All professions receive their fair share of stereotyping and caricature embellishments. At the top of the "Are they really necessary?" list are therapists. Every blue moon I get a hankering to overturn the popular distaste for my beloved and chosen field, specifically when I think of my many colleagues and peers that handle the most difficult of the difficult situations. Lovingly, kindly, they are simply witnesses to pain and suffering. More often, they expertly facilitate recovery and repair. And, at it's most understated, mental health workers make the world less dangerous.
Who you gonna call when...
Your 14-year-old daughter is cutting herself.
Your 18-year-old receives a DUI in which his best friend and passenger was seriously injured.
Your adult sister, with bipolar disorder, is wrecking financial and emotional havoc on your elderly parents.
Therapists are gentle midwives to the couple striving for repair post infidelity, or post miscarriage.
We provide play therapy for young, anxious children and for the boy that is losing his young beautiful mother to cancer. And the 23-year-old in college, who can’t seem to manage her time and grades to survive college.
Good counselors can assist with job burn-out, caregiver fatigue, and be there to happily listen to the wise and cheerful 86-year-old woman in assisted-living who has lost everyone she’s ever loved other than her busy adult children, and who wants to bother them?
You might find my young co-horts working in VA Centers, Fire Departments, in elementary schools, rehab facilities, universities, prisons, mental institutions, foster care settings, and corporate wellness; with refugees, torture victims, Service Members stationed abroad, mentally and physically disabled.
I, myself, started in the counseling world at age 17, working in a flea-bag county mental health agency in Westminster, Ca. I loved every minute of it.
I once heard an artist describing the decision to choose his art, as a vocation; "If you can do something else, you are not an artist."
My professionals peers are often aged (one is still going strong at 81!) - we feel lucky to have a field that allows us to work late in life.
I suppose we are a lot like the police; it’s easy to dislike us until you need us, except no one in the mental health field considers themselves a hero, applauding those baby steps, small successes - ginning up courage where possible, imploring personal insight and reflection, sharing a different perspective and holding up that mirror.
Where's the love, man?
Read here about the everyday risks associated with House Managers, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Mental Health Counselors. IN LOVING MEMORY OF THOSE KILLED 03/09/18. Jennifer Golick, Jennifer Gonzales along with her unborn baby, and Christine Loeber.