Martin Reid of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) tells the story of Conference 2016, revealing that it was the biggest ever conference delivered by the OT, and that it trended on Twitter each day (inspite of the major news stories in the UK at the end of June).read more
Keir Harding was the recipient of this year’s COT Pearson Award for education, research or continuing professional development, an award which funded Keir’s attendance at the British and Irish Group for Study of Personality Disorders annual conference (BIGSPD). Here, Keir talks about applying for this award and the impact that ‘healing through doing’ can have on an individual's life.
Receiving the Pearson award was a fantastic occasion for me. Five of us had applied to present at the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder annual conference on the Isle of Man. We were so proud when our abstract was accepted but as time drew on it became apparent that there was no money for any of us to go.
Desperate to find any way to make our presentation happen I found the Pearson award on the COT website and spent an hour filling the form in. To find out that I’d be receiving the award, that our presentation would go ahead and that I wouldn’t have to phone the organisers sheepishly telling them we were withdrawing was a massive relief. It did come with the anxiety that I would now have to do a 90-minute, 5-man presentation on my own.
Talking about Ymlaen
The conference was coproduced with service users and it was wonderful to be in an environment where the lived experience of personality disorder was valued as much as its academic study. I went to the conference to talk about Ymlaen, the day therapeutic community we run in Cardiff.
Most therapies have an expert who dispenses their wisdom to someone who is seeking change. People with personality disorder frequently struggle with traditional therapies because the people who should have cared for them abandoned, neglected or violated them. How do you trust people who are supposed to help after that?
Ymlaen takes away the carer/cared for dynamic. We see the service users as the experts in their difficulties and so they make all the decisions in the group. We vote on all our decisions and as the staff are outnumbered by the group members, it is they who hold the power.
Belonging and acceptance
The group is owned by the members with each of them being elected into roles that allow the day to function. These roles range from greeting new members to chairing the meetings. It’s wonderful to see people who couldn’t speak when they first came later telling the staff to stop talking. Because members are chosen and supported by their peers, they feel an incredible sense of belonging and acceptance. Because they feel so supported, they are able to hear and act on stark feedback from their peers which would be unacceptable if staff said it. We have seen people leaving abusive relationships, go record times without self-harming and massively reduce their inpatient admissions.
I went to BIGSPD to talk about the evidence base for this type of intervention, how we managed to get it set up, what the staff do in the service and our results so far. People were particularly interested in how we had persuaded an organisation that focused on protocols and set ways of doing things to support a group where our response to every situation was “we will talk about it and decide”.
For me, this way of working is one of the purest examples of People Healing Through Doing in healthcare and I would love more OTs to get involved.
In the end I got great feedback from the presentation with people saying that they were going to try to implement similar services in their areas. I also got to meet with some of the leading names in the field of personality disorder and spend a lot of time networking with like-minded people.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the conference and I hope I was able to persuade others that the work I’ve been doing was valuable and 'doable' in their own organisations. Some unexpected bonuses from the conference were that I finally got my head around Twitter and set up a professional profile, and I learned (In an excruciatingly painful way) how to add audio to PowerPoints. Without the Pearson award I’d have missed some great opportunities; that hour filling in the application for might have been one of my most productive ever.
by Keir Harding
About the author
Keir Harding qualified as an OT in 1999 and has always worked in mental health. Over the past years he has specialised in the field of personality disorder, winning an NHS Wales Award in 2012. For the past 4 years Keir has worked in Cynnwys (together), the personality disorder service in Cardiff, where he has championed service user involvement and therapies that 'do with' rather than 'do to' people. As part of his role he set up Ymlaen (forward), a day therapeutic community which works radically differently to traditional mental health services. Keir is currently completing his MSc in Personality disorder.
Keir Harding was the recipient of this year’s COT Pearson Award for education, research or continuing professional development, an award which funded Keir’s attendance at the British and Irish Group for Study of Personality Disorders annual conference (BIGSPD). Here, Keir talks about applying for this award and the impact that ‘healing through doing’ can have on an individual's life.read more
In November 2015 we were invited to present at Pearson’s Digital Technology in Psychology Conference. This conference was designed to provide a forum for psychology professionals to talk about the impact digital is having on research and clinical practice.read more
Google the term ‘digital technology’ and the most common phrase you’ll see is ‘How digital technology will change the way we work’.read more
When set the challenge of creating a Digital Technology in Psychology conference, my first response was excitement.
It’s such a wide subject there’s bound to be lots to talk about – let’s get everyone involved…this however was closely followed by the thought, What if no one turns up? and Is technology as central as we like to think it is…?
Lucky for me, people did submit papers on a range of topics and sign up to attend. So last week we held our first Digital Technology in Psychology conference at York University. We were delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, Dr Tom Manly co-author of the TEA and the new TEA-CH-2. Dr Manly’s talk looked at ‘What is attention?’ and explored the evolution of technology in delivering assessments. A first look at the exciting new TEA-Ch2 was also provided and we can certainly say the new space dog and alien were warmly received.
This was followed by Sarah Kate Smith who led a fascinating discussion around Dementia and Assistive Technology; showing examples of how technological interventions can be used to promote conversations, social interaction and leisure activities. Introducing CIRCA, Sarah’s talk highlighted the importance of including feedback from individuals with dementia into the design and functionality plans of technology.
Did you know that about 8% of people will experience problems with #PTSD that persist beyond 3 months? This was one of many areas highlighted during Sara Simblett’s talk, 'A systematic review of web-based technology to assist emotional adjustment and self-management of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress.' Here Sara looked at the different approaches that have been taken to studying the effectiveness of Interapy as a Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress via the Internet.
After the break, Astrid Coxon generated lots of conversation and app sharing ideas with her talk on, 'The effectiveness of internet-based interventions for managing stress and anxiety in students in higher education: a systematic review'. Looking at some of the studies around web-based interventions and where the gaps currently exist. A conversation that then continued on twitter.
'This Much!, This Feeling & Backdrop: The development of touch device procedures for the qualitative and quantitative assessment of children's positive and negative experiences', was an enlightening talk from David Glasgow. Exploring a number of different apps, the accompanying video’s showed a young boys interactions, and revealed how important additional information could be obtained to help shape understanding and care plans.
Lola Oyelayo and Nick Reynolds, then joined us from Head London to run an exciting workshop on exploiting digital for dementia and depression. A session which pulled together many of the threads of conversation from the day. Beginning with a presentation the team highlighted some of the many issues that are affecting the development of technology in the psychology field including:
- How will an increasingly digital literate population will affect how we provide support for individuals with #dementia in the future
- How do we solve the problem of efficacy for #mentalhealth apps?
I look forward the sharing the outcomes of these workshops in a later blog.
As a first event, we were delighted to see the group so engaged in the topic, we’ll be sharing podcasts from many of the talks over the coming weeks, and so if you were unable to attend, you can sit back with cup of tea and catch up!
I’m also pleased to see that the conversations are already continuing. Sarah Kate Smith will now be joining an exciting line up of presenters for Online Working Memory Week where Sarah will be presenting on ‘Exploiting touch screen tech to promote communication, social interaction & leisure activities with people living with dementia.’
Thank you to all our presenters and delegates who helped to make this first event a success. Watch this space for plans for 2016.
#WMLearn | #DigitalPsych15read more