Another way to become involved with Catalyse is to follow and interact with us on Twitter. We have been tweeting under the account @CatalyseC since November 2014. You can see our Twitter feed here on the lower right hand side of our web pages. The majority of tweets are made by Rhona Brown, who looks after our website and has helped us to think about digital engagement.
What are our tweets about and who are they aimed at?
As our Twitter profile states, the main aims of Catalyse are:-
“Promoting Cognitive Analytic Therapy through training, development, individual therapy, supervision and projects in health, community & workplace settings.”
This is with a geographical focus on the north of England.
Our main target audiences are professionals who have either already trained in cognitive analytic therapy, or are interested in learning more about it. Therefore most of our tweets are aimed at those professionals, and we are likely to use words and terms that are familiar to those groups. However we’re aware that there is more general interest in cognitive analytic therapy in the wider community and in the general public. This is something that we positively welcome and support, along with the national Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT), who promote information about CAT more broadly. ACAT’s website contains lots of information for the general public. ACAT also has a Twitter account and you can follow them too via @Assoc_CAT. If you follow us and find you need a CAT term to be explained, tweet and ask us to be more clear.
What are the benefits of following us on Twitter?
By following us you will receive regular alerts about news, information and events relevant to Catalyse activities and to cognitive analytic therapy. You can become part of the growing national and international community of people who have an interest in CAT. You can listen in to, or take part in, online conversations amongst them. You can search under the hashtag #CATdialogue to locate some of the conversations about CAT within Twitter to date.
What is Twitter all about?
There are many different positions on social media, its virtues and its pitfalls. However it is becoming an increasing aspect of day-to-day life and can have many benefits for health professionals. It can be a powerful and speedy vehicle for communication, learning and continuing professional development. It has also proved to be a valuable vehicle for “people powered” developments and partnerships which enable people to inform and support each other in managing health issues and promoting more peer-led knowledge and expertise.
A position we have found helpful is that Twitter is primarily about people and relationships, about publicly sharing information, “working out loud”, and learning through connection with others. Twitter offers ways of more easily connecting with others across boundaries and hierarchies. This makes it possible for many voices to have space and to interact. Learning can be enriched by many different perspectives. New relationships can build over time, which can lead to creative collaborations and new developments. This is very in line with some of the theoretical ideas that inform the CAT model and CAT practice. Through Twitter we’ve learned a great deal from other people who are active there.
- Creating refers to using one’s voice to bring ideas to life and share what you know.
- Curating refers to finding and organising information about topics you care about, in a way that that helps create meaning.
- Finally contributing refers to joining conversations and communities, adding your voice in a spirit of generosity.
From a CAT perspective, this seems like a good starting point for making sense of Twitter in a relational way.
Aren’t there so many downsides to Twitter that it’s not worth it?
While Twitter gives a platform for many voices to interact in positive ways, it is also possible for conflict and negative interactions to happen there. Many people are put off engaging in social media because of the prospect of negative things like conflicts, abuse and trolling. There are ways to protect yourself against these, and it can be helpful to learn from the experience of others.
Some people have reservations about engaging in social media because of the risk of it becoming an obstacle to connecting with people, rather than something that helps connection and relationships. Psychotherapists in particular can be wary of technology which gets in the way of human communication. This is illustrated powerfully in the artist Eric Pickersgill’s work “Removed“. Again there are many different positions on this issue, and the resources here include some which take a more positive perspective on the value of social media.
Psychological therapists of one sort or another have tended to be reluctant to engage publicly in social media. The very open boundaries within Twitter have the potential to heighten ethical dilemmas and the risk of breaches in professional conduct. This is therefore an important area to approach thoughtfully and carefully.
Therapists can also be concerned about their own boundaries and the personal risks of being a “public professional”. Most professional and regulatory bodies have produced guidelines on social media to help professionals be clear about how their social media use interacts with their professional roles. There are also some helpful “Twitter Tips” for health professionals highlighted by a range of influential tweeters which are included in the resources listed here.
What’s out there to help you decide?
To help you consider whether or not to take a step towards having a social media presence and joining us in the Twittersphere, we’ve collected together a number of guidelines and other resources which we hope are useful and informative. Have a look at them here.
Remember, if you tweet as a health professional you must be aware of and adhere to the ethical requirements of your professional body.
If any of this helps you to take steps forward in having a social media presence, we’d value your feedback on what was helpful and why. If you have any other suggestions on materials which you think could help support people finding their way with social media, please let us know. We propose a hashtag where you can create, curate and contribute on this topic: #CATtweetZPD