This is the first of hopefully many blogs for the Psychological Professions Network North West. It’s now December 2013 and I have been remembering the journey to this point of the website launch and the excitement of getting a name and a logo.
For me, this journey started in 2012 at a meeting of psychology leads and heads of services in the North West and the need to strengthen the voice of psychology and the psychological workforce in the region. IAPT developments had started to grow the size of our community with an increase in the number of therapists and therefore the availability of psychological therapies. We needed to come together as a psychological professions network.
Having made this plea for action and received the response that people are willing to help but ‘what are you going to do?’ coming back made me realise that something could happen but we needed to take some steps ourselves towards it. With colleagues from that meeting, a paper was written that was the start of outlining the way forward for the psychological voice. From the outset it was essential that to be heard we needed to include all psychological professions not just one or two or a few.
From this, two further meetings took place as well as electronic consultations on the network, its name and purpose. This happened between Summer 2012 and Spring 2013. We became the Psychological Professions Network in May 2013. An interim steering group has been convened to help guide us through the first stages of our work and has relied on people’s willingness to give their time and enthusiasm to something that had just been an idea for nearly a year. As we grow and develop we will be welcoming contributors to our organisational structure so we can be representative and inclusive of all our professions
We were then fortunate that Health Education North West were supportive and also recognised the benefits of bringing together the psychological professions as a body to advise on workforce and education, and provide leadership for the professions. IAPT had benefited from a coordinated approach to their developments and the network was fortunate that Clare Baguley was able to bring her considerable IAPT knowledge and experience to work alongside me. Clare and I have worked together in developing a website, logo and started identifying who the network is for and who are our partners and stakeholders. We linked in with colleagues from the Healthcare Scientist Network, Allied Health Professions Network and Pharmacy networks under the Centre for Professional Workforce Development, and have benefited from their many more years’ experience and their generous support of the ‘new kids’. This helped get the website plan up and running quickly. Our first conversations with the web designer took place towards the end of June 2013 and just over four months later we have a functioning start. We’ve realised there are gaps in what we’d like – photos that illustrate what we do is one. Many photos were of brains or people in meetings, people in white coats and we realised we wanted to demonstrate collaboration, sharing, developing and succeeding so we’ve selected photos with this in mind. We have also used our links and our colleagues’ links to develop website content but to ensure the website grows and develops – we need you too.
Our logo developed from wanting to have a community focused approach – the people with the arms towards each other said we wanted to be inclusive and we learned that we noticed a lot more about fonts, colours, sizes and positioning than previously realised.
So where are we now? The website is launched and if you are reading this then I hope you are a member of our new network. We are planning our launch event to be held on Wednesday 26th February 2014 – hold the date in your diary, as we would really like to meet you there.
Our journey so far has shown that none of this could have happened without collaboration and cooperation which is one of our key attributes as psychological professions - we work with people in a collaborative way. I hope that this spirit will continue in making the network a successful and influential voice for psychological approaches.