Human Connection, Human Disconnection Conference 2015
North Staffs Mind held a Masterclass and Lecture Event at Hanley Museum on Wednesday 24 June 2015
This event proved to be another astounding success, following on from previous high profile conferences that North Staffs Mind has held for professionals working in Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire.
It comprised a morning Masterclass, facilitated by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, a research scientist who since 1993 has been based in the School of Psychology at the University of Dundee. Since setting up an independent training enterprise in 2011, Dr Zeedyk speaks to the public about our human need for emotional and physiological connection. She draws on her own research expertise — in areas such as parent-infant relationships, family support, communicative disorders, and the politics of science — as well as the work of many other scientists and practitioners.
Throughout the Masterclass Dr Zeedyk engaged a varied audience of professionals and service users in a fascinating and skilful exploration of some of her ideas, relating personal and real experiences to her theories around the importance of human connection.
The afternoon session was devoted to a personal account from Peter, of his work as a service user, with Parents in Mind, North Staffs Mind’s project which works specifically with parents who are experiencing emotional distress. Peter spoke courageously about his life journey, his struggles with mental ill health and how that impacted on his own well-being , his ability to parent and his relationship with his son. His counsellor, Vikki, then gave a moving account of her work with Peter, from the counsellor’s perspective. Vikki, too, was honest about her struggles in this work, and ultimately her pride in Peter. Dr Zeedyk drew this part of the conference to a close by drawing on the content of Peter’s and Vikki’s speeches, underlining a key message of the conference; that as professionals, it is our ability to listen to our service users that can be key to bringing about lasting psychological change and healing.
Comments from attendees included:
“This was a very inclusive experience that allowed free flowing thought and sharing of experiences in a relational context. Interesting and very informative. Extremely valuable for both personal and professional development.”
“Excellent event. Very thought provoking in relation to the power of listening. This is a big part of my role and my own confidence has increased in realising the power of this skill.”
North Staffs Mind is planning another conference event for the Autumn of 2016.