Mental health workers. They come in many forms – counsellors, therapists, case mangers, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses. I’ve seen my fair share in my time, too many to count. I’ve learnt a few things about them over the years so here for you, I present a basic guide to mental health workers.
In my experience, most mental health workers will fit into one of the following categories, though some will carry traits from multiple categories.
The Talkative Ones
These are the ones that talk for what feels like eternity not giving you a chance to voice your own thoughts and opinions. Often they will start of talking about the reason you are there and then go off on a tangent to something completely irrelevant, without a seconds pause for you to say anything.
The Silent Ones
The ones that expect you to do all the talking while you sit there drawing a blank as to what exactly it is they expect you to say. This type can be very uncomfortable and can leave you in an open ended staring competition or watching the clock counting the minutes till your session is over.
The Pushy Ones
These are the ones that know exactly what is best for you because, you know, they’ve been inside your head and know everything that’s going on in there even if you don’t. They often don’t ask you many questions or listen very well to what you do say. They don’t seem to evaluate the situation very well, most of what they do is based on things they’ve read in your file which dates back ten years. They will tell you what to do and they expect you to do it, no questions asked.
The Laid Back Ones
The ones that treat you more like a best friend and divulge far too much personal information. I’m not here to talk about the house you just bought or your recent tropical holiday. Personal space is often an issue with these ones, they have a tendency to get too close. They offer little practical advice/encouragement and often don’t follow through on things they say they will do. They don’t seem to be focused on their job and are essentially useless.
The Inexperienced Ones
Oh you can spot a newbie a mile off. They haven’t been broken in yet. They are rule followers and try doing everything by the textbook. They haven’t learnt that the textbook should be thrown out the window because hardly anyone is going to fit into what they learnt at school. They have a tendency to repeat information you have heard a thousand times and probably know better than they do. They will sometimes have trouble responding appropriately to difficult topics like suicide or self harm. i.e. will over or under react.
The ‘I’ve Worked Here Too Long’ Ones
Not too dissimilar to ‘the pushy ones’ the ‘I’ve worked here too long’ ones will push towards what they know is best because they’ve been doing this job for x amount of years and that’s how it’s always been done. They are inflexible and less likely to be open to new ideas or different ways of thinking.
The Professional Ones
These ones will have their list of set standard questions to ask, all open ended and structured in a way that sounds like your actually in a job interview. They take a lot of notes. They often wear suits and prefer a more formal setting. It’s hard to tell what these people are thinking if anything, they seem to lack any kind of emotion. Sometimes they seem to be just going through the motions, yet at the same time appear to take their job very seriously.
The Rainbow Unicorn
A VERY rare species. The one that stays on topic, only diverting if it’s relevant and/or you need to say something else. They talk but give you enough time to respond, sometimes this means a moment of silence while you think but if that silence goes on too long they prompt you to keep going. They don’t push you into doing something you are really uncomfortable with (unless they have to because either you or someone else is in danger) but they do push you past your comfort zone to help you learn, grow and recover. They don’t claim to know it all and are open to different ways of doing things.