At the start of the year (2012) the SouthWest Branch of the British Psychology Society created the first of several local hubs conceptualised to facilitate meeting and improved communication between the regions psychologists. The initial hub was in Bristol, with others to follow in Exeter, Plymouth, Truro and the Channel Isles. The meetings at each of the hubs follows the popular ‘Psychology in the Pub’ format consisting of a short talk from a guest speaker/s, followed by an opportunity to network with other local Psychologists.
The introductory session was in January– and saw Jo Maddocks, Founder and Product Director of JCA Occupational Psychologists, speak on the topic of ‘Emotional Intelligence in the workplace – a heavily requested topic and one that is relevant to a range of Psychological disciplines’. This was given to an audience of more than 75 local psychologists and interested individuals and was a well received start to the societies initiative.
March was the first meeting to be held at the now established ‘first Wednesday’ of the month. Dave Alcock took the reins for this talk. He explored a range of experiences/issues encountered whilst working with elite athletes across a range of settings but primarily working in rugby union and rugby league. Whilst the contexts were fairly specialised, the issues addressed cut across applied sport psychology, and as such were of interest to all those involved in elite sport, those wanting to begin work in the elite domain, or those who are simply interested in working in challenging environments. Issues such as the applied sport psychologist as moral arbiter, Pavlov’s bell, water boy, therapist, “ideal” parent, discriminative stimulus, and work with clinical & sub-clinical issues were all addressed. Dave went on to explore the challenges and rewards of applied sport psychology work and brought to life using a range of Dave’s experiences in the field (sometimes literally “in the field”!).
In April – Rob Briner talked on ‘The psychological contract at work: Understanding the real deal between employer and employee.’ What do people want to give at work and what do they want to get back? What are the implicit promises employees feel their employer has made to them? What happens when promises are broken and when promises are fulfilled? How can each party renegotiate the deal? The idea of an implicit or psychological contract has emerged as one key way of answering such questions and also a way of thinking about a whole range of employee feelings and behaviours including motivation, ‘engagement’, withdrawal of effort, justice, commitment, absence and quitting. This presentation will review the history of the psychological contract idea, its main features, how it has been used to explain employee behaviour, the evidence for its effects and what organisations and employees can do, if anything, to manage it.
May bought a presentation from – Patrick Jordan ‘How to be happy: What is happiness, who is happy and why and what we can all do to bring more happiness into our lives’. Looking at the area of happiness, this talk was based on the findings of positive psychology – an area of psychology which uses rigorous scientific methodology and analysis in order to investigate success, happiness and fulfillment. Findings about happiness were summarised and techniques described which can be used to increase levels of happiness.
The Bristol hub seems to have found its feet with at least 50 people attending each meeting and talk at Toto’s wine bar and it sounds like another good turn out is likely in June. But before then there is the inaugural meeting in Exeter.
The Exeter hub is on the 30th May at the Mill on the Exe. Dr Craig Knight from the Peninsula Medical School will talk on ‘The modern office: Cleverly designed space or a psychological bear trap?’. Asking, how does your office affect your well-being? How does the freedom you have over your working environment impact your productivity? And does working in a clean, sparsely decorated, flexible office improve your effectiveness or compromise the business as a whole?
I hope that everyone who has attend an event to date has enjoyed it and that many more of your will come and try the events out for size. Additioanlly if anyone wants to give a presentation, has a topic they would like to hear about, or want to let the committee know about anything else why not drop one of them a line http://southwest.bps.org.uk/southwest/meet-the-committee/meet-the-committee_home.cfm