The Life We Live
Building consistent, trusting relationships
A Unique Path
I had the very happy experience of working closely with the staff at the Community of St Antony and St Elias to look after a patient of mine with a severe and enduring mental illness…I was always very impressed with the positive attitude that the staff adopted which helped us all to see beyond the illness to the person underneath and their potential. They were informed and vigilant in terms of managing risk. They were caring and supportive whilst respecting the patient’s independence and wishes. They were respectful of the role of the various statutory organisations involved and committed to working collaboratively. I was confident that my patient was given the best possible opportunities to recover from their illness as a result.
Boundaried Relationships, Help & Learning
This Community has always believed that consistent, trusting, boundaried relationships between Service users and support workers are essential in creating an environment and atmosphere that enables and promotes recovery for individuals. Relational security underpins this process. Relational security involves establishing trust in order to create a safe and supportive environment that aims to empower the individual to take responsibility for managing their own recovery and move towards more independent living.
Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. This is made possible by the quality of the relationship between support workers and Service users. Trusting and consistent relationships create a safe space to discuss situations and explore our responses to them. Support workers can use their relationships with Service users to listen and encourage them to explore various courses of action. We also encourage reflective discussion after a situation has passed to support an individual in evaluating their reactions and its effectiveness – looking at what worked well and whether they would do anything differently if a similar situation arose again. Recognising the individual’s expertise gained through lived experience is integral to this process.
This organisation views seeking support from others as very ordinary and reasonable, and not as an admission of weakness or an indication of ‘not coping’ or failure. All too often, independence and independent living can be viewed as the ability to cope alone with any given situation. Very few, if any of us, are able, or would indeed choose, to live their lives without practical or emotional support from those around us.
Learning from each other is vital – Service users share their stories and offer support to each other – strength and confidence will grow from being able to offer advice to each other. Observing others around them overcoming their own challenges (as well as facing their own difficulties) offers opportunity for discussion, reflection and growth, and can diminish isolation and loneliness.
Moving towards goals and recognising their achievements is vital to developing resilience. The staff team work in collaboration with individuals to identify and prioritise goals, breaking them down into achievable steps, acknowledge success, building self-esteem and self-belief. This supports individuals in challenging their own potentially negative self-concept that can result from the experience of stigma and disempowerment. Developing confidence in our ability to solve problems and trusting our instincts helps build resilience and maintain a hopeful outlook.
Emotional resilience is more likely to grow when nurtured by an optimistic and inclusive atmosphere. Individuals are valued, and treated with dignity and respect. Achievements are acknowledged and celebrated, and future goals are agreed and worked upon collaboratively.