Classic Blog: ‘Learning Leadership: How to become a leader in the NHS’ by Professor Aidan Halligan

I’m watching again the excellent BBC TV series from the 1990s, Cardiac Arrest, and it reminded me of this film clip. Time to put it up again.

‘Aidan Halligan, Professor of Foetal and Maternal Medicine and Director of Education at UCL reflects on his experiences of being a leader in the NHS. He shares the stories of people he respects as leaders, and analyses the key features that make them so effective.

Leadership is “… going into the unknown with courage. People respect courage and they respect compassion.”

“We know when we see a leader. They inspire us and when we’re inspired we become determined. And when we are determined we go further. That’s what leadership is about… And it’s your example that counts, not your rank. And if you care about patients to the point of being selfless, people will always respect that.”

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Classic Blog: ‘Teach Compassion’ by Dan Siegel

“Instead of just Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, we need to have a new 3 Rs, which is reflection, relationships and resilience.”

Now here is a really interesting talk about us as human beings and a way forward to help improve our education system, society and planet. Though-provoking stuff!

‘Dan Siegel emphasizes compassion as a key component of a healthy mind. Presented as part of the TEDxGoldenGateED event on June 11, 2011.’

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‘What does a person need in their environment in order to recover?’ by Mark Ragins

Mark Ragins believes there are four important things an environment must have to facilitate mental health recovery.

1. Relationships, as it is very difficult to recover alone. This is a little more complicated than you might think, as many people distance themselves from someone with mental health problems. A clinician may do this by talking about the illness rather than the person.

People must commit themselves to having a normal conversation with a person with mental health problems.

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Russell Brand: my life without drugs

26th Annual ARIA Awards 2012 - Award Winner PortraitsA great article in the Guardian by Russell Brand. He’s doing some great work.

Russell Brand has not used drugs for 10 years. He has a job, a house, a cat, good friends. But temptation is never far away. He wants to help other addicts, but first he wants us to feel compassion for those affected.

The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday. I had received “an inconvenient truth” from a beautiful woman. It wasn’t about climate change – I’m not that ecologically switched on – she told me she was pregnant and it wasn’t mine.

I had to take immediate action. I put Morrissey on in my car as an external conduit for the surging melancholy, and as I wound my way through the neurotic Hollywood hills, the narrow lanes and tight bends were a material echo of the synaptic tangle where my thoughts stalled and jammed.

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‘The Language of Recovery Advocacy’ by Bill White

Language“Words are important.  If you want to care for something, you call it a “flower”; if you want to kill something, you call it a “weed”.  Don Coyhis”

Some will question why we as recovery advocates should invest valuable time debating the words used to convey alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems and their solutions when there are suffering individuals and families that need to be engaged, recovery support resources that need to be created, communities that need to be educated, and regressive, discriminatory policies that need to be changed.

We must invest this time because achieving our broader goals depends on our ability to forge a recovery-oriented vocabulary.

Words have immense power to wound or heal.  The wrong words shame people with AOD problems and drive them into the shadows of subterranean cultures.  The wrong words, by conveying that people are not worthy of recovery and not capable of recovery, fuel self-destruction and prevent or postpone help-seeking.

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‘What’s Wrong With You? Nothing. What Has Happened to You? Something.’ by Dr Michael Cornwall

mcornwall‘Licensed Mental Heath professionals are trained and are required to find out what is wrong with people.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of the people who could benefit from professional mental health services, in my opinion, are suffering from feeling something is wrong with them. They already feel bad about themselves, like they are failing in life. They often feel a lot of guilt, shame and self-loathing. They are often already judging themselves.

They may have been overwhelmed  by losses, by life events, or have not had their crucial needs met, or have been unloved, neglected, bullied, abused or mistreated by family and others. Because of what has happened to them, they may struggle to not identify themselves as someone who’s lot in life is to be rejected or harmed by others.

Enter the room with them, the totally well-intentioned mental health professional. Too often that encounter adds to the person in need feeling like they are somehow strange, abnormal, defective or damaged goods. Because right away out comes the DSM and the search begins for a valid category of psychopathology symptom cluster. The questions begin – questions aimed at finding abnormal psychology symptoms so a diagnosis can be made and treatment begun as soon as possible.

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‘No One Can Take Mindfulness Away from You’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn

‘Bestselling author and teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about what mindfulness means to him personally, and argues that the United States is an “underdeveloped” country when it comes to compassion and attention.’

This clip is from the Greater Good website. You can watch the full talk by becoming a member.

’18 Ways to Live a Successful Life (That Have Nothing to Do With Money)’ By Alexa Cortese

Geographical wonders travel picture quizHere’s an interesting article from the Huffington Post. Picture is from The Guardian.

‘People are always talking about success. It’s a word we hear often and an idea that seems to be constantly dangling in front of our faces – just out of reach.

But what does it mean? How, exactly, does one measure “success?”

We read articles that promise to enlighten us on “How to Be Successful.” They always tell us to work hard, ask for that raise, be innovative, not to waste time being unproductive, not to surround ourselves with those loser friends who have no interest in climbing the proverbial ladder. Someday, these articles promise, enough hard work and the right amount of luck will make us successful. (In other words, very rich and very powerful).

