a safer space
Talking through our problems and issues can be liberating. But where do you go to talk freely with others similar to yourself?
Safer Space is one such place. Its' a seventy minute, donation based, open online group. It happens every Monday 9am, Tuesday 6pm, Wednesday 6.45pm and Thursday 3.45pm (unless I am on holiday.) It's for adults who choose to buy a ticket and take part.
Thinking about joining a group can trigger different feelings. You may feel both anxious at the prospect of sharing your experience and happiness at the prospect of feeling less alone. Participants have said they were helped, to manage these feelings, by talking with me about the group before they came (contact me here.) This page can also help you make the choice to come. When you feel ready, buy one of the eight tickets for each group CLICK HERE.
What is Safer space?
Safer Space is a place for conversation. It is like a group of people meeting for lunch. We are there to learn from each other, to digest and to take a break. We are curious and conversational rather than combative, recognising our shared interest. It is a practical solidarity which works for each of us.
The absence of a set agenda, and my low expectations, help us relax to discuss our lives more freely. There is recourse through the facilitator and elsewhere but it is rarely used. It's akin to the the football game in no man's land on Christmas day. A cessation of hostilities that allows new helpful things to happen. A Safer Space.
Safer space is based on my clinical experience of, and evidence for, effective therapeutic groups. This experience includes devising, supervising, facilitating, clinically governing and being a member of, therapeutic groups across my twenty two year career in mental health. Therapeutic groups in high secure settings, psychiatric wards, in charitable organisations and in the community. The range of approaches included anger, anxiety management, self advocacy, intensive outpatient addiction rehabilitation, open addiction groups, ward talking groups, therapeutic music groups and community talking groups. I bring all this experience to Safer Space to create a therapeutic experience for you.
So I invite you to join our therapeutic groups, and discover a safer space to talk and be you. CLICK HERE.
How does it work?
Safer space works by practising a variety of good habits. These good habits are the, evidenced based, psychological means to recover from a variety of mental health problems. They are the change mechanisms of motivational interviewing, cognitive, and behavioural psychotherapies:
Increasing our self-awareness by communicating our experience, reflecting upon it, and being open to other people's experience.
Practising constructive emotional expression with others.
Identifying and evaluating the helpfulness of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Evaluating and practising alternative ways of being.
Reducing the strength of, and choice of response to, our distress related triggers.
Rewarding ourselves, and each other, for working on our problems.
Learning through observing other people.
Increasing our self-confidence through success in the group
Practising decision making about our participation in and the content of each group.
Increasing our sense of connection by asking for help, receiving help, offering help and helping other people in the group.
'I felt comfortable at every session [of therapy] and felt I could share my struggles in a safe environment. After my sessions I have felt my anxiety improve and understand better why it happens and how to cope with it.'
What are the boundairies?
Boundaries are the agreement on how we communicate with each other in the group. Safer space has a consistent boundaried structure.
Respect other people's roles in the group and the topics they raise.
People can come and go from the group during its operation.
People do not have to speak if they do not want to, it is fine to just listen.
Confidentiality - what is said in the room stays in the room. Unless people are put at risk by this rule. In addition please note I receive clinical supervision where the group content may be discussed. I may also keep written notes of your participation.
Please communicate to me if you feel there are significant risks for individuals subsequent to the group.
Please do not bully others, or yourself, with words, emotions or actions.
If you need to use a phone please take the call outside the group.
Do not record the group or take pictures of people in the group.
Being under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol will prevent you being able to consent to being in the group.
'You have been absolutely amazing and helped me immensely'
Adults (16+) under Scottish law.
Adults who want to help themselves and others in a group setting.
Participants must be assumed to have capacity to participate unless it is established that they lack capacity.
People for whom the intervention seems detrimental in terms of risk to self or others.
Repeated breaches of group boundaries. NB. If this begins to happen I will talk with the person outside the group if the breaches are not disturbing the group members or in serous cases I would remove the person from that group before discussing their future involvement with them outside the group.
Risk assessment in the group principles
I aim to balance the seriousness of the possible outcome with the possibility it may occur based on specific risk factors. In questions of risk I will attempt to use multiple sources of information, collaborate with the participant, communicate with each other and if necessary other agencies in making decisions.
Additional help if you are adversely affected by Safer space
In the event you feel adversely affected by a Safer space group you can contact me. I am usually available between 9am and 5pm Monday - Friday. I will not answer the phone when I am with a customer. When I am unavailable, please Text/Whatsapp message (07503 316840,) phone (01506 670627) or email me () I will make every effort to return your call, message, or e-mail on the same day you make it, apart from on weekends and holidays. I have also collated a list of helplines which may also be able to assist in this circumstance Here.
If you are unable to reach me and feel that you can’t wait for me to return your call, please contact your GP and ask for an emergency appointment. The NHS 24 (phone 111) service provides urgent health advice, when your GP practice is closed. Alternatively present at any Accident and & Emergency (A&E) department and ask for a mental health assessment. If you think that someone's life is at risk you should phone 999 immediately.
Limits of confidentiality in online therapeutic groups
I work within the codes of ethics of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS.) These include a duty of confidentiality, unless there is a significant risk of harm occurring by that confidentiality being maintained. I am also compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) As such I am a registered data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO.) There are additional potential breaches of confidentiality in an online therapy group. Participants need to be aware of and accept the risks involved. Groups will not be recorded. Potential breaches to confidentiality may include, but are not limited to:
A group member attending group in a non-secure location where a nonmember (such as a family member or roommate) can see or hear the group.
A member recording or taking a screenshot of the group members.
A member using recorded material to share the identity of the group or a specific member.
Frequently asked questions
I also invite participants to read my frequently asked questions page on this website. This page includes more information on the costs and benefits of clinical psychology, therapy groups and my business terms and conditions.
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