I am delighted to introduce the new Editorial Advisory Board, the group of talented practitioners who have agreed to share their professional and personal experience to inform and shape the content of Therapy Today. Finding the right team wasn’t easy – I was seeking working practitioners, but also ‘experts’ in an area relating to diversity, with experience or an interest in writing and the publishing process. Part of the Advisory Board’s remit is to ensure that Therapy Today feels like an inclusive and welcoming place for all – I know we don’t always get it right but we are committed to listening and learning, and welcome the guidance that the Advisory Board will bring. You can read about them and their hopes for Therapy Today in the ‘Spotlight’ feature.
We also launch a new-look ‘Dilemmas’ section this issue, starting with a topic that has been the subject of much debate on social media – whether we can ask clients about their vaccination status. The section will now combine an in-depth answer from BACP’s Ethics team with responses from practitioners. We’ve tweaked this in response to feedback from members who missed the peer advice shared in a previous version of this section. I hope this new ‘hybrid’ approach will combine the best of both expert and member advice.
Hybrid has become a bit of a buzzword of late – the future of working, we are told, is a hybrid or blended approach with both remote and in-person contact, which I explore in the ‘In practice’ feature this issue. Like many practitioners, I’ll continue to offer online sessions as part of my practice alongside in-person work. Once I let go of the ‘it’s not the same’ thinking and assessed online and telephone sessions on their own merits, rather than how they compared with being in the room, I noticed a new quality of connection and the possibility of in-depth, focused communication. I was also struck by how quickly clients adapted and how the balance of power shifted slightly in clients’ favour – now they can take sessions in the comfort of their homes, without needing to travel. Many practitioners have noticed their client cancellation rate has gone down as a result.
Of course, it’s not just transport issues that stop a client from attending a session. As Frances Bernstein explores in our cover feature ‘Understanding why clients drop out’, sometimes the client is communicating something important when they don’t turn up. DNAs, as they’re often known, are frustrating, stalling the work and leaving us wondering if the client is OK, and what we might be missing or not getting right.
The pandemic is far from over. In ‘Talking point’, five students share their experiences of training during the lockdowns. And in our ‘Counselling changes lives’ section, Rob Buttery describes his moving experience of setting up a telephone counselling service in a women’s prison during lockdown.
I don’t have space to do justice to all the content of this issue, but I would like to draw your attention to our ‘Big issue’ feature. Catherine Jackson discusses research findings – new and old – on what makes a difference to client outcomes. Some of it is challenging, but all of it is important. And don’t miss the SCoPEd update, where we hear from employers and commissioners who believe SCoPEd will help make counsellors more employable.
As ever, your feedback – positive or otherwise – is always welcome. Do email your thoughts on any of the content to me at email@example.com
Sally Brown, Editor
'The preparation for this year’s AGM (on 5 November) has been ongoing since the end of last year’s event'
Natalie Bailey gives an update on the AGM
‘It turned out I didn’t really know how I felt about anything’
Felix White writes our client column
Lockdown for students: How did the pandemic affect trainee therapists?
Can we ask clients about their vaccination status?: Our ethics team considers this month's dilemma
Lisa Bent speaks for herself