In this issue
Working with trauma in healthcare settings
Joanna Benfield reports on the BACP Healthcare conference on working with trauma in healthcare settings
Virtual therapy: the provision of psychological interventions via the internet (free article)
Sarah Bateup considers the case for providing online cognitive behavioural therapy
When patients don’t comply: how psychotherapists in medical settings work with issues of treatment adherence
Surabhi Chaturvedi explores how therapists can work with patients with serious health conditions who choose not to comply with medical advice
Leadership in uncertain times
Vicki Palmer reports on how leaders of therapy businesses are negotiating their way through challenging times
Chair’s report – BACP Healthcare
Counselling in primary care
Third sector perspective
From the editor
One of the great joys of being the editor of this journal is the opportunities that it provides to attend interesting training events and conferences, and to network with BACP members. I recently participated in both the BACP Healthcare conference on ‘Working with Trauma’ in Manchester and the BACP Research Conference in London. I learnt so much from both events that was relevant to my work as an editor, a therapist and a researcher. There is such a depth and breadth of knowledge among BACP members, and our organisation provides us with fantastic opportunities to share this through events and through our journals.
For those of you who were unable to attend the BACP Healthcare conference, you will find an overview in this issue. A number of presenters from that event and from the research conference will also be writing articles for subsequent issues of this journal.
In the lead article in this issue, Sarah Bateup considers the provision of online cognitive behavioural therapy within the NHS. She explores the wide range of non-face-to-face therapies now available, which range from telephone counselling to counselling apps and virtual reality. Sarah considers whether a strong therapeutic relationship can really be established in text-based therapies, which lack the non-verbal communication that is so important in face-to-face therapies. Sarah demonstrates that there is emerging evidence that the most effective technological methods of delivering CBT are those which have the greatest therapist input.
Many therapists in healthcare settings work with clients facing physical, as well as mental, health challenges. Surabhi Chaturvedi explores how therapists can work with patients with serious physical health conditions who choose not to comply with medical advice. Surabhi writes from her experience of working in the haemato-oncology department at a large, acute hospital, where patients present with a range of blood disorders and blood cancers. She explores the dual role of therapists working in such medical teams, where they both support the patients and help the medical professionals to understand the patient’s potential motives for non-compliance. Surabhi highlights how the role of the counsellor is not to encourage compliance, but rather to help their clients to gain insight and to understand and articulate their feelings and thoughts.
These are difficult times, politically and economically, both for our clients and for the organisations in which we work. BACP Healthcare Executive member Vicki Palmer shares her own experience of leading her service, Oasis-Talk, through challenging circumstances. She explores the value of collaboration with other organisations, including perceived competitors, and underlines the importance of collective responsibility, rather than having an organisation that is in danger of depending, financially or in leadership terms, on just one person. Vicki particularly highlights how her organisation has been buoyed up by the positive approach to problem solving shown by staff. Underlying all of this is a consistent focus on service users and their needs, placing them at the heart of all decisions made. This must surely be a key consideration for all of us, no matter the type of organisation in which we work.
I would like to encourage members to submit articles on their own work for publication in this journal. This is your journal and it is important that it reflects your experiences of working in NHS-funded services. Please do get in touch if you would like to contribute a reflective piece of work on your own clinical practice, and let me know if there are any particular themes that you would like us to address in future issues.
Joanna Benfield, Editor