Therapeutic Lies in Dementia Care: Should Psychologists Teach Others to be Person-Centred Liars?

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Background:

Therapeutic lies are frequently used communication strategies, often employed when the person with dementia does not share the same reality as the carer. Their use is complex and controversial, and a number of protocols have been produced to guide their usage (Mental Health Foundation, 2016).

Aims:

The study examined clinicians’ perspective on using therapeutic lies in their daily practice and their roles in encouraging the proper use of such a communication strategy. Method: This project sampled the views of clinicians, mainly psychologists, before and after attending a workshop on communication in dementia care; they were asked whether psychologists should have a role in teaching others to lie more effectively.

Results: It was found that following a comprehensive discussion on the use of lies, the clinicians recognized they lied more than they had originally thought, and were also significantly more supportive of having a role in teaching others to lie effectively.

Conclusions: Clinicians, mainly psychologists, increased their support in the use of therapeutic lying. They considered others would benefit from the psychologists giving supervision in how to lie effectively.

Full reference: James, I., & Caiazza, R. | Therapeutic Lies in Dementia Care: Should Psychologists Teach Others to be Person-Centred Liars? | Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy | Volume 46(4) | July 2018 | p454-462

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