Sunday, 27 July 2014

An illustrated guide to Wounded Healers working in Integrated Social [Work] and Health Care

It was a funny old week last week. It started in a slightly worrying way with me waking up at 03.00 in the House in Scotland remembering that I had agreed to open a conference in Media City UK. I had been given the brief on the Thursday before, but filed this in my bag and promptly forgot all about it until my mind kicked in at 03.00 on the Monday morning. So it was an early start and dash down South. The conference aim was to explore how our Directorate of Social Work could work differently with stakeholder agencies across the public private sector.

The conference was very well attended and I am looking forward to seeing how some of the connection made during the day emerge into new ways of working and project ideas for research and practice improvement. On Tuesday I opened the second day of our School conference on Wounds and wound care. 225 people from all areas of wound care attended and there was a definite buzz across campus as delegates participated in a range of different workshops. My paper was on the wounds to the mind, and to peoples mental health and well-being that can arise from child and early life experiences.

My paper took the audience for a quick romp through the paintings of Frida Kahlo, Carl Jung’s notion of the Wounded Healer and Isabel’s Menzies-Lyth’s work on social defense responses used by nurses. I enjoyed being part of the conference and of course relished sprinkling my presentation with images of the provocative kind.

Images featured heavily throughout the week. Some were humorous, like those used to illustrate the story that reported on why men are decorating their beards. Sara Gold McBride, a PhD student from Berkeley, who is studying the connection between facial hair and power in history thought it might be a playful way of establishing some distance from barefaced authority! Me, well I just smiled at the images of beards, possibly the ultimate symbol of masculinity, getting floral makeovers.

Some images were a great deal more sobering. The beautiful but sad picture of the victims of the outrageous MH17 disaster arriving home to the Netherlands showed a great deal more respect and humanity than had been shown to them a the Ukrainian crash site.

And in the smoke and mirrors defence mounted by the Healthier Together team of their so called inclusive consultation of how acute care and specialist health services in the Greater Manchester area might look if they get their way, I was captivated by a photograph by Harish Tyagi. This was used to illustrate a paper that explored what processes needed to be developed that could best support the integration and interaction – vertically between generalists and specialists and horizontally between acute, primary and social care. 

The best combination of image and cleverness to catch my eye last week was the site that allowed you to assess your risk of a heart attack, stroke and assorted other problems. Users of the test will need to be honest in making their responses to the questions, but it is a brilliant idea. Try it for yourself here. In an age of increasingly chronic disease conditions, many of which could be avoided, there are more and more signs of efforts moving up stream, in terms of prevention, health promotion and self care. What Carl Jung might have thought about these changes remains unknown however.