The CALM ( Crisis and Aggression Limitation Management ) Conference 2024; A Reflection on the Day by Elaine McIntosh (Senior Manager; Education)

After being invited to design and facilitate a workshop at this year’s conference, I met colleague Carrie Campbell at the beautiful Rennie Mackintosh ‘House for an Art Lover’  in Glasgow, where this year’s conference opened with a wonderful keynote speech from Dr Lisa Cherry on the importance of ‘belonging’ for care experienced young people and reminded the delegates from all over Scotland that we must not only create this sense of belonging within care settings but to support individuals to belong in terms of their birth families, heritage and roots. Dr Cherry explained how FACES, PLACES and SPACES are key to developing this sense of belonging;

  • Faces are those trusted, familiar adults, family members, friends who are around young people who nurture, care and support
  • Places are those familiar to the young people; their schools, communities, clubs, the local and wider environment
  • Spaces where the above come together to create safety and healing

I then attended the workshop by East Park School for young people with complex needs who shared their Young Peoples’ Trauma Profiles. This was an interesting document co-designed with and for young people to ensure care plans are living, breathing, ‘live’ supports to enable trusting, compassionate relationships to flourish between adults and young people and where a ‘strength-based approach’ is used. A great example was given of a young person who had one goal on his plan….to cross the road independently. This goal was broken into small, achievable steps and his success documented in a series of photos. It was a lively and uplifting  session!

There were many other ‘sharing good practice’ workshops to choose from, all centred on how to build capacity, confidence, build resilience and come together as a group committed to improving the lives of others and reducing physical restraint. There was also a guided ‘Mindfulness Walk’.  

The second keynote speaker was Dr Shona Quin who shared her experiences of working alongside practitioners in Aberlour to build capacity and reflection and she noted the importance of leadership, of vision and professional courage!

After a lovely lunch in the sunshine, amazing entertainment by the ‘Keynotes Choir’ and a chance to catch up with Care Visions colleagues Danny Henderson, Lisa Veitch, Ali Carruthers. I had the opportunity to introduce my good friend and Head of CALM Learning and Practice Development, Lorna Walker, to my colleagues before my co-presenter Carrie Campbell and I made our way to facilitate the first of our two sessions; Meeting the Wellbeing and Practice Development needs of Practitioners; An Exploration of the ‘Power Dynamic’ within Supervision.

This workshop provided delegates with a safe and anonymous space within which to reflect on their ‘lived experiences’ of Supervision. The key messages from this paired discussion were collated for me to share with Scottish Attachment in Action’s Education Steering Committee as part of our evaluation of our new model of Supervision; Wee BREATHERS aimed at supporting teachers in mainstream schools, who do not receive any supervision. This came as a shock to many of the delegates! Lively and engaged participants did indeed share their ideas, advice and lived experiences and key messages such as an organisation’s values, a flexibility around time and place for supervision, and encouraging a separation of professional development meetings from wellbeing reflection sessions.

The day concluded with an emotive call for the physical restraint of children and young people to be made illegal with the introduction of ‘Callum’s Law’ and the journey so far by campaigner Beth,  was shared. Finally, the insightful and inspiring Lorna Walker from CALM shared her work on the Five Elements of Compassion. On reflection, it was an uplifting event, a gathering of like-minded individuals who, like me, would have left feeling energised and uplifted!

For more information on the event please see the CALM website and for information on the WEE Breathers Pilot Model of Supervision for teachers please see the  Scottish Attachment in Action website link;