Give and take on the forum

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miriam
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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by miriam » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:40 am

AnonymousMouse wrote:Miriam, I can really hear your frustration coming through in that post!
Yeah, I'm tired and have too many things demanding my time at once, including an event to run in the morning. Thanks for the empathy. I hope I'll feel better once I reach the weekend.
AnonymousMouse wrote:Also just to add, I've only just noticed that there actually is a thread for suggested wikis! Maybe it's time to revive this :)
The problem is that people make requests but hardly anyone actually writes new stuff to respond to them.

It sometimes feels like I get requests until they come out my ears. A stream of PMs expecting individualised career advice or information about how to find things on the forum. Emails of the same, requests to join the qualified group and questions about advertising. Requests for form reviews (I think I've done 5 this month, so far). And then stuff that's not forum related, like speculative job applications, requests for professional advice, committee related questions, requests for me to speak at events and conferences and to write papers. And then my day job. And then kids and a household to hold in mind too. I need a bit of time off the treadmill to regroup!
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Spatch
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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by Spatch » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:41 am

Firstly, I can appreciate why this is extraordinarily frustrating. Running this place must be a massive time sink, regardless of the joy you get out of it, and I would almost liken it to almost having an extra child (constant monitoring, input, expense, dealing with never ending demands etc). I also agree that, like the rest of the internet, it's a situation where a disproportionate amount of work is done by a tiny number of people, for recipients who are often ungrateful or unwilling to reciprocate. Am reminded of this quote
Comic Book Guy: Last night's Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.

Bart Simpson: Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?

Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.

Bart Simpson: What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? I mean, if anything, you owe them.

Comic Book Guy: Worst episode ever.
Personally I have got a lot out of here, and probably far more than I put in, but saying this, I think there are several things going on that are more invisible that may play a role. For instance, whether you are are aware or not there is a degree of ambivalence from our qualified peers about here, and I noticed I have recently spent more time defending this place than I have posting on it, either educating people who who should know better that believe this to be a threat to undermining selection, or a espousing a "let them eat cake" attitude to the whole pre-qual experience now they are on the other side of the fence.

There are others, granted undergrads and the less aware, who mistakenly reckon this is some sort of official bps sponsored initiative. Or those who genuinely believe that by virtue of being qualified, we almost owe anyone who asks infinite time/career guidance/immediate placements. Although vastly a minority, I think there is something there about expectation, freeness and availability in the internet age.

Doesn't take away from the frustration, but I think I have responded by being less forthcoming than I used to be, and more boundaried with who and when I help, but that's just me.

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by AnonymousMouse » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:36 am

I think I can speak for a lot of people Miriam in saying that you are definitely a giver, and I often wonder how you manage to juggle so many balls all at once. You always seem to have a lot of the go, and I can only imagine how taxing that must be, especially when there are people on the sidelines saying that you aren't doing it right anyway! I really hope that you manage to fit in a bit of rest and relaxation (as difficult as it may be!), and at least this discussion has generated a conversation about what could be done differently/raised a bit more awareness.

Spatch - you make a few really interesting points. I'm just wondering if you could clarify what you mean by the sense of ambivalence that you get from qualifieds? Not being qualified myself, this is news to me and pretty interesting.

I've definitely noticed that attitude of entitlement from some psych grads, and I've seen a couple of conversations on the board (not to mention had one of two in person) in which psych grads seem to feel as though they are owed something from qualified CPs, and their lack of progress is the direct result of qualifieds not wanting to hold their hand and give them unlimited career advice. Although these people are very few and far between, I can imagine that they would make up a significant proportion of the demands placed on time. I wonder whether this is indicative of a combination of the unclear career advice out there, the competition within clinical psychology, the strange sense of entitlement that seems to be creeping into the younger generations (not sure if I'm the only one who has noticed this? This may just be my experience...) and the younger generation expecting more immediate gratification due to a number of factors.

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by purpledot » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:53 pm

I've been reading this thread for the last couple of days and wanting to contribute, but have been worried that my status as a relative 'newbie' on the site means I don't have the right to comment as I have not yet given a huge amount to the site! However I feel that I have gained a lot from the site over the past 12 months before I joined, and I wanted to extend my gratitude for the many, many hours that everyone has contributed to the site.

