In this issue

Features

Understanding Asperger syndrome
How would you respond if your client told you they had Asperger syndrome? Maxine Aston advises on how best to work and communicate with AS.

Retirement: when is it time to stop?
There are no guidelines for therapists on the right time to retire, so should people in their 80s still be practising?

The transition from student to counsellor
Leaving behind the security of college and peer support, one newly qualified counsellor looks back over her first year of private practice.

RCTs: a personal experience
Researching school counselling through RCTs has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for one PhD student.

The marriage of practice and science
What impact does therapists’ increasing involvement in research have on the way they see this activity?

Regulars

Questionnaire
Kathleen Adams

In practice
Kevin Chandler: The avoidance of endings

In training
Alex Erskine: Travelling to new places

From the chair
Dr Lynne Gabriel: Lobbying for wider patient choice

Day in the life
Addila Khan

Fiction
The Wednesday Group

Dilemmas
Threats to the frame

Cover of Therapy Today, September 2011

All articles from this issue are not yet available online. Members and subscribers can download the pdf from the Therapy Today archive.

Editorial

There is a wealth of information available to therapists working with clients with Asperger syndrome (AS), due in part to advances in neurological research. In brain scans of AS individuals, the part of the brain that governs empathy and insight has been shown to be inactive in processing information from others; instead the logical part of the brain becomes active. Understanding how AS clients use logic rather than being in touch with their feelings can help therapists who are trained to help clients express how they feel.

As Maxine Aston explores in her article, asking AS clients how they feel could create anxiety as their logical brain attempts to define and accurately explain the emotions going on inside them. Maxine who has specialised in working with AS for over a decade is concerned that without good awareness of the differences between AS and ‘neuro-typical’ individuals, therapists can end up working to bring emotions to the surface when this might be inappropriate and damaging to the client.

Also in this issue the debate continues about engaging with RCTs with an account from Kathryn McArthur of the human side of conducting this kind of research. Contrary to the common perception of an RCT as a detached, faceless study, Kathryn describes conducting a pilot RCT of school-based counselling as a positive experience largely because of the relationships she formed with the many young people who took part in the study. Interestingly, she writes, participants tended not to distinguish between counselling sessions and the research interviews – although these were structured differently – saying that they felt listened to, cared about, taken seriously and given a chance to talk things through, often for the first time.

Sarah Browne
Editor