February 27, 2013

Boundaries in the Workplace

From when I first started training as a social worker, all the way to now, I've always had a pull towards the importance of boundaries in my work, whether I mean in helping people with them, or working on them myself. As a social worker, boundaries are hugely important in so many ways. We work with people whose lives are in shambles sometimes and we can't own that in any major way, or we're screwed. We're asked to do more than we can handle and if we give in a little, again, we're screwed. We have an obligation to have an awareness of our boundaries, as well as our boundary issues, IMO.

I can't say the amount of times this has been a focus on my therapy with someone else, but for myself, it's an ongoing issue. Sometimes the boundary issues are very clear. Someone is rude and annoying and you set the boundary that you want them to retrain from speaking to you like that. Simple (haha, really?). Others are not so easy. For example, when someone is rude, they're rarely rude to just one person, right? So say I set my boundaries with this person, but my friend and co-worker, Fred, doesn't. My day after day, my friend is annoyed and offended by this person and who do they talk to about their annoyance? Their friend (me), of course. That is just simply a more difficult boundary to set, in my experience.

However, it must be done. Sigh.


December 27, 2012

unprotected - a promotion

Author Kristin Johnson is offering a special promotion on her book, "unprotected", which is about a child protection social worker. Here's a synopsis:
Unprotected is the story of Amanda Danscher, a young woman who accepts a position as a child protection social worker. She quickly becomes embroiled in a case against their Minnesota town's former champion hockey player and favorite son, Chuck Thomas, who will do anything to buck the system rather than work with it including whatever it takes to get Amanda out of his way. Luckily Amanda reconnects with Jacob, a new county attorney who has the means to help and protect her, but no clue how to break down her own defenses. Set against the backdrop of the always messy and complex world of child protection, Unprotected is ultimately about family and a young woman's discovery that there are all kinds of family and many places that can be called home.
Here's the link to the free Kindle download, which is available until the 30th.

I downloaded it this morning and hope to read it as soon as possible! Let me know what you think about it.

December 17, 2012

Someone Needed to Say It....We All Do

Is it about gun control or mental illness...

Great article HERE
Obviously, the much bigger issue is that Liza Long is not Adam Lanza's mom. The similarity begins and ends with the having of mentally ill sons. That's all we know, and it's dangerous to assume more than that. We can't lump all people with mental illness together into one big "crazy" pot, it stigmatizes the ill and disconnects us, as a society, from their humanity.
Sometimes it's a chicken and the egg kind of thing, and this is definitely one of those areas. However, one of the ends really sticks out like a sore thumb on this one. The SIZE of the damage could have been much smaller.

December 8, 2012

Review: The Psychopath Test

Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry is a collection of stories and interviews that question the mental health system and the possibility of psychopaths in society. It is entertaining and engaging, without going over the deep end, as some of these books tend to do.

This book really spoke to me, as I have entered into a position in the mental health system that is very new to me. In my previous jobs, I have been on the fringes of the formal system, working with non-profits with people whose lives are affected by others that have mental illness (loss by suicide or having a family member), to working with more of the worried well, as a counsellor in the community. I will now be working on a team where I will be asked to engage in provisional diagnosis and detainment under the Mental Health Act. It's odd going from the outside to the inside, but it may also be helpful as I work.

The book questions some of our modern tools, including Hare's Psychopath Checklist, and the use of checklists in general in order to diagnose. One of the more engaging sections is where an innovative psychiatrist attempts to "cure" a group of hospitalized "psychopaths" using techniques from the human potential movement. The results are frightening.

In the end, the book poses more questions than it answers (as do most good books, I suppose). It is a good read on many levels and I highly suggest you check it out!