Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Soti Grafanaki

Entry written 13 March 13, 2007:

Soti is an energetic, loquacious Greek woman who got her PhD with John McLeod at Keele University in the mid-90’s and who now works at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. Since last May, I have been in conversation with her about the International Project on the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy and Psychotherapy Training (IPEPPT), encouraging her to see if she could develop a Canadian branch. She’s been a bit frustrated with us here at Strathclyde for not being more responsive to her desire to be in collaboration with us and I have been very nervous that this project might be the last straw that totally buries me. (It didn’t help that until the beginning of January I thought she was talking about starting next academic year when in fact she was talking about this calendar year!) So I think we both approached our meeting with some concern about whether it be OK. What happened, though, was an emerging sense of synergy between of our separate interests and talents.

However, as this project has begun to take shape, the points of convergence have come into focus. Soti came with a clearer sense than I do of how to promote the training evaluation component of IPEPPT, and has made good progress toward developing a Canadian network of programs interested in running a shared protocol. I fed her various instruments for the therapy evaluation components, which is the part that I understand better. We worked on converting an existing instrument, the main questionnaire used by Orlinsky et al.’s Collaborative Research Network (CRN) into something that can be used appropriately by student trainees as a pre-post measure during the first year or two or their training as counsellors/therapists. Then we decided that we need to create supervisor and clients forms of this instrument (using subsets of items from the trainee form). I emailed David Orlinsky while Soti was here, and a couple days later got his blessing for proceeding on the instrument revisions. In return, Soti and I have been co-opted onto the steering group for CRN, with the remit of helping to develop the next phase of CRN research, in effect integrating CRN and IPEPPT.

Finally, I briefed Soti for working with Alberto Zucconi and in his team in Rome when she goes there in May and we reviewed possibilities for the Italian IPEPPT protocol. Alberto’s Italian colleagues are getting a bit tired of hearing from me, so I an sure that they will welcome a change of face and her energy, which matches Alberto’s.

The result was that by the time Soti left, I was feeling much more optimistic about possibilities for moving IPEPPT forward and Soti was feeling much more connected and supported in what she is doing. She and I had discovered that we could work on this productively together. By the second day, we had found a nice working rhythm, and it became clear to me that we could make a good team, with her energy and outgoing nature providing a much needed boost for IPEPPT.

At the same time, it also became clear to me that all this is going to feed back into what I am working with Julie Folkes-Skinner, a PhD student from Leicester who is going to be running an evaluation of the Fulltime Diploma course here at Strathclyde next year. And two key members of CRN, Thomas Schroeder (U of Nottingham) and Sue Wheeler (University of Leicester), were going to be at the UK-SPR meeting in Ravenscar next week… Synergy is great!

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