Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
We live in a time in which any aberrant behavior is considered to be a symptom of some psychological disorder. To compound the problem, everyone is an armchair psychologist these days, ready to diagnose himself and/or anyone else.
I’ve learned a great deal in my nearly 16 years of working in the field of psychotherapy. I am not a Ph.D. I have a Master of Social Work degree, which opens the door to private practice counseling. I can’t prescribe medication; I can recommend it, and encourage my client to speak with his doctor or a psychiatrist. However, I’ve developed a broad working knowledge of medications, and I am required to diagnose each client in order for the insurance to pay for the cost of treatment.
So much of my practice turns out to be, in my opinion, not a truly diagnoseable psychological disorder. It is often simply a problem in communication, in basic human relationships, and in rebellious behavior that is disrupting the entire family. We do have diagnostic codes that we can apply to such situations.
What becomes problematic, though, is when someone comes into my office having already decided what his dysfunction is. If I don’t jump on board with it, he is dissatisfied because he can’t blame his behavior on something a pill will cure.
Some people seem to be born with an inherent ability to get along with other people. They are agreeable, pleasant, and find the positive in almost every situation. The downside of that personality is that they often are in relationships or situations in which they are taken for granted, mistreated, and undervalued.
My own family tree is pretty heavily populated with people who question authority, refuse to be put down, rise easily to leadership positions, and forge ahead on their own paths. The downside of that personality is the tendency to be critical, disrespectful when authority is “just stupid,” and unwilling to change for the comfort of other people.
A lot of my time, in my office, is spent trying to help these two opposites, who are magnetically attracted to each other, find a way to continue living together in harmony.
Sometime, when I finish a day of being a referee, I have a few symptoms myself!