#MeToo: Survivors of sexual violence as counsellors and psychotherapists

A Call for Papers

Deborah A. Lee and Emma Palmer (editors)
PCCS Books (2019)

Information for potential contributors

Introduction. This new edited collection will explore the practise of counselling and psychotherapy by self-identified survivors of sexual violence/abuse: #MeToo for psychotherapy and counselling. It will show:

• That sexual violence/abuse is widespread rather than rare – so widespread, in fact, that all contributors to this book about it have experienced sexual violence/abuse;
• That victims/survivors are more than victims/survivors – including that we can be counsellors and psychotherapists;
• That pathologising and objectifying victims/survivors – something which often happens in ‘mental health’ settings – can be challenged….

We’re aiming to make a rich and nuanced contribution to #MeToo, a significant political intervention for psychotherapists and counsellors, qualified and in-training. We are interested in exploring a wide variety of potential contributions to the book…

Structure and content. An initial chapter will offer an introduction to social, cultural and political understandings of sexual violence for counsellors and psychotherapists. After some notes about the ethical underpinnings of our project, the main body of the collection (with space here for approximately 12 main contributions) will be original (previously-unpublished) chapters about working as a therapist and being a survivor (or however you prefer to term yourself) in a variety of counselling and psychotherapy modalities. There will be at least one chapter concerned with supervision; and there will be exploration of activism beyond the therapy room.

Each chapter will be followed by a two-way ‘conversation’ which will include the voices of people who are or have been clients (not clients of the contributors), or a fellow counsellor and psychotherapist, or supervisor. This will take the form of people, also survivors, being prepared to read a chapter and talk with its author. This section will be written conversationally, with the aim of drawing out what’s been written and bringing a sense of a community of voices.

You decide how much of your lived experience you share. You may feel drawn to sharing what you would want others to know in the wake of survival. Or perhaps you want to offer suggestions for what you think is needed in healing cultures in which sexual violence/abuse is still socially acceptable. Explorations are likely to be around how surviving has influenced your work (whether you ever share your lived experience with clients, or not).

We are purposely leaving the parameters around what and how contributors write pretty broad at this stage, partly because for us it is in keeping with the immediacy and spontaneity of the spirit of the #MeToo movement, and partly because we want the book to be shaped by experience and a community of voices, rather than to be a certain sort of pre-determined shape.

We will provide guidance on reflecting ethically upon practise, and expect you to work with professional body ethics (for example, if you’re a member of BACP or UKCP or other bodies). If you’re reporting on a research project, we will expect to see ethical approval. We imagine how you express yourselves may well be an important part of the work and with this in mind we welcome contributions which may be academic, activist, creative, and a mixture of all of the above, or something else we haven’t thought of yet!

Chapters, including the end of chapter ‘conversations’, are likely to be about 4,000 – 5,000 words in length.

Contributors of main chapters. You will be a counsellor and psychotherapist (qualified, or in training). You must have experienced sexual violence/abuse – however you interpret this – and be okay with this knowledge being in the public domain. Contributors will be anticipated to have a variety of personal identities beyond survivor-status, for example, in terms of gender (cisgender, transgender, non-binary), sexuality (heterosexual, LGBTQIA+) and relationship diversities, age, ‘race’, ethnicity, class, abled-ness, religion, cultural influences…. We’re keen for a range of identities, as well as encouraging contributions from a variety of geographical locations. Reflection upon personal identities – and the intersectionality of identities – and locations will be welcomed in your contributions.

Timescale. The deadline for submissions will be 15th September 2018. Submissions are welcomed well ahead of this deadline, too – helping to ease the editorial workload! We anticipate that there may be dialogue between editors and contributors during the writing period. Each contributor will be asked to sign a contributors’ contract with PCCS Books.

What happens next… If you are potentially interested in contributing to this collection, we would love to hear from you. Please send us a paragraph (our email addresses are below) outlining a sense of what and how you might be drawn to write about this theme (ideas rather than polished words are fine at this stage), and a paragraph about yourself, including your therapy modality; or, if you’d like to be in one of the conversations, let us know. Please get in touch with these initial ideas by 23rd March 2018. Those who are invited to contribute to the collection will be asked by PCCS Books to sign a contributor’s contract (the deadline for this is 31st May 2018).

About the editors
Deborah A. Lee is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, and an existentially informed, person-centred psychotherapist-in-training in the final months before qualification. Deborah’s current research interests include the politics of writing psychotherapy, written therapist self-disclosure, arts-based approaches to psychotherapy case studies, psychopathology, psychotherapy training, and auto/biographical explorations of sexual violence and its aftermath. She has publications forthcoming and recent in journals such as Psychotherapy and Politics International, the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, Self & Society and the Journal of Gender-Based Violence. Previously a steering group member of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) and editor of its Transformations journal, she is an associate editor and co-editor for reviews at Psychotherapy and Politics International, and a member of the ethics committee of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Deborah.Lee@ntu.ac.uk

Emma Palmer. Word-weaving has been an essential part of Emma’s life since she started to write poetry when she was seven. Practising as a counsellor and body psychotherapist since 2003, she is drawn to work at the meeting place of therapy and social justice, ecopsychology, climate change and the wisdom of contemplative traditions. Previously a steering group member of Psychotherapist and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR), and editor of its Transformations journal, she has also been an educator since her early 20s, teaching postgraduate international development studies at Bristol University, with NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa, offering Wild therapy, and leading retreats, amongst other things. She has authored Meditating with Character (Mantra Books, 2012), Other than Mother (Earth Books, 2016), and Bodywise (Somatic Psychotherapy Today, 2017) as well as numerous articles. She has been practising Buddhism since 1995. emmapalmer@blueyonder.co.uk www.kamalamani.co.uk

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