One of the most rewarding aspects of this role is making connections with members. Often it starts with an email, like the one from Abigail Denny, which contained a simple challenge – ‘Why don’t you have any disabled therapists in articles?’ She pointed out that our coverage of disability issues was client focused and there was little representation of disabled people working within the profession.
‘Are we not part of the community?’ she asked. Our subsequent email exchange led to Abigail’s ‘Experience’ article in this issue in which she describes training as a therapist after surviving a brain haemorrhage that affected her speech and mobility. Abigail had to overcome being stared at and talked over in her therapy training, then asked by her first therapist why she chose to train in a talking therapy. It seems our acceptance and non-judgment as a profession has limits. Callum Jones describes his neurodivergence being treated with ‘apprehension and confusion’ during his training: ‘There seemed to be an unspoken message that this was not a place for a neurodivergent, as those with autism are unable to recognise emotional and social cues (a myth).’ As a wheelchair user, Craig Johnson says that without the post-pandemic opening up of online work, he couldn’t have accessed the therapy or supervision required to complete his training. As he puts it: ‘It strikes me as odd that so many of those in private practice seem to work from inaccessible spaces, almost as if they personally don’t expect to have to consider client access, even when they are apologetic, empathic and understanding of the issue.’
Under the 2010 Equality Act, anyone offering a service has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent people and clients with disabilities so that the service is accessible to them. This includes those in private practice – it’s not just something that can be left to ‘specialist services’. Our first ‘Accessibility issue’ was inspired by the publication of a new BACP Good Practice in Action resource that addresses this issue and advises private practitioners on what ‘reasonable adjustments’ look like in terms of advertising, contracting and delivery of services.
"Anyone offering a service has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent people and clients with disabilities so that the service is accessible to them"
We have more compelling stories elsewhere in this issue. Don’t miss Sharon Watt’s account of the course of action she followed when her very first placement client alerted her to a possible terrorism risk. Jenny England meanwhile shares insights from working with clients with life-limiting diagnoses, and Francis Norton describes how training as a therapist helped him piece together the factors that triggered his previous career burnout, which then inspired his specialism. As ever, I am grateful to all the practitioners who have taken the time to share the benefit of their experiences with their fellow members.
If you have a story to tell, do drop us a line at email@example.com
Sally Brown, Editor