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Description: The Canadian cellular services company, Bell, launched the Let’s Talk campaign in 2010. It is focused on reducing/eliminating stigma associated with mental illness. Stigma, related to mental illness, is a social phenomenon involving beliefs about the nature of mental illness (e.g., that it is somehow the fault of the people who struggle with it) and its consequences (e.g., that people who have had issues with mental illness cannot be trusted and perhaps should be avoided or shunned). Such beliefs are not founded on any objective data and they make it difficult for those in need of assistance to access what they need and to stay connected with the very social support networks that they need as they deal with mental health challenges. Bell’s campaign has been very successful, not just in relation to how the general public thinks and talks about mental illness and mental health and wellness but also in terms of the 4121 million dollars the Let’s Talk campaign has committed to mental health in Canada. There has been some criticism of the campaign along the way pointing to the PR payoff Bell has enjoyed from the Let’s Talk campaign. There is no doubt, however that it has done a lot of good in relation to stigma and associated attitudes towards mental illness. One additional issue regarding the campaign involves a bit of concern that it may stop short in some ways as it suggests that just being able to talk to someone, to be told that someone is there and prepared to listen when someone wants or needs to talk about their mental health issues is all people need at such times. Taking nothing at all away from the message that being heard and not stigmatized by those close to us is a vital part coping what about the additional “talk” that is very likely needed in the quest for mental health? Think for a minute about what you know or believe about what sort of therapeutic talk might be needed. Who should provide it? What should it look /sound like? What sorts of signs, criteria or markers should one be looking for and asking about when trying to decide which therapist to engage in healing talk with? Once you have your thoughts in order, read the article linked below in which two Psychologists work through this important aspect of talk related to mental health.

Source: This Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s talk about how we’re talking about therapy, Skye Fitzpatrick and Candice Monson, Opinion, The Globe and Mail.

Date: January 25, 2022

Image by mohamed_hassan from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-this-bell-lets-talk-day-lets-talk-about-how-were-talking-in-therapy/

So, how did your thoughts, criteria and suggested questions map out in relation to those provided by the Psychologists in the linked article? They are right in saying that is should not entirely be the responsibility of those seeking therapeutic assistance to judge the value and validity of what is being offered. The model of practice adopted by the Canadian and American Psychological Associations and legislatively supported, in Canada by provincial Colleges of Psychologists and in the United States by similar state level regulatory bodies is most generally described as the Scientist Practitioner model. At the core of this model is the belief that therapists in clinical practice must have a deep undressing of the scientific roots of their therapeutic practice and an ongoing commitment to remaining current with relevant psychological science, to utilize scientific principles in their ongoing practice evaluation (what is working for who and how well is it working), and, most importantly, to only utilize therapeutic approaches and practices that have been shown by scientific research to be effective. This is seen not just as a good idea but also as a key ethical commitment that psychotherapists must hold to and regularly reflect upon. It is an important part of assuring that therapeutic talk is therapeutically effective talk. So, yes, there IS more to talk about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sort of talk does the Let’s Talk campaign try to encourage?
  2. Why is the sort of talk address in the previous question important?
  3. What is different about the talk that people have with their psychotherapists and how and why is this (or should this be) an important ethical issue for psychotherapists?

References (Read Further):

Lyra (2022) research suggests most health plan providers are not practicing evidence-based treatments, A White Paper. Link

American psychological Association, Division 12, Society of Clinical Psychology (2016) Psychological Diagnosis and Other Targets of Treatment. Link

Shafi, Hana (January 27, 2016). “Let’s Talk About The Corporatization of Mental Health”. Torontoist. Retrieved October 22, 2018. Link

Krashinsky, Susan; Ladurantaye, Steve (February 13, 2018). “‘Let’s Talk’ campaign a boost for mental health and Bell”. Globe And Mail. Retrieved December 7, 2018. Link

Magder, Jason (October 6, 2014). “Bell Let’s Talk Day: a good deed, or just good PR?”. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved January 24, 2019. Link

Shapiro s, D. (2002). Renewing the scientist-practitioner model. Psychologist-Leicester-, 15(5), 232-235. Link

Rupp, D. E., & Beal, D. (2007). Checking in with the scientist-practitioner model: How are we doing. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 45(1), 35-40. Link

Petersen, C. A. (2007). A historical look at psychology and the scientist-practitioner model. American Behavioral Scientist, 50(6), 758-765. Link

Blair, L. (2010). A critical review of the scientist-practitioner model for counselling psychology. Counselling Psychology Review, 25(4), 19-30. Link

Callahan, J. L., & Watkins Jr, C. E. (2018). Evidence-based training: The time has come. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 12(4), 211–218. Link