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Every year Devon CAMHS has a cross county conference for all its staff. Each conference is themed and service users are invited to take part.
This year’s theme was ‘The Therapeutic Relationship’. It would have been easy to interpret this as the relationship between worker and client, however four young service users decided to take what was for them a more in-depth and broader view of what this meant. To them the therapeutic relationship meant their relationship with the service as a whole: therapists, managers, receptionists, letters – even CAMHS buildings). To them all these things affect their therapeutic experience of the service.
When we’re using a service it can often be easier, for any of us, to list the things that are ‘wrong’ with it. We’ve had this happen at past CAMHS conferences and that’s fine. However, the group decided to take a more positive position and put together their idea of a perfect journey through CAMHS. Their journey started with seeing their GP, referral into CAMHS, relationships with CAMHS staff and the service as a whole and then through to transition into Adult Services.
They wrote various scripted parts that were distributed around the conference room and then invited CAMHS staff to take these roles at the different times.
They began their presentation with:
‘Welcome to ‘A Perfect CAMHS Journey from a Service User’s Perspective’. The title of our presentation is a bit misleading as we realise we can never have a perfect experience. Also, we know that some of our ideas might be a bit idealistic – but it’s something to aim for…’