I have mentioned a time or two (or ten) that it is very important for me to walk my talk. I can’t talk to my clients about healthy choices if I am not making healthy choices. I can’t encourage my clients to do the tough emotional work if I am not doing it myself. That authenticity is part of what makes me a good psychologist. It’s a quality that I try to protect and nurture.
Keep that whole walking my talk thing in mind. It’s important for the story.
Earlier this month, I found myself talking with a group of psychologists about how our voice feels absent in the larger healthcare leadership discussion. This has been a theme for me ever since the Stanford Medicine X conference. I wrote here that:
The mental health field has so much to bring to the table in this effort to change and improve health care. I heard many attendees talking about the value of patient stories–mental health is centered on the story. I heard speakers talk about the critical lesson of asking if they “got it right” when summarizing patient experience. This person-centered reflection has been part of introductory therapy training for decades. In addition, when we aren’t talking about the impact of mental health factors on patient education and health decision-making, we’re missing a huge part of the picture.
I’ve been talking with folks since September about how to get more psychologists to the table. We are doctoral level professionals–we’ve had extensive training not just in patient-centered care, but in brain-based understanding of human behavior.
And so, in this discussion, someone (Dr. Susan Giurleo, to be specific) said, “Why don’t we have a tweetchat where we are discussing these issues?” And that led to even more questions. Why aren’t psychologists being more assertive about our potential to add to the discussion? Where is the public education that says, “There are folks who could help with this!”? And finally, why are we waiting for someone else to invite us to the table? Why not create our own table?
And there’s where the whole walking your talk thing came in.
And the #InnoPsy chat was born. Because, at the end of the day, a significant part of the health crisis in the United States today is a mental health crisis. And psychologists are the folks best trained to lead the discussion about that crisis. Public leadership isn’t a familiar role for many of us. I know that I, at least, am most comfortable confronting the mental health crisis in my office–one client at a time. But if I am going to walk my talk, then it is time to show up. Psychologists have a great deal to contribute to the larger conversation. And I’m ready to do my part. I’m showing up.
And I hope that you will show up with me. The #InnoPsy tweetchat had an opening discussion today, about healthy coping in the face of the Newtown shooting anniversary. But we’ll be chatting weekly on Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on the #InnoPsy tag. I hope I see you there. We can walk our talk together.
Cross-posted on http://www.drannbeckerschutte.com