Working with harmful sexual behaviour:

6 tips for improving your practice...

I spent the best part of ten years working full time with harmful sexual behaviour – HSB.

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/skdesign (adapted)

Photo courtesy of ©123rf/skdesign (adapted)

During that time we dealt with something like 800 young people. After that many cases, you learn a thing or two…

I want to share some tips for  improving your HSB practice. Whether you’re new to this or an experienced professional. A specialist or just interested.

6 tips for top notch HSB work…

(Watch the video of this post here.)

In two days I’ll be packing my bag. I’m off to another NOTA conference. A gathering of professionals who specialise in this kind of work. Can’t wait!  :0)

As I look forward to going I’ve been thinking about what kept me at it for those ten years. You see, I never felt like I arrived. Never felt like I knew it all – nowhere near.

It was a journey of continual improvement, learning, adjustment and development.

So I’ve dug out a few tips that I hope will help you – whatever your field of specialism – but related particularly to HSB here.

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How to improve your practice…

Here are my suggestions for how you can keep your practice sharp. How you can improve it. Continually!

  • Read – Read the specialist journals and other related research. Start with the JSA and SAJRT. This is where you’ll find most of the specialist research advances in the HSB field. They are the place to start when doing your general reading or chasing out a particular theme. They are the horse’s mouth, if you will. If you’re serious about the work, get serious in your reading. You could also try the JIV and Child Abuse Review. Those who read, learn. Those who learn, improve…
  • Connect – Get on social media and connect with the experts. There is an ATSA blog, which is a must. But check out prominent researchers and field leaders on other media streams – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc. These guys post reading material, useful resources and other bits and pieces of interest. I’ve discovered many a great bit of reading this way. It also keeps you up with the news in the field.
  • Join – Take out a membership of an affiliate organisation for HSB professionals. This will help you keep abreast of relevant training. And there are local branch meetings and conferences around the country. It will also put you in touch with colleagues working in HSB as well as help you feel more connected. Such gatherings are also great places for discovering new resources and other ideas to expand your practice. In the U.K. Join NOTA; in the U.S. join ATSA; in Europe join IATSO; in Australia and New Zealand it’s ANZATSA.

    NOTA Training

    Photo courtesy of ©NOTA

  • Open – Ask others to help you reflect. Allow them to scrutinise your practice and writing. This requires guts. It’s a brave person who asks for criticism. But it’s a great way to learn and see your own work from another angle. Don’t let your position in the team stop you either. Your rank doesn’t matter. Unless you’re absolutely certain that you know it all, there’s always lots to learn from those around you.

I’d like to send you my free e-book – all it costs is your email address! Just click here…

  • Question – We all settle into routines, habits of working and short cuts. Some of these will be fine. Good even. Some won’t. We can avoid drifting into lazy or second rate practice by questioning what we do. Our assumptions, our first impressions, our conclusions. Our reports and interventions have huge implications for young people’s lives. We owe it them to be thorough and then ask ourselves how we could have done it better.
  • Bookmark – Set up a book mark folder of useful web links where issues relevant to HSB are discussed. The NOTA resources page is a starting point. There’s also an HSB resources page here on this site. Keeping your digital fingers in pages like this allows you to get to them quickly when you need them. It’ll also keep us looking for more knowledge and expanding our repertoire of ideas.

Final word…

We all want to do a good job for the kids we work with. These simple strategies for improving your practice will do just that – make you better.

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Your thoughts…

  • How do you keep your practice sharp?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below or just click here.

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© Jonny Matthew 2015

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