Oh, I do like to live beside the seaside… Except in mid-summer, when hordes of holidaymakers take up every table in every café, bar and restaurant; and a deluge of day trippers descend on our beautiful beaches, leaving their plastic detritus for locals to clean up before it inevitably ends up polluting the North Sea. I may be exaggerating, but only a little. Often, in the summer, I skip the beach in favour of the tropical oasis I’ve created just outside my back door. It’s lush, verdant and peaceful: my little piece of paradise; my therapy. As a coastal dweller and enthusiastic gardener, I’m acutely attuned to the changing seasons, and the impact of our collective actions on the local environment and wider world.
It’s no surprise to me that so many fellow therapists are keen gardeners and environmentalists too, because gardening and therapy have much in common. They require us to be passionate about our craft and believe that things can change, and that people and plants will grow. We must trust in the process and share a desire to make people healthier and the world a better place. Both gardening and therapy require oodles of patience – we must sit with/through the dormancy, trusting and believing that, most of the time, we will be rewarded with literal or metaphorical growth.
June is Pride month, and I hope those joining in with events, either as members of the LGBTQ+ community or allies, will have a wonderful, peaceful, passionate time. I know from reader feedback that you welcome my encouragement, as editor of BACP CYPF journal, to talk more comfortably and inclusively about sex and gender, and my efforts to challenge biases and misconceptions are appreciated too. In the June issue, we have two articles about gender and sexuality which are threaded with passion, trust and desire. In our featured article, What I wish you knew, Harry Nicholas shares his experiences, as a young trans man, and suggests the ways we can support trans young people in our counselling rooms. In Beyond the binary, Jack Lynch argues that educating ourselves about the language designed to explain and understand gender and sexuality could literally save LGBTQ+ young people’s lives. Our collective curiosity and willingness to engage in these topics, in the counselling room and beyond it, is making a real difference to LGBTQ+ young people and their families.
Language is the main stock-in-trade of talking therapies (and of writing and editing), but we know from our training and clinical experience that communication isn’t just verbal. In No good at art? Steph Eastwood explores the ‘third focus’ of art and play, which, she writes, can deepen conversations and facilitate connection and expression; while Malka Gluck reflects on the nonverbal communication between herself and her grandson in Observing an infant, and draws parallels with her role as a trainee psychotherapist. Sarah Kuppen shares the findings of research which aims to understand the provision of secondary school counselling in Supporting students in school, and I share the results of our Readers’ survey and introduce our new BACP CYPF Executive Committee in Meet the Committee.
As ever, I am grateful for all the contributions which make up the June issue. Most writers are prompted by a passion for and a belief in the work that we do, and a desire to share their experiences for the greater good. They trust me to edit them sensitively, and to encourage and sometimes challenge. Writing those articles, editing, illustrating and curating them, like therapy and like gardening, takes oodles of patience. I think the results are worth it.