"The Psychology Group at CERT"

About: Rehabilitation services / Forensic services / Community enhanced recovery team (CERT)

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

The Community Enhancing Recovery Team (CERT) runs a weekly Psychology Group for service users.  At the session in December we asked people to feedback on their experiences of being part of this group.  The following story is a collection of their responses.   

What happens at the group?

“At the group everybody chooses the topics together. We’ve chosen lots of different topics such as Confidence Building, Self-Compassion, Music to Support Mental Health, Holistic Nutrition, Building Better Opportunities (who help you get back into work/volunteering), and Budgeting. Planning the sessions ourselves, helps you feel involved and makes it easier to participate. You don’t have to attend every week, just the ones that are relevant to you. It’s only once a week for an hour and a half, so it fits in with your life and can give you a nice break from monotonous routine. In the group we mainly focus on group discussions, although we sometimes have handouts as a guide. We chat about our life experiences and different emotions. We support each other. We created some shared ground rules around respect, feeling safe and privacy, so you feel like you know where you stand from the beginning.”

Location

“The location is good because it’s central and easy to get to. Good bus routes. There’s a long corridor so it takes a bit of time to get used to where everything is. There’s biscuits, tea, coffee, fruit and breaks (although we would like some dilute juice)”

What it has felt like to attend?

“Empowering. Open. Welcoming. Friendly. Easy going. Calm atmosphere. It’s really interesting and educational, you learn loads. You have a laugh. It tackles lots of different topics. There are regular attendees so it doesn’t feel intimidating. You’re not going to be judged.  We recognise our achievements together. Everyone gets a chance to say what they think, but you’re not forced to join in; you can talk or be quiet. It’s not formal and you can drop out at anytime. It’s very laid back.

Relationships

“It’s a good opportunity to build relationships with people. You know everybody and make friendships. Sometimes you might walk to the tram stop or go for a coffee together. It’s been mainly females for the last few months which can make it easier to talk about things. I loved the music one, it was wonderful as we shared memories and losses - it’s nice to know no you’re not the only one. A friend in need is a friend indeed. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people, you recognise people from other groups/places. It’s a good network.”

“You don’t know what it’s like till you’ve tried it. Come to a session and see if you like it”

Responses

Response from Debbie Creaser, Team Manager, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for such lovely feedback. It is lovely to hear how working together to create a group with shared ideas and interests helped people to feel involved. This is useful feedback for planning other groups. It sounds as though you have covered a lot of topics with thoughtfulness and compassion for each other.

It is good to hear that having a central location is important and we will definitely pass on your feedback about improving the refreshments and the group faciliators are thinking about ways to support people getting used to the building. This will be really helpful to people joining the group.

It is heartwaming to read that the group has had such a positive effect, it sounds as though the relaxed atmosphere has helped people to feel comfortable to learn, share and support each other. I am especially pleased to hear that it has also led on to people forming friendships outside the group. I know the faciliiators feel especially proud of how people used the group and valued everyone's involvement in making the group the success it was.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful