When I was considering a title for the front cover of the journal, I settled with ‘The hills are alive, with the sound of outdoor therapy’. Unfortunately, for the next week, I had countless songs from The Sound of Music swirling around my head. Not only that, but during breaks in my day when I take my daily constitution into the local hills of glorious Aberdeenshire, I felt a genuine extra bounce in my step, still serenaded or, by now, haunted, by the musical’s soundtrack.
It's been wonderful to get out and about a bit more since the ravages of COVID restrictions sent us into our lockdown burrows. Indeed, a bit of fresh air was one of the few tolerated freedoms. Being stuck indoors during these lockdowns really made me realise how important the great outdoors is. It’s fundamental to our body, mind and soul.
I’ve long been an enthusiast of therapy outdoors and am pleased to hear colleges and universities starting to pick up on this. There’s something quite different with a walk-and-talk where, rather than facing a client directly, the side-by-side companionship allows for a different way of communicating and expressing, while using the landscape as a backdrop smorgasbord. This isn’t limited to the FE and HE sector. Albeit not therapy, many organisations during COVID engaged with walk-and-talk meetings, and even though we’re out of the COVID strangle-hold, these continue with great enthusiasm.
I’m delighted to introduce Heidi Shingler, from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), in Fort William. Heidi, a lecturer and researcher in outdoor and adventure therapy, and also a counsellor, maps out the evolutionary path of adventure therapy and provides some insightful considerations for therapists interested in embarking on this form of therapy in Exploring the therapeutic adventure.
A welcome back to Sue Dale, coincidentally also from UHI, but this time from its Inverness campus. Sue shares a therapeutic experience with a client who had been struggling with a past trauma in Working with trauma. By tapping into the power of imagery, the client was able to articulate in a way that words could not.
Grateful thanks also to Jane Darougar. Many of our international students studying in the UK have come from countries experiencing armed conflict. Jane reflects on the work at her college to support these students, including those from Ukraine and Russia, in Accidentally displaced.
And finally, I offer my appreciation also to Ruth Whittle, who shares with us her ongoing research into student learning in Student and staff narratives on learning and teaching. People come to college and university to be educated and, hopefully, pick up some qualifications along the way. But the act of learning doesn’t come easily to everyone. The struggles may invariably involve trigger visits to student support and counselling services. It’s helpful, from our side, to understand how learning impacts the overall student experience.
This issue taps into the power of the outdoors, the power of imagery, the power of the therapeutic community and the power of learning.
The meaningful work we do collectively unleashes a lot of power.
Until next time, so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night.
University and College Counselling
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