Clinical Counselling in Voluntary and Community Settings

By Quentin Stimpson | Go to book overview

Introduction

Quentin Stimpson

The contributors to this book come from varied and diverse backgrounds, both in terms of their experiences of working in community and voluntary counselling services and in relation to the clinical theories that they draw upon, although they all share a belief in the importance of non-statutory, community-based counselling service provision. It is hoped that this belief will have helped to enliven the issues and questions that the different authors discuss and that their diversity reflects something of the wide range of community and voluntary counselling services that operate in contemporary Britain. No attempt has been made to reconcile the differing viewpoints presented; rather the tensions between different perspectives are allowed to speak for themselves with the aim of encouraging, and stimulating further thought and debate in those who read the text.

The book follows an implicit structure, moving from historical and contextual issues (relating to the place of community and voluntary sector counselling services) through to research and evaluation and then, finally, coming to focus on a range of clinical issues as they affect nonstatutory counselling agencies. The first three chapters (by Christopher Robinson, Nicholas Tyndall and Derek Hill) situate and contextualise community and voluntary counselling services within British society. In particular Chris Robinson (Chapter 1) offers a tantalising glimpse of the political potential of community counselling services, which is all the more interesting in the light of the increasing pressures upon statutory services as they try to cope with the ever-rising demands being placed upon them (from both government and services users themselves).

Chapters 4 and 5 consider the increasingly important question of the place of research within counselling services. Linda Machin (Chapter 4) describes how she used a case study approach to evaluate issues relating to good practice in a bereavement counselling service, while Ela O'Farrell

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