In this issue
Bringing death back into our lives
Catherine Jackson previews Kicking the Bucket, a festival of living and dying.
The changing role of the university counselling service
Clare Pointon reports on the challenges facing university counselling services today.
Student–tutor conflict in counsellor training
Jayne Godward explores the difficulties in the dual role of course tutor and counsellor.
A story of falling
A walking accident has taught Alistair Ross a tough lesson about vulnerability.
Feedback in supervision
Emma Redfern explains why feedback is essential to a healthy supervisory relationship.
Making meaning in a third language
Gala Connell finds she can share meaning even if she doesn’t share a client’s language.
Jeanine Connor: Thinking about dying
In the client's chair
Nina Burrowes: Gaining the courage to be me
Jackee Holder: We need courageous conversations
The dangers of dual relationships
How I became a therapist
From the chair
Thank you to everyone: BACP Chair Amanda Hawkins writes her final column in the role.
My daughter has just applied to university to do a five-year course. If she gets in she will leave with a minimum debt of £45,000, which is a scary prospect. I wonder how well she will cope with the pressures of the course, living away from home, managing her social life and the whole transition into adulthood.
There is certainly more emotional support available for students today; we are much more aware of students’ needs, and university counselling services are well established, offering all sorts of holistic support for students, helping them to cope with exam pressures or to manage their time effectively. But in many cases university counselling services themselves are under pressure because of huge increases in the number of students seeking their help. In an article documenting how her role as a university student counsellor has changed over the years, Clare Pointon explains that one of the most significant changes has been an increase in the number of students presenting with issues that she and her colleagues are not equipped to deal with. They regularly have to immediately refer students with severe mental health problems to the NHS for long-term or specialist help.
The reasons behind this increase are many and complex but include the facts that mental health problems have risen among young people in the general population, and that widening participation in Higher Education (HE) means that more young people with pre-existing mental health problems are going to university. The extent to which other factors like student debt, higher rates of family breakdown and the economic recession contribute to this increase is debatable.
Another perspective on the state of student mental health comes from one of the article’s interviewees, Alan Percy. He suggests that counselling may be developing a new form of dependency. Our society’s shift towards more child-centred parenting, he argues, may have a tendency to make some young people more emotionally dependent on their parents, so they come to university expecting to be looked after. In this scenario, he says it’s important that HE clinicians are clear about what they can and cannot offer.