From the Editor
Why is it so hard to hold on to the conviction that therapy works? Despite more than a decade of practice I still have days when my mind questions whether what I do actually makes any difference, usually after a session that has felt disjointed or disconnected. But what comes with experience is the ability to hold tight and not attach too much significance to those thoughts. And, thankfully, it’s never long before I experience the ultimate antidote to doubt – a session where there is no question that the work is making a difference to the client’s life.
As Matt Wotton and Graham Johnston point out in their ‘Opinion’ piece in this issue, therapy can be hard and slow, and even Freud yearned for it to be quicker. When doubts set in it’s easy to assume training in a new ‘add on’ is the answer. But, as the authors argue, by succumbing to therapy fads, we risk diluting our offering. They recommend basing CPD on client presentations, rather than feeling pressured to train in the latest technique. Of course, refreshing your skill set can be re-energising and it’s one of the many factors that can give a therapy career longevity – my own long-term plan is to pivot my practice by training in couples therapy. But before we pivot, is it better to pause and reconnect with the basics of therapy? As the authors point out, it’s the strength of the therapeutic alliance that changes lives, not any particular technique.
The importance of professional confidence is also a thread running through our ‘Big issue’ feature this issue, which explores why counselling remains largely inaccessible to clients with disabilities, even though so many of us now offer online therapy. It may feel ethical to turn down a client with disabilities if you feel the work is beyond your competence, but what that can mean for the client is a series of rejections – we can’t assume that ‘other therapists’ out there are better qualified and will pick up the work. The experiences of the clients interviewed by Catherine Jackson make for shocking reading, but their stories need to be told. It is important that we educate ourselves about the challenges disabled people face living in a society set up for the non-disabled, but what all the disabled people interviewed said they want from therapy is ultimately what we aim to offer every client – a safe, non-judgmental space to explore what is going on for them.
As ever, I hope there is something in this issue that supports your practice – do send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Brown, Editor
'We must establish in clean, concise terms what we do and how we do it'
Trustee Kate Smith on showing how we make a difference
'Imagine if we didn’t have to do therapy in the way we think we have to'
Jane Czyzselska on working with 'difference'
‘Therapy created the space I needed to accept myself'
Sabah Choudrey writes our client column
Making contact: How can we ensure potential clients find us?
Should a supervisee be challenged for not being honest?
‘We give clients the tools they need to look after their own mental health'
Kunlé Oyedeji on providing culturally appropriate counselling
Marilyn Gulland speaks for herself