Ruth Graham, a current trainee Clinical Psychologist at Staffordshire University, reports on a success conference for trainees hosted at the University in the Summer of 2015.
The Clinical Psychology Trainee Conference took place in June and was deemed a great success. This year marked a new turn for the conference, as two trainees designed and ran the day. Following last year’s successful conference about service user involvement, trainees were keen to lead the way in being open and honest about the personal and professional challenges faced by psychologists.
The theme for the conference was ‘Creating Breathing Space’ and it was designed with the intention of being an experiential breathing space on the day, as well as figuring out new ways to find breathing space within trainees’ personal and professional lives.
The morning included some action participatory research that allowed for group discussions and individual reflections on the challenges to accessing self care across different areas, such as university, year groups, the NHS, the therapy room, personal life and the world. This was then followed by a brilliant and well received talk on video by Professor Delia Cushway, a consultant clinical psychologist who has spent much of her career exploring trainee and professional stress amongst psychologists.
The afternoon was filled with a variety of workshops that had different takes on breathing space. They included art therapy – where therapeutic slime was met with varying reactions!
A space for mindfulness was a welcome relief amidst a busy day, whilst Konnektiv Arts, a community drama company, offered thoughtful discussion on the presentation of mental health. Neuro-circus added a fun and different approach to self-care as many tried out their balance and juggling skills.
Trainees gathered together at the end in order to offer final reflections and comments on breathing space and how it can be found and fought for in the workplace. Creative reflections led to a tie dye ripple effect wall hanging that reflected the collective impact of individual steps to find breathing space.
Overall the day was a great success, with trainees enjoying being together and having the space to look after themselves, both in the moment and going forward. Look out for a more in-depth presentation and experience of the conference in the exhibition room in The Science Centre, 28th September to 2nd October!
For more information about courses in Psychology and Clinical Psychology at Staffordshire University please visit our course pages here.