In this issue
Port in the storm: coaching unpaid carers (free article)
Learning to stand still: the ‘good-enough’ practitioner
Dr Mark Farrall
Talking about death at work
Jane Duncan Rogers
Relocation: creating a portable practice
Eve Menezes Cunningham
Meet the member
As I write this, it is mid September, and we are a few days away from the autumn equinox, that time of year when the light and the dark are in equal balance. I always think of autumn as a transitional period; a time when we must say farewell to the abundant summer sunshine (and let’s be honest, weren’t we blessed with it this summer?) and prepare for the cold, dark winter ahead.
I’ve always thought the American usage of the word ‘fall’ highly appropriate for autumn – as the trees shed their leaves, we are also invited to let go. I often feel a bittersweet sadness at this time of year, mixed with a sense of anticipation as the air turns colder and sharper, bringing a whiff of winter; a tinge of grief as summer falls away, the days grow shorter, the light weakens and the nights draw in; and some anxiety about what lies ahead. What will the next season bring? Am I prepared for it? What will it demand of me – and do I have the strength, resilience and resources to meet it?
Any change or transition – however welcome – involves an element of loss. Before we are able to launch forth into a new situation, we must first endure the difficult process of letting go, and suffer ‘the confusing nowhere of in-betweenness’.1 The articles in this autumn issue reflect the themes of loss, letting go and confusion that accompany any transition, and highlight the fact that transitions affect us all – ourselves, our clients and our colleagues – and these effects resonate at an individual and universal level, impacting our personal, intimate and family relationships, and our relationships at work, whether we are self-employed in private practice or part of a large organisation.
Each of our contributors uses their personal experience as a starting point to explore the loss and upheaval that accompany topics such as death and bereavement; the impact of becoming a carer to a family member or loved one; the effect of serious illness on our personal and professional lives; and the massive step-change of uprooting a home and a practice. Catherine Macadam leads with an impassioned address on the challenges faced by unpaid carers in society, and asks us to consider how we, as coaches, can provide support, structure – and hope – for a largely invisible and yet growing client group experiencing the emotional turbulence that comes with caring for a sick or disabled loved one. Dr Mark Farrall follows with a deeply personal account of burnout, chronic fatigue and illness, and, as he reflects on the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of health and wellbeing, demonstrates how a more self-compassionate approach has relevance for all of us as practitioners, as well as for our clients. Jane Duncan Rogers digs deep to explore another fundamentally taboo subject – that of death and bereavement – and argues that, since we will all die at some point, we need to be talking more about it, especially in the workplace. Finally, our outgoing Chair Eve Menezes Cunningham leaves us with a personal reflection on her own major life transition – that of moving her home and practice across the sea to Ireland – and in doing so, she canvasses the views, advice and opinions of those practitioners who have also ‘upped sticks’ and bravely chosen to put down roots in another part of the country or the world.
On that note, Eve’s regular message will be her final column as Chair of BACP Coaching, as she steps aside at the end of this year to make way for Carolyn Mumby, our new Chair for 2019. I want to wish Eve all the best as she embarks on this latest stage of her journey, and I know you will join with me in thanking her for all that she has done for BACP Coaching during her time as Chair and, before that, as our Executive Specialist for Communication. Eve will remain part of the Executive team in a supportive role as Past Chair for the forthcoming year, as BACP Coaching navigates its own leadership transition. Thank you Eve – and travel well!
Until next time...