[Power of personal goal sharing--treatment plan using personal goal maps for patients with mental disorders].

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A female patient in her sixties with schizophrenia had secretly disposed of all her medication and was not cooperating with hospital staff for about four months. During one of our consultations she mentioned that she wanted to be out of hospital by a certain date. That date happened to be her grandchild's birthday. It was at this point that she shared her goals with us, and voluntarily started having treatment. She was able to return home three months later, just in time to celebrate her grandchild's birthday with her family. A male patient in his sixties was able to leave the seclusion room after 10 years. The first doctor in charge and other hospital staff had firmly believed that releasing him from the seclusion room wasn't a possibility. However the patient decided he wanted to be discharged and was interested in finding out how to go about it. The moment he realized it was possible, his outlook changed immensely. He gradually started to open up and communicate better with his new doctor in charge, and was able to work towards his newly found goals. Staff members were also surprised when he was able to leave the seclusion room. They realized this patient was another person like them who had dreams and goals, and stopped stereotyping patients who seemed to be 'difficult to handle'. I have always experienced the power of goal sharing at clinical scenes, and have noticed its importance for patients making a start on the road to recovery. In order to discuss goals and the way to go about achieving them, I use a simple drawing of a mountain. I call this mountain 'A Personal Goal Map'. I like to think of myself (the doctor) as the mountain guide, and my patient as the mountain climber. The three key philosophies are acknowledging individuality, diversity and freedom. These are important when we think about where we are now, where we are going, and where we want to be. Firstly at the start point, we need to define the patient's problem and discuss ideas and goals, which help us along the Trust Path. The more patients and staff trust and understand each other the easier it is to climb up the Initial Treatment Path. We need to build up trustful relations so we can share personal goals and make a proper assessment and diagnosis, and talk about the safety, efficacy, cost and suitability of the initial treatment. Secondly, we need to take a rest and make more plans for the Recovery Path. It is on this path that we decide on comprehensive treatment together. We may be able to improve the patient's cognitive functions by using atypical anti-psychotic agents. We can then give them information, instructions and warnings about medicine usage so the patient is able to understand their condition. It is only after the patient can understand these things fully and act positively that we can start to climb the final path, the Achievement Path. We should review the suitability and efficacy of the treatment again, and it is at this stage that the mountain guide steps back and watches the mountain climber take the final steps towards the mountain peak goal. Lastly, the patient will feel elation and a sense of fulfillment and self-pride, and no doubt will be ready to look for the next mountain peak to climb. In order for you to enjoy the benefits at the clinical scene, all you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and a limitless imagination for better personal goal sharing. At Meisei hospital we promote the 'Minotake Team Approach', which calls for flexible management so we hospital staff can help each other as professionals. We treat patients as individuals using words and expressions they understand (such as local dialect and nonmedical terms), and give them access to easy to understand resources such as leaflets delivered by universities or pharmaceutical companies. We ask our staff to act naturally with the patients, and to just do what they can do to help the patients work towards their personal goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1035
Number of pages8
JournalSeishin shinkeigaku zasshi = Psychiatria et neurologia Japonica
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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