At our inaugural conference, we had interactive workshops around the following PPN projects. The project ideas came from our Steering Group engagement events earlier this year, and we have now secured additional funding for five of them:
- Creating a career map for the psychological professions
- Developing leadership in the psychological professions
- Forming evidence into practice partnerships
- Exploring the contribution of psychological professions to promoting wellbeing in communities
- Promoting psychological practice in physical healthcare
- Promoting the value of indirect / consultative work
- Forming an identity together as psychological professionals
Please read below for more information about the projects, and how to contact us to get involved.
Creating a career map for the psychological professions
There are multiple psychological professions, and multiple routes of entry into the psychological professions workforce. There are also many obstacles and ‘dead ends’ in progressing through a psychological professional career. Other issues include a lack of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
Through this project we are aiming to create an interactive career map that can help those interested in a psychological professions career, or those who wish to find out more about the psychological professions workforce as a whole, to navigate through this complex terrain.
We will also be highlighting some of the issues around the current inefficiencies, and how to address some of the obstacles to having more unified career pathways within the psychological professions workforce.
Click here to read more about the project from our Darzi Fellow, Cristina La Cara
Developing leadership in the psychological professions
The distinction between leadership and management is not always clear cut. And, not all psychological professionals feel that they are well equipped for leadership or management positions even though these skills are expected in their work roles. It can at times feel challenging to turn core competencies into leadership or management abilities. This gap in competencies may not be fully addressed in everyday work roles, or through the leadership academy or other training resources on offer.
Through this project, we are aiming to clarify the nature of the competency gap and provide recommendations to address any gaps. We aim to explore competencies in core training. We also aim to explore any training or resources on offer to enhance leadership and management skills in the existing workforce, including coaching or mentoring schemes.
We hope that by collaborating with other stakeholders to enhance leadership and management competencies within a more coherent framework, that the confidence and competencies across the psychological professions will increase. And that this will enhance collaborative working with service users and cares in service provision and development.
Forming evidence into practice partnerships
Evidence-based practice is the combination of research data, clinician expertise and patient preference. As the psychological therapies expand, we need to ensure that providers respect the evidence base for psychological treatment, and that practice-based evidence is used and coordinated in an efficient manner to shape effective healthcare. We believe it is important to set up a way of sharing best practice, and to involve service users and carers in this process.
Through this project, we aim to establish “evidence into practice” partnerships with research partners in a consolidated model of evidence-based practice. We also aim to support practice-based evidence and under-researched areas, and, to set up systems how to share best practice (e.g. via a PPN Subnetwork, via engaging with library and knowledge services, etc.).
Exploring the Contribution of Psychological Professions to Promoting Wellbeing in Communities
Traditionally, psychological professions have been working more in delivering psychological interventions than in preventing ill health. And, by seeing clients, their carers or families within services rather than by reaching out into local communities. However, there is a greater than ever policy focus on promoting wellbeing and preventing ill health, etc.
With this project we aim to explore how psychological professionals can contribute to psychologically healthy communities, and how to increase the uptake of psychological therapies in harder to reach groups. This project will also explore how to support public health initiatives that are aimed at enhancing psychological wellbeing in communities. We will also be looking into examples of good practice both across the region and beyond.
Promoting psychological practice in physical healthcare
Mental health and physical health are interconnected, yet they are often still treated separately in health care systems. Integrating the two by embedding talking therapies and psychologically informed practice into physical health care improves patient outcomes and recovery, and optimises coping and functioning.
Through this project, we aim to promote the value of psychological professionals working in physical health by looking at good practice examples, and promoting the evidence on the impact of providing psychological interventions and evidence-based practice in people with physical health conditions.
This project also aims to explore a potential need for training physical health professionals in the impact of psychological issues and mental health on physical health conditions, and vice versa, and enabling the early detection of psychological and mental health issues, etc.
Promoting the value of indirect / consultative work
Psychological professionals provide many kinds of input beyond direct psychological interventions to clients. They are often involved in work with teams and systems through consultation and training. They also may be very active in service and policy development. The impact psychological professional’s work (on clients, their carers, and families) will often be via the wider system.
For staff in some care groups, this indirect work may actually be the primary method of delivery of psychological interventions. Despite the amount of time spent on such work, the value of this level of involvement may not always be recognised or measured. Through this project, we aim to develop and share ways of capturing the impact of this kind of work. We also ensure that this work is better recognised by provider organisations and commissioners.
Forming an Identity Together as Psychological Professionals
The PPN joins up all the psychological professions working in NHS commissioned services or universities in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, with other key stakeholders. It also has close working links with its ‘older sibling,’ the PPN North West. This is so that we can foster collaboration on a regional and national level, promote psychological professions and services, and influence policy and practice within continuously evolving and changing systems, in collaboration with experts by experience.
An important part of this work is to think about the collective ‘we,’ as the multiple psychological professions (of which there are fourteen or so!) don’t tend think about themselves as having a shared identity. Rather, each of the psychological professions has its own core identity, with a unique training route, professional accreditation process, professional body etc.
As we form a stronger, joined-up voice together, an important piece of work is to recognise and celebrate our unique identities and the specific contributions each of the specific psychological profession provide within the Health and Social care sector. We also need to understand what we all have in common within a broader, collective identity as a multi-psychological professional, workforce as a whole.
Interestingly, when we started to explore this core issue at our recent inaugural conference, we realised what a ‘knotty issue’ this is, and how difficult it can be to start this conversation. I was however really struck by the willingness to explore this whole terrain in more depth. There was an interest in envisioning a future where, within a community of psychological practice we would be talking about what unites us rather than what separates us; where we would be able to articulate what our shared values are, while being respectfully aware and curious about our unique identities and contributions.
I am currently liaising with Dave Hearn, Deputy Head of Transformation in Health Education England (and co-convenor of the workshop) about timescales to launch this important conversation as a large-scale, crowdsourcing project.
Please watch this space, updates to follow!
Clinical Programme Manager