Residential Children’s Care role

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lauramichelle92
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Residential Children’s Care role

Post by lauramichelle92 » Thu May 30, 2019 11:38 am

Hi everyone,

I’m trying to make a career switch from Marketing back to Psychology, with the long term goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist.

I have a degree in Psychology and various bits of volunteer work, but I’m now looking for some entry level roles that would get me some experience before applying for AP roles.

I’ve been offered a job as a Therapeutic Support Worker in a children’s residential home and would like advice about whether this would be good experience / the right sort of experience needed to make me a more attractive candidate for AP roles?

Has anyone done this kind of work before? Did you go on to Assistant Psychology work? Would you recommend it?

Lots of questions I know - thanks for taking the time to read it all!

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Geishawife
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Re: Residential Children’s Care role

Post by Geishawife » Thu May 30, 2019 12:38 pm

Support worker roles are usually a very good starting point for gaining experience, so, yes, this could be an ideal entry level role. But I think it's worth reiterating a couple of things. First of all, don't get caught up in the whole "must have an AP job" rigmerole. AP posts are excellent experience and have many positives, but they are NOT essential and there are many other roles you can take that would give you equally good experience. Secondly, and related to my first point, try not to focus on what the role is (ie what it's called) and instead focus on what it gives you and what you can learn from it. There are so many skills you can develop from the role you've been offered, so focus on making the most of it rather than worrying if it will give you what you need for a role that is not actually essential if you want to be a CP.

lauramichelle92
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Re: Residential Children’s Care role

Post by lauramichelle92 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:59 pm

Thanks for your feedback! Really useful to know that AP roles aren't essential and I appreciate what you're saying about focusing on what the role gives you.

The main reason I'm worrying about accepting the job I've been offered is a friend of mine used to work in a similar role and has *strongly* advised me against it. She's said that you spend most of your time either fending off physical / verbal violence or you're just cleaning / cooking and not learning valuable skills.

From what was discussed in my interview, my friend's experience (with a different company) doesn't seem to line up with what this role would be, and I think it potentially would be really good (and very rewarding) experience. It'd just be really great to get someone else's perspective, especially if they've ever worked in a similar role.

AnsweringBell
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Re: Residential Children’s Care role

Post by AnsweringBell » Thu May 30, 2019 3:21 pm

I do understand your friend's advice, there. I also know someone who would say similar in terms of what you do day to day, but also she's quite supported to work with people through an attachment framework. I think it'd depend on the company and the opportunity specifically. Certainly the friend feels able to do really hands on work as a support worker in helping the kids she's keyworker for in developing healthy, nurturing relationships.

Sorry that's not really more specific! Since I haven't done it myself it's hard to say, but she certainly seems quite fulfilled with the work (though it is often incredibly challenging in exactly the ways you've listed). Work's also supporting her to work towards a particular qualification there, with a view to a masters further down the line in something related to systemic working.

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miriam
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Re: Residential Children’s Care role

Post by miriam » Thu May 30, 2019 7:21 pm

If it helps any, I work in residential children's homes a lot, and have helped several providers to apply clinical psychology informed practice models. I wrote a book about the psychology of this client group, and I do regular training on this topic. I have also developed outcome measures and best practice that are increasingly being adopted in this context. So there are definitely psychological models to draw on, and links you can make that would be valuable to reflect on at interview for an AP role or doctoral interview, as well as AP posts within some residential care providers that would prefer someone who has already got experience of their client group.

Beyond this, and thinking about care and support roles more generally, I think there is tremendous value in forming appropriate relationships with people who have experienced trauma, abuse and attachment difficulties, and in the "grunt work" and graft of these roles. It gives a good grounding of how tough it is to apply theory in practice, and how we need to be pragmatic in our advice and recognise that often it is the bread and butter of daily life that is most important, rather than the hour a week of therapy (if any of these young people could access it and would want it) that we put on a pedestal.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

lingua_franca
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Re: Residential Children’s Care role

Post by lingua_franca » Thu May 30, 2019 9:51 pm

lauramichelle92 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:59 pm
The main reason I'm worrying about accepting the job I've been offered is a friend of mine used to work in a similar role and has *strongly* advised me against it. She's said that you spend most of your time either fending off physical / verbal violence or you're just cleaning / cooking and not learning valuable skills.
I'd disagree with your friend here. I've worked in similar residential and inpatient settings, and even though the level of violence was high, I wouldn't have said we were "fending it off" - it was all about trying to understand what the young people were communicating through that behaviour and how we could help them to express themselves differently. Simple things like cooking are all part of this. At the moment I teach in a special school, and I have one lad whose attention span is in pieces and whose relationships with his peers are fragile at best. Every so often we bake a cake together, as this reinforces planning, turn-taking, and listening skills, and gave him something positive (and tasty!) to share with the others. To outsiders it might look like 'just' cooking, but I know that those lessons are tailored with his particular cognitive difficulties in mind, and that everything I do in that place is influenced by psychodynamic theory. There's no shortage of opportunities to apply psychological thinking in these settings.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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