In this issue


Energetic connections
How ‘energetic connections’ can affect parent-child relationships

Dance, therapy and spirituality (free article)
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy: a practitioner’s viewpoint

Special focus
Path or Pathology?
A plea for practitioner awareness of spiritually ethical practice

The good practice guidelines needed for counselling, psychotherapy and pastoral care

The perils and pitfalls of sloppy spirituality
A request to carefully consider the nature, history and structure of what we describe as ‘spirituality’

Listening Point
Personal reflections on a project set up to support the community of Machynlleth

A study of pastoral counselling
Turkish-Muslim immigrants in Edinburgh


From the chair
Melody Cranbourne-Rosser: Stepping forward

From the lead advisor
Salma Khalid: Many shades of language express our spirituality

Cover of Thresholds, Winter 2013

All articles from this issue are not yet available online. Divisional members and subscribers can download the pdf from the Thresholds archive.

Welcome from the editor

The beginning of a new year usually means that we look back on the previous 12 months. For me, the last year has been extremely challenging. Not only were the events in Machynlleth unfolding around me, but my son was diagnosed with acute kidney failure. So, alongside my normal tasks I have been paying regular visits to stay with him and his young family in Kettering, trying to do my bit to help support all of them through what has been a rollercoaster of emotion.

It is from Kettering that I am writing today; the young people are at school, my daughter-in-law is at work, my son at hospital and I have a quiet house to myself, where the phone rings, but it is not for me, and my emails go unchecked. In the quietness there seems a ‘small still voice’ that calls me to reflect on what is going on around me, and learn.

What can we learn from the really difficult situations we live through, I wonder? I suppose that it is within the difficult situations that we start to evaluate our lives and ask what is important. Where do faith and God come into all of this?’ Working, as most of us do, as counsellors, psychotherapists and pastoral carers, we are called always to keep reviewing our work/life balance so that we can remain a major part of our own families and the communities in which we live.

I suppose that I am just starting to evaluate what all of these events have meant in my life, both professionally and personally, and that evaluation will take some time. You will see in this issue that I have included a short article about the project here in Machynlleth; a starting point in the exploration of being both therapist and community member.

Also within this issue, John Rowan asks us to think about the history and structure of what we describe as ‘spirituality’. This has given me much food for thought; what exactly is this thing we call spirituality? The Oxford English dictionary gives four distinct definitions:

  1. Relating to the soul or spirit, usually in contrast to material things 
  2. Relating to religious or sacred things rather than worldly things 
  3. Connected by an affinity of the mind, spirit, or temperament 
  4. Showing great refinement and concern with the higher things

This gives so much scope for opportunity, especially when combined with any of the descriptions in terms of counselling, psychotherapy and pastoral care, for richer practices which enable others to connect in some way with something outside the ordinary and the mundane, something I would perhaps call God, or the divine.

It always excites me to read of the extraordinary work of members of this division and I am delighted alongside John’s article to include another from Alan Wilson, describing his coaching work with families, where he has noticed the benefits of working with what he describes as the ‘energetic connection’. Gillie Jenkinson also shares insights from her work with people who have left cults; and Polly Burns, an equine-facilitated psychotherapist, explores the connections between dance, contemplative prayer and therapy.

We would like to ensure that Thresholds is getting it right for you. It seems important that the journal is both a resource and a reflection on your practice. You will find an online survey on the ASPCC website. 

This is your opportunity as a reader to have your say, so do take part! There is also still opportunity to contribute articles, letters, project reports, book reviews or personal reflections towards the spring, or summer issues of Thresholds. Email

Dr Susan Dale