If you really want to influence your social care and/or mental health service users for the better, learn critical thinking.
Category Archives: psychology
Don’t try to be perfect
It’s ok to be human. It’s OK to make mistakes. To be fallible.
Don’t make your #mentalhealth depend upon infallibility.
You can never be more than human and humans get stuff wrong. It’s inevitable and it’s OK!
The eternal ‘now’
the eternal ‘now’ aids mental health and helps us to be effective.
In this moment I am safe, I am warm, well fed and comfortable. It’s a good moment. I will not spoil this moment regretting the past or worrying about future moments.
I can take the time to plan for the future just as I have learned from the past but I will not allow the small number of genuinely distressing moments to overwhelm my life’s majority of moments like this one.
Control freaks have no life!
Many people try to control other people because they think it will help to keep them happy and mentally healthy. But actually the opposite is true.
Mental well-being depends upon a variety of experiences but control-freakery, in so far as it’s successful, limits a person’s experience only to what they already understand and can imagine. Most people find that their lives are enriched by the actions of others – even when those actions are surprising.
The more we control other people, the less we experience variety in life, the more frustrated and resentful we become when we fail and greater the risk we run of developing mental health problems.
Meaningful activity & mental health
The problem with distraction
Mental health nurses are encouraged to rely heavily upon distraction to help people manage anxiety, depression or the emotional consequences of past trauma. That’s OK so far as it goes but unfortunately it really doesn’t go very far.
Self harm interactive webinar
Self-harm can be confusing and bewildering for both staff and service-users. Ideas about ‘manipulation’ or a ‘cry for help’ do little or nothing to help prevent future self-harm. This interactive webinar explores some alternative notions and examines ways that support workers can make a difference in a genuinely difficult situation.
There is a great deal that support workers and others can do to help people who harm themselves. The trick is to be able to see past the behaviour and to understand the person who cuts themselves, takes overdoses or otherwise injures themselves.
In the past this sort of behaviour has been written off as attention-seeking or as an attempt to manipulate workers and yet most self-harm happens in secret and never comes to the attention of the staff. It’s really not about us. Something else is going on and the tired old notion that it is merely ‘behavioural’ is both meaningless and irrelevant in a modern context of deliberate self-harm.
This interactive webinar covers:
Definitions of self-harm
A cry for help?
Is it all just attention-seeking?
Self-harm and suicide – are they linked?
Pain, the brain and self-soothing behaviours
The emotional purpose of self-harm
Helping people to ‘get past’ self-harm
Managing the risks
Dos and Don’ts
Click here to reserve your place on this interactive webinar
Please note – this is an educational seminar. It is not a group therapy session and we cannot make time for individual or group counselling or other intervention here,
That’s your life ticking away
Life, lockdown and the power of trivia to ruin everything!
The tripartite model of recovery
Are you hanging on to a limited view of recovery when in truth life is fine? Don’t limit your self-concept unnecessarily. Mental health encompasses far more than merely symptom management.
Hard-wired 17a: Coincidence and irrational humanity
In terms of the psychological spandrels we discussed earlier, the tendency to make ‘false positive’ (type 1) errors is an evolved characteristic. Paranoia, pattern-seeking and agency-detection may well be the by-products.
So we assume that things are related to each other
Further we assume that they’re deliberately caused by some thinking intelligence – an agent.
This leads us to take offence that nobody meant.
This leads us to make up agents like Karma, God, ghosts or the universe.
This leads us to define places, people and events as lucky, unlucky or even cursed.
In short – this makes us all irrational and basically unfit to leave the house without adult supervision – except that we ARE the adults.
Scary, isn’t it?
Hard-wired 17: Bias and the evolutionary ‘spandrel’
In this video we’ll consider three of the most widespread (and misleading) of our evolved mental modules. We’ll look at ‘selective abstraction‘, ‘arbitrary inference’ and ‘confirmation bias’. Each of these is related in its own way to pattern recognition as described in part 16.
What’s most interesting from an evolutionary perspective is that these three aspects of human psychology, although universal, may not be advantageous in themselves. They may, in fact, be no more than evolutionary by products of pattern recognition.
There are many examples of by products, both physical and psychological. Certain genes seem to confer a variety of traits as though some evolutionary advantages cannot exist without other less positive or neutral correlates. The trade off between sickle cell anaemia and protection from malaria discussed in part 9 is an excellent example. Evolution isn’t perfect and so neither is the human body – or the human mind.
Sometimes these extra ‘add on’ characteristics can fool us. They look like the evolved characteristic that was favoured by natural selection but they’re not – they’re just the baggage that comes along with it. They’re what Stephen Jay Gould described as evolutionary ‘spandrels’.