A lecturer who built links among therapists and counsellors on Twitter has been recognised for his efforts with a national award.
Dr Peter Blundell, a senior lecturer in the School of Nursing and Allied Health, has connected thousands of professionals and students since he sent his first tweet in January 2020.
Many were drawn to his bid to bring people closer, enter debates and share resources and support in what he describes as an “often isolated” discipline where client work is usually one-to-one.
Now he has scooped Counsellor of the Year 2020 from Counsellors Together UK, Peter, who teaches on the MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice, is expanding the venture with weekly online discussions, a podcast and a website.
But he admits Twitter didn’t at first look like a natural home for a therapist as he explains in this blog: “I attempted to use Twitter (@drpeterblundell) on and off for many years but felt discussions and news items often passed by in a blur and I questioned how meaningful it all was.
“That was until I engaged with Twitter from a professional point of view, as a therapist and researcher. The sense of community I found amongst these networks was wonderful and the resources, discussions and debates I have often found to be stimulating and interesting,” he says.
Peter (pictured) wondered if there was a way that he could connect more with other therapists and on January 6 sent out sent a tweet asking others who they were and what they did, and included the hashtag #TherapistsConnect. Three days later thousands of people were using the hashtag and it has now become an all-purpose ‘tag’ for therapists across the world to highlight interesting training, resources or discussions and professional debates.
Apart from finding out about all sorts of therapy work he’d never heard of, he says the forum has helped him focus his arguments, understand other points of view and choose his words very carefully!
He now co-facilitates a weekly Twitter discussion group under the hashtag #TraineeTalk, which starts again in September. This enables students to engage in discussions with each other and well known therapists and has been extremely popular with students.
#TherapistsConnect is also being developed into a website of free resources, and in his podcast he interviews a variety of therapists from around the world about the issues affecting them and their careers.
-Peter Blundell is a qualified person-centred counsellor and a qualified social worker with an MA in social work from LJM