Wednesday, November 30, 2011


One of my favourite mental health concepts is "woodshedding". I believe it was first used in mental health by Strauss et al. (1985). I first came across it in some of the writings and speeches made by Patricia Deegan, as she frequently refers to it.

It comes from a term for musicians. It refers to when they go out to the woodshed to practice so that they will not be overheard.

In mental health, it refers to a phase of recovery where a person does not appear to be making any significant improvements, but is really in a phase of self-care and sorting through their experiences and perceptions. It is usually followed by a phase of steady gains.

One of the reasons I love this concept is that it says that you never really know what is hidden under the surface with a person. They may appear stuck, but they might just be gathering their resources together on their way to achieving greatness (whatever that means for the individual).

I had a "eureka" moment last night when I realized that I am currently in a woodshedding phase. Not in a mental health recovery way, but in an overall what I want out of life way.

I have a zillion ideas in my head right now, and a lot of books out of the library. I don't really have any clear, consistent thoughts though. However, I suspect after a period of reading and self-examination, I'm going to be coming up with some great ideas.

I guess what I am saying is that due to my own need to woodshed, you're likely to not hear much from me until after the holidays. However, when you do hear from me, I'm likely to have some fresh, well-thought ideas :)

Strauss, J.S., Hafez, H., Leiberman, P., Harding, C.M. (1985). The course of psychiatric disorder III: Longitudinal principles. American Journal of Psychiatry, 142(3), 289-296.

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this first hand! Very neat to see that there is actually a term for this phase!





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