I’m delighted to have been appointed the editor of your journal. However, it is with some trepidation as I attempt to emulate the excellent work of my predecessor, David Mair. I salute and applaud David’s ability, over the last few years, to unearth some fascinating content and apply his editing skills to great effect. I would like to pass on my grateful thanks and best wishes to him.
I would also like to thank my employer, University of Aberdeen, for its support, which enables me to take on this role.
This issue continues to cover the COVID-19 pandemic, but I also wanted to include some non-pandemic material. I think we’re all struggling in one way or another to find our feet… and when we do find our feet, we realise we’re on unstable ground. Despite the festive break, or maybe because of it, we start the year with a deep breath and continued uncertainty.
Pandemic-fatigue has certainly taken root. New phrases have crept into our vocabulary, such as ‘The new normal’ (we’ve always argued there’s no such thing as normal), ‘It is what it is’ (meaning?) and the one which triggers my inner four-year-old tantrum, ‘You’re still on mute’!
I’m really pleased to introduce some cracking articles in this issue. Thanks to Sarah Hinds as she reflects on the digitalisation of HE counselling and considers some of the potential losses and costs for counsellors and clients alike. Grateful appreciation to Dr Richard Joseph Behun (Millersville University, US) and Dr Eric Owens (West Chester University, US) who explore the issue of pornography consumption by college students and how counsellors can support students in their journeys of exploration and sexual growth.
The TELL Study (Teenagers’ Experiences of Life in Lockdown) was a project set up by researchers across The University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University. Led by Dr Ola Demkowicz, Manchester Institute of Education, the aim was to explore subjective experiences of the initial lockdown among UK-based teenagers aged 16 to 19 years, with a particular emphasis on their wellbeing and how they were coping.
A final thank you to Anupama Garg, who reflects on the initial impact on the staff counselling service at UCLAN. I think we can all empathise with the challenges involved with a fast shift to remote working. I’m in awe of our community and how we seek to look after each other while we dig away for new and creative ways to serve our clients.
But ultimately, we need to look after ourselves. Those of you who are familiar with the 1980’s American TV police series Hill Street Blues will remember that each show started with a daily briefing from the Chief, which he always closed with, ‘Let’s be careful out there’.
This seems eerily pertinent to us all today.
Rick Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org