From the Editor
As you may have noticed, I’m on my own on this page this month. If you are wondering where Natalie Bailey’s column has gone, from this issue onwards, she has a page to herself (‘From the Chair’). We discussed this change when I first took over as editor earlier this year. After all the unexpected challenges that the year has thrown up, I’m delighted that the column is now happening. I am very much looking forward to hearing more from Natalie every issue. In her first column, she talks about the purpose and remit of the BACP Board of Governors, and pays tribute to the four departing Governors who have given so much time, energy and commitment to our Association and its members over the years.
The end of the year is often a time for looking back, and in ‘The big issue’ this month, Catherine Jackson reviews the cataclysmic events that have disrupted all of our lives in 2020, interviewing key academics and practitioners on the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns, the Black Lives Matter movement, the escalating climate crisis and more. Even without COVID-19, it would have been an extraordinary year. And, as therapeutic practitioners, we are in the dual position of experiencing the uncertainty, distress and disruption ourselves, but also needing to detach ourselves from it in order to meet the needs of our clients. My sense is that our response as a profession has shown just how agile and effective we can be in a crisis. How we can continue to grow that effectiveness and ensure our offering remains relevant and responsive is one of the questions we address in the article. Don’t miss it.
Self-care has become such an overused term it’s in danger of losing its impact. But its essence – the necessity of putting on your own life jacket first before you can help anyone else, to use a familiar metaphor – has never been more pertinent, given the significant changes to our working lives in the past 10 months. As the Christmas break approaches, for this month’s ‘Talking point’, I was interested to talk to six practitioners about their self-care strategies and how they plan to recuperate and support their readiness for 2021. Personally, managing my exposure to news and social media has made a significant difference to my resilience towards the end of this year.
Among the many other highlights in this issue, I urge you to take time to read our ‘Counselling changes lives’ feature on working with clients with disabilities. A 2017 United Nations report concluded that the UK Government has ‘totally neglected’ disabled people, precipitating a ‘human catastrophe’. In his article, John Barton questions why, as a profession, we don’t seem to be including people with disabilities when we talk about working with difference and diversity. He also offers a ‘how-to’ guide for practitioners on working with disabled clients – whether their disability is visible or not – written from his personal experience of living with a progressively debilitating condition, and the research he undertook for his PhD thesis.
As ever, my aim is for Therapy Today to be a source of CPD. This month’s ‘Best practice’ article is an in-depth look at working safely and ethically online with risks such as suicidal ideation and self-harm. In our ‘Clinical concepts’ slot, Rakhi Chand offers an honest and thought-provoking exploration of self-disclosure in the therapeutic relationship. And the ‘Dilemmas’ section tackles the difficult question of client dependency. I hope there is something in this and in every issue that supports your practice and working life.
'I dip in and out of therapy when I need my words to be heard by another’
Dawn Humberstone writes our client column
Seasonal self-care: How will you nurture yourself this winter?
Dependence: Our ethics team considers this month's dilemmas
Christine Lord speaks for herself