In This Together

The Importance of Social Identity in Health – Including Dealing with Pain

We know that humans are social beings. That is, we long for, and need connection with others. It is at the very heart of what it means to our being as a human. We know also that on the flip side of this is that social isolation is one of the greatest causes of depression and anxiety.

In this article we highlight the power in our social connections and the importance of social identity in our overall health; including pain and injury. This short piece includes a number of references and links to different articles and papers that explore the role that ‘community’ can play in adopting a more holistic approach to health. We’d love to hear your feedback.

How the modern world makes us mentally ill

Published by: The Book of Life

In this piece, published on The Book of Life website, the author considers how our busy modern world may be making us sick. In response to this they offer that:

“A cure would be a culture that endlessly promotes the idea that perfection is not within our grasp – that being mentally slightly (and at points very) unwell is an inescapable part of the human condition and that what we need above all are good friends with whom we can sit and honestly discuss our real fears and vulnerabilities.”

Read the full article HERE.

“In this together”: Social identification predicts health outcomes (via self-efficacy) in a chronic disease self-management program

Published by: Social Science and Medicine

The Abstract of this scientific journal publication notes that:

“Self-management programs are an established approach to helping people cope with the challenges of chronic disease, but the psychological mechanisms underlying their effectiveness are not fully understood. A key assumption of self-management interventions is that enhancing people’s self-efficacy (e.g., via the development of relevant skills and behaviours) encourages adaptive health-related behaviors and improved health outcomes. However, the group-based nature of the programs allows for the possibility that identification with other program members is itself a social psychological platform for positive changes in illness-related confidence (i.e., group-derived efficacy) and physical and mental health.”

Read the full article HERE.

The town that’s found a potent cure for illness – community

Published by:  in The Guardian

In this piece, the author George offers that:

It could, if the results stand up, be one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs of recent decades. It could transform treatment regimes, save lives, and save health services a fortune. Is it a drug? A device? A surgical procedure? No, it’s a newfangled intervention called community.

Read the full article HERE.

The power of social connections and the rise of social prescribing

By: Daniel Frings

In this article, published on the Psychologyitbetter website, the write suggests that:

“One way of dealing with stress is to draw on the positive social identities in our lives. A growing body of research suggests that the social connections we have can buffer us from the effects of traumatic events, improve mental health and also let us bounce back from physical ailments more quickly. In the guise of ‘social prescribing’, this idea is also increasingly being used to find ways to replace or compliment medicine.:

Read the full article HERE.

The village effect

By: Robert Sams

In this previous blog article, I offer that:

Understandably, the typical approach to treating injuries and illnesses is to send people to specialists in the field related to their injury, and of course this makes sense and most people will recover and return to life and work.

For some people though recovery is delayed or prolonged, and some may experience ‘secondary illnesses’ such as anxiety and depression. The challenges of recovering from injury can be overwhelming. So what can we do when these traditional approaches don’t seem to be working and signs of anxiety or depression start to show?

If we are interested in exploring options outside of the traditional approaches, we could learn a thing or two from Susan Pinker who, in her book The Village Effect, explores “how face-to-face contact can make us healthier, happier and smarter”. Being with other people can enhance our well-being and support recovery from injury and illness.

Read the full article HERE.

Book Recommendation:

Making Sense of Illness: The Social Psychology of Health and Disease

By: Alan Radley

I referenced this book, and others by Radley when I wrote my paper titled Why is the mental health of workers so poorly dealt with by organisations? ( which I wrote as part of my studies in The Social Psychology of Risk. This paper was for Unit 6 – Holistic Ergonomics.

The Goodreads website notes about the book Making Sense of Illness:

This book is a “must read” for all students of health psychology, and will be of considerable interest and value to others interested in the field. The discipline has not involved itself with the central issues of this book so far, but Radley has now brought this material together in an accessible way, offering important new perspectives, and directions for the discipline. This book goes a long way towards making sense for, and of, health psychology’ – Journal of Health Psychology

What are people’s beliefs about health? What do they do when they feel ill? Why do they go to the doctor? How do they live with chronic disease?

Read more about the book HERE.

Full book siting: Radley, A. (1994) Making Sense of Illness: The Social Psychology of Health and Disease. SAGE Publications. London

Introducing Hayden Collins

An Addition to our Community in Practice

This month we introduce one of our Community in Practice, Hayden Collins.

Hayden Collins is a specialist in risk, human judgement and decision making, organisational culture, leadership, communication and learning. Hayden provides training, advice, coaching and mentoring for leaders, managers, supervisors and workers.

Hayden is able to help organisations apply the fundamentals of social psychology to leadership and team development. He has developed and delivered training programs covering a range of subjects including; risk and safety leadership, organisational culture awareness and assessment, and communication and team-building.

Hayden has 13 years experience in leadership roles within large Tier 1 national and multinational organisations across a range of industries including: heavy industrial manufacturing, FMCG manufacturing and construction.

Hayden currently lives in Melbourne with his wife Olivia. He enjoys learning about himself and his environment, spending spare time exploring the arts and culture of Melbourne, reading philosophy, and meaningful conversations with friends.

Hayden has the following qualifications:

  • Graduate Diploma  in the Social Psychology of Risk
  • Graduate Certificate in OH&S
  • Advanced  Diploma in Environmental Technology,
  • Certificate IV Training & Assessment,
  • MPTI Facilitator Certification – Stage 1 and 2 (Coaching)
  • RABQSA-OH (Management Systems Auditing)

You can learn more about Hayden and his work at Risk Intelligence HERE.

March 2018

Pilot Program with BlueScope

Social Sensemaking Program

The team at Dolphyn continue our work with BlueScope, piloting our Social Sensemaking program across sites in NSW and QLD.

We start with the MiProfile Survey (developed by Dr Rob Long, see – which helps us better understand how sites or the organisation as a whole, think collectively and unconsciously.

Rob Sams, along with Gab Carlton from Resilyence ( who has many years experience in conducting the survey, work with Hayden Collins from Risk Intelligence (, who’s analytical and critical thinking skills mean that we can challenge assumptions and support organisational learning through conducting the survey.

The outcomes of the Mi-Profile are then presented to the site along with recommendations for a tailor made program that is aimed to address challenges, and support strengths, identified within the organisation. These programs are delivered by Dolphyn’s experience team who all have post-graduate qualifications in The Social Psychology of Risk.

One of the keys to the success of our program with BlueScope is the upskilling of their internal team as we progress through it. BlueScope’s leading manager on the project, Stephanie O’Dwyer, who is now studying with the CLLR (, has been co-facilitating many of the workshops with Rob Sams. This provides a more holistic learning and change program for BlueScope that will also ensure its sustainability.

Stephanie recently started a session in Brisbane by asking; “what’s the riskiest thing  you’ve done?”.

The learning started from there.

March 2018