It has been a busy season for the Executive over the past four months. We made it a priority to participate in BACP’s Making Connections events held in Nottingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. Our desire was to meet as many of our divisional members as possible through informal and focused networking opportunities.

I headed to the Making Connections conference in Belfast on 24 October, attended by over 150 delegates. We listened to three excellent presentations focused on the theme of the impact of talking therapies with victims and survivors of the Troubles and the need to consider the principles of self-care and fitness to practise when working with trauma. See details of the programme and speakers.

The early afternoon session was dedicated to connecting with people with similar interests to share ideas. Over 20 people took part in the BACP Spirituality roundtable discussion, hosted by Hilda McKinney and myself. Some important discussion began on questions such as: ‘How do I work ethically and effectively with spirituality in therapy?’ and ‘What happens when clients use faith/spirituality as an unhelpful defence against reality?’.

A keen interest was expressed by all present in joining a network group to discuss these and other related questions on spirituality and counselling. Plans are now well under way to launch a BACP Spirituality network group in Northern Ireland in early 2019, and Hilda McKinney has been approached by BACP to be involved in co-ordinating it. Details will be advertised on the BACP Events page.

Our Working with Soul in Supervision conference, held in Gateshead on 11 October, was a resounding success, with over 110 delegates travelling from the four nations to hear five presenters offer their different perspectives on experiences of soul in supervision. The articles in this issue of Thresholds reflect the content of the presentations, and speakers’ notes are available to download.

Volunteers who give of their time, energies and expertise at all levels of the organisation were thanked and honoured by BACP at the volunteers gathering on 16 November in Birmingham, followed by the AGM. It was great meeting so many volunteers involved in other divisions, and trustees, as well as staff from BACP House. There was fresh thinking together around the challenge to see social justice informing everything we do, including how counselling can change not just the lives of individuals, but of families and communities. Building on this, BACP will be partnering with ACA and IACP to host an international conference on social justice: Let the Voices be Heard! An International Conversation on Counselling, Psychotherapy and Social Justice on Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 October 2019 at the Europa Hotel, Belfast. Early booking is advised.

At the BACP Spirituality Executive meeting on 19 November 2018, in dialogue with current members of the Executive, five potential new Executive members and BACP staff considered ways of implementing our key strategic intent: ‘To transform the membership list of BACP Spirituality division into vibrant regional communities of practice, united by Thresholds (our divisional journal) and a more effective online presence, seeking ways to utilise the resources and expertise within these communities.’

We plan to conduct a member survey to discover more of what our divisional members need and value, and identify resources within the division to develop regional communities of practice over the next year. Please feel free to contact me or any of the BACP Executive members if you have any ideas about how a regional community of practice could be established in your region. Perhaps you could be a network facilitator? If so, Tracy Shrimpton, Governance and Volunteers Officer, would love to connect with you. You can email her at:

However 2018 has ended and the new year begun for you, may you find courage, wisdom and joy to guide you through the challenges and adventures ahead.


Maureen Slattery-Marsh is Chair of BACP Spirituality. To contact Maureen, please email