Tag Archives: #InnoPsy

Behavior Change–Easier to Say Than to Do

In recent #InnoPsy chats, we have talked a lot about the fact that many healthy choices (from regular movement to taking insulin) are actually behaviors.  So, helping people make healthy choices is, at the root of things, helping people choose or change behaviors that support their health.

The truth of the matter is, behavior change is complicated.

It sounds simple on paper.  Do this more. Do this less.

In fact, it sounds so simple on paper (or on the screen, or in the exam room) that we expect people to be able to hear about a beneficial behavior change and immediately begin implementing that change.

But that expectation ignores the reality of human behavior.  Behavior is so much more than a simple set of choices.  Instead, behavior is a reflection of your experiences and patterns throughout a lifetime.  Behavior has triggers and rewards (some of which don’t make great sense).  Behavior has emotional components.  Shaping behavior is challenging.  Just ask anyone who has ever tried to get a two-year old to behave in a way that the child didn’t choose.

We all have an inner two-year old.  That part of ourselves that is unwilling to make a change.  That part of ourselves that might be willing to throw a tantrum to avoid having to engage with change–even healthy change.

What we know as psychologists is this.  Behavior change is hard AND behavior change is possible.  Honoring and respecting the challenge is part of how we navigate through it.

In fact, during tonight’s chat, we are going to invite our community to take part in some real-time behavior change.  We hope that you’ll join us.  We hope you’ll feel free to share your responses.  And we hope you’ll come along with us as we practice walking our own talk.

–Ann & Susan

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Come on In, The Water’s Fine!

I believe psychologists have an important role to play in bringing about health care change. And I am so very excited to be partnering with innovative thinker and psychologist Dr. Susan Giurleo to begin exploring how that might happen.

After a discussion in which several psychologists were sharing frustration over our wish to contribute more and our sense that our voices aren’t heard in other spaces, we realized that we could do something about that. We could build a space and reach out to others from that platform. I talked about this a bit more in my post “Why #InnoPsy?

Now it’s time to actually get it started.

The Medicine and Psychology Tweetchat started January 7th 2014 as the #InnoPsy chat, and continues every Tuesday at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT. Why a Tweetchat? Because Twitter is a platform that allows for global conversations–and it’s where I met most of the innovators that I admire and respect.

You’ve never participated in a Tweetchat, you say? No problem. First of all, you need a Twitter account. They are free and easy to establish. If you’re starting your first account, you’ll be prompted to follow some folks. You could start with Susan Giurleo (@SusanGiurleo) and I (@DrBeckerSchutte). You can also follow the @MedPsychChat account for chat topics and moderation.

Once you have your Twitter account up and running, I would recommend using another tool to participate in the chat. My favorites are Tweetchat or T.chat. Either of these tools allows you to enter a hashtag (ours is #MedPsych) and you will see the chat in a full screen window, which makes it easy to follow along.

So, if you want to join a #MedPsych chat, then pull up your device of choice at 9:30 pm ET on a Tuesday night.  Open your Tweetchat, T.chat, or other Twitter interaction tool.  Type the #MedPsych hashtag into the search bar, and jump on into the conversation.  We’ll ask for introductions, and then be off and running on our topic of the night.

Not a psychologist or a doctor? No problem! #MedPsych is open to all stakeholders (and if you live in a body, you are a healthcare stakeholder).  We believe that a big-tent community is how we will truly find solutions to the challenges that we face in healthcare.

The first chat included some community brainstorming about topics we wanted to explore in a discussion about innovation in psychology.  Now, we’ll introduce a new topic each week.

I hope we see you there! I’m excited to explore new ideas in psychology, medicine, and integrated healthcare.

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Why #InnoPsy?

BootsI 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

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