I was off to Hervey Bay yesterday for the Annual Wide Bay HACC Conference.  Thought I'd post a little bit about it here because I found it a really interesting day.  There were 2 keynote speakers and a couple of workshops.  The first keynote speaker was Helen Glover.  If you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak, I highly encourage you to go.  She is from an organisation called Enlightened Consultants and spoke on the topic of mental health from a lived perspective.  I was all ears.  She had no trouble whatsoever keeping my attention. 

Her message was simple when it came to working with people with a mental illness - Include them!  It seems a very simple idea, but as I sat there and thought about it, I can see that that message hasn't really hit home to many services yet. 

This was shown later during the day when I was sitting to listening to someone from another mental health service (and I am not going to put any details about the service in here).  The person was telling us about how they have case meetings regarding clients on a regular basis to share ideas etc.  Someone in the audience put their hand up and asked "Is the client present?" - the answer to this amazingly was "No, not at this stage". 

Anyway, I have read some things about client centred approaches and to me it seems that all Helen was saying really fit in with this approach.  After all, have I not heard or read in various social work texts - the client is the master of their own lives. 

I hope that I have walked away from the conference yesterday with a desire to genuinally include the client in all aspects of any service I ever have the privilege of working in - to be beside them in their life journey, not leading them.