In this issue
Here and now
News feature: Fighting terror with friendship
Sally Brown talks to two counsellors who have crossed a divide to fight radicalisation together
The big issues
Let’s talk about rape
Frances Basset and Deborah A Lee speak out about their experience of sexual violence.
Our incredible journey
Lynne Barnett is helping to bring counselling to the Cambodian people.
Counselling in Cambodia
Chanpisey Leng explains the difference the counselling course has meant for her personally and how it will benefit her people.
Where do we go from zero? (free article)
Andrew Reeves urges counsellors to talk to clients about suicide.
Holding mind in mind
Andrew Barley explores what mentalization can offer counsellors.
Wisdom from experience.
John McLeod picks topical research from the journals.
Should Renate report her client’s husband?
What do you do when silence falls?
Barrie Hopwood answers our questionnaire.
What are they thinking? My anguished question has been prompted by two reports in this month’s news pages. One is about the trend among universities to rebadge their counselling teams as ‘wellbeing services’ and to farm out to IAPT, or another arm’s-length provider, students who need the help of a qualified counsellor. The other is the news that the Government is to push ahead with its green paper, despite widespread criticism from all sides, and pilot the proposed mental health teams that will work with schools in England to ensure children and young people get help faster for their mental health needs.
In both cases, BACP is mounting a vigorous campaign to highlight the flaws in these proposals. ‘Wellbeing services’ are important, no question – building resilience is fundamental, preventive public mental health practice. But ‘five-a-day’ messages and self-help apps are not a substitute for counselling, if counselling is what is needed. Universities cannot be allowed to disband their counselling teams and shunt on the responsibility for their students.
The proposed new mental health teams are a curiously unnecessary innovation. They are starting from zero, are having to invent and pilot how they will actually operate, and it will be years before they are fully implemented. As BACP points out, why employ 8,000 new mental health workers to support children and young people in schools when there is already a large body of qualified, experienced counsellors whose interventions are proven to make a big difference to children’s lives and educational achievement?
Every time there is a major calamity, the cry goes up: ‘Call the counsellors.’ So why doesn’t the Government listen?
I wonder what would be the best collective noun for a group of counsellors.
A session of therapists? A murmur of counsellors? I think the best noun would sum up what unites us, and what traits are magnified when we get together. Hmmm, any ideas?
I was struck by this notion when reading the interviews with Figen Murray and Nicola Benyahia in this month’s news feature. They have each lost a son to terrorism, and might seem to be on opposite sides of the perpetrator-victim divide. However, instead they have united to take a strong message of love, peace and understanding to schools, colleges and communities, in an attempt to fight radicalisation. As Nicola says: ‘This narrative of “them and us” is not serving any purpose. We need to find out the things that connect us.’ And Figen: ‘There are more powerful ways to respond than with anger, resentment and hate.’ Bravo, I say.
Rachel Shattock Dawson