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Unread March 24th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Da Friendly Puter Tech Da Friendly Puter Tech is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 60
Default Re: Workshop psychologists, psychiatrists & clients

Hey Barbara,

I think I see where you are coming from. There is sometimes an apparent conflict between severely mentally ill patients and their caretakers. There are multiple reasons for this, although I think few of them pertains to the workers just "not understanding".

For instance in the case of suicidal patients there is often divergent goals in the relationship between a mental health care worker and patient. The patient wants the pain to STOP right now no matter what the cost. The worker wants the patient to stay alive right now no matter what. Conflicting goals creates conflict in the relationship.

In the case of psychotic patients in the hospital who are in the grips of hallucinations most of the nurses and doctors working there has seen it all many times, are overworked, tired and thus their available supply of compassion might be minimal. This doesnt mean they dont "understand", it means they have limited strength with which to be empathic.

Another thing to point out is that mentally ill people are usually so deep into whatever mental illness rules them at that moment that by definition they will feel isolated and misunderstood. It goes with the experience of mental illness. This does not mean that the people around them necessarily dont understand - although it might. It can also mean that they are simply lost in the mental illness and that is what causes the experienced isolation.

Finally, the real work towards betterment and healing rarely happens in crisis situations when a person is acutely psychotic or suicidal. It often happens after some stabilization has been attained, and the patient can engage in a healing relationship with a professional. That situation is very different from acute crisis situations in hospitals etc.

All of this said though - I have no doubt that mentally ill patients across the country suffers deeply with the isolation and pain that goes with their condition. I wish we had a better and more human system with which to help folks with these kinds of disabilities. I will pledge to continue to be active in this field, and do my very best to leave my finger print on the field - hopefully helping some betterment along the way.

Da Friendly Puter Tech
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