In this issue


Special focus
‘The dog it was that died’– or two cheers for hypocrisy
Charles Hampton questions perfectibility and looks at the topic of judgment

It’s God’s job to do the ripples (free article)
David Waite reflects on his approach to counselling and questions how responsible we are for outcomes

Hearing the death knell
Jonathan Tidmarsh explores the topic of near death awareness and its implications for dying and bereaved people

Student perspectives
How to deal with a mid-course crisis
Amanda Anderson describes four important qualities that help her through her psychotherapy training


From the chair

Ask Kathleen
Kathleen Daymond explains the Ask Kathleen guidance and information service

Cover of Thresholds, Winter 2014

A pdf of this issue is available in the Thresholds archive

Welcome from the editor

As a psychotherapy student, I judge myself, I receive feedback from my peers (some of which could be regarded as judgmental), I’m assessed by my tutors and I imagine that when I start seeing clients I may feel judged by them and vice versa. Before I started training as a psychotherapist I had always thought of myself as a pretty non-judgmental person. I remember being surprised, when I attended my first meditation retreat, by how many stories I concocted about the people sitting near to me. I found myself jumping to conclusions before I had had any chance to get to know my fellow retreatants. Now that I’m in the conscious incompetence phase of my training, I’m extremely aware of how judgmental I am and can be.

In this issue, Charles Hampton’s special focus article is a thought provoking and imaginative exploration of judgment. I was fascinated to read about the origin of the seven deadly sins and which one is regarded as the deadliest!

David Waite reflects on his own approach to the spiritual in counselling. How much control do we have over outcomes in counselling? Are we responsible for the outcome of our work, or do other factors come into play? Counsellors and therapists play major roles in setting up the conditions for healing, but are their roles limited?

I’m currently training as a bereavement support volunteer alongside my MA training, where we are also focusing on the topic of death and dying. November in the UK is the month of remembrance. As part of my homework, I had to review a book on the topic of bereavement. I chose a book that has just won the 2014 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction. H is for hawk, by Helen Macdonald, is a beautiful book, written by a woman grieving for her father.1 She also explores the life of the writer, T H White, who wrote The once and future king (one of my father’s favourite books).2 Throughout H is for hawk Macdonald describes her experience of training a goshawk. This brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from T H White, said by Merlyn to the young King Arthur: ‘The best thing for being sad … is to learn something.’

Jonathan Tidmarsh’s thoughtful article explores the topic of near death awareness and how an understanding of it may help the relatives and friends of dying people and their counsellors. 

I have introduced a new category of article (Student perspectives) in the hope that we will hear from students and their approaches to spirituality during their training. I feel very fortunate to be doing a course that pays a lot of attention to the spiritual. My article describes four qualities that play major roles in Buddhist practice and that I find very resourcing during my training. It feels important to include views from people at various stages along the way. I feel the novice can learn so much from more experienced practitioners, and sometimes, hearing from someone with a beginner’s mind can be valuable to those with more experience.

BACP provides a service for clients, called ‘Ask Kathleen’, and inside this issue, Kathleen Daymond explains her role and how clients can benefit from the service.

I’m going to be heading far east for Christmas and New Year. I have a beautiful wish-fulfilling bowl from Japan, given to me as a present, and I would like to wish all our readers all the best for 2015. May it be a fruitful year with many interesting articles and discussions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Amanda Anderson


1. Macdonald H. H is for hawk. London: Jonathan Cape; 2014.
2. White TH. The once and future king. London: Harper Voyager; 1996.