School of Health

Psychological Therapies Student Featured as 'Letter of the Month'

PG Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy student, Suzie Shenderey, has been featured as February 2021's 'Letter of the Month' in Therapy Today, the journal for the BACP, the UK's leading professional body for counsellors and psychotherapy.

Published on 26 Feb 2021
Suzanne Shendrey

Suzie was struck by points made in the article 'Therapy for Every Body' by John Barton, which appeared in the December issue of Therapy Today and dealt with issues of privilege and diversity in therapy. Read her 'Letter of the Month':

"I am in my second year of a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and I have been reading Therapy Today since I started my course. Catherine Jackson's review of 2020 really brought home to me the challenges we have all faced this year. I am grateful to Therapy Today for not shying away from the challenges of the past year. Your articles about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement have been though provoking and have personally challenged me to take a look at myself and my white privilege. This is why I was moved to write to you about the article 'Therapy for Every Body' written by John Barton. Once again it really brought home to me my privilege and the way in which society systematically discriminates against so many groups of people. Last year as one of my assignments I was asked to think about the issues of diversity in counselling. I took the stance that if we try to adopt the Core Conditions we can work with everyone regardless of background. However, I now feel that I was missing the point. I still hold my faith in the Roger's Core Conditions, but I am now trying to look at my role in discrimination purely by virtue of my privileged position as a white, able bodied counsellor. I have not experienced discrimination and I now realise why. I come from a position of privilege - not just because I have food to eat and a roof over my head, but because of the colour of my skin and the state of my body. Now I have this in my awareness and I want to be mindful of how this affects my relationship with clients. I have been greatly influenced by the articles in Therapy Today over the last year and I hope you will continue to challenge me as I move forward with my career."

Dr John Hills

Course Director / School Of Health

John Hills is a senior lecturer and research coordinator in Psychological Therapies and Mental Health. He is a BACP accredited psychotherapist, a member of the national Pluralistic Practice steering group and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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