Tag Archives: Recovery

Minding your language

The language of strengths individualises each of us; whereas, the language used to describe problems tends more to aggregate us into less well-defined groups. In the following brief video, I will contrast the types of language we use for describing ourselves either from a problems perspective or from a strengths approach. Click on the following link now to access the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bALixNzWHVU

 

This video is part of the email sequence providing subscribers with access to a wide range of strengths-based resources. If you wish to subscribe to the email list click the following link (it’s FREE resources that I am offering, with no catch!):

https://positiverisktaking.lpages.co/working-with-strengths-2/

Advertisements

Podcast Episode 081: How to recover our staff

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2With all the expectations placed on providing excellent service to clients how can we truly expect staff to value others when they don’t feel valued themselves? So, the concept of a strengths assessment should apply equally to staff members as it does to their work with clients.

In this episode I explore some of the key messages from the wide-ranging Gallup organisation’s strengths research. The focus is on why we should pay more attention to developing individual potentials, and less to fixing weaknesses. I also explore those feelings we experience when we are engaged in activity that is most likely connected to our real strengths and talents.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes & Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/081-how-to-recover-our-staff/id867043694?i=355718154&mt=2

“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” [Barbara Bush]. 

Podcast Episode 079: How can we ‘do’ recovery?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2In recent episodes I have explored the meaning of recovery and concluded that I fully support the original intentions of its service user creators, but despair at the corporate take-over and misappropriation of a good idea. I have also explored how the ‘can do’ strengths approach lends practical reality to the conceptual language of recovery. But how does recovery happen in practice?

In this episode I explore some of the resistance that it, and most new concepts, confront alongside the challenges within a deep-rooted culture that need to change in order to provide the conditions for these good ideas to flourish. I also explore the tools that have been created to implement recovery, but argue in favour of choice if we are to inhabit the service user’s life with the trappings of bureaucracy. Finally, I identify recovery as yet another concept where family/carers express concerns at feeling like they are an afterthought in the discussion of what happens in the delivery of a service.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes or Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/079-how-can-we-do-recovery/id867043694?i=355718152&mt=2

“Recovery is something you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.” [Demi Lovato].

 

Podcast Episode 078: Making sense of recovery

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Having explored the concept of recovery in the previous episode I concluded that I fully support the original service users’ intentions but despair at the corporate take-over of manifestly good ideas in order to decorate their own complex and confused way of going about things.

As a realist I have to accept that recovery has become a leading mantra headlining the development of 21st century mental health services, but I struggle with the degree of confusion expressed by so many practitioners who would rather not be asked to describe what it actually means. What does the Strengths Approach lend to this set of circumstances?

In this episode I compare the language of the principles of recovery with the practical ‘doing it’ approach offered by the strengths movement. We can sit around and talk about conceptualisations as long as we like, but at some point someone has to do something, and that is where the strengths approach comes into its own.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes or Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/078-making-sense-of-recovery/id867043694?i=353576161&mt=2

“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.” [Gail Caldwell].

Podcast Episode 077: What is recovery?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2‘Recovery’ can simply be described as to regain, get back or restore something which has been lost, but in health and social care services we don’t tend to go for the simple and straight forward, particularly when confused and complicated are on offer.

I fully support the concept of recovery, as it was originally identified by service users, but I despair at how easily those in power feel able to misappropriate good ideas to dress up their otherwise complex demands. Now I tend to see recovery as something designed by service users, hijacked by commissioners, managers and politicians, and crashed by practitioners.

In this episode I explore how a uniquely personal and individual concept of great merit and purpose has become subsumed into the corporate world of strategic direction, and subsequently lost in translation. The original pioneers foretold in warnings of how the concept will lose its power when it becomes systematised, but the world of bureaucracy is not known for heeding warnings, particularly if they don’t appeal to the perpetual need to homogenise the individual experience.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/077-what-is-recovery/id867043694?i=353576160&mt=2

“You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town.” [Anne Lamott].

Sacred Fools

Working-with-StrengthsAs 2014 draws to a close, and many of you take stock and use a little time to reflect, it is important to celebrate your achievements. For me, this blog and podcast show has been a pure joy to initiate and develop. However, it is underpinned by consistent strengths-based thinking, and I was particularly pleased to be able to publish ‘Working with Strengths…’ this year.

Why listen to the self-styled publicity of the author when you can take the word of an independent expert? The following are extracts from the Foreword written by my very gracious friend Professor Steve Onyett:

Radical in the sense of challenging the status quo. I love the notion of “funky” mental health services where we first break all the rules – not in a spirit of anarchy so much as in recognition of the fact that so many of our current assumptions simply don’t serve. We need more sacred fools who will run into the royal court and fart in front of the King or Queen in order to shake things up and reveal new and better ways.

There is no shortage of guidance around. There is a plethora of exhortations to be positive and focus on strengths from every direction. However, not so many get behind the rhetoric to look with clear and open eyes at how this plays out in reality. This requires that we look not just at what people say they do, but what they do do. It means that we need to look at what happens in practice and learn from that experience.

Steve Morgan is one of our greatest assets in this context. He has been at the forefront of the movement for strengths based practice in mental health services for a long time and has borne witness to both its successes and it’s disappointments. He has brought this invaluable perspective to bear here in a book that tells you pretty much everything there is to know about how things could be, while also equipping you for the stark realities of implementation in challenging contexts. He does this without judgement or cynicism, thereby leaving us with a sense of the possible and a range of first steps that we can take to make it happen. It has been said that a cynic is a passionate person that does not want to be disappointed again (Zander and Zander, 2000). Here Steve talks to the passion rather than the disappointment.

Steve is prepared for the critics
Steve is prepared for the critics

 

Working with Strengths

Working-with-StrengthsAt a strategic level we are continually expanding the language, but essentially using new words and phrases to say the same thing… recovery, personalisation, self-directed support, person-centred planning, re-ablement/re-enablement. Nobody can seriously disagree with the premise that service users should be given a voice in order to say what they need and want, to reflect on how best to meet their wishes and aspirations, to exercise choice and feel supported in their decision-making. However, there is often a gap between what we are saying we are doing as services, and what service users are experiencing on the receiving end. The distance between strategic vision and practical reality rarely conforms to anyone’s idea of close proximity.

This is where the Strengths Approach or Working with Strengths come into their own… call it what you will, but we need some way of translating the big picture into something that is clearly understood and able to be delivered by workers with service users (and carers). We can talk about journeys all day long, but unless you can walk it unaided then we need a vehicle, a route map, a travel guide or companion… a means of travelling that journey. The Strengths Approach sets out a clear statement of values and principles to guide and support good practice; it provides fit-for-purpose tools and the necessary guidance on flexible use of such tools; and it sets out practice-based policy statements that help to tie-in the organisation – team – practitioner levels to an agreement on what we are doing to support people to experience the rhetoric of person-centred services in reality.

Check out my 2014 publication ‘Working with Strengths…’ for the full story, complete with ideas and tools to support the implementation of best practice.