In this issue
Faith in a foxhole
Mervyn Wynne Jones considers the demanding role of the army chaplain and how they combat emotional fatigue
Meeting the sacred feminine consciousness
Lina Mookerjee describes her own transformational journey to find her true self
Spirituality and coaching
Duncan Coppock reflects on the potent contribution of spirituality to his coaching work
Living with loss by drug addiction
Philippa Skinner explains how her son’s death from a heroin overdose has opened a door to a new life
Addiction, recovery and spirituality
Peter Hillen reflects on the role of religion and spirituality in recovery from problematic substance use
A journey to integration
Penelope Brown reflects on her research into how counsellors manage the task of being both a counsellor and a spiritual being
From the chair
Lynette Harborne: 2013 - year for elections and rebranding
Lead advisor update
Salma Khalid: The transcendent, the indescribable and the spiritual
Welcome from the editor
Since my last editorial in the Winter Issue of Thresholds, things have moved on apace here in Machynlleth. We still have the police searching; this week there were 125 of them from different forces across the UK, plus a mountain search team from Scotland, and as this journal goes to print we await the trial of a local man for murder. It seems a very dark time for this little Welsh market town.
Small threads of hope emerge, however. Small miracles. Children play in the snow – it has been several months since the sound of children playing filled the local park. Bulbs planted by local school children in memory of April start to send up small green shoots. Several community projects emerge, including a new young people’s choir. A small charity, CCSW,* has set up a ‘listening service’ to support local people trying to make sense of the traumatic happenings. Local people have been organising many community events to support the April Appeal and, as we talk and sing together, we begin tentatively to rebuild community and move forward in our grieving process. In the back of our minds, however, lurks a dark chasm: so much lost and so many unanswered questions.
As the community moves forward, I have been wondering, however, how as a family do you recover from losing a child? How can we as counsellors, psychotherapists and pastoral carers best support parents who are bereaved?
In this issue of Thresholds Philippa Skinner courageously shares and explores her own grief at losing her son to a heroin overdose at the age of 21 and how counselling training, concurrent spiritual reading and living with this loss enabled some level of healing. This, alongside an article from Peter Hillen that reflects on the role of spirituality in recovery from substance use, and Mervyn Wynne Jones’s article about the experiences of chaplains in the armed forces, where so many young service men and women have died, helps me recognise that counselling and psychotherapy are useful tools, but it seems to me that they are especially helpful when they are located firmly within the spiritual, whatever that spirituality may be; then they begin to take on an added dimension.
On the subject of integration, Penelope Brown shares her research with counsellors on how they are both counsellors and, at the same time, spiritual beings, and Duncan Coppock looks at how he integrates coaching with spirituality.
Many of you have written in response to articles in both the Autumn and Winter 2012 issues of Thresholds, saying how much you value the diversity of the articles and that you would also appreciate more input from Muslim, transpersonal and humanistic perspectives. If you are working in or are interested in these areas, then please do share your work with us.
Thank you for all your letters and feedback. It is important, I feel, that that the division, and indeed Thresholds, remains relevant to your work. I would encourage you to become involved in the forthcoming elections to the Executive, and also to continue to send your ideas for articles and feedback to authors that you would like published to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to see change, then this will only come from within and from you, the members.
Finally, Aabira, who wrote with me in the Autumn 2012 issue of Thresholds, sends a message in response to support and feedback from readers:
hearing my voice through others’ eyes,
it is like a miracle;
small silver hands of hope
that gather me, and fold me, in love.
A love that stretches across beliefs and cultures
and encourages me onwards.
Dr Susan Dale
* CCSW has set up a project in Machynlleth providing free counselling, an informal drop-in centre and a telephone helpline.