Authors: Ashleigh Taylor and Kara Mure, VIC
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Utley and Garza (2011) describe that the use of journaling as a counselling intervention is a creative way to engage clients in a therapeutic activity that can lead to greater self-awareness and growth, both during session and in between sessions. Stepping Stones, a child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit within Southern Metropolitan Victoria where at risk teenagers engage in individual and group work, have implemented a journal to assist patients and their families be more engaged in and take ownership of their treatment and recovery. The journal was designed to complement the model of care and group work by providing a physical means of collating therapeutic work to assist in recovery and aid communication for both staff, the patient and their families. This has also had the secondary function of promoting distress tolerance and providing a means of coping and containment, giving the patients a tool to externalise their emotions. It has also helped to promote culture change within the staff group to shift and allow implementation of the recovery model.
“A central tenet of the recovery model is that empowerment of the user is important in achieving good outcome in serious mental illness”. Our aim is to share our patients’ experiences of how the recovery journal "helped me to understand in a more clear and less destructive way (patient A, age 16)” and supported collaboration and empowerment within our population.