A conversation about clinical wills for therapists and counsellors (and coaches?), including the following issues according to time constraints:
- What is a clinical will and why do these matter?
- Relevance to professional ethics, professional bodies', ethical codes, and policy declarations (eg. BACP Putting the Client First).
- Mini history of my clinical will journey (starting from setting up in private practice) and description of processes involved (including aspects often overlooked) and structure (clinical, financial, administrative).
- Research, articles written, extension into campaigning for this to be BACP policy, presentations to networking groups, reactions of readers, etc.
- Personal factors such as death of my mother 18 months ago.
- Professional bodies' current stances and requirements (BAPC, UKPC, and BPC).
- Psychodynamic reflections (eg. reluctance/resistance to confront our own mortality/Unconscious in organisations, etc.).
- Work towards destigmatising death as the modern taboo (eg. Death Cafes).
- What's next? (Participants' views/reflections etc.).
About Roslyn Byfield
Following an earlier career in library and information management, I followed up a longstanding interest in mental health and therapy by retraining as a psychodynamic counsellor (2004-7). Having gained extensive experience in NHS and voluntary sector placements, I set up my private practice in 2012 and, alongside that, have been active in mental health promotion and in professional issues. My supervisor clarified the importance of a system to inform and support clients for times when we may be suddenly unable to work (accident, illness, death, etc.) and I found myself becoming more and more interested in this often-neglected area of professional practice. In this unregulated landscape, we have a situation where some professional bodies mandate wills and others do not, and increasingly, I have found myself becoming a champion for this key task, hearing many stories from clients and therapists about their own journeys, which clarify just how important it is and the consequences of not following through on it. I am very much hoping that we will reach a stage when all therapists (coaches, too?) will consider it second nature to put in place an incapacity policy.
I have particular interests in the loss/grief/depression constellation, group (including family) dynamics, the Unconscious in organisations and in the spectrum of mental health (of which counselling/therapy is an important part), and have worked with former NHS Maudsley colleagues in many mental wellbeing events.