You can train a hen to crow but it is probably easier to hire a rooster: Past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour

The recruitment industry has a saying: “you can train a hen to crow but it is probably easier to hire a rooster”. Perhaps this is also applicable to the adoption of self-care  practices and reduction of burnout experienced by OoHC/YJ workers, i.e. perhaps we should recruit people who already undergo self-care practices or are resilient to burnout. The results The…

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How to reduce burnout in OoHC & YJ staff (Part 1): Improve supervision

This is the penultimate post in the series that reviews the evidence for prevention of burnout in OoHC and YJ workers. This and the next post will attempt to summarise ‘what works’ in preventing burnout. The results The previous studies (click here and here) suggest that self-care and trauma-informed self-care strategies have a positive effect, but do not impact on…

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Guess what? Yet another official report ‘bags’ residential care

Victorian Legal Aid (VLA) recently released a report titled Care Not Custody: A new approach to keep kids in residential care out of the criminal justice system. In reviewing this report my aim was not to say ‘Kafkaesque’ or ‘Catch 22’ or make any reference to the TV shows ‘Yes Minister’ (for you older Practitioners) or ‘Utopia’ (for  younger Practitioners).…

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Latest research on causes and treatments of self-harm by adolescents

Self-harming is common amongst young people in OoHC, youth justice and alternative school settings. As noted in my last post, I just love a succinct summary of the evidence of the causes and treatment of mental health issues. Today’s post provides such a summary on the causes and interventions for self-harm. This YouTube video, called Self Injury Knowledge and Skills…

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Can Mentilisation Based Therapy skills assist OoHC & YJ Practitioners create more therapeutic relationships with clients?

Day  2: International Child Trauma Conference 2018 Yesterday I attended Peter Fongy’s masterclass on Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) Who is Peter Fonagy?   Peter is a psychologist with special interests in the neurobiology of attachment, working with violent young men and people with personality disorders. He has authored over 300 peer reviewed articles. You can read a short version of…

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Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Highlights from the Childhood Trauma Conference (Day 1)

I am at the 3rd International Childhood International Trauma Conference in Melbourne. The conference brings together international leaders in the field of trauma and trauma recovery. The aim is to distill information that might be relevant to Practitioners be they foster carers, resi-worker workers, case managers or JJ workers etc. A big task!  The conference runs for five and half…

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Why do good staff become punitive so quickly?

  Practitioners will recognise the situation whereby they recruit someone who, during their interview, presents as a compassionate and caring individual, only to be caught off guard when the same person suddenly starts advocating harsher and harsher punishment for YP. This study This Israeli study explores how beliefs and attitudes of staff who work with the vulnerable predict the use…

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Does verbal aggression by clients predict increased use of restraint/seclusion by staff?

Verbal aggression by clients to staff in residential care, YJ and alternative schools is a continuing problem for Practitioners. This study looks at the specific impact of verbal aggression on mental health nurses. It investigates the following hypothesis:     Why are nursing staff studies relevant to OoHC/YJ/alternative schools? In general, the quality of research in the mental health sector…

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Not fake news: High risk adolescents want limits

Practitioners become concerned when their staff, typically new staff, become too close to the young people (YP) in their care. Staff themselves believe, correctly, that a close relationship is necessary to bring about changes in the YP’s life. However, the relationship can transform into a ‘peer-to-peer’ relationship, i.e. both parties are ‘equal’ in the relationship and thus the worker is…

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Can we trust private RT0s to train residential care workers?

A common recommendation for improving the quality of residential care is to require higher educational qualifications of residential care workers.[1] However, it is not clear that higher qualifications by themselves will be sufficient. This blog post focuses on the process of acquiring qualifications rather than the qualifications themselves; i.e. pre-service training vs. in-service training and full-time vs. part time vs.…

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