I have recently changed my morning wake-up ritual. In the past, I would get up, for some reason always putting my feet into the wrong slippers, trip down to the kitchen, click on the kettle and, while slowly waiting for it to boil, glance at my mobile phone to scroll through several news websites. Scroll after scroll after scroll… I’d sigh with a deep heart as I flicked through one depressing news item after another. What a mess out there these days.
Eventually, I would retreat upstairs, usually after another kettle boil, with a nice cup of tea for my wife. She’d usually smile sleepily and, aware of my ritual, ask, "So, what’s happening in the world today?" My usual response, as I rolled my eyes and exhaled defeatedly, was, "You don’t want to know".
Now, with a keener alertness to slipper choices, I skip downstairs and have a play and tummy-tickle with Ginger, an excitable Cockapoo puppy, who we frequently foster. Letting her out for her morning ritual, she scampers around, without a care in the world, while I top up the bird feeders. I breathe in, savour the crisp, morning air and smile.
Returning inside, I make and deliver the tea, without a sniff of any news updates. "So, what’s happening in the world today?" my wife asks. "It’s a beautiful day," I beam.
With so much chaos and crisis in the world, it can be difficult to see past it all. How can we stay grounded, mindful and positive? When will the fog clear?
Uncertainty and ambiguity encourage us to reach for a state of emotional stability. As mindfulness becomes a popular pathway to achieve a personal grounding, in this issue, I’m delighted to introduce Dr Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain at the University of Edinburgh. Kitty found that many of her students have had a history of trauma, and she explains how we need to adopt a trauma-sensitive approach to mindfulness in Trauma-sensitive mindfulness for students: and overview.
Mental health mentoring is increasingly becoming part of the wider student support package. In his fascinating review of his PhD research in On becoming a mental health mentor, Pablo Van Schravendyk captures the actual experience of mentors as they develop into their role and manage the challenges and obstacles along the way.
Grateful thanks also to suicide prevention champion and campaigner Adam Shaw. As founder of Triggerhub, Adam demonstrates that talking about lived experiences of mental health struggles helps to make the sometimes-difficult conversations more accessible to students in Student suicide prevention.
I hope you are enjoying hearing from our columnists, Michael Pearson in Perspectives in conversation with a mixed-heritage woman and Sarah Hinds in Ponderings of a counselling tutor. In this issue, Robert reflects on an absorbing experience with a counsellor of mixed heritage. Sarah taps into her own experience of transition to discuss the concept of liminality, so pertinent today in our crisis-strewn world. And to boost this segment further, I’m pleased to introduce Kate Ashley as our new student columnist, sharing her experience of final-year counselling training in The final countdown.
Our popular Profile piece returns with a fascinating insight into Robert Sookhan, counsellor at St George’s, University of London.
I hope you can find your own way to stay grounded, mindful and positive (I call it my inner-Ginger), so we can savour the beautiful things out there and support each other during the tough times.
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BACP Universities and Colleges division
BACP UC is a specialist division for those involved in the management and delivery of counselling services in FE and HE.
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