In this issue
Bringing the ‘self’ into self-harm
Andrew Reeves outlines why we need to understand our own process, in order to make sense of our client’s
Counsellor in court
Peter Jenkins interviews Aileen Ross about her experience
The antidepressant generation
Why the medicalisation of developmental difficulties is a concern for Doris Iarovici
Hard work miracle
How a therapeutic men’s group was founded. By Rob Sharp and Dan Pitt
It’s not what we say but how we say it
The relationship between attachment styles and communication technology is explored by Linda Cundy
When the worst happens
Managing the aftermath of student suicide
Pat Hunt, Head of the University Counselling Service at the University of Nottingham
Notes from HUCS
Eileen Smith reflects on her professional life
Notes from the Staff Counselling special interest group
Eamonn O’Mahony and members of the Staff Counselling SIG committee outline the benefits of joining the group
Notes from the chair
Notes from the FE special interest group
From the editor
The theme of this issue of the U&CC journal is ‘Difficult conversations’. So much of the work we do is about enabling clients to find a way to say what has previously been inexpressible for them. Some words are harder to find than others though. There are other areas of difficult conversation too – not written about in this issue – relating to counselling services being reduced and/or staff numbers being cut, particularly in further education.
Perhaps there is a parallel process going on here, for I am finding it hard to express what I want to, about this issue. It feels important to give credit to those writers who have shared something of themselves and their internal dialogue – their own ‘difficult conversations’.
In particular Andrew Reeves, in his article ‘Putting the “self” into self-harm’, encourages us to look and question within, as well as outside, ourselves. I found his assertion that, ‘No matter how settled and safe our lives might be, we are all just one heartbeat away from a crisis’, both moving and strangely reassuring. A sort of, ‘It’s not just me, then?’ A permission to carry on wrestling with the awkward truths of life.
Perhaps the most painful truths in the issue, though, are those shared by the author whose college suffered two student suicides. After the initial, reeling numbness she talks about the college’s need for a ‘well-thought-out plan’ – but this is coupled with a fear that ‘talking about it’ might, in some way, make such actions contagious. As she explains, ‘What a difference one phone call can make, when you are speaking to an expert in their field. “Talk about it,” they said… If we are confident in talking about suicide, then maybe our students will be too.’
I hope that in some way this issue opens the door to ‘talking about it’ – whatever and however difficult ‘it’ might be.