Department of Health

Self-care stories: Positive self-talk


Listen to how John used helpful self-talk when returning to work for the first time after he was assaulted by a patient in his health service.

Occupational violence and aggression post-incident support

  • 01 June 2018
  • Duration: 1:55
  • Size: 3.51 MB
  • John:

    Last month I was assaulted by a patient at work in the waiting room. It was really frightening. After it happened I had a few weeks off. I was feeling pretty worried about coming back to work. I really wasn't sure how I'd cope on that first day back. I was really dreading it.

    Before I was due to go back, my manager and I had a good chat about strategies that might help me manage on my first day back, and what supports were available. I tried to predict what I thought the hardest parts were going to be, and I came up with a bit of a plan of what I could say to myself to help me cope and stay positive to get through the day.

    When I was getting up in the morning, I just kept telling myself 'Today may upset me a bit, but I can cope with it. I've faced difficult challenges before. Just do your best.' And I kept reminding myself that 'I have people at work who can help me if I need it.' Somehow I managed to get through the drive to work just repeating that to myself.

    Then it was getting into the clinic, in the waiting room, I was sure that part would be the worst. It helped a lot to just keep saying to myself 'Relax, you're in control, take a few slow breaths. You can handle this'. It wasn't like the anxiety didn't happen at all, I still felt pretty sick in my stomach going into that room. But I just kept telling myself 'John, you're still in control; things are going OK'. I managed to keep the anxiety under control.

    When that part was over, I thought to myself that it really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In the end, I reckon I handled it pretty well. I think tomorrow will be a bit easier. And, you know, it was really good to see all my colleagues again. That was the best part of the day.

Reviewed 29 November 2021

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