I’ve been a psychologist for 14 years, and have worked in a variety of settings. I’ve been with Sussex Partnership for just over a year. Langley Green was the multi-disciplinary team environment I was looking for.
I was attracted by the post-doctorate training opportunities. I am already working towards accreditation with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, which Sussex Partnership is funding. If you want to improve services, the support is there. The advantage of being part of such a large Trust is the massive network and the chance to work closely with other services to improve professionally.
Sussex Partnership’s strong links with pioneering research really appealed to me and I’m proud to be a part of it. We’re in discussion with the research team at Brighton University as Langley Green is taking part in psychosis research. It will bring together practical, clinical experience and research knowledge, which will have a great impact on treatments. And the patients can be involved, too. Mental healthcare needs to be inclusive.
The people we see are in crisis, in an acute phase of their illness, and their families are distressed. But it can, and it does, turn around. There’s such a feeling of celebration when someone is discharged, it’s wonderful to see. They’ve done it themselves, we helped them, but they did it. I’m proud to have helped them. I once worked with a high-risk, long-term patient who had a complex diagnosis. When she moved on, she wrote me such a poignant card about the change I had made, it said: “thank you for giving my life back”. I keep it in my office. The team here were her only support and we helped her to keep hope for the future, as she wanted to become a healthcare assistant. We’re here to help people build on their own strengths, to empower them.
I love the relationships you build in this job, interacting with the patients, whether one to one or in our community meetings. I run an informal talking therapy group on the ward, an open forum, which gives them space to talk. It’s interesting to see how people support each other. I learn so much from them.
If I have listened to what they have endured, shown them they are valued and supported them to support themselves, then I have achieved something. To listen is so simple, yet so valuable. To all of us.