I can offer my unique perspective of working with and making sense of profound distress and extreme states of mind and the impact it has on individuals, teams and organizations. I also have extensive experience in working collaboratively, creatively and in partnership with disempowered and disenfranchised individuals and groups to bring about sustained and lasting improved positive outcomes. I have provided coaching and mentoring, supervision and consultancy to individuals, teams and organisations.
I recently worked as a consultant for a large provider of services to people who are homeless. I was asked to facilitate a process which focused specifically on the experience of female service users many of whom were defined as having complex needs e.g. survivors of childhood abuse and neglect, currently homeless, using drugs i.e. crack cocaine, sex working, issues with self-harm, eating disorders, mental health issues and were also dealing with the effects of the ensuing loss of their families.
My initial remit was to facilitate a day that aimed to critically evaluate how the organisation could effectively improve services for women. The day was attended by service users, front line workers, area managers and senior managers. Drawing on the collective experience and expertise of both staff and service users attending the workshop, the session explored:
- Whether women presented more complex support issues than their male counterparts?
- What were the key elements of successful support services for women?
- How could we best ensure consistency across various projects?
- What were the essential skills and knowledge required by staff teams?
The information which was shared and documented during this day helped to inform the development of an implementation group for the organisations women’s strategy, and established clear targets which had been shaped and defined by women’s experiences of using the service and staff experiences of delivering the service.
I then facilitated a 2nd complimentary session with staff from a number of different projects and departments within the organisation to capture learning to date and plan the future work-streams: specifically looking at staff training, service structure and equalities issues.
As a consequence there are new, specific learning opportunities for staff, alongside a developing coherence of service delivery to women who have experienced trauma, abuse and sexual exploitation.
This consultation work continues and will inform the future structure, planning and efficacy of services.