I have found this site, including many of the wiki entries hugely helpful in my journey to learn more about clinical psychology and the different roles and areas where CPs work. Whilst researching which MSc I wanted to apply for last year, I read about numerous different experiences of courses on the forum, and this knowledge was invaluable to help me decide which course would be the most relevant for me.

(Sorry for the ramble, I just wanted to say a sincere thank you for all of the work which has been put into this site so far; I cannot begin to imagine how much free time has been sacrificed in order to help provide advice and support.)

enid wrote:I echo the above as well. My instinct is to want to help as much as I can, but at this stage can only really give advice about the academic side of psychology - or charity work/applying for honorary AP posts. If my subject area came up (it doesn't usually!) I might post too, but am always a bit afraid of completely outing myself, as it were. I guess what I like about this forum is that there are some off-topic posts which I really like, and you can get a bit of support there sometimes. The mix of professional with random life stuff makes me want to keep my identity secret a bit. I often send an receive PMs though - which again have been invaluable to me. (Thank you to anyone who has ever sent me advice :)) Again, on topic and off-topic (driving test well wishes and advice for e.g.!)

On another note I sometimes find myself replying to posts and then delete them as feel that there might be someone more informed or knowledgeable who could write a better reply. As my career progresses I would be keen to contribute more though. It's a great site!
Enid summed up exactly how I feel with her earlier reply: I would love to become a more active member on the site, however I often feel as I am still in the early stages of learning, that my reply would not be "as good" as what someone more knowledge or more experienced could offer (Although I would like to add that this is probably more likely due to my own confidence level, rather than any atmosphere on the forum etc). I work in a more specialist service, which is not mentioned often on the forum, so I imagine I might feel more confident posting if my subject came up. I am also wary of not giving away too much information so that I can be easily identified, which sometimes makes me pause when I want to reply to a post or share experience.

One of the most useful parts of the Wiki for me was the "day/week in the life of...." entries. I currently work as an AP for a charity and have always worked with children & families, so the day in the life entries were a fascinating and extremely helpful look into other AP jobs, or into roles of CPs in different areas. I would love to read more of these and feel that this would be an area which I would feel confident contributing to. I was wondering if encouraging a new wave of day/week in the life of entries would be a good way for people like myself to feel more confident about contributing more to the site, and perhaps there would be posts/threads for people to ask questions about different roles and encourage debate about different areas of psychology, e.g. a day/week in the life of someone who works for a service which works with individuals with eating disorders could lead to discussions about the benefits/drawbacks of different models of intervention with individuals diagnosed with anorexia?

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by Will » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:06 pm

This feeling of needing to be an expert is a funny one when you stop and think about it.

I'd argue that one of the most important skills required for clinical training is to become aware of and comfortable with not being an expert on a particular topic - then going building on your knowledge by reading, critiquing and discussing the theory and research available.
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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by AnonymousMouse » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:29 pm

Will wrote:This feeling of needing to be an expert is a funny one when you stop and think about it.

I'd argue that one of the most important skills required for clinical training is to become aware of and comfortable with not being an expert on a particular topic - then going building on your knowledge by reading, critiquing and discussing the theory and research available.
Funnily enough I've been thinking about this a lot! One of the things that drew me to psychology as a whole is the fact that it is always evolving and our knowledge base and understanding is always changing. It strikes me that in a profession with a lot of uncertainty, in which we are always reformulating, tweaking hypothesis to fit a clients reality, and in which there are no clear 'right' or 'wrong' models of therapy (aside from glaringly obviously damaging ways of working), we appear to be so hooked in to giving right answers in the forum. I'm mindful that this seems to only really be an issue for those of us who are earlier in our careers. Speaking from my experience, I feel as though in the earlier stages of my career I was racked with self doubt, which lead to a worry about saying the wrong thing and having experienced clinical psychologists tell me that I was totally wrong for clinical psychology. A lot of reflection on where this comes from along with the realisation that there actually are no right answers a lot of the time has made me feel less of a need to present myself as an expert, and I feel ok with giving tentative answers or saying 'I don't know' now, and reading to help me understand concepts that I am less clear on. However I also know that the feeling of still not being experienced or 'good enough' to give answers is lurking in the back of my mind, and I'm curious to see how this pops up when I start training.

