Counsellors Together UK Newsletter

Page 1

SEPT. 2019 | ISSUE 4


BACP Resolution Result As most of you will be aware, in August 2019 Erin Stevens and Tara Shennan (BACP members) submitted a resolution asking BACP members to vote to scrap the somewhat controversial SCoPEd framework. In this year’s voting process, a record high of 2552 people voted, equating to 5.1% of the BACP membership. In total 1780 people voted in support of the scrap SCoPEd resolution, and 772 people didn’t vote for it, or didn’t vote against it. This means that, although the scrap SCoPEd resolution gained 69.58% of the total number of votes, it was denied an opportunity to make it to the next stage of voting at the AGM as it didn't meet the 5% threshold of votes needed.

Contents of this month's issue:


There continues to be much debate around the 'fairness' of the BACP motions and resolutions voting process. To find out more about the resolution and our further thoughts about it, you can read more on the News section of our website here: Also, search #SCoPEd on Twitter


On 20th September 2019, CTUK admin attended the Drop the Disorder Book Launch event. As we listened to Lucy Johnson outlining the Power Threat Meaning Framework (must see), we found it interesting to note the stark similarities from the power constructs mentioned yesterday with clients and those we face as counsellors in the historical and current climate. Ideologically - the theory vs theory arguments and how these are argued to reflect a counsellor’s worth and core being. A massive area that seems to be increasing exponentially right now is the link between speaking out against oppression and other injustices, and the silencing, gaslighting and general view that those who speak out cannot be a good person and certainly not a good counsellor. The identity of what makes a good counsellor has gone beyond our direct interactions and the value we hold to our clients, and out towards how we are as humans interacting with the world. “Why can’t you hold the conditions of a counsellor, constantly?” We don’t expect this elsewhere.

Perhaps the most restrictive of these is the idea that we should be wholly nonjudgemental. Aside from being a form of unattainable perfectionism, it stunts us. It stops us speaking out against the things we SHOULD be judging and casting a critical eye over. How can we best serve clients if we cannot challenge abusive and oppressive processes through fears of being (ironically) judged as unprofessional. This isn’t to say that those who do not speak out, are flawed either - we all live and operate under these power constructions. We all have to do what is best for our own wellbeing and safety. But it’s not unprofessional to speak out. To not be completely amenable and compliant to the powers that be. Membership organisations exist within an accountability framework and we need to actually hold them accountable. Worse than this growing social construction, is the broad sanctioning of it by some membership bodies, who frame dissent, activism and uncertainty under the umbrella of ‘disorder’ and ‘dysfunction.’ Only a few months ago, a BACP press release likened growing challenges to SCoPEd to the processes a client experiences. As if not diminishing enough, it also frames them and more widely other membership bodies as being the expert, the overriding power that we should submit to. A submission that, recent sharing amongst peers, have shown counsellors are beginning to keenly feel - to avoid poverty, to avoid leaving the profession they love and the clients they care about, they feel the need to ‘fall in line.’

To further this, in the BACP private Facebook group there’s a thread pathologising those who chose to speak out against SCoPEd and even after complaint and challenge from the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union, this thread has been allowed to remain by BACP.

Beyond theoretical and academic discussions on what is the best way to do therapy, we have an insidious move to mirror the unscientific diagnostic framework (a framework which in itself is challenged by those previously overseeing the development of a diagnostic framework). It then ranks professionals based on their willingness to adopt this ideology. In alignment with this, was some mention of SCoPEd and it dawned on us that if SCoPEd does progress, then counselling and counsellors themselves will become medicalised by default - because to move up the hierarchy you have to train on a more medicalised training. How ironic that membership bodies are trying to push SCoPEd through when it feeds into the system of medicalising and pathologising clients, when there is such a movement to move away from this! We noted that those ‘above’ continually tell us, either directly or indirectly, “Think our way, speak our way, act our way.” At CTUK we simply say ‘No.’

Maria and Glenna with their copies of the Drop the Disorder Book - Highly recommended! You can buy yours here:

We are so excited to let you know about our brand new

CTUK Members Club

Excellent Value! Launching only 4 weeks ago, we are very grateful to have had almost 80 counsellors sign up and join us.... several of you have ordered websites, the online directory is starting to fill up.... and people are starting to book onto our CPD workshops, which you can check out below. Our Online CPD Hub is due to open in October 2019, and furthermore, we have helped four CTUK members to gain employment as counsellors and tutors with JHD Counselling Service , our face-to-face training provider.

Open to both trainee and qualified counsellors/therapists. You can find out more and join us here:


Am I ‘Good Enough?’ Am I good enough? Who decides? Who decides if anybody is good enough or not good enough? Donald Winnicott, a British paediatrician and psychoanalyst, introduced the concept of the ‘good enough mother’ in the 1950s. He observed thousands of babies with their mothers. He developed the theory that the babies and children who grew up more resilient and content, were the ones whose mothers or primary caregivers gradually allowed their child to make mistakes, fall down, or not always get their own way. He believed that a good mother is a ‘good enough mother’.

