Following on from an article published in CBT Today in May 2017, this video explores the stigma of psychological suffering.
More and more is being written on the subject of stigma especially with the expansion of mental health awareness campaigns around the UK. These include Time to Change, See Me, and Stamp out Stigma. And, whilst the people involved in these campaigns appear to have well-meaning intentions, I believe that in some ways they are contributing to the on-going problems that lead to stigma.
This unfortunate irony, can be observed when you explore the impact of language. Words are powerful and they have an impact on the way people feel and behave. Words that describe mental health problems as being an illness like any other, tend to have a problematic effect. Instead of bringing people closer together, biological accounts of psychological suffering have been shown to increase fear and suspicion. And, of course, these are the conditions were prejudice is more likely to grow.
In this 5 minutes video, I explore the negative effects of language on fear, prejudice and the stigmatisation of psychological suffering. The aim is to show how seemingly benign words can have a negative impact on people’s felt safety. And, I present a way of moving forwards through the conversations we have with the hope that it will change how people act when they experience fear and uncertainty.
Fear, anxiety and uncertainty are common experiences working in healthcare. Often, there is a lot of risk that cannot be controlled 100%. And, what we know is that when people feel scared, they are more likely to move to the right in their beliefs and actions. This means that people will start to act authoritatively when what people need is to be listened to. It means that people will start to act as if they no best and that others are not capable of making decisions for themselves. When what is really needed is support and guidance to take calculated risks to make things better.
The people I am talking about are health professionals; Doctors, Psychiatrists, Nurses, Therapists, Psychologists etc. As health professionals, we have a responsibility to shape the way healthcare is delivered. Often, there is a lot that is outside of our control. Not just the welfare of our clients or patients, but what our organisations allows us to do and not do. This can often feel frustrating to the clinician.
My hope is that by watching this video, you’ll learn some new ideas and ways to connect with those you want to help by choosing carefully the language you use.
In this video, Jim Lucas introduces a way to influence people and change how they act by starting with changes in healthcare. The contents of this brief IGNITE Style presentation (just 5 minutes long) cover research into Cognitive Linguistics, Moral Identity, Relational Frame Theory, Functional Contextualism, metaphor and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Thank you for your interest in this work and please leave me a comment in the box below.
PS – Heads Together is a campaign co-ordinated by he Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. In my opinion, they are different to all the other campaigns I’ve come across and I recommend after watching this video, you take a look.