I wonder whether other people earlier in their careers have felt the same? Noone on the boards has said anything to make those earlier in their career feel as though they aren't experienced enough to comment (as far as I know), however it seems to be a feeling that many of us experience?

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by Spatch » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:13 pm

Spatch - you make a few really interesting points. I'm just wondering if you could clarify what you mean by the sense of ambivalence that you get from qualifieds? Not being qualified myself, this is news to me and pretty interesting.
While many qualifieds, like myself, see this forum as an invaluable resource, there are some that think differently. My feelings are that some of this may be a hangover from the old psyclick days (which some still refer to here as), where things were far more angsty and less professional. Or the belief among some that it caters for assistants only.Cue lots of arguments from me about why they may want to look again.

I have also heard some not really want to acknowledge here as it reminds them of a time they would rather forget. Similarly, my conversations with current trainees suggest that most are aware of this place but don't affiliate themselves, or claim ignorance (despite being remarkably well informed of stuff mentioned here).

Regardless of the reason, it's clear that the trainees & qualifieds that regularly post are not really proportional of the many who come through here who get on courses. Clearly something stops them from sticking around or continuing to contribute, otherwise this community would look very different. It may be just time, but in many ways it's far less invasive than Facebook, which many seem to be on, so I suspect it's something else too.

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by miriam » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:18 pm

i've noticed two things that are rather interesting in this discussion:

- a desire from all of us to have more conversation and less Q&A
- a feeling that as a lot of members are less senior in the profession they can't offer confident answers

And therein lies the crux of the issue for me. Nobody is asking for more people to give perfect answers! We are asking people to have conversations and share experiences, which absolutely anybody can do!

I'm going to write a blog entry on burnout at some point, as it is something I'm exploring in my personal development sessions at the moment, but I did want to say that my cup feels more like it is half full today. I was reminded that some of the stuff I've done in my business has had real impact on people's lives (the particular example was 15 people who were feeling suicidal that no longer are, from a project we did in 2013 - we also reduced 19 A&E visits related to poor diabetes management to 1, and 30 ward admissions reduced to 5 - not bad for an average of 6 sessions of input).

And I do get very nice messages from people who have used the forum too - emails, PMs and people coming up to me at conferences saying some variant of "I found the forum very useful and feel it helped me to get to where I am now" or "that advice/supervision/form review/PPDD you offered was really helpful to me because..." I've also met (and at times recruited) some great people through this place - the team here feel like awesome friends and colleagues, even the ones I only speak to online!
Miriam

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Re: Give and take on the forum

Post by Mikel Arteta » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:03 pm

I haven't been on the site much in the last month or so, so am a bit behind on posting, but I had a few thoughts so I thought I'd add them.

There are some interesting points and there has been some good debate about this. Looking back to when I was an AP, I used the site for peer support and encouragement, and people did help me with tips about application for the doctorate. I didn't give a huge amount back in the early days though did do a wiki for the IAPT section. I can see people's views that they may not feel equipped to add anything, though people are probably under selling themselves and I think everybody has something to offer. The best bit of advice I had about my form came from an AP, better advice than I got from CPs, so just because you feel you are not high up the ladder (sounds terrible that phrase!) doesn't mean you can't add! I understand though that some people may not have the confidence.

So I did take from the site, but since getting on the doctorate I have still been an active member. Yes there were times when I was ridiculously busy and didn't contribute for so many months, but I have contributed a fair bit. I have fedback on mnay forms, given interview advice (even meeting members to give general support when they had interviews), given advice on many threads (which many told me they found really useful) and have recently done another wiki (on writing the form, which has been well received). So some do give back, but yeah, many don't. How you could change that I'm not quite sure. I suppose everyone's circumstances are different. If I had three children to look after my contributions may have been less! I am happy to contribute in this way, though not in a monetary fashion.

I think Spatch has a point about how CPs view the site. The vast majority I know don't and wouldn't use the site. I think it is seen as a site for psych students/graduates and APs, support to help to get on to the course. The samll number of CPs who do use the site are probably those who used it as APs and have decided to stay to give support, etc.
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