Working from home, as I do (just me and my trusty computer!) has its advantages …
- I don’t have to travel every day
- I can be more flexible with my time
- My space is my own space – It can look, feel and smell the way I like it to (and have my dogs at my feet! ) It is quiet too
- There is no one to tell me what to do! I am my own boss!
- I can have a “lazy day” if I don’t have any appointments!
But of course there are some disadvantages too. For me, the biggest disadvantages are –
- I am responsible for my any technological problems – there is nobody in the office to help me out (or scream at when BT’s broadband is playing up again!)
- I don’t work alongside colleagues to talk to and gain support and information from
- I don’t have colleagues at hand who I can share information with and visa versa
- Sometimes I would appreciate someone challenging me – to ensure that I remain professional in my work!
- There can be “lazy days” if I don’t have any appointments unless I fill this time in with relevant work!!
The subject of this blog is inspired from these advantages and disadvantages. How do I ensure that I am keeping in-line with colleagues in the field as well as ensuring my knowledge is up to date, safe, professional and ethical?
I enjoy counselling online, along with my other roles as an online supervisor and tutor at OLT and could even say that I am passionate about what I do. I am also passionate about the mental health needs of children and young people and supported families and siblings where there is a child with disabilities and or learning needs, and sometimes, life threatening illnesses /disabilities. These are the areas where I try to keep up to date especially since the field and availability of children and young people’s mental health support is changing dramatically from moment to moment.
So where do I start? How do I maintain my professional standards aside from clinical supervision and formal training? How can I keep myself interested too?
There are a number of ways I do this but the two that suit my desire for “informal” updating are subscriptions to organisation emails and through Facebook. (I never thought that I would promote Facebook for keeping yourself professionally updated, but I am!)
I will start with the most useful email subscriptions I have found to date – (Subscription via websites listed)
- “CASPAR” – a “current awareness service for practice, policy and research” from the NSPCC https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/research-and-resources/sign-up-to-caspar/
- “OnlinEvents” – Access to live video sessions /talks relevant to my work. Alternatively, I can watch video sessions from the library. A great source of regular CPD with no cost except for membership. https://www.onlinevents.co.uk/
- “YoungMinds” – up to date research, news and policies http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
- “SibsUK” – News, research, training and personal stories about brothers and sisters of children with disabilities / special needs https://www.sibs.org.uk/
- “KOOTH” – “A unique service that provides vulnerable young people, who have emotional or mental health problems, with support when they need it most.” https://www.kooth.com/
Don’t be surprised here! I do admit that I can waste many minutes…even hours on Facebook but it has provided me with valuable knowledge and information relating to counselling and the mental health needs of children and young people. Just as importantly, Facebook has also helped me feel less isolated working from home and enables me to make contact with colleagues, both nationally and internationally.
Joining Facebook allows access to groups of similar professional interest. Some of these are closed groups so a request to join is needed. I have found most of the pages I visit, through another similar page or through colleagues. Some pages have come from links on related websites – all that I have found are reputable. The following have provided me with regular up to date and information – I hope that you find something in this list of interest to you.
The British Psychological Society
The Tavistock Institute
Tavistock and Portman Library
Online training for counsellors
Child Mind Institute
The Mental Elf
The Learning Disabilities Elf
|National Autistic Society
Child Bereavement UK
Palliative Care Network
Boing Boing resilience research
SIBS- for brothers and Sisters
Students against depression
I have also created 2 Facebook Groups. One of these is CYP Online https://www.facebook.com/groups/CYPOnline/ 114 members have joined since the group was created earlier this year. This page also provides access to files / documents relating to counselling and supporting children and young people online. All members are free to post. I use this page to copy, paste and share any new and appropriate information/ updates. Posting over the past 6 months means that this page now acts as a valuable resource for all members…. including myself without clogging up my computer! Feel free to join this group if you are interested.
So this is how I have made keeping up to date digestible and I don’t have too much guilt when I take a break and open up Facebook – there is a chance I might learn something!