Foresight is a wonderful thing but we usually only recognise this in retrospect when problems have surfaced. I’ve worked with many children and young people attempting to use a solution-focused approach that ensures and supports the conditions for optimal growth and development over time and I’ve used principles from positive and humanist psychology in every aspect of my practice. These include a focus on the positive, i.e. strengths, virtues and solutions, which hasn’t always been easy because the word psychology is so often associated with problems and issues arising from when things are not going well and once you start from a problem-focused position your clients are generally focused on the fix/cure or treatment approach. I think it is also easier to access resources and funding from the more traditional fix-it/problem-orientated angle because resources are by definition, finite and subject to prioritisation. Inextricably linked to all of this is the political dimension. Politicians seem to find it easier and more desirable to work to short-term goals and to therefore want seemingly straight forward and measurable end results. Add to the mix the literality of our legal system, an obsession with evidence(surely a gift from our legal colleagues) and the case for preventative and holistic work becomes harder to present (gosh, that legal terminology slips in everywhere).
Medicine, even more than Psychology, is challenged by the litigious, political simplification of its complex field and I was reminded of this when my first grandchild was born. Despite a relatively straight forward birth after which both he and his mum were healthy and well there followed a period of three weeks during which he lost weight and full breastfeeding could not be established. It turned out that he had a relatively simple to treat condition called tongue tie. All he needed was for one of the many healthcare professionals including midwives, health visitors and GP to do a brief examination of his mouth then cut the too tight ligament under his tongue and all of the worry and stress could have been avoided and breastfeeding could most likely have been established. Surely the preventative approach of doing a simple screening examination of every newborn’s mouth has to be a more intelligent, prudent and appropriate use of NHS resources than that of waiting for problems then throwing numerous professionals at it? The link that follows will take you to the petition that my daughter has started. Please consider supporting it.