In this issue
Social change from the counselling room (free article)
Mick Cooper explores how counselling can reach beyond the one-to-one relationship.
Opening doors to enablement
Rachel Waddington describes her work with disabled people.
Attachment and digital communication
Linda Cundy finds links between mobile phone use and attachment styles.
Healing with plant medicine
Fiona Goodwin relates how she found healing in the Amazon rainforest.
Post-qualification paths to expertise
Val Owen-Pugh and Nick Jewson chart counsellors’ continued professional development.
From the chair
Andrew Reeves finds an abseiling analogy in his new role
Editorial: Should we commit to social action?
First, welcome to your new-look journal. We’ve tweaked some of the sections and design elements and added a new ‘Your views’ slot at the front to provide a stronger platform for your views. We’ve also expanded our Dilemmas section because you told us this is one of the most read and highly valued parts of the journal. I’d like to thank Heather Dale for editing Dilemmas for the last three years and to welcome John Daniel who takes over from Heather this month.
Turning to this issue’s theme, the relationship between politics and therapy has been much debated over the years. Nick Totton, founding editor of Psychotherapy and Politics, has always contended that a person’s psychological distress cannot be separated from social power. In our own pages (February 2009) Peter Morrall has argued that therapists have a social responsibility to ‘rage’ against the way things are.
This issue returns to the theme of social justice. Mick Cooper proposes a framework for working with clients that draws together psychological and social processes: working with their internal worlds, supporting them to change their external worlds, and taking direct action to change social, political and cultural configurations.
In our July 2009 issue John McLeod offered a radical vision for counselling – as opposed to psychotherapy – as ‘a collaborative process in which the service user and the counsellor work together to… address his or her life difficulties’. These difficulties, he argued, would be seen as arising from disjunctions in the relationship between the person and the context in which they live. Rachel Waddington’s article on her work with people with long-term disabilities and health conditions seems to me to describe exactly this sort of model – and one that leads to revived resilience and lasting empowerment.
But should BACP’s new Ethical Framework commit members to ‘promote social justice’? Julian Edge wrote in our December 2014 issue: ‘I cannot work in the counselling space to help my client establish her locus of evaluation, and then usurp it with my own judgment of what is socially just.’ As Tim Bond reports in his update on the review of the Ethical Framework, the strength of respondents’ arguments in the recent consultation have prompted him to postpone any decision until there has been more debate within the membership.