In this issue
Sarah Browne explores the role of counselling in a time of recession
Counselling’s ‘special relationship’
David Kaplan and Val Potter discuss the history of counselling in the US and UK.
Mind, body and soul
To ignore the spirit is to ignore a huge chunk of a person’s being, argues John Rowan.
Nurturing reflective space
Reflective space is a vital source of psychic nourishment, writes Mark Emery.
Do we need supervision?
Caro Bailey questions the rarely questioned assumption that supervision is a good thing.
Hearing their voices
Catherine Jackson asks why people with severe mental illness are still not offered talking therapies, despite NICE recommendations and government pledges
Alice King: Therapists in denial
Barry McInnes: Making measures human
In the client's chair
Adam Lawton: I've got a life to live
Rachel Freeth: Encounters involving warmth
How I became a therapist
Oliver Burkeman: In pursuit of awe
Historic sexual abuse
From the chair
Amanda Hawkins: A new year to come
For months now, when I’ve been doing my supermarket shop and flinching at the price of an apple or a loaf of bread, I’ve been wondering and worrying about how families on very low incomes are surviving. Researching the feature on recession depression has opened my eyes to the world of foodbanks and suicide statistics connected to unemployment. I realised that things are a lot worse than I had imagined. I had no idea, for example, that there are two new foodbanks opening every week in towns and cities across the UK and that thousands of people are using them to feed their children. Nor did I know that a one per cent rise in unemployment equates to a 0.79 per cent rise in suicide.
Talking to counsellors in different sectors, a picture emerges of hugely increased demand for services by people affected by the recession in different ways: young unemployed people, people who have lost their welfare benefits in desperate financial situations, huge increases in relationship breakdown due to financial stress, increases in suicidal ideation and alcohol addiction.
Over the years I have heard various ministers at the New Savoy Conference pledging that they will not abandon the unemployed; that they will not let them sink into depression, never to return to the workplace etc etc. This year’s conference was no exception. The promises were there but the disconnect between policy and what is happening on the ground seems to be getting wider. Everybody recognises that huge progress has been made in the last four or five years in terms of trying to improve access to psychological therapies on the NHS, but currently clearly only a fraction of those who could benefit are getting any kind of a look-in. Judging from the comments from GPs in The Austerity Report 2012, many of them are not even bothering to refer people for counselling because the waiting lists are so long. When we know the difference that counselling can make, this is disappointing indeed.