Editor’s letter

Sally Brown

As recently as 20 years ago, the concept of counselling at work was largely unheard of. Given the potential for conflict, anxiety, burnout and bullying, it seems shocking that employees experiencing difficulties at work were expected to either suck it up, leave or seek and pay for their own professional support.

As Nicola Banning reports in our ‘Big issue’ this month, it took litigation for employers to fully wake up to their duty to support the mental wellbeing of employees. What started on an ad hoc basis, with individual counsellors providing their services to organisations, has become a business, with most workplace counselling now provided as part of a bought-in employee welfare package. There is no doubt that many employee assistance programme (EAP) providers are doing an excellent job. But working for an EAP is not a good experience for all counsellors, and some report increasingly feeling like a small, replaceable cog in a profit-making machine. In her report, ‘Is EAP counselling working?’, Nicola asks what needs to change to ensure that all EAP providers offer counsellors fair rates of pay and conditions of contracting.

Our ‘Big interview’ with Nancy Kline, creator of the Thinking Environment, is on the transformative power of not interrupting. I was lucky enough to experience both Thinking Environment coaching and meetings while on BACP’s Coaching Executive, facilitated by Carolyn Mumby, Chair of BACP Coaching and a qualified Thinking Environment coach. It is a uniquely powerful experience to be listened to in this way and I was struck by just how rapidly the quality of my thinking changed.

As ever, the ‘Reactions’ page is your platform for feedback. As editor, one of my aims is to ensure that members engage with Therapy Today, so I welcome and appreciate the time many of you have taken to email and express your views on the October issue. It feels like the start of an important conversation that we aim to continue in the months ahead.

Sally Brown, Editor

From the Chair

Natalie Bailey

It’s been a busy period of planning and preparation. We have had a record number of members putting themselves forward as candidates for election to join the Board. Thank you to all members who engaged in the voting process for your preferred candidate. I’m waiting with excitement for the moment to announce those who were successful and to welcome our new Trustees onto the Board of Governors at the AGM.

Trustees bear enormous responsibility, which my Board colleagues and I take very seriously, since each Trustee individually holds legal responsibility for the Association and is personally accountable to the Charity Commission. Over the past four years, I’ve been lucky to have worked with incredibly passionate and caring individuals on the Board, who have volunteered substantial amounts of their time from their busy lives, with unwavering dedication and courageous hearts.

We operate in accordance with strict governance procedures to make well-informed decisions, to meet the charitable objectives and to ensure our decisions are in line with our strategy. It is no simple or light-hearted task. I was encouraged to see the same passion for improving our Association when reading this year’s candidate statements. Thank you to all 27 members for your willingness to stand for election.

Thank you also to members for submitting resolutions and motions for consideration by the Board. We have two resolutions and seven motions eligible for voting by the membership, and if you haven’t already done so, you can vote to support the ones you’re in favour of on the website*. We will announce the results as usual at the AGM in December.

Natalie Bailey, BACP Chair

*Voting closed on 24 October

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