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‘Learning Leadership: How to become a leader in the NHS’ by Professor Aidan Halligan

Aidan Halligan, Professor of Foetal and Maternal Medicine and Director of Education at UCL reflects on his experiences of being a leader in the NHS. He shares the stories of people he respects as leaders, and analyses the key features that make them so effective.

Leadership is “… going into the unknown with courage. People respect courage and they respect compassion.”

“We know when we see a leader. They inspire us and when we’re inspired we become determined. And when we are determined we go further. That’s what leadership is about… And it’s your example that counts, not your rank. And if you care about patients to the point of being selfless, people will always respect that.”

Read More ➔

Daniel Mackler: Motivators for Growth

One of the best videos I’ve seen in a while. Starts with a bang! Ask those who are going through crisis what they really need for themselves. Found this video on the Mad in America website. Thanks, Daniel.

‘Therapist and folk artist Daniel Mackler discusses the major barriers to creating a more effective and compassionate psychiatric system, as well as the practice of Open Dialogue in Finland, and recognizing pain as a motivator for growth.

Daniel is a musician and documentary filmmaker responsible for such titles as:  Take These Broken Wings, Open Dialogue, Healing Homes, and Coming Off Psych Drugs. For more information please visit Daniel’s website wildtruth.net.

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Teach Compassion: Don Siegel

“Instead of just Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, we need to have a new 3 Rs, which is reflection, relationships and resilience.”

Now here is a really interesting talk about us as human beings and a way forward to help improve our education system, society and planet. Though-provoking stuff!

“Dan Siegel emphasizes compassion as a key component of a healthy mind. Presented as part of the TEDxGoldenGateED event on June 11, 2011.’

Why not check out Don Siegel’s website?

My Favourite Blogs – ‘Loneliness: a call to generosity’ by Pat Deegan

100_0690Here is a wonderful blog from US recovery advocate Pat Deegan:

‘Like many people, I experienced periods of intense loneliness during my recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I learned that my loneliness was a call for me to be more generous and to give of myself. Here’s what I mean:

Loneliness and being alone are two different things. In my early recovery, being alone was an important self-care strategy for me.

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Recommended Website: Greater Good – The Science of a Meaningful Life

temp_wellsThe Greater Good website from the University of California, Berkeley is definitely worth a look. I’ll be highlighting various content from this website over the coming months. Here is what they say in the About Us section:

‘The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior – the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

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‘Nelson Mandela: uniting humanity around the world’ from The Elders

The Elders are deeply saddened by the death of their founder Nelson Mandela, and join millions around the world who were inspired by his courage and touched by his compassion.

The GreaterGood website

Unknown-2The GreaterGood website from Berkeley University is well worth spending some time on. Here is what they say in the About section:

‘The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

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‘Coaching, cajoling, caring: All good for recovery’ by Peapod

rsz_o8pvekePeapod was the top blogger on Wired In To Recovery before retiring. Here is a snappy piece on peer-based support, originally published in March 2011.

‘What do people in recovery remember as the key things that helped us initiate and then maintain the recovery journey? Do we remember the doctor getting our medication dose just right? Do we remember a brilliant care plan? Do we remember diaries and charts and exercises? Probably not.

What I remember are the people on my path. The person who answered the phone in my hour of need and who listened; the kindness and wisdom of the staff in the treatment centre; the warmth and practical help shown me when I had very little to draw on and didn’t know where to turn. Sometimes people supporting me cared enough to be honest and told me things I didn’t particularly want to hear.

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What works in treatment?: Michael’s Story

rsz_img_1525Treatment for addiction involves a number of different processes. What are the most important? Who better to tell us than the people who have used treatment to help them recover from addiction. 

During the next week, we’ll look at the views of some of those people who have so kindly given us insights into their lives through their Recovery Story.  We’ll start with my close friend Michael from Perth. Let’s look at some of his experiences from the moment he decided to stop drinking over 35 years ago and his views on treatment. 

‘I made the decision to stop drinking on April 10th, 1978, three years after my parents had died. My last drinking session took place at the Shenton Park Hotel. I finished my last drink and slammed the glass down, saying to myself that this was it! “No more drinking!” I have not had a drop of alcohol since then.

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‘Today is the best day of my life’ by Braveheart

IMG_2495An inspirational blog from WITR, written mid-2009:  

‘The reason I write, “Today is the best day of my life”, is yesterday has gone and tomorrow is still to come. It it comes at all?

I awoke at 7.30 this morning and I’m in recovery from the disease of active addiction. I had no desire to use and there was no obsessing over what was my drug of choice. Today, I am FREE to make self-caring choices.

My day begins with me having a conscious contact with my Higher Power, who I ask to guide and direct me throughout the day and help me to stay safe.

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Michael’s Recovery Story: ‘The power of empathy and compassion’

Michael followed both his parents into a life of dependent drinking, but he is now 35 years in recovery and working as a drug and alcohol counsellor.

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Loneliness: a call to generosity

100_0690Here is a wonderful blog from US recovery advocate Pat Deegan:

‘Like many people, I experienced periods of intense loneliness during my recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I learned that my loneliness was a call for me to be more generous and to give of myself. Here’s what I mean:

Loneliness and being alone are two different things. In my early recovery, being alone was an important self-care strategy for me.

Read More ➔