Justin Scanlon – Founder Hearth Support Services
Professional Development to Include “Reflective Practice” at Hearth!
Over the past 13 years since my son Tristan was born with Cerebral Palsy I have experienced and observed
the psychological difficulty for participants, parents, guardians, carers and
support workers dealing with the challenges that arise on a daily basis when
you are supporting someone with a disability.
In part the reason I founded Hearth Support Services in August
2017, was that I thought there had to be a better way of assisting parents or
guardians with the individualised support they needed, when they needed it.
The physical wellbeing of the participants, Hearth Support Workers,
and the entire Hearth team is always at the top of my mind, as is employee
mental health which can have profound impacts on the overall wellbeing of an
Support work is a highly valued role that also has
challenges that can impact one’s mental health, such as.
These factors can impact one’s mental health if the right supports are not readily available.
What Is Hearth Doing About Employee Mental Health?
As I mentioned in my recent post, our first response to employee mental health back
in 2018 was to provide a professional Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all employees. This
program gives the employee the option of undertaking up to three confidential counselling
sessions at no cost to the employee.
In addition to EAP our second initiative in 2019 was to embrace “Mental Health First Aid Training”. Mental Health First Aid teaches members of the public how to help a person developing a mental health problem (including a substance use problem), experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or a mental health crisis. Like traditional first aid, Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to treat or diagnose mental health or substance use conditions. Instead, the training teaches people how to offer initial support until appropriate professional help is received, or until the crisis resolves.
Reflective Practice and Professional Development
I strongly believe that there is even more that can be done
to assist the Hearth team of Relationship Managers and Support Workers traverse
the psychological challenges of their profession and at the same time give them
the opportunity to develop professionally.
In 2020 we have partnered with a leading psychologist to
commence a pilot program for a small group of our Relationship Managers and Support
Workers to develop our own sector specific assistance and training in
So, what is reflective practice? Since the theoretical
concept was published by Donald Schön in his book “The Reflective Practitioner”
in 1983 there have been many incarnations of the theory.
Simply stated “Schön describes
both reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action as being central to
professional development where responding to uncertainties is necessary.
Reflection-on-action involves thinking back on events whereas
reflection-in-action is ‘thinking on your feet’ (Schön 1983, 61).”
Reflective practice has been widely used in many sectors
including allied health, childcare and teaching. Each sector has developed its
own approach to using this valuable theory and it is our intention to do the