Spotlight: Mental Health Awareness Course
27th October 2022
We chatted to Dr Richard Smith, who is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist to chat about our Mental Health at Work course that he offered his professional insight into. Check out what he had to say below, and get in touch to learn more about our course
What approach did you take in your contributions to this course?
As a chartered psychologist I always keep in mind best practice and the science behind psychotherapeutic interventions. To elaborate on that, I keep in mind what is evidence-based practice and what isn’t. Therefore, from contributing to the course content I was keen to keep these at the fore front of my thinking. Some of the best evidence for the efficacy of psychotherapy comes from studies and clinical trials around cognitive behavioural therapy. In contributing to this e-learning course, I drew from CBT when talking about helpful thinking habits and the ABC(DE) model which forms a central pillar of the approach.
It was important for me to pitch the content of the course at the right level. For me that was at a level in which someone with very little psychotherapy or counselling experience would be able to relate to. In saying that, it was also important for me to ensure that those with more experience would also find the content engaging. Not an easy balance to achieve, however looking at the latest incarnation of the course, I’m delighted with the outcome.
In addition to this, I was minded to make the course relevant to psychological issues that are particularly salient to workplace settings. As a chartered psychologist also holding a masters degree in occupational psychology, I am well-placed to do this.
Learning takes place best, when we are interacting with content and not simply passively ingesting knowledge, therefore I was keen to set some tasks and get the user to use tools throughout, for example, thought diaries and psychological screening tools. The e-learning course animations bring some of these elements to life.
Did you have any misgivings about getting involved with e-learning and how do you see e-learning as helping?
I think e-learning is a very useful way of disseminating learning to large audiences that would previously be unable to access information for whatever reason, whether its due to geographical considerations or costs involved with traditional learning methodologies. As a psychologist, increasing access to psychological well-being strategies and psycho-education is at the forefront in helping more and more people access good psychological healthcare at work and at home. It is at the heart of why we aspired to be counselling and clinical psychologists in the first place.
I think as psychologists, we have an inherent bias towards face-to-face work and some of us may embrace technological change i.e. in method of delivery with scepticism or a degree of caution. There are undoubtedly some limitations inherent in e-learning delivery systems such as a lack of face-to-face contact and more limited access to help when we have questions, however overall, I think the platform really adds something very useful to workplace and individual learning programmes.
The e-learning course hopefully provides an entry point for taking up opportunities to access more help either through EAPs or private healthcare plans provided by employers. Ultimately, the e-learning course promotes improved well-being at work that benefits all parties, both employees and employers.