Counselling mag scraps article about Jewish trauma

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy stood by its decision despite the writer’s accusations of ‘censorship’


Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

v A trade publication for British counsellors has removed an article about Jewish trauma in the wake of the October 7 attacks on Israel.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)’s publication spiked an article by Dr. Sandi Mann, a mental health practitioner and senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, and was pulled from BACP’s quarterly magazine Counselling at Work on the eve of publication over “unease” around possible “ramifications”, according to reports by The Times.

“This article was about the trauma that the Jewish community experienced after the worse massacre of Jews since the Holocaust,” Mann told  the JC. “This massacre happened. The trauma was real. We had Holocaust survivors and 2nd generation who were retriggered. We had people whose relatives had been killed or kidnapped. We had people who were in Israel when it happened and had to cope with sirens and bomb shelters.The trauma happened. To cancel the article feels like invalidating our trauma — simply because it is Jewish trauma.”

In her article, Mann discussed the counselling challenges of working with a traumatised community in the UK, focusing particularly on how the Jewish community in Manchester is coping with the devastation of October 7.

A spokesperson for BACP told the JC: “Since October 7, 2023, we’ve been contacted by BACP members with a variety of strongly held viewpoints who wish to write or create content for us about this war and the impact it is having on themselves, others and on the work they do. We understand the depth of feeling on these issues, but as a membership body and a registered charity we have to navigate very carefully how we share our members’ perspectives in our journals or other content.”

In an updated statement sent to the JC on Thursday, a spokesperson for the BACP said: “We’re truly shocked and saddened by the horrific events in Israel and Gaza. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this, particularly families who have lost loved ones. We’re deeply sorry for not publishing this article and for the hurt that has caused.

“This was a last-minute decision taken over a concern around sensitivities relating to the topic. On reflection, this was the wrong decision.

“It’s really important that we continue to listen and learn when we make mistakes, so that we can do better for our members, their clients and the profession.We recognise the impact the situation in Israel and Gaza is having on communities in the UK. Racism, discrimination, threats and violence are unacceptable.

“Dr Mann’s article is a powerful insight into important work being carried out to support the Jewish community with trauma and deserves to be shared publicly. Trauma can have long-term consequences on mental health and wellbeing. As a registered charity and a membership body our focus must be on our charitable objectives and on mental health and access to counselling and psychotherapy.”

The BACP have now published Mann’s article on their website, and it can be read here. It will also feature in a future edition of BACP Workplace.

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