Why is this blog called Healthskills: Skills for healthy living?

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!


  1. Hi
    Just found your blog which looks interesting,. I am a service user – have multiple chronic pain issues – CRPS of my left arm and shoulder for the last 17 years, (or whatever name they now have for it eg neuropathy), a trapped nerve in my neck and cervical spondylosis, spondylylothesis and sciatica. I need a new spine basically.

    I read your entry about acceptance and change with great interest and just wonder whether you have chronic pain yourself? I have just finished a CBT based pain programme and have many many comments on it, and just wonder whether you might be open to some honest criticisms, without telling me that I am “resistant to change”?

    I hope that we could possibly exchange some information

    Best wishes

  2. Hi Sara, and welcome to the blog – also thank you for taking the time to comment.
    Yes, I do have chronic pain – fibromyalgia, and I’m quite open about it. I have also recently recovered from 18 months of postconcussion syndrome (daily headaches included, no extra cost!), and I’ve had depression most of my life. What I’ve learned from these is that if I want a life, I need to make choices about how I live my life – and accept that I need to set limits on what I expect from myself and what others ask from me.
    I’d love to hear your comments about the programme you’ve been on – I’ll email you directly about this. It would be great to have an ‘insider’s’ perspective on what it has been like. As a provider I know we can learn a good deal about the effects of our interactions from participants.
    Once again, thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s wonderful to see.

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