Marian @ Krysan


Planting golden seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



Photograph by Lorraine Nicholson 



Large streams from little fountains flow



Marian Moore

Time to change.

The other day, two Durham women were on a mission to stamp out stigma and discrimination the Time to Change way.  The event involved a total of seven people — all experts through experience — united in earnest conversation over a period of two hours. To my mind, this was just the right occasion to boldly go where no man (or woman) had gone before — at least publicly.  

The theme for the session was psychosis/schizophrenia. 

And so it was that we kicked-started another TTC session. Thanks for this go to Angela from Time to Change who skilfully managed a challenging and frank conversation, one that included, and thus engaged, everyone present.  What followed was a conversation of quality, one that not only reshuffled the cards, but created a brand new deck!  Philosopher Theodore Zeldin summed it all up nicely when he said,

"Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits.  When mind meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, and engage in new trains of thought." — Zeldin

And, that's exactly what we did.  And how ...

Positive psychology.

If you were ever brave enough to ask what I think about growing old, I would probably testily reply (as did multi-millionaire Sir Paul Getty) that 'I didn't notice it happening and I don't agree with it'.  There are indeed many down sides, but an encouraging upside is that I have witnessed amazing transformations in adults and young people who have shifted from concentrating on improving weaknesses to focusing instead on developing their strengths.

Everywhere I go, I am finding people who know and understand more about themselves (what makes them tick) and about what they do well.  These are people who are developing and applying their so-called 'signature strengths' at home, school, college, and university, in the office, factory, and hospital ward, and in mental health resource centres such as that in Durham City where I found myself yesterday.

The reason for this paradigm shift is that, over the last two decades, a number of brilliant, dedicated researchers have turned their attention to our inner being and especially to the patterns of thinking, feeling, and relating that create human success.  Researchers in this new field — known as Positive Psychology — have discovered some of the fundamental processes that enable human flourishing.  So, why wouldn't I be interested?  

More importantly, why wouldn't you?

A poem by Lorraine Nicholson.

A sense of belonging. 

Everyone belongs somewhere. 

Everyone deserves support and encouragement in their lives 

A feeling that your presence matters.

Make a difference to others' days. 

A need to know that you can still contribute something of yourself.

A cradling community, an extended family

A hand on a shoulder to cushion the blows.

An ear to listen, to console

A shared voice of human experience

A regaining of respect from a root of worthlessness,

A blossoming flower, allowing myself to be me,

The person I was born to be.

Feeling I belong in myself is important to me. 

I have a dream.

We all have a stake in wellbeing; we all have a dream.  

Positive Psychology is about developing and applying your character strengths, a character strength being a natural ability or asset. They are seen by psychologists as 'a family of differences: distinct characteristics that people possess to varying degrees'. They are shown in thoughts, feelings, and actions and were present yesterday in the form of principles and values — the much spoken of Moral Compass.  

By definition all strengths are good. They are malleable (some more than others).  They are measurable (there are psychometrically validated tests for both children and adults).  They are also subject to numerous influences, both proximal (within and close to you) and distal (outside and far from you).  As a result, you can build — and build on — strengths.  

All of this must be something for further discussion: developing a common language is essential. But, when all else fails, remember that love is a strength that can grow and grow and grow. This is also true of the related strengths of forgiveness, kindness, and hope.  Not forgetting creativity and curiosity; perseverance and determination; loyalty and service to others.

Over to you ... there's everything to play for ... 

From little acorns.

By now, you may have gathered that yesterday's Time to Change conversation in Durham ranged widely.  Underpinned by Positive Psychology: A Strengths Approach, as anticipated it touched lightly on:

  1. the symptoms and eventual diagnosis of psychosis/schizophrenia;
  2. the part thought to be played by genes, early trauma and stress in triggering mental illness;
  3. concerns around the long-term use of psychotropic drugs (medication);
  4. explanations of terms such as 'anomalous experiences' and 'consensus reality'; 
  5. strategies for coping, and even 'living well', with mental health conditions;
  6. maintaining good relationships with family, friends, and colleagues; and
  7. the need for still more awareness training to combat stigma and discrimination.

The session (3 of 3) also involved examples of life-story work, a poetry reading, and a video presentation — all this in just two hours!  It was heartening to witness the requests made for more of the same at the end of the session.  Well done all.  

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

  • Marian Moore
  • Emotional Wellbeing Consultant
  • August 2013




LORRAINE NICHOLSON, (2010), The Journey Home: A collection of poetry, artwork and photography embracing the theme of recovery from severe depression, pub. Tooth Books & obtainable from LORRAINE'S WEBSITE www.hope4recovery.co.uk 

JOHN M JEAGER, ET AL (2011), Smart Strengths: Building Character, Resilience and Relationships in Youth, pub. Putman Valley, New York, Kravis Publishing 

ERIC GROSS, (2008), Liberation from the Lie: Cutting the Roots of Fear Once and for All, Printed in GB by Amazon.co.uk

TIME TO CHANGE - TTC / time-to-change.org.uk / facebook.com/timetochange 




 Peace is every step ...

"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open. No gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down. And no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble. How hopeless the outlook. How muddled the tangle. How great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.”
— Emmett Fox



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— Sydney Smith 



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