Tackling a subject like neurodivergence in a limited number of pages is challenging because of the range and the depth of different issues it encompasses. As always, the content of this section was member-led, and each article was proposed by the individual author as an important and relevant topic for the wider membership.
Kathy Carter’s ‘Big issue’ idea came from her experience as a neurodivergent practitioner volunteering with an addiction service. Struck by the number of clients passing through the service whose experiences, challenges and symptoms matched those commonly experienced by people who are neurodivergent, she began researching the connection and found that while it is recognised at academic level, awareness of the correlation between autism and ADHD and addiction at service and practitioner level still lags behind. Kathy explores some of the questions raised by her research.
Our ‘Counselling changes lives’ story in this issue, ‘Behind closed doors’, also came out of research undertaken by a member, in this case more formally by Lucy Chantry for her doctorate. Inspired by her own experience of parenting an autistic child, she researched the lived experiences of parents of autistic daughters and found that in many cases seeking help for challenges experienced by their daughters led to scrutiny of both their parenting and their mental health, often by social services. Lucy’s report also looks at what we need to know to support this cohort.
'I am grateful to the practitioners who have shared the benefits of their knowledge and experience with the wider membership in this issue'.
I am delighted to introduce a new From the President column in this issue by Professor Lynne Gabriel OBE, BACP’s new President, who will use the space to keep you informed about what she is doing to support the membership and aims of the Association. Lynne is also one of the team of expert practitioners who are currently reviewing the Ethical Framework. You can read profiles of all the team in this issue. Their diverse professional backgrounds and life experiences are a testament to the richness of our professional community – to give you a brief snapshot, one relaxes as a drum and bass DJ, one has just published a book of poetry, and another is an apprentice in a ceilidh band – all while also carrying out demanding and high-level work in the field. Don’t miss the ‘Spotlight’ article.
As always, I am grateful to the practitioners who have shared the benefits of their knowledge and experience with the wider membership in this issue, and I hope you find something that informs and supports your practice.
Sally Brown Editor