Clinical Counselling in Voluntary and Community Settings

By Quentin Stimpson | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Clinical work, supervision and management

Derek Hill

There is also the fact that therapy as a goal is not a part of science. It is an act of human concern. Its effectiveness, however, rests on the adequacy of our validated knowledge.

(Sutherland 1980:18)

This chapter is written from the perspective of someone with about 25 years of direct involvement in a national voluntary organisation delivering counselling. Had it been written at the beginning of that period a very different analysis of the subject matter would have been offered. Voluntary bodies have changed remarkably during those years, and so too has the author's practice. Hopefully the latter change is in some part due to a growth in awareness, knowledge and skills, but it also results from societal and organisational change. As Clare Winnicott is reported as saying: 'There is no such thing as casework, only casework in a given setting' (Woodhouse and Pengelly 1991:ix).

In Britain, much of today's counselling in community and voluntary settings has its roots in the 'marriage guidance' offered to the public by charities set up about 60 years ago (Lewis et al. 1992). The story of the evolution of those organisations, and of counselling itself, is told elsewhere (Cooper and Lewis 1995; Davis and Hill 1995; Dryden et al. 1995). What began in some cases as little more than 'acts of human concern' has become the focus of a burgeoning profession supported and facilitated by the activities of specialists in governance, management, research, marketing, public relations and, not least, fund raising. But the fact that some counselling is delivered by extensively trained and experienced practitioners working within highly developed, complex organisations should not be allowed to mask the fact that counselling currently exists at many different stages of development and is provided

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