You’ll be reading this as spring triggers the emerging plant growth of a new year. Each season brings change. Change is all around us as part of the ebb and flow of life. And counselling services in the FE and HE sectors are all too familiar with change; some enforced, some by choice. 

The right intentions, intelligence and teamwork can soften the pain and create the positive outcome sought. I’m delighted to welcome part of the counselling service team from the University of Sheffield: Louise Knowles, Dale Kitchen and Ann-Marie Sloman, who have joined forces to share their experience of developing a unique change model. Their collaborative approach did make me think about using Sheffield United as the theme for the journal, but there are, of course, other jolly good football teams out there.

Grateful thanks also to Dominic McLoughlin for his thought-provoking perspective on creativity in student counselling in Making and finding creativity. He gets us to think about how art can transcend the cultural domain into the therapeutic one.

I had a fascinating conversation with Sarah Worley-James about online counselling. As the pandemic forced us to reconsider online work, she helped me better understand this brave, new world.

I’m pleased also to share some research carried out by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland into mental health for college students in News and resources: New research.

I’m really enjoying hearing from our three columnists, who are each bringing a fascinating perspective to the table. Sarah Hinds takes us back to the theme of change, and reflects on the influence of capitalist and neoliberalist business values on university counselling services in Ponderings of a counselling tutor. Kate Ashley writes about her approaching viva in Viva la viva and the anxieties this invokes (good luck, Kate!). And Michael Pearson discusses with a colleague the sense of an increasing prevalence of male body image issues in A conversation about male body image.

Thanks also for the regular contributions from Mary Jones, Notes from Colleges; Afra Turner, Notes from research SIG; and new Chair of HUCS, Jane Harris, who shed light on activities and initiatives within the division. We are hoping to appoint a couple more members onto the BACP UC Executive Committee – more on this later.

And rounding everything off nicely, we’re back to ‘Sheffield United’… and a profile of Dale Kitchen, Counselling and Therapies Service Manager at University of Sheffield in The Sheffield model.

Come on the Blades!

As a PS to this blog, I’d also like to shout out a massive thank you to Jacqui Gray. She’s our Divisional Journals Managing Editor. She’ll be retiring soon after some 13 years in post. Jacqui works largely behind the scenes, supporting and guiding the divisional journal editors to deliver the quality output that members enjoy today. She has been a hugely nurturing and conscientious managing editor, significantly raising the standards and quality of the journals over the years. While the divisional journal editors are in the limelight to receive the praise for each issue, it’s Jacqui who is the real unsung hero. We all wish you well for the future, Jacqui, and thank you for everything.  

Best wishes,