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).
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
- What is Truth? An Inquiry about Truth and Lying in Dementia Care | Mental Health Foundation
- Lying to people with dementia: treacherous act or beneficial therapy? | Royal College of Psychiatrists