Two recent television series depict grooming, abuse and rape by two celebrity sexual predators.1,2 Both used their status and charitable work to gain access to hundreds of young and vulnerable (sometimes dead) women and girls. The subtext was, these were crimes of their time; things were different then; we were more naïve and subservient to men in power. I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the documentary about another popular, charismatic and slightly eccentric celebrity, whose alleged crimes of rape and sexual misconduct straddled more recent decades.3 There are ongoing accusations of sexism, abuse and misogyny against countless other high-profile celebrities, broadcasters and journalists. So, what’s changed? Not the statistic about violence and sexual violence against women and girls; not the fact that perpetrators get away with heinous sexual crimes; not the damaging impact of victim blaming: She agreed to see him. She dressed provocatively. She was asking for it.

Recently too, I’ve presented a workshop about gender, consulted to a working group about relationship education in schools, been commissioned to write about what it means to be a woman today, and written a chapter about contemporary gender stereotypes. I was reminded of the nursery rhyme: ‘Boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails and girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice’. Do you remember that rhyme from your childhood? If so, how has it informed your biases and assumptions about gender? Within the context described, it’s safe to say I’ve been thinking a lot about how societal representations of gender affect young people, and what, if anything, has changed. This led me to revisit and revise an article I wrote for BACP CYPF journal in 2011, about the impact of violence and sexual violence in the home and online through a 2023 lens. Regrettably, ‘Where lunatics (still) prosper’ feels just as relevant today as it did then, in the context of almost daily reports of misogynistic media and gender-based violence.  

Undoubtedly, what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world effects what’s going on ‘in here’ in the therapy room, and it’s no coincidence that social and political themes run throughout the December issue of BACP CYPF journal. ‘Why therapy is political’ perhaps has the most overt message, and urges us to address issues of identity and cultural competency in the counselling room. In ‘Difficult parent or traumatised parent?’, the authors discuss how hard it is for parent carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to navigate educational, health and social care systems. In ‘Honest and curious’, the author shares how she is supported to talk about sex and reproductive health with her young clients by the Welsh Government’s new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum. In ‘Muddy waters’, dilemmas around confidentiality and information-sharing with adolescents are explored.  

As counsellors and psychotherapists, we are never Just listening, which is the title of two pieces in the December issue that subtly challenge the misconception of the prefix ‘just’. I would like to add that we are never just listening to the young person in the room either; we are also listening to what’s going on in the external world; the social and political noise which provides the context to our work.  

Jeanine Connor Editor  


1. The Reckoning [Television] (accessed November 2023).
2. Rolf Harris: hiding in plain sight [Television] (accessed November 2023).
3. Russel Brand: in plain sight: Dispatches [Television] (accessed November 2023).  

Get in touch. If you would like to write a response to anything in this issue, or wish to write a review or submit a proposal for an article, contact me at Please do not send unsolicited articles.