From the Editor
How should we respond to clients who ask us whether they should take antidepressants? And are we qualified to support clients who want to come off them, or who have already done so and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms? These are just some of the questions addressed in our ‘The big interview’ feature this month with Dr Joanna Moncrieff, a practising psychiatrist and author.1
I know from my own private practice that these issues come up on a regular basis, and responding to them is not always straightforward. But it’s not an issue we can sidestep, given that, since the pandemic, a reported ‘record number’ of six million people have received antidepressant medication,2 on top of an increase in antidepressant prescribing of 23.3% in 2019/20.3 Dr Moncrieff argues that therapists have a key role to play in both educating clients about how antidepressants work and supporting those experiencing the effects of withdrawal. As a follow-up, I would highly recommend the comprehensive, easy-to-read guide, ‘Enabling conversations with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs: Guidance for psychological therapists’,4 produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD) with funding from BACP, to which Dr Moncrieff has contributed.
Another highlight of this issue for me is our ‘Experience’ piece, in which Max Marnau, a BACP senior accredited counsellor, shares the dilemma of whether to ‘come out’ to clients about her late diagnosis of autism. She also questions why therapy for autists still focuses on helping them conform to a neurotypical world.
I am aware that Therapy Today’s readers work in a wide range of settings and with a variety of modalities, but if we are BACP registered or accredited, one thing we all have in common is monthly supervision. Given that this is mandatory and a regular expense, it makes sense to get the most out of it, so this month we launch a new column to answer a common supervision question each issue. The first looks at the benefits of pre- and post-supervision reflection.
As this year progresses and we look forward to returning to a more ‘normal’ way of living, the long-term impact of the pandemic on our behaviour and relationships will no doubt emerge. In our ‘Core techniques’ article, Kate Merrick explores what we miss out on when we don’t experience regular touch, and its place in therapy. And in our cover feature, Jude Kiley-Morgan shares her personal experience of grieving during the pandemic (‘Seeking solace in togetherness’).
Of course, it’s not just clients who have been affected by the events of the past nine months. Many therapists were faced with transitioning to a new way of working and for some, it prompted the decision to retire. But knowing when to stop working can be tricky, given that therapy is one of the few professions where age doesn’t seem to count against us. And do we ever stop being therapists, whether or not we are working? I am grateful for the members who shared their open and honest insights into the complex issue of retirement from practice for this month’s ‘Talking point’.
Among the many other highlights in this issue, don’t miss the ‘Spotlight’ interview with Dawn Estefan, winner of the Baton Awards’ ‘Thought Leader of the Year’ category, who launched London’s first group therapy programme for black women. I feel sure you will find much that inspires and supports your practice in this, our first issue of 2021.
Sally Brown, Editor
'No matter how the Board and Committee members have arrived in their positions at BACP, we are very conscious of the aims and objectives of the organisation and our responsibilities to you'
Moira Sibbald on life as a BACP Trustee
‘I swapped addiction for therapy, conscious behavioural choice and self-care’
Gregory David writes our client column
Stepping back: How does it feel to retire
Money matters: Our ethics team considers this month's dilemmas
How do I prepare for supervision and get the most out of it?
Billie-Claire Wright speaks for herself
1. Moncrieff J. A straight talking introduction to psychiatric drugs: the truth about how they work and how to come off them. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books; 2020.
2. Duncan P & Marsh S. Antidepressant use in England soars as pandemic cuts counselling access. The Guardian 2021; 1 January. http://bit.ly/392nX34
3. Wilson M. Medicines used in mental health England 2015/16 to 2019/20. Newcastle: NHSBSA; 2020. http://bit.ly/2MAbfRX
4. Available at: www.bacp.co.uk/events-and-resources/ethics-and-standards/pdd-guidance