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Your sessions are stagnating – it’s time ‘not’ to panic!

Your sessions are stagnating – it’s time ‘not’ to panic!

Your sessions are stagnating – it’s time ‘not’ to panic!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sarah Hughes, National PTS Manager at Mayday Trust, talks to the Frontline Network about what happens if your sessions stagnate:


When working in a person-centred, flexible and strength-based way, there is not a box to tick or form to complete to keep your sessions ‘on track’. This way of working is focused on responding to the individual and the lack of structure can, at times, be daunting to workers. In a recent Personal Transitions Service (PTS) Frontline Network meeting, some of the coaches delivering the PTS explored what happens when it feels like the work you are doing is stagnating and not going anywhere. Below are some key reflections from this discussion.

It might be you, not the person you’re working with!

One of the key areas discussed was even if you as a practitioner feel that a relationship or meetings are stagnating, the individual may still be finding those meetings and the support useful. Often as practitioners we feel a need to be doing something tangible, something that we might be able to record or create an outcome. Often when working in a way that is led by the individual and goes at their pace, we may feel we are not doing a good job, or being useful or enough. However, it might be that the individual might be benefitting from having reflective conversations which are helping them to deal with certain things that are going on and by not ‘doing for’ individuals, it is having a positive impact.

The relationship is everything

It was also discussed that it might be that the relationship with the individual might not be established enough for that person to feel comfortable discussing certain things. One of the core elements of this approach is ensuring that a trusting, open and honest relationship is built (within reasonable professional boundaries) between you as the practitioner and the individual. It might be that if it feels like it is not going anywhere, the individual may not trust you enough to share information and therefore more time should be invested in building that relationship first.

Getting the right time

Another key piece of reflection is the understanding that everyone works at a different pace. Some people might have a clear idea of what they want to do, and others may not, your job is not to push someone on a timescale dictated by you. A key principle of the PTS is ‘right intervention, right time’-this has the explicit understanding that people do not fit into boxes or targets that we set and we need to respond to the person in front of us, when they are ready.

Keep it honest

Lastly, the PTS coaches reflected on how important it is to have open and honest conversations with the people we work with. It’s important to have conversations about how they think it is going and what they would like from the work you are doing with them. It’s always beneficial to discuss how an individual would prefer you to work with you as a practitioner, rather than assuming you have all the answers. Keeping it open and having real conversations about the work you are doing is an important thing to reflect on.

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