1. Give out session notes from the previous unit and recap on the main points. Clarify any points as necessary. Ask participants to refer to their learning logs and share one thing they got out of the previous session. Conclude by stating that this unit picks up on the theme of a ‘social model’ of health. The theme is developed by considering a variety of ways of thinking about health, using participants own experiences as a starting point.
  2. Give out the programme for Unit 2.
  3. What do we mean when we say we are ‘feeling unwell’, that someone is looking ‘peely wally’ or off colour? How do we build our understanding about illness and health?  Where do we get our ideas from?

In this unit we will be exploring different types of belief about health.  What do people from other cultures believe? Are there different/ alternative approaches to health in different parts of the country? Why do some beliefs seem more important than others?

4.    In this unit we will begin to prepare for our ‘Group Project’ which forms Unit 7. We will talk about it at the end of this session.


(45 minutes)

  • Form groups of 3 to 4 participants.  Give out Handout A for people to fill in individually - thinking quietly by themselves, or jotting down a few notes to the questions on the sheet.
  • Within the small groups, share ideas about ‘Causes’ then ‘Treatments’.  Then write up their ideas on two separate flipchart sheets, noting any similar areas or groups of ideas.
  • The whole group takes one question at a time and compares the two sets of answers.

Discussion points

  • Do any patterns emerge, any similar types of explanation?
  • What about the importance of eating or drinking the right thing?
  • What about the importance of good  housing and health?
  • The idea of ‘hot’ things for a cold, such as hot drinks, or food, or oils rubbed on the chest?
  • What about the importance of income?

Remember to keep the flipchart notes for Unit 2, Exercise 3.



Put up the two flipcharts with the group’s suggestions for ‘Causes’ and ‘Treatments’ from Unit 2 Exercise 1. Give out Handout B.

  • Work in pairs or in threes.  Each small group reads one section of Handout B. Make sure that the four sections in the handout are covered.
  • Each small group, in turn, tells the others what they found.  Develop this into a wider discussion.

Discussion points:

  • Ask the group to contribute their own wider knowledge to see if there are any connections with the ideas from the handout such as: rural or Gaelic traditions; other cultural ideas; religious taboos or practices that refer to health; ideas about keeping warm with a cold or cool with a fever; the idea of balance, which is common in today’s complementary therapies; the importance of the environment, diet etc.
  • In Scotland, why is it that many towns have an affluent West End with large houses and a much poorer East End with a lot of industry?
  •  What changes has the bio-medical model of health brought in terms of the relationship between people and their bodies and between people and doctors?
  • Why has the bio-medical model emerged as being the dominant model in the Western World? Are there political or economic reasons?
  • What about the widespread interest in complementary or alternative therapies at the current time?
  • Do we now feel that only doctors know about health?  ‘A pill for every ill?’ Have we lost some of our own confidence in dealing with everyday illnesses?


DIFFERENT VIEWS (30 minutes)

  • Form small groups of three or four people. The purpose of this discussion is to get the group to reflect upon the difference between lay and professional perspectives on health.

Ask the group to consider and discuss the following:

  • Each person thinks of an occasion when their own view of their health was different from that of the professional they were consulting with - nurses, health visitor or doctor. What were these differences about?
  • Whose knowledge seemed to be more important?  Why was this?  How did this make you feel? What did you do?  What happened in the end?



1.    Introduction

What will the Group Project involve? Talking through the idea and answering questions

People will work in small groups over the next four sessions. They will also need to do some research/preparation work outwith the sessions.  Each group will share their ideas about a health issue that they feel is important in their community or that affects people’s health in general. They will devise ways of presenting this information to a small audience. This can be done in small groups or by the group as a whole. Remind people about the discussion in the first unit - the issues that affect their community.  Were some of these more important to them than others? Are there new thoughts about these that they would like to pursue?

2.    What do we mean by ‘presentation’?

The presentation can be made in any way the group wishes.  It can simply be people talking about the topic, making a collage about it using pictures from magazines etc,, making an exhibition, singing a song, writing a poem and so on.  Some groups have:

  •  Made a verbal presentation accompanied by a collage
  • Shown examples of their writing - small paragraphs and thoughts, or bits of information about the course itself - and then talked about a particular topic for a few minutes each
  • Made an obstacle course for guests to walk through, contributing information at each ‘obstacle’ to good health.
  •  Acted out sketches or real-life scenarios

3.    Who will make up the audience?
The audience can be as big or as small as the group would like. They can invite friends, relatives, local workers or health professionals, councillors or MSPs. It can include people who might have worked on the topic in question, such as a self-help group/tenants group/campaign group or people who are responsible for providing services, perhaps a housing manager, a Trust manager or a local GP.

4.    The Group Project provides a chance for people to share their thinking with a wider audience and have a discussion about those things which are important to all of us. It can be very informal, with tea, coffee and cake, or it could be planned as a bigger local event. The group can invite the audience to their base or take their presentation out to another centre or group. It is important that each person contributes in some way.

5.    Chat about ideas and begin to form the small groups to take the discussion further. These ideas will be worked on during the next four sessions.


RECAP AND SUMMARY (15 minutes)

1.    Go over the main points you have covered in today’s session – refer to flipcharts if necessary.

  •  Medical and Alternative Approaches
  • Historical and Cultural Ideas
  • Different views – ‘lay’ and medical perspectives
  • The Group Project

2.    Give out the Unit 2 Learning Log and give people time to fill this in before they go. Spend some individual time with participants if they’re finding this a bit difficult.