Good Morning, Kyo.
I am perplexed at how members are coming on here telling you your job, while offering no credentials or personal experience of their own.
You haven't said what "school" of counseling you have achieved - I'm sure you know, however, because you could not have become a therapist without it
- the differences between clinical social work (specifically client self-determination and empowerment through teaching alternative coping mechanisms)
and psychology (many trained only with the "medical model" used by psychiatrists).
The LCSW always assumes the client is the expert on him or herself, and is capable of establishing goals, recognizing barriers (whether external or
self-imposed), and weighing options in order to make decisions. A 'psychologist' will often present as "I am the expert, and you are sick. I will
That, as you know, is NOT Clinical Social Work's style. There are so many different approaches and therapies available that lay persons really have
no idea unless they've endeavored to self-educate, or been in therapy where different methods are tried; or both. In my practice I used Family
Systems quite a bit, as the initial discovery system. That alone can help a client "disengage" and learn to separate "self" from "system", as well as
identifying how the social system in which they were reared has affected their own self-perceptions, boundaries (if any), and coping mechanisms.
Aside from all the different techniques (EMDR is particularly helpful with PTSD, for example) - then there are the Axes of diagnosis. Lay persons
rarely understand how diagnosis works, and all the different aspects of the client's life that are assessed before determining the differential.
Likewise, the DMS is not "a Bible" - it is a tool used for billing purposes and to help the practitioners continue to develop more and more
understanding of what clusters of behaviors and SUBJECTIVE experience together with others indicates in terms of therapy to be applied.
If you are in a counseling position already - then YOU HAVE THAT INFORMATION. The rest of it is an art form, yes, and depends almost entirely on
rapport building with the client. I have advised prospective clients to be careful in their selection of a therapist - to "interview" them before
simply "signing up."
If the client does NOT feel comfortable, safe, trusting, or confident that the therapist can relate to them adequately, they should find another
Therapists also have "specialties" - mine was Children & Families, and then I went into Substance Abuse treating youths, youth groups, families, and
children of addicts. (Having raised two children myself, after a rocky adolescence involving drug use). The PTSD that I came across in those
situations was quite different from, say, a soldier returning from war-zone combat scenarios.
Besides that, PTSD is a "subjective" thing as well - what traumatizes me may not be anything that fazes you, or my neighbor. That's why we START
WHERE THE CLIENT IS.
Which brings us to sensitivities, and knowing oneself.
I can understand why the 20-somethings feel frustration, and to be honest, I would not enter into therapy with a 25 year old as a counselor. No. To
be honest, they often DON'T have adequate life experience to be really effective, except perhaps for young children or adolescents and young married
But to expect a mother of seven whose children have been removed for cyclical abuse, drug abuse, neglect, or squalor to welcome a 25-year old single,
childless, freshly licensed (or still interning) person - especially of another ethnicity/background - to help them is actually ridiculous.
What some others have said carries some weight - yes, one must be a GOOD LISTENER, and able to build a real relationship. In my opinion, being open
about one's own similar experience can help - but is not always necessary. Any therapist worth their salt knows when a case is out of their league -
and will refer the client to a colleague or other agency for more appropriate treatment.
Just as a podiatrist (foot specialist) will not treat a brain tumor, so do therapists have their 'niches.'
Secondary PTSD? Yes. Depends on how "close to home" the issues that the client presents are to one's own weaknesses.
My problem turned out to be boundaries. I felt TOO MUCH of what my clients felt. (Yes, I'm one of those who literally feel the pain of others). I
would come home weeping, unable to attend to my own family, emotionally exhausted.
When I realized it was compromising my own life to stay in the practice, as well as the strictures on "severing ties" with people I'd spent years
getting to know - I just couldn't do it. I damn near went to Mexico to collect an American child from a visit to her grandparents - at the request of
her parents, who could not safely travel - I adored this child, and she was very fond of me. I would have done it in a heartbeat if my husband had
not talked me out of it, explaining how much trouble I could get into trying to get through customs as a blonde Midwesterner with a beautiful Mexican
child, even if I had legal guardianship (which I was offered to do, as well as being asked to be the child's guardian in case of the parents' loss).
I MISS THAT FAMILY, and that child, still. I always will.
Anyway - sorry for writing a book here!! Best of strength and smooth sailing with your practice...
I have a feeling you'll do fine.
edit on 7/26/2014 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)