I'm neurotypical. Do I therefore make assumptions about how others experience the world? Probably. I might also make assumptions about people who are neurodivergent. But I'm much more likely to notice and challenge any assumptions since reading Max Marnau’s article about working with autistic clients, or with clients who might be discovering their identity as autistic.
Max is an autistic therapist and in our January issue she challenges us to examine our attitudes to and beliefs about autism. If we see autism as a medical deficiency or disorder, characterised by impairments, we might send a potentially autistic client straight to the GP. But if we see autism as a difference, a way of experiencing and processing the world that is not predominant, then we might proceed differently. We might instead offer the client the opportunity to discover and explore their new identity.
Max writes in her article about the relief that accompanied her own diagnosis. Victoria Wilson also experienced relief when she was diagnosed with ADHD, aged 40. Victoria explains in this issue that counselling gave her the strength to seek an ADHD assessment. The resulting diagnosis enabled her to understand her difference and to reappraise the predominant, neurotypical standards and expectations.
We perhaps also make assumptions about women who have terminated a pregnancy. Women might therefore feel unable to talk about their experience, through fear of disapproval, judgment or condemnation. Emma Harris writes in this issue about termination due to foetal anomaly – and how silence can isolate women and disenfranchise grief. She also talks to six women who have bravely broken the silence to tell their stories.
I have a work wardrobe, a set of clothes that I wear when I'm with clients. I like my work clothes; they reflect my ‘style’ and my taste. But they're work clothes – and I wouldn’t wear them anywhere else. It’s a boundary that helps me to separate my professional from my personal life. I've never really talked about clothes with colleagues, so it was good to read the article in our January issue, which discusses what to wear for work and the potential impact on our clients and the therapeutic relationship.
Also in this issue, Chris Athanasiadis explores how supervision can help trainee counsellors to develop their skills and gain professional confidence. But you don’t have to be a trainee, or a supervisor, to read the article. It’s a useful reminder of the value and importance of a safe space to discuss our clinical work openly and honestly.
Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
Subscribe for free access to the online journal
BACP Healthcare division
BACP Healthcare is for counsellors, psychotherapists and related professionals providing psychological therapies in healthcare settings in the public, private and third sectors.
Blogs and vlogs 2022
News and views from members, staff and clients
Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.