Tag Archives: Mental Health and the Workplace

Russell on thinking and societal changes…

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The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large.  They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires…they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole condition of their lives could be changed…It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present (p. viii).  

Bertrand Russell

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The Therapeutic Alliance: The Essential Ingredient for Psychotherapy

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 I am currently writing on the ‘therapeutic alliance’ – its relation to mindfulness, psychotherapy, understanding, and ‘being listened to…’   What follows is an interesting article that I came across that may interest some of you…

Excerpt:

Have you ever tried to change the way you do something? It could be anything — the way you hold your tennis racket, blow into a flute, meditate — you name it. If so, think about that experience. No matter how motivated you were to change, and no matter how much you knew that it would help your serve, musicality, or sense of inner peace, it can be difficult and scary to change even the smallest thing. In order to change, you have to give up your old way of doing something first and then try the new way. That means that for a while you’re in a free fall — you no longer have your old habit to rely on and you don’t yet have the new one.

The anxiety of trying to change something as complex and entrenched as how you relate to people close to you or manage stress takes the feeling to a whole new level. Yet, that’s just what you do when you enter psychotherapy. Just as you had to put yourself into the hand of your teachers and coaches, in therapy you need to gradually do just that with your therapist to help you through what can be a harrowing adventure. The foundation for therapy is called the therapeutic alliance (1, 2). When it’s there, you know that your therapist is there to help you, no matter how hard the going gets.

The therapeutic alliance might be the most important part of beginning a psychotherapy. In fact, many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of treatment outcome (3-5).

See entire article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-l-cabaniss-md/therapeutic-alliance_b_1554007.html

 

The Awful Stigma of Mental Illness

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Human Brain

Human Brain

Between 70% and 90% of people who are looking for employment and who have been diagnosed with a mental illness do not find work! Let me rephrase this. The unemployment rate of people with diagnosed mental illness is close to insurmountable.

What is it about mental illness that frightens us so? Why would a boss hire someone with a physical disease (as long as they knew it was not contagious) but fear employing a person with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia?

Let’s imagine a piece of a conversation during an employment interview in which a qualified applicant for a customer service representative position is very straightforward and tells the human resource person they self-inject insulin due to having Type 1 diabetes. I think we can all correctly assume this would in no way negatively impact being considered for the job.

But what if that same applicant informed the human resource person that they were diagnosed schizophrenic and were on medication because they hear voices? So what is it about mental illness that we find so awful?

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I have always believed that people fear more of what they cannot see than what they can see. The unknown is more frightening than the known is to most people. And mental illness is something that doesn’t show up on an x-ray. Although we are making significant breakthroughs in learning more about the way the brain works, for most of us, it is still ‘uncharted territory” and as such, much more likely to be feared.

But there is more to it than that. There also is a sense of pessimism involved or seeing the glass half empty. Since we don’t know much about the way the brain works, it stands to reason that we don’t know that much about the way it doesn’t work correctly either. This means we don’t understand the way disorders work. So why do people so frequently choose to think the worst? What reason do we have to believe if we hire the person with schizophrenia, that person will ‘go off’ rather than be extremely creative? What makes us focus on the negative aspects of mental illness rather than some of the other aspects of different brain functions?

Site of Navy Yard Shootings

It most certainly doesn’t help when a man goes on a killing rampage the way Aaron Alexis, the Washington DC Navy Yard killer, did last month and the news comes across about how he suffered from mental illness. Then that becomes the main focus of the news and people who are likely to hold negative views toward mental disorders feed off that. It is almost as if when something like this occurs, it can be used as proof by those who already stigmatize the mentally ill.

The popular mindset is that education is the only antidote to prejudice. I would like to say that I believe it works, but I know too many people who refuse to be confused by the facts because they already have their minds made up. For the time being, I am afraid mental illness stigmas are going to be around for a while and it will continue to be a seriously uphill battle for those effected by it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!