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I hope to make this a useful resource, not just a 'come and buy my services' blog and the comments and opinions of visitors is likely to be a big part of making the blog a success.
I look forward to hearing from you.
(The Care Guy)
Therapeutic optimism and the self-fulfilling prophecy
Posted on 7:30am Friday 15th Jun 2012
The mental health workers’ guide part 23
Part 23 of The Mental Health Workers' Guide considers the role of therapeutic optimism and the self-fulfilling prophecy in mental health care. Don't forget that you can download the podcasts and video clips that accompany this series here.
I’d like to thank you for listening to this stuff – it’s been a real labour of love to produce and I really love the fact that so many people are taking the time to click on it. So as a token of my appreciation I’m going to give you a gift. In fact it’s already with you – by a process known as ‘magical financial transfer’ I’ve already placed a brand new, crisp £50 note in your pocket. Just put your hand in your pocket and you’ll find it there, waiting for you. Enjoy.
Now I may be wrong but my guess is that you didn’t even bother to check your pocket even though I told you that the money was there waiting for you. There is, of course a good reason for that. You knew that it wasn’t there. There’s no such thing as ‘magical financial transfer’ and you’d be deluded to think that there was. I do appreciate the fact that so many people listen to my stuff but that doesn’t mean I’m in any position to give you all fifty quid.
But there’s a really important principle here. It’s to do with expectation.
People don’t try to achieve things that they don’t believe in.
That’s why you didn’t even take the trouble to check your pocket – hardly an arduous task. You didn’t check because you didn’t believe.
That’s exactly the same for you and your service-users at work. Nobody works very hard if they don’t believe in the goal. Mental health recovery can be difficult – it takes work and before people are prepared to do that work they must first believe that it’s possible.
That’s why therapeutic optimism is so important. We need to believe in the possibility of recovery for our service-users or we won’t work toward it – and neither will they.
The other side of this is the self-fulfilling prophecy that maintains illness and dependence. If we believe that people are beyond help we won’t try very hard to help them. Neither will they try very hard to change if all they get from us is negative assumptions about hopelessness. We prophecy enduring mental disorder and that prophecy itself changes what we do. The prophecy fulfils itself.
Fortunately self-fulfilling prophecy works both ways. If we prophecy positive things we have at least a fighting chance of achieving them as well. Of course there’s more to mental health recovery than just good intentions – it takes hard work and proper planning but belief is vital. Nothing will work unless we believe it can.
Make sure that the self-fulfilling prophecies in your service are positive.
Remember the phrase: