Today has been an exhausting day at work. With five client consultations where two of them were new patients, my head was so overloaded at the end of the day that I actually had an headache, something I normally don`t get. In between the sessions, people came into my office with urgent matters. Another patient had started drinking again and we tried to reach him by telephone in case he needed to be an inpatient. Then a social worked contacted me after a conversation she had with a patient we have, unsure about what to do now. I did not come with any useful suggestions, as I am not certain what the next steps should be. In addition I also had to get some things for the city marathon on Saturday, so in the end I had to work longer than I should have.
Thankfully, when I came home, I had a 15 minute run. I am proud to say 15 minutes is quite an accomplishment, since I normally give up whenever I find an excuse. But when I keep on running, it gets better.
Now I feel good. The head-ache is completely gone, but I still think about my day at work. Since I started working with psychosis I have felt like I`m walking on thin ice. I have almost no experience, and yet dont know what questions I should ask or how I can move forward in a conversations. Some of the conversations are even a bit confusing, since they often have thoughts they have problems with explaining, or speak in an unorganized way. The contrast to my other patients is huge, so it is getting some time to get used to.
But, it has also been an interesting experience, and I am learning so much. About their deep fear, about how their minds try to organize the chaos inside. Out comes symbolic hallucinations, and sometimes delusions that might be a last resort for them to find meaning in the voices, or the feeling they have of somebody planting thoughts in their had. I have immense respect for their fight to get a better life, and my collages are equally amazing. So empathic, understanding and clever. That makes it easier, because I can talk with them about my uncertainties when I feel I have no idea about what I`m doing.
Time to get to bed, but I just needed to let out some steam.
A good friend of me writes poems, and I liked one of them so much that I asked him if I could publish it. To my joy, he said yes. The poem was written to a friend of him who has struggled. It speaks of dreams, and everything that is important in life.
You wanna wake up,
To hear your loved ones,
To see them when you can,
To make them happy,
To see the cuteness of your niece,
To be teased by your siblings,
To be loved by your parents,
To be cared by your friends,
Share joyous time with them.
You wanna wake up,
To live your dreams,
To travel the world,
To wear that red dress and many more,
To feel beautiful,
To spread the happiness hidden deep within,
To dance like no one’s watching.
You wanna wake up,
To feel the magic in the world,
To see the bright flowers that make you glow,
To hear chirping birds that give you peace,
To breathe the fresh air deep into your lungs,
To admire the beauty of Bergen time and again.
You wanna wake up,
To sip chai latte by Bryggen,
To eat your fav food ;),
To stroll on the mountains,
To take a dip in the cold sea,
To sun bathe and feel some color,
To be pampered with food n massage.
You wanna wake up,
For the house you want to be in,
To make it cozy as you wish within,
To spend your evenings in your own made bliss,
To get your cute dog and stroll around with,
To become happy go lucky as you really are.
You wanna wake up,
To make that cunning cutie pie face of yours,
For those late night candy shopping strolls,
Watch new girl and laugh heartily,
Watch modern family and feel the emotion.
You wanna wake up,
Trust me on that,
I know you do,
I see those eyes have little dreams,
They wanna live it to the fullest
This is Jim (white beard) from Pointe-Claire, Montreal. He’s just been handed a ticket for good behaviour by Mayor Morris Trudeau (white shirt, former cop, no relation to Justin) in a pioneering project we’re studying as part of our Smart Cities research at Fluxx.
Since May 2015, over 1,000 citizens have been given tickets for good behaviour like “using roads in a safe and respectful manner, stopping at red lights and stop signs, obeying signals, waiting for the crossing lights at busy intersections and neither texting nor talking on a cellphone while driving.”
Citizens are a little confused: “I saw the flashing lights of the police car but I had no idea what was going on,” Scott told the Montreal Gazette. “I wondered why they were approaching me.” The ticket he received has a thumbs up logo, and no monetary or prize value.
This kind of positive reinforcement can seem strange in the context of police enforcement, but is rooted in the most basic behavioural psychology, and is increasingly being used by cities around the world to deal with a range of issues.
Milan: The insurer paying drivers to leave their cars at home
Milan has the worst traffic in Europe and North America. Drivers there spend 57 hours a year in jams. (INRIX data, reported here in the Daily Mail).
To counter this and following a similar approach to Montreal campaign the second largest insurance company in Italy Unipol came up with an interesting solution to the city’s problems. By giving the residents of Milan free public transit vouchers in return for leaving their cars at home.
“The city is using connected car devices made by Octo Telematics, a Rome-based telematics provider, installed behind the dashboards of Unipol customers’ vehicles, to transmit location data and ensure that cars remain parked on the driveway.” (FT).
This is the little box of traffic magic from Octo, called Unibox
Unipol policyholders receive a credit of €1,50 — the cost of one public transportation ticket — for every day their vehicles remain parked during peak hours.
In a lovely connected cities detail, participants can collect their tickets at any ATM ticket machine, in Milan.
