In this issue
Staying on the straight and narrow
A new study aims to further understanding of how counsellors and psychotherapists manage sexual boundaries and makes recommendations to minimise the risk of violations
New developments in trauma therapy
It is possible for all therapists to learn the basics of neuropsychology in order to assimilate these into their work with traumatised clients
Recalled to life
What is the emotional impact of surviving cancer and how can the psychological provision for these people be improved?
A supervision model
A trainee supervisor presents a model that attempts to represent what actually takes place in supervision
Kevin Chandler: Because you are worth it
In the client's chair
Emma Munro: Change is happening
Martin Halifax: Speaking for myself
Reaching out for help
Alain de Botton
Day in the life
The maintaining of sexual boundaries in the therapeutic relationship is a topic that fuels the drive towards regulation, so a new qualitative research study commissioned by BACP to identify indicators that lead to sexual boundary violation is timely. But if a therapist is prepared to cross that boundary and reveal or act on their sexual feelings towards a client, isn’t that something fundamental to do with them as a person and their conscience? Can any amount of training or guidance really change this?
Professionalisation sometimes seems to create an expectation of the practitioner as some kind of automaton so I found the starting point of this study refreshing, ie that attraction is normal and the therapist is a human being. The participants in the study saw the therapeutic encounter – becoming open and available to the client, and vulnerable to intense emotions – as necessarily risky. They also pointed out that therapists need to manage plenty of other emotions that get stirred up between therapist and client, in addition to sexual feelings – such as anger, dislike and fear – which could also be potentially harmful to the client. However, talking openly about sexuality and sexual feelings, even in supervision, was seen as being a particular challenge because of the anxieties provoked by confessing them.
Ethical challenges will be the focus of a new section that we begin in this month’s journal. Some of you will remember a section called ‘Challenge’ that the late Caroline Jones edited for many years. We have decided to reintroduce this format with the help of one of our regular contributors, Andrew Reeves. Some of the dilemmas will be drawn from BACP’s ethical helpline, representing typical problems encountered in practice. We will be inviting you to respond to each month’s dilemma and publishing a range of responses both in the journal and online.