Most people come to us with a perspective on mental health rooted in ‘illness’ and ‘problems’. The challenge is to shift the perspective to ‘well-being’ and ‘recovery’. Everyone has the capacity for well-being, regardless of whether or not they have a diagnosed mental health problem. I’m trying to promote the view that supporting people in ordinary day-to-day activities can improve well-being and assist recovery. In the past this has been undervalued in comparison with the specialist interventions used within mental health services
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
Consider this: The great psychologist Carl Jung would express his condolences to patients who came to sessions with a happy and satisfied surface personality. He assured them that he would stand by them during such a dangerous and unproductive time. When these same patients came to therapy feeling anxious or depressed, he congratulated them on their good fortune of being in a condition where the soul’s work could be deeply done.
Many therapists recommend that their patients keep diaries, but blogging might be even better for mental health, a study suggests.
Researchers in Israel recruited 160 teenagers who had scored low on a test of social and emotional well-being, and who didn’t already blog. Participants were asked to blog about their problems for 10 weeks, using a nickname (either with comments by outsiders allowed, or disabled); to blog about anything they wished; or to keep a diary in an unshared computer file. There was also a control group.
Before and after the experiment, the teens took tests measuring their self-esteem and satisfaction with interactions with peers; and, at the end, their writing was analyzed for clues about their mental health.
By the end of the experiment, the teenagers who had blogged about their problems showed more improvement than the other groups—including those who’d kept a private diary. And, among the bloggers the greatest strides were made by those whose blogs were open to commenters. The gains remained at a two-month follow-up.
The blogs were monitored to ensure that no identifying details were revealed, and the few unsupportive comments were deleted. Given the risks of disclosure, the authors recommended that this kind of frank blogging occur only as part of a supervised treatment program…