So I was awarded the Liebster Award last week, woohoo! This is an award given by a fellow blogger that basically says, you’re valued, which is nice. But the award is far more interesting than just being given a little badge to put on your site. It’s all about spreading the word about other blogs out there that are of great value. So in accepting the award I have the responsibility to share with you some of my favourite regular read blogs. And I know I’m always interested to know what some of my favourite bloggers are reading, so hopefully you will find this interesting too.
But before I begin I must thank the lovely Dorlee M at Social Work Career Development for awarding me this in the first place. To be selected by her is a great honour as she is one of the most prolific readers and sharers of anything of relevance to social work, social care and mental health. Her weekly digest of ‘The Best in Mental Health’ is always an interesting review and I always end up reading at least one of her recommendations in full. She also posts fascinating articles and interviews on anything from art therapy to self-care. You cannot go wrong following her blog, and if I could nominate her back again, she would be in my official list. So thank you!
With great pomp and fanfares, I hereby bestow upon the following the Liebster Award as you are my top recommended blogs.*
(The list is in no particular order):
If you want to know what is going on in psychological and neuroscientific research then this is the blog to follow. Although not exclusively concerning childhood and adolescent research it does have a strong leaning in this direction, and even if the research isn’t specifically related to this age group, it usually is of interest and relevance anyhow. The magic of this blog is that if you don’t have the time or the inclination to trawl through journal articles but you do want to know what the research is saying, and in more detail than your standard news outlet article will go into, then Gina Stepp does the hard work for you. It’s the middle (and arguably perfect) road of academic research reporting- intelligent yet accessible (you don’t routinely need a dictionary to understand it or an extensive background knowledge of theory), it links research back to real life and there are always excellent references to the original research material for the odd occasion when you do want to go into more depth. Gina’s blog is also part of a larger website with contributions from other bloggers covering trauma, education etc, book reviews and is also well worth a look.
As you might have already guessed, writing that gives genuine insight into the thought processes and feelings of those struggling with painful emotions AND offers guidance as to how to help is ‘my bag’ and this blog does this by the bucket load. Carolyn Hughes shares her deeply personal experiences and emotions regarding her abandonment as a child and her descent into alcoholism AND the way back up again. But it’s not just about recovering from alcoholism and pain. As her strapline says, her blog is, “Inspiration for anyone who wants to live their life as the person they were meant to be.” Full of beautiful artwork, insights and wisdom, this blog never fails to lighten my soul and help me to lighten the souls of others.
Stephan Friedrich at Knightlamp seriously kicks butt (in the literal and the metaphorical sense! Read his blog to find out more!) He is an expert in working with traumatised young people, helping them understand and heal their wounds, and helping those who work with them see past their challenging behaviour to the pain that lies at the root of it. His posts can be shocking, hilarious, desperately sad, desperately hopeful and often all of this at once. You are never left feeling nothing after reading a post, and that to my mind, is what makes for a blog that actually challenges and changes you. In turn, it motivates me to go Gandhi, not in the bald sense, but to go, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.
This blog is a new one on the block, which is all about the psychology of sustained personal change within the context of (but not only relevant to) sustaining significant personal weightloss. The posts written by Pat Antos and Amanda Welsby are all about discovering, accepting and learning to like and love the inner you, healing past hurts, developing self-worth and giving yourself permission to take the necessary steps in your life to be happy. These are all issues that the troubled teens I have worked with have had to address too, without the weight issues, so there is much more to be taken away from this blog than just a typical weightloss message. Knowing Pat personally and having discussed his weight loss journey I can tell you, the transformation has not been just physical. His inner being, his thoughts, views and attitudes have been lastingly transformed, and isn’t that we want for so many of our youth?
(Watch this space too, a guest post from Pat will be on this blog shortly, giving insight into his experiences of being an overweight teen and raising awareness of the pain that so often lies at the heart of over-eating).
Shae and Stephen Pepper are passionate about holistically supporting and empowering young people through equipping and motivating youth workers. What I love about their blog is that you don’t know whether you are going to get advice on how to stuff as many balloons as you can into someone’s oversize clothing (aka a fresh rather than dull and boring group fun activity suggestion), a personal reflection on the many challenges of youth work, advice on the organisational side of youth work (such as how to successfully apply for grants) or the nitty gritty of youth work (such as advice on how to manage youth group behaviour). Some of it is geared towards youth ministry, most of it is not specifically, so is worth a look whatever your religious view.
Aaron Garth has been round the block with the youth of Australia, working in all sorts of settings, with the children of prisoners, alcohol and drug rehabilitation services, with homeless youth and most recently in social work settings. Consequently he can be writing about literally anything to do with youth work and draws massively on his own experiences in his blog posts. He doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects and is never afraid to call out organisations or youth workers on their failings that jeopardise young people’s welfare, but which is always done with the aim of bringing about improvement rather than slamming them down. And he’s never afraid to share his own lessons learned, a humility and honesty that you can’t help but warm to.
So there we go, my regular blog reads. I hope these are of interest and those that I have selected feel similarly inspired to pay it forward and share with their readership their favourite blogs.
There is a second part to this post (and accepting the award) that involves answering questions set by my award giver. If you care to read my answers set by Dorlee M click here, and if you have been selected for the award by me please click here also to read what you need to do to accept the award and ‘pay it forward’.
*The eagle-eyed and rules-oriented among you will have noticed that I have not entirely adhered to the guidelines for this award by failing to select 10 blogs. Well truth be told, I don’t actually regularly read 10 blogs (sharp intake of breath from the blogosphere). I tend to read summaries of recent blogs by good people such as Dorlee M, or pick up interesting blog posts on social media and then go and visit the blogs to read in full if the synopsis sounds good. So I do read a lot of blog posts, it’s just that I don’t necessarily regularly read the output from one single blogger (blogosphere, breathe).