with fury. But there is hope. According to UK Government predictions, millions of frontline health and social care workers, clinically vulnerable and over-50s should have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine by now, with the remaining adult population due to be offered a vaccine by the autumn.2 Until June, I hope you find a way to channel your own fear and fury and hang on to the hope.
Jeanine Connor Editor