In this issue
Three great untruths: a new tool to encourage cognitive reappraisal
Pamela Paresky and Greg Lukianoff highlight unhelpful assumptions which perpetuate perceptions of students as ‘fragile’
‘Being Outdoors’ at university: a practitioner’s experience
Ecotherapy offers much in demanding environments: Kathryn Morris-Roberts reflects on how engaging with the natural world provides a pathway to awareness, stress relief and creativity
Art therapy and the student mental health crisis
Creative therapies can facilitate exploration and group cohesion, believes Hannah Belcher, who shares her experience of working in this way at Anglia Ruskin University
Supporting transgender college students on university and college campuses (free article)
While counselling support is vital in supporting trans students’ journeys through college, so too is a willingness for therapists to become politically engaged. Marty Swanbrow Becker explores.
The compelling case for in-house counselling services for staff
Michelle Reynolds describes in-house support at Cambridge University, arguing for the value of embedded employee services
Obituary: Robin Dollery
Pat Hunt, former Head of Counselling at the University of Nottingham, pays tribute to a leading figure in student services, who died recently
Notes from the Chair
Notes from FE
Notes from HUCS
From the editor
Welcome back to a new academic year. How quickly the summer goes! And for those who continued to work during the vacation period, how little respite or let up there is in demand for services.
As ever, rising demand continues to put services under increasing pressure – in terms of seeing greater numbers of students than ever before, and also in terms of frequently needing to justify counselling interventions and prevent them from being watered down to a point where ‘therapy’ is no longer an appropriate description of what is being offered. In this issue, Pamela Paresky, and Greg Lukianoff (whose book, The Coddling of the American Mind, I greatly enjoyed), shine a light onto some of the cognitive distortions that may drive the rise in demand for ‘special circumstances’ and therapy for what seem to be normal emotional responses to transitions. Their device of ‘three great untruths’ offers a powerful tool to challenge unhelpful thinking which depicts students – to others and themselves – as ‘fragile’.
Undoubtedly, there are genuine sources of distress, experienced by individuals but located in the structures of our institutions. Trans students may be among some of the most vulnerable in terms of facing misunderstanding, prejudice and hostility. Marty Swanbrow Becker challenges us to ‘think outside the room’ about ways in which we can (should?) be working to create spaces where trans students feel safe, welcomed and understood.
And if the thought of another year of sitting in a chair opposite a never-ending flow of individuals feels daunting, how about trying something new and creative? Hannah Belcher and Kathryn Morris-Roberts describe innovative ways of working with groups of students which allow for expression and exploration of concerns in supportive ways.
Have a good year: and don’t forget – this is your journal. You make it what it is: I would love to hear from you with ideas and contributions.