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 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!


September 25, 2011

Time Makes a Difference

I am doing better.
There are some changes that have really helped, but there is still a lot of work to do. Reading therapy related books and blogs only at work has really helped. I've discovered some great fiction and have done some fun things lately. I will occasionally check my work email, but try to avoid it at all cost. There's little I can't handle later.
I am still feeling somewhat lost in all of this. Why I have chosen to come to this place is a mystery, but I'm discovering more and more of how to get out of it. I've always wanted to know the why and still seek it, but what the hell. Doesn't it get to some point where you say fuck it?
It's interesting about some of the realizations that have come up for me that may be helpful in the future. My desire to write. My uncomfortableness around men. My laziness. My desire for freedom and escape. The one place I want to live in the future. My food issues. So much.
I still look over to that other chair while I am working and see myself way too much. While this isn't always a bad thing, it's hurting me right now. On the other side of the coin, it's also what makes me a good therapist.
Ok, enough stream of consciousness writing for now. It's interesting as I write this and think about wanting to write. It's always been somewhat of a struggle translating what is going on in my head to paper or keyboard. I wonder what THAT means... ;)