Breda, Netherlands: The city rewarding drivers for staying at home
Dealing with traffic issues of their own, the Dutch city of Breda in 2012 launched the initiative ‘Positive Drive’. Instead of an expensive telematics box that needs to be installed in the car, they used a simple smartphone ap.
The Positive Drive app uses nudges (coaching, prizes, social status, achievements, etc) to strengthen the positive behaviours.
“Positive Drive rewards car drivers who respect speed limits with (s)miles. If they cycle instead of driving, they earn more (s)miles. Bonus (s)miles are rewarded when road users choose certain trajectories over others. In this way, the municipality can promote particular cycle routes and locations, and with their ‘smiles’ the participants can win prizes donated by enterprises based Breda” (Eltis).
Dubai: White Points to reduce deaths in traffic
Back in 2013 the city of Dubai together with its police department launched a project called the ‘White Point’ system. Where participants can earn points by following traffic laws and avoid getting fines and tickets.
It was launched by Maj Gen Mohammed Al Zafeen, head of the Federal Traffic Council and assistant to the Dubai Police chief in operational affairs as an experiment that hopefully could help reducing the amount of deaths in traffic, but also encourage positive driving.
“We started in 2013 by honouring 700 motorists, and now in 2016 we’ll be honouring more than double that amount. The system is still being developed, and we believe the more we reward people for good behaviour, the more positive the effect will be.” Maj Gen Al Zafeen (The National)
The participants can then earn a maximum of 24 points in one year. In case of a traffic violation, motorists can lose a month’s points and if involved in a huge violation, may lose their accumulated white points. These violations also include traffic fines such as ‘Salik’ (tolls) and parking fines. The system also allows drivers to recover points lost on their licences by driving without any infringement over a period of time.
Today I learnt to make a Christmas calendar. It was so much fun, and the hours flew away. I started at 11.00 a clock and finished at 20.00, and the hard work was worth it. To find an activity that makes you forget time, is important. We all need to wind down, and making things is my guilty pleasure. What is yours ?
It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Mostly because I’ve been busy in my new job and with suddenly having a new family to adjust into.
When I started working clinically with adults again, it felt like coming home. The only worry was that I just had a contract for one year, so I was nervous about if I would get a permanent job. I really love it here, there a so many experienced therapists and in addition to that, many group therapies for different diagnoses. When I started, I was asked if I wanted to try to be a group therapist myself, something I was really excited about. This fall, I got the chance to be a therapist together with two other colleagues, and I have already learnt so much. The group is for patients with PTSD, and we work after a manual that focus on stabilization and education about trauma. To see how healing it is for traumatized individuals to meet others who struggle with the same symptoms as they do, has been a revelation. Logically, I know how good it must feel to meet others in the same situation as yourself, but seeing it with my own eyes is uplifting. I can almost see the light in the group members eyes when they emotionally feel that their reactions might be normal based on what they’ve been through.
In August, I had another interview with my leader, after I applied for a permanent job here. On my birthday, my leader came into my office and delivered the good news: I got the job! So now I know I can be here as long as I want, and it feels amazing. My leader told me that they wanted to transfer me to working with psychosis, something I haven’t done much in the past. But I look forward to it. I have met people with schizophrenia before, and those I’ve talked with are often fascinating people with many resources. I also have a soft spot for them since my grandfather had schizophrenia, and he was one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met.
It will be a bit sad to say goodbye to the patients I’ve having now, but I’m ready for new tasks and new challenges. I’ve always liked to learn more, and this is a chance to work with the system around the patients, and working in a team with experienced therapists who love what they do.
So, even if it’s always scary to start with something new, I am ready to grow and learn.
I have been in Japan for almost two weeks, and already wish I could back again. It is a land of beauty, serenity and traditions. I wanted to go here already as a child. I watched manga-cartoons, fell in love with geishas, samurais and the esthetic houses, and found my favorite author there. The people here look really beautiful, and they are so diverse. The wear anything they fancy, which is liberating. I`ve seen close-knit families playing with their children, and experienced their kindness. There is so much more I could write, but a pictures says more than a thousand words, so here are some of the pics I`ve taken so far.
Saturday I am going to Japan! My little brother is coming with me, and we have both waited for this trip so long. He was just 8 when I promised him that when I became a psychologist and had money for it, we would go there. He kept reminding me of my promise every year, and now we`re finally here. That means my head is buzzing. I can`t say if its butterflies flying around in my head or a fanfare longing for my attention, I just know that I wish the butterflies or fanfares would quiet down a bit. When I am in this hyper state I also start thinking about everything else. Work is going very well at the moment, but today I had to apply for staying where I am now, for longer (hopefully forever, since I love the place already) and that set off a cascade of thoughts. I also got some new patients this week, and I just keep going through what some of them said, turning me into the investigator, searching for clues on what might help them. I don`t worry too much about staying up a bit longer than usual, though: Tomorrow is my last day at work before I start on my two-week holiday. These are exciting times, and sometimes I`m allowed to just bask in the glory of it.
If any of you has been to Japan, I would love some tips or recommendations.