Privileged glimpses 8: Do as I do

This series of blog posts first appeared a few years ago on a now defunct blog called ‘Care Training’. It was inspired by the training maxim of ‘making the unconscious conscious’. It is intended to take what really ought to be the most basic principles of health and social care and put them down on paper. The series isn’t only an exercise in stating the obvious though whatever the title might suggest. It’s actually intended as a philosophical foundation manual for workers and informal carers to help them get their care ‘on track’ and then to keep it that way.

Do as I do – model behaviours we want to encourage in others

Mental health work involves many aspects of care including working to help people to manage their emotions, their thinking and their behaviour. It involves challenge and more often than not it involves problem solving and behavioural intervention.

Goals and objectives relating to developing both behavioural and emotional control are commonplace and much of what we do is centred around working toward them.

Do as I do

A very important part of this work is ‘modelling’. If we expect our service-users to make positive changes we need to demonstrate them in ourselves.

  • If the service-user has anger management problems they need to see us remaining calm.
  • If they have problems with paranoia they need to see us actively seek reasonable solutions in our own lives. Thinking the worst of the boss or seeing conspiracy among colleagues is not the best example to set.
  • Similairly if the service-user has difficulty sorting fact from fantasy it’s useful for them to see how we go about assessing evidence and making rational judgements. Let them know how we make sense of the world without jumping to conclusions and work on helping them to develop the same skills for themselves.

Most importantly if we want to encourage service-users to develop good support networks (a vital aspect of mental health maintenance) we need to show generosity of spirit in our own dealings with those around us.

The rule of thumb is very definitely ‘do as I do’ and not ‘do as I say’




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