In this issue
Here and now
News feature: Walking our talk
Should all counsellors have their own therapy? What is stopping them? Sally Brown investigates.
The big issues
Porn stole my sex life (free article)
Paula Hall describes how counselling can revive the joy of sex for men addicted to online porn.
Working with risk of suicide
Part two of Andrew Reeves’ exploration of the challenges presented by suicidal clients.
Mike Trier reports what he learned from sitting in Gloria’s chair.
Living with Tourette’s
Counsellor Leigh Hale explains how he lives and works with his tics.
Do no harm
For some trainees, group process can be seriously damaging.
Tina Ganja draws wisdom from experience
Do you counsel friends of friends?
John McLeod sympathises with the frustrated research-minded practitioner who is blocked from accessing journal articles by publishers’ paywalls
My client is a Holocaust denier
It changed my life
Our new client column.
Sissy Lykou answers our questionnaire.
Professional conduct procedure (free article)
November is Movember, putting men’s health on the map. To mark the month, we have Paula Hall’s article on a growing problem that is almost completely exclusive to men – online porn addiction. What is so tragic about this addiction, like all addictions perhaps, is that it takes the simple joy and pleasure out of whatever the addictive substance is – in this case, sex with another warm-blooded, feeling, responsive human being – and replaces it with fear.
This month also marks the centenary of the 1918 Armistice. In the Letters pages, we have a reader’s very moving account of his great-great uncle’s work in the First World War, photographing the graves of soldiers for their families back home. It’s a touching and timely reminder of the millions of lives lost in that conflict and the importance of continuing bonds, in whatever form they take.
I, too, have heard trainee counsellors talk of ‘group process’ with dread, and also peculiar pride in having survived it (see the First Person feature). This trial by group humiliation and exposure seems at odds with a profession that is all about trust, openness and non-judgemental, positive regard. Are we really expecting trainee counsellors to ‘man up’ if they are to succeed in the profession?
And finally, readers will be delighted to know that the plastic wrapper that enclosed your copy of TT has been replaced with one made from starch-based bio-poly, which is 100% plastic-free and fully biodegradable. Rachel tells me she uses hers to wrap her compostable kitchen waste – much better than using back issues of TT.
What would it be like to sit in the other chair again?
I know of very few therapists who have either continued or returned to personal therapy for any length of time after qualifying. As Sally Brown explores in our news feature this month, we resist for a variety of reasons, including shame, guilt and trepidation.
I have been on the verge of it more than once; only the fact that my former therapist has retired stopped me in the moment. What has also stopped me is remembering how much more nervous I have felt when I have counselled other counsellors. I’m aware that I am being professionally scrutinised too, albeit in a positive way, and have hesitated to inflict this particular discomfort on someone else. Instead, I find that good peer support helps to fill the therapeutic gap and I truly cherish the few hours each month when I get together with a couple of therapist friends.
It would certainly feel very strange to be in the client’s chair again after all these years, but our feature has got me thinking. Maybe. Definitely maybe.
Rachel Shattock Dawson