Someone asked me why I called this blog Healthskills, and what did I mean by ‘skills for healthy living’?
I can answer this!
It was because most of the skills used to manage chronic health problems are actually no more ‘special’ than the skills we can use to live well when we have full health. I mean, in diabetes management, the diet that’s recommended is simply ‘a good diet’. In cardiac rehabilitation, the exercise that’s recommended is simply ‘regular exercise’. And in pain management, the skills like setting goals for the future, working at a regular and steady pace, using relaxation and breathing and positive thoughts: they’re all the sorts of things we can use to be effective in normal, everyday life.
Healthskills was the name I came up with to describe two really important things: one is that these are not ‘special tricks’ that need a ‘special therapist’ to help anyone develop. They’re simply skills that we can learn. I’m also about helping health professionals be more effective: Healthskills are the skills that health professionals guide patients towards. So the second is that it’s for therapists to develop an attitude that is respectful, doesn’t imagine that it has ‘all the answers’, and ensures that the therapists also use the skills they advocate.
By now, if you’ve read the blog a bit, you’ll know that I’m firmly into science.
It is not enough to ‘think’ you know, or to be really persuasive when you’re working with people’s lives. If you and I want to be treated respectfully, openly, and so that we can trust our health provider, we too should be respectful, open and have some basis other than our own opinion for choosing the treatments we suggest. And that means keeping eyes and ears and hearts open at all times – being scientific about our practise.
As Einstein said: ‘The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking’ – but what a refinement!