In this issue

Here and now

News feature: Just what the doctor ordered (free article)
When prescribed drugs are the problem, not the solution



The big issues

Love and heartache, wrapped into one
Rachel Jepson works with the casualties of the highly competitive music industry

Picking up the pieces
Catherine Jackson reports on the role of counselling following major disasters

Standing on the edge
Andy Rogers warns of the wider social costs of the closure of university counselling courses

In morte sumus
Neil Jordan argues that death is an important presence in the counselling room


Turning point
Wisdom from experience

Research into practice
Liddy Carver highlights new research into therapy for violent offenders

Portia is sexually drawn to her client, Lee

Talking point
What CPD training have you done recently?

Running hits the spot for Ajay Khandelwal

Analyse me
Paula Hall admits to accepting a cupcake

Your association

From the chair

Cover of Therapy Today September 2017

A pdf version of this issue is available from the Therapy Today archive

Editor’s note

The terrible events of this summer prompted many members to contact BACP to ask how they could help. It’s hard for a helping profession to stand aside and feel so helpless. The Government’s response is to assure the public that counselling is being offered to survivors – arguably, this is to be seen to be saying and doing something. These reassurances don’t actually translate into hard cash for NHS counselling services. Might the Government’s faith in counselling be better evidenced if everyone could access whatever talking therapy would help them, whenever and for however long they need it?

That apart, the article this month on the role of counselling in major incidents like the Manchester Arena bomb and the Grenfell Tower fire is elevated beyond simple reportage by Figen Murray’s deeply moving contribution about her own experience, as a counsellor and a bereaved mother. If you read none of the rest of the article, read this; she speaks from a place of loss and grief, with wisdom, compassion and an abiding belief in the power of love and hugs.

In this month’s Turning Point, Mike Moss echoes this theme in his moving account of a small boy, locked in his room without playthings to comfort him, who turned his trainers into spaceships to transport him away. The client could be comforted still, in adulthood, by recalling that inner strength. It’s important not to underestimate that innate resilience to survive even the grimmest conditions.

Catherine Jackson

I expect we have all heard clients’ tales of how ‘the meds helped me through’, or even ‘saved my life’, as well as reports that some psychiatric drugs only produced yet more problems.

Sally Brown’s News Feature on the downside of mental health meds, including addiction and withdrawal problems, makes for riveting reading. I wonder if it will affect how you respond when clients ask for advice about taking these drugs? I tend to answer by asking them about their views and concerns, and then work with that.

Another concern is the increasing medicalisation of normal but painful feelings. It’s as though it’s not OK to be sad, fearful, stressed or distressed any more. Emotional reactions to life and life events act as vital feedback mechanisms and markers of emotional wellbeing, signalling that we need to rest, seek help and support, or make some changes. Surely these feelings should not be numbed down or medicated away?

Rachel Shattock Dawson
Consultant Editor