The title of this issue is not a tribute to the 1980s’ thumping rock track by Gary Moore or a reflection of where I sometimes want to go when my workload goes stratospheric.
It is more a reflection that we live in a global society heavily influenced by developments in culture and society from around the world. In my own institution, University of Aberdeen, we have students of around 130 nationalities, and it is this rich cultural melting pot that allows the student community to enjoy the vibrant cultural diversity and experience that this brings.
Many institutions have a sizeable community of students from China, yet I wonder if they are disproportionately low users of counselling and support services? I’m therefore delighted to welcome back a familiar friend of our sector, Patti Wallace, who shares her experiences of counselling students in China. She examines the impact of culture and context on her counselling service at University of Nottingham Ningbo. Her article has given me much food for thought as I reflect on the potential variables that might influence service usage from this student group. Thanks also to Chungpin Huang, who has supported Patti with her article.
Over the last year, I know many of us have been grappling with the conundrum of how best to support our students outside the UK, particularly those affected by the pandemic restrictions. I’m grateful to Géraldine Dufour, from University of Cambridge, who teases her way through the rules and regulations that have limited the services that most of us have been able or willing to offer.
Speaking of limitations, it is the dreaded ‘W’ word, or Waiting List, which causes sleepless nights for many service heads and practitioners. This is one of the reasons why single-session therapy (SST) is gaining traction in our sector. While SST is credited with blitzing waiting times, this misses the bigger picture. The mindset is about enhancing client self-empowerment and offering a truly client-centred experience to provide counselling at the point of need, rather than at the point of availability. A massive thank you to Diana Konczak, who shares the experience of introducing SST into Solent University.
Back to University of Cambridge and I’m really pleased to hear a voice from staff counselling, an often unrecognised community. Thank you to Yvonne McPartland, who opens the door to what I hope will be a more regular presence in this journal. In this article, she reflects on how her staff counselling service responded to the pandemic.
Finally, I hope you’re not too worn out and ‘over the hill’ after the last challenging year and a bit. It’s been quite a roller-coaster… or ‘Coronacoaster’, as I’ve heard it called.
For those who can, I hope you manage to have a breather over the summer and find time for recovery, recuperation and rejuvenation.