In this issue
Into the wild
Therapeutic inward-bound journeys. Simone Silver Path reports
IAPT at the younger end
What is happening on the ground with CYP IAPT? Interview with Sara Barnes
Karyn van der Zwet discusses their development in children
Exploring the spiritual
Death and loss often trigger an exploration of meaning-making. Augene Nanning illustrates her discussion
Giving the client voice
Dave Stewart describes how schools in Northern Ireland use practice-based evidence
Helen Smith believes early intervention with DBT can help
Expanding our theory
Hildy Bennett reflects on the impact of disability
Choice and consent
For Francis Taylor, young people’s right to refuse counselling is questionable
Choice and consent: a response
Peter Jenkins replies to Francis Taylor’s article
Reflecting on… hoarding
From the chair
Welcome from the editor
Either/or? Or both/and? The invitation to us and to our young clients is to move from polarised thinking to a creative continuum
I was cogitating on the art of making daisy chains. Is it destruction of the environment or creating beauty? Is observing the moon merely wasting time? Or imbibing our oneness with the natural world? Filling in assessment sheets – a tiresome restrictive chore? Or proof of concept?
We have a tendency to jump to one answer or the other because humans are wired for opposites – naming something as ‘good’ immediately implies that ‘bad’ exists – which can lead to an unhealthy potential for polarising.
But what’s good about having opinions (apart from the resulting emergence of a letters page – for which, thank you) is that they offer us the chance to reject the immediate either/or stance and find a both/and position from which to move forward and welcome a wider choice of in-between reactions. Thus, making a daisy chain can be construed as creative, and taking time to pause and de-stress, and enjoying a fresh air activity, and finding the metaphor in it – as well as, yes, destroying a beautiful flower. I feel self-improved just acknowledging the possibilities!
So how does that relate to our articles here? Well, all of them offer us the space and potential to rethink, reassess and maybe reconstrue on a different part of the continuum. Dave Stewart, for example, writes about using a system of sessional assessment. It can be construed in a range of ways: a straitjacket around the session, a magic tool for emulating his success, a way of getting commissioners off our backs, tangible proof we did the work, or even a way of putting each client in charge of their therapy, which, of course, is Dave’s focus here. But it is, possibly, all those other things as well. And changing from an either/or position to the wider both/and means we don’t have to immediately wing our way to a polar opposite.
Simone Silver Path conducts sessions in the wilderness with vulnerable, damaged adolescents. Out in the natural world, the thinking space is wider and more basic, and somehow more liberating and spiritually empowering than the mundane contexts we often find ourselves in. Yet how to construe it? Way out? Not really practicable? An opportunity to foster one’s destiny and identity? Something you can’t monitor with a tick-box? Accepting the existence of a continuum of responses is where the potential power lies as we read and absorb her account. It’s called ‘loosening our constructs’.
And in this context, it was so good to interview Sara Barnes about her work on the ground as IAPT for young people moves forward. Did I expect it to be lauded as all positive – IAPT is just perfect? Did I believe that, without all our favourite models of counselling represented, IAPT should be written off, dismissed as a bureaucratic farce? I admit I’ve been tempted into the either/or with this topic. But Sara opened up a situation that is both/and – and this has filled me with hope and a new way of construing CYP IAPT. She’s seen the impetus and progress engendered by the funding to transform CAMHS, and is firmly grasping – indeed, insisting on – the potential improvement and widening that will come in her collaborative, and, hopefully, in others where, up till now, CAMHS has already been healthily inclusive. What better could we wish for in dealing with this latest development in the CYP counselling world? As the months pass and the transformation grows more connected and organised, it seems to me that it will be rather like putting together a daisy chain of hope for young people with mental health problems.