I have many clients who come to me feeling that they don’t really deserve to be in my counselling room. They observe that there are other people much worse off than them. They feel that their problems are small and insignificant compared to people around them. Yet they are distressed, anxious, depressed, feel isolated or withdrawn. Without realising it, they believe they are not good enough. There will be many of us, clients and therapists alike, who may have felt, or still feel, like this.

"When a client believes that they are not good enough, they feel unworthy based on how they think other people want them to be."

When a client believes that they are not good enough, they feel unworthy based on how they think other people want them to be. Carl Rogers, the father of the Person Centred Approach in counselling, talked about ‘conditions of worth.’ He proposed that people have a basic need for approval and because of this, we are drawn to ways of behaving to gain this approval from others. A young child quickly learns that some behaviours are more acceptable than others. They learn to behave a certain way, suppress certain feelings or expressions, and hide what they really feel, in order to gain this approval. Eventually, maybe on a subconscious level, they are constantly trying to live up to those expectations that they have created for themselves. Sometimes these expectations can be imposed upon them by parents or caregivers. This can lead to constantly feeling that they are not good enough. ‘I need to change, I need to be a better person, it’s all my fault.’ ‘I don’t deserve to be happy, I deserve to be treated badly, I’m a bad person.’

My daughter’s refreshing, somewhat simplistic, if not blunt approach to life is ‘if you don’t like it, lump it’. According to the Cambridge Dictionary online, this phrase means you are telling someone that they must accept the situation whether they like it or because it can’t be changed. What my daughter means by it is ‘what you see is what you get, if you don’t like it, put up with it. This is me; good bits, bad bits, if you don’t like it, too bad because I’m not going to change for anyone.’ She’s comfortable in her own skin. How refreshing is that?

Everything that has happened makes us who we are. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s kind of true. Isn’t it? I remarried three years ago in August 2014 at the age of 52. In my wedding speech I said ‘my children, especially my daughter maybe, will tell you that I believe that life is an adventure. Sometimes it’s a roller coaster. Things can come across our path that we have no control over, and when we least expect them. Some things are harder to deal with than others, but everything that happens to us on that adventure makes us stronger, teaches about ourselves and about life.’ In my own life, for many years I have felt that I wasn’t good enough; everything was my fault, I was to blame for people being upset or relationships that went wrong. I needed to change; I was too moody, too bossy, too clumsy, or too thoughtless. I should be a better person, friend, partner. My self-esteem and confidence were very low and I did feel that I could never live up to other people’s expectations of me. I realise now that these were the expectations I placed upon myself. After many years of my own personal therapy and experiences working with clients, I’m now able to think a bit like my daughter: ‘don’t like it, lump it.’ As in; this is me, this is who I am, warts and all. Everything that’s happened in my life has shaped me into who I am and I am able to accept myself. I still have high expectations, but these are now realistic ones. I talk about expectations with my clients. Expectations are good, they help us to do a good job, be thoughtful, finish an essay on time, but it’s important to keep them realistic and achievable. As Val Wosket writes: ‘it is fundamentally important that the counsellor is able to help the client see that the ingredients of good parenting … may be found within the client themselves.’ (Wosket, V. 2011, p.47)

Working with the concept of ‘good enough’ with clients can be like walking a tightrope. By this I mean there is such a subtle difference between ‘am I good enough?’ and ‘I am good enough’ that I sometimes wonder if my clients feel that I am agreeing with their negative inner voice that tells them that they are not good enough. With careful and sensitive exploration, we both discover this is not the case and the client begins to accept that they are indeed ‘good enough’. The relationship between client and therapist is so important when working with this issue. Rogers believed that the relationship itself is the most important part of therapy. That offering of a safe, trusting and accepting space to explore the feelings they have denied for so long, can really make a difference. As Fiona Ballantine Dykes writes: ‘a client who has very low self esteem because of past negative treatment or abuse, might in the therapeutic relationship, experience themselves as “lovable” for the very first time … This is the kind of shift that therapy can achieve.’ (Ballantine Dykes, 2010, p.121) So am I good enough? I have come to learn over many years that yes I am. In contrast to my own childhood, I have encouraged my daughter to be open about her thoughts and feelings, good and bad. Perhaps this is why she’s able to be so comfortable in her own skin. I have also been privileged to see some of my clients be able to say ‘I am good enough.’ References Ballantine Dykes, F. (2010) in Barker, M, Vossler, A. and Langdridge, D. (2010) Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy, London: SAGE Wosket, V (2011) The Therapeutic Use of Self, Hove, East Sussex: ROUTLEDGE

If you'd like to be featured in our next Newsletter then please email us at

Trainers wanted....

Could you be one of them? We are looking for members to deliver on-line training to our CTUK Members Club Members. We are looking for a variety of trainings relevant to the counselling and psychotherapy profession. All trainers will be paid ÂŁ30 per hour. Training will be delivered on-line and facilitated by CTUK in our private Facebook group. All trainings will then be made available to CTUK Members Club members in our Online CPD Hub. We will promote you ard your training across our social media.

Interested? Email us at

Next Issue 25th October 2019