Facing the clinicians

I have had many different types of relationships with clinicians as a client, a co-worker in a crisis center and a part of a care team. I have spoken with dozens of clinicians and have formed opinions about them. There is a case manager who believes I am wonderful. On the other hand I had a hands off case manager who rarely saw me or his other clients.

These experiences are part of what made me the peer specialist I am today. Recently I considered becoming a clinician and took several courses towards that end. However the increasing expense of college made me postpone that dream.

Here are some of my thoughts about the clinicians I have encountered and the clinicians I would like to see.  I would like to see greater diversity among clinicians although I understand that the diversity I am seeking is not just about race. I would like to see African-Americans, Hmong and people of different racial and ethnic groups as clinicians. And I would like to see individuals from a wider array of backgrounds. Why not have someone who is living  with PTSD or traumatic brain injury? Maybe there in some of the other veterans hospitals.

We also need clinicians with a wider array of perspectives. I have seen a video about Dr. Rufus May, a former psychiatric patient who  is doing remarkable work in England. I would like the consumers I work with to understand that treatment involves much more than simply taking medication. Perhaps medication in the short term followed by intensely staying away from toxic individuals in your life.You’re  still in bed at 10:30 in the morning? No wonder you’re depressed. You’ve suffered a breakdown after many years at highly stressful occupations?  Take some time off. Let’s recommend a lump sum disability payment and help you sort out the problems in your life. But you don’t seem completely disabled to me.

We need clinicians who can communicate. Just because you’ve heard other clinicians refer to things like baseline does not mean you ought to use that word, too. If non-clinical people challenge your perspective , have the flexibility to listen and loosen your hold on the reins of power. Those if us who hold the title of Peer Specialist bring valuable experience and education to the table. Learn about us and what our credentials involve.

Let’s work together to help individuals achieve a full and productive life because this is the one, wild and precious life we are given. Let us find a way to rejoice and be glad in it. And you don’t have to be clinical to believe in that idea.

In my new job as a certified peer specialist I have more opportunities to interact with clinicians. For instance, at the staff retreat I spoke up in favor of alternative therapies. We had played a human bingo listing various thing we had done. Several of us have played musical instruments, gone walking along the beach, have pets and do other life affirming activities. These would be great for anyone, including the consumers that we serve. I also take an herbal remedy that has plenty of vitamins and minerals and none of the harmful side effects of the medications I used to take. I suggested that we have information about herbal rem4dies to supplement what we provide about medications. Let a thousand flowers bloom in mental health.


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