Devon Wellbeing Hub Testimonial – Reflective practice for Experts by Experience

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News, Recovery and wellbeing on 8th April, 2024

Joanna Duke, Together and Carer Lead at Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT), talks about her reflective practice sessions with Psychotherapist Jody Merelle and why she would recommend the Devon Wellbeing Hub to others.

Why did you contact the Devon Wellbeing Hub? What made you reach out for help?

I contacted the Hub to ask for support with facilitating reflective practice for Experts by Experience (EbyE). My request was responded to very quickly - quicker than expected!

What did your reflective practice sessions involve?

Jody recognised the need for EbyE to have a safe space and dedicated reflective practice. We agreed to run monthly sessions and ensure it was open to the whole Together EbyE Network. We discussed feedback from the previous facilitator who had delivered a three-session pilot and agreed the best approach. Sessions are usually attended by five to seven EbyE, however attendance is growing as a result of positive experience.

EbyE can come with any topics and share what’s going well, barriers to involvement or ideas how to improve experience of those involved in co-production. They can also just come and listen.

Have you and the team found the sessions beneficial?

I’ve been very satisfied with Jody’s approach and her facilitation skills are extremely well received by the EbyE. They have shared that they have found it a refreshing experience which enables them to get things off their chest in a safe space.

Some of the feedback from participants includes:

  • “Coming to sessions made a huge difference to my involvement.”
  • “Reflective practice breaks barriers and allow us to share what we need to. I don’t even look for solutions but being able to talk about my experiences is really helpful.”
  • “Every person is seen and benefits from coming.”
  • “You don’t have to participate, sometimes just listening is enough.”
  • “I came with my issue that was on my mind for a long time. It’s not anymore.”

What would the impact have been without these sessions?

We wouldn’t be able to offer reflective practice to EbyE without the Hub, which would have led to a huge gap in our support offer. This is the only opportunity where EbyE can safely share their experiences and reflect together as a group. Feedback from every session is really positive and there is a sense of belonging and community that has been created.

Have your team made any changes since the session?

Themes generated in reflective practice have informed developments of the Together EbyE Network.

Would you recommend this service to colleagues?

Absolutely! Reach out and ask for support, you won’t be disappointed.

Any other comments about your experience?

I can’t thank Jody enough for her kind and compassionate approach. Her ability to connect with people on a human level makes such a difference. I receive such positive comments from EbyE who say they feel heard, supported and treated with respect and kindness. This goes such a long way and contributes to improving EbyE’s wellbeing.


Jody said: “It has been a genuine privilege to have the opportunity to work with the Experts by Experience. I feel I learn something myself every time we meet and that every Trust in the country should make sure that EbyEs are included and listened to at every opportunity. They are the people who have valuable personal insight into mental health services which no amount of studying or training can provide. The more we can work together to understand the perspective and experiences of service users, the better chance we have of developing a service which genuinely meets the needs of the people who use it.

“I have very much enjoyed our reflective practice sessions which have included space for tears, frustrations and also laughter. I am very grateful to all participants for the knowledge and wisdom they bring to our service.”


Get in touch

If you work in healthcare, social care or the police in Devon and lead a team who would benefit from support, please get in touch by calling 0300 303 5455 or email, mentioning ‘team support’. If you are looking for 1:1 support, you can fill out the simple referral form on the Devon Wellbeing Hub website.

If you’ve been supported by the Devon Wellbeing Hub and would like to share your experience, please get in touch with Lauren Batten, Staff Wellbeing Communications and Engagement Coordinator, at