Editor’s letter

Sally BrownThe responsibility for raising awareness of racism continues – unfairly – to fall largely on the shoulders of BAME people. The result, as many of our interviewees recount in ‘Black matters’, the ‘Big issue’ report this month, is emotional exhaustion. At the same time, their experiences of racism and their views on what needs to change need to be heard. I am grateful for the insights shared by several BAME practitioners. In the October issue, we ask how white people can step up, and we explore the role of unconscious bias.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted some more than others. In a recent report from Carers UK,1 70% of unpaid carers said they had to provide more support for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends as services and appointments were suspended. In her article, ‘Coaching for social change’, Carolyn Mumby interviews coaches who have set up services to meet crucial needs in the community, including one that supports unpaid carers. As Carolyn says in her introduction, coaching is not just for improving work performance, and an increasing number of coaches are using their skills, often pro bono, to empower disadvantaged members of the community. 

The pandemic has also brought home the fragility of life, and our usual ‘Spotlight’ column becomes ‘In memoriam’ in this issue. While this will not be a regular column, it felt fitting to pay tribute to four members who recently lost their lives and the significant contributions each has made to the profession.

We are all impacted by loss, even when we are not personally bereaved. In ‘The River of Life’ Rachel Dyer-Williams writes about her experience of using a model designed for complex grief to help clients deal with the impact of the pandemic on their working lives and relationships. Other highlights of this issue include Catherine Jackson’s ‘The big interview’ with world-renowned trauma expert Gabor Maté and Zoë Chouliara’s exploration of presence in supervision. And don’t miss Peter Afford’s illuminating guide to neuroscience for counsellors.

I have learned something from all of these articles, and I hope you find this issue just as relevant and useful. The ‘Reactions’ page is your platform for feedback, so do email your views.

Sally Brown, Editor

From the Chair

Natalie Bailey

So many of you have written in response to my recent blog, and I want to use this opportunity to say thank you. It has been overwhelming to read the many stories you have shared that, for the most part, have previously been unacknowledged.

The past few months have been a challenge for us as counsellors and psychotherapists. Even if there are some among us who have not been directly impacted by the accumulation of events since March, it would be hard to ignore even the subtlest of effects on our colleagues and on our clients.

As we prepare to meet what may be regarded as the ‘second wave’ post-lockdown, and with it a potential surge in demand for psychological support, we might want to be occasionally reminded to take utmost care in acknowledging the impact with compassion for ourselves and for others.

Natalie Bailey, BACP Chair


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Emily Reynolds writes our client column

Talking point

Keeping it social: Should therapists engage with social media?


Resilience and self-care: Our ethics team considers this month's dilemmas

Analyse me

John-Paul Davies speaks for himself


1. Caring and COVID-19: Loneliness and use of services. https://bit.ly/30Agful