I finally have liability insurance and can start counselling individuals! I am trained in DBT and use DBT myself so being able to work with others who have BPD or emotional regulation issues is pretty amazing!
I find myself filled with a great fear that I will ultimately blow it as a counsellor and make people worse rather than better. While I do not want to devalue my experience of supporting friends, family, strangers and even my peer support work, I do not feel it is the same. In all cases, I was really not responsible for the overall wellbeing of the person. I was a listening ear that then suggested they seek counselling if it was needed or wanted. I was the person that knew where to get counselling. Now, I will be the counsellor. It’s scary.
I believe that once I have my first client and get things going I will feel ok. Extra responsibility is nerve-wracking at first. I do believe I can make a difference in someone’s life and I’m so happy that I was given the chance to be counsellor!
I will be working at Dialectical Living which specializes in providing DBT individual therapy and skills groups to people in Toronto and the surrounding area who experience BPD and other mental health issues that involve emotion regulation issues.
Stan Popovich, on The Huffington Post, shared his 8 tips for dealing with mental health stigma (I prefer the word discrimination).
- Talk to a counsellor– “Seeking professional help will help you to overcome your current issues. In addition, a counselor will be able to give you additional advice on how to deal with your friends and coworkers.”
- Don’t argue with others-“It is not your job to convince people that you are right and they are wrong. Your health is more important than what other people may think.”
- Watch who you hang out with– “It is important to surround yourself with positive people. Try to keep your distance from those people who are giving you a difficult time.”
- You are not alone– “There are millions of people around the world who struggle with their fears, anxieties, depression, and stresses. The key is to find those people who can relate to you through various support groups in your area.”
- Stand your ground– “It is important to stand your ground when dealing with family members and coworkers who are giving you a hard time. Explain your situation and your feelings to the people in your life, however don’t let them hassle you.”
- Join a support group– “These support groups will be supportive of your situation and give you additional advice regarding your problems. Joining a support group is very important in a person’s recovery and ability to find people who can relate to you.”
- Learn to take it one day at a time– “Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems.”
- Don’t give up– “You will not get better if you sit on the couch and don’t make an effort to get better. You need to know that you will eventually get better. Do not lose hope even during the worse of times. You problems will not last forever, and things do eventually change for the better.”
This is a good list. These are all strategies we should engage in but I find the strategies on this list to be very passive and more so putting pressure on the individual to handle other people’s stupidity. I would like to add a tip to this list.
9. Become a mental health advocate.
Critically and constructively challenge discriminatory views. Educate others about your experience and the experience of others. Help friends and family learn where they have learned what they know about mental health. Start a blog, tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, group, etc that puts the truth out there and supports recovery.
Becoming a mental health advocate is what has helped me the most and I have seen the power I have to show people another way of thinking and being. I know this kind of work is not for everyone but every little bit counts.
Do you have any tips for dealing with mental health discrimination?
I was really nervous over the weekend about my 1:1 camper that I would have for this week and next week but there was no need!
She is great! We get along very well! We read, colour and have good conversations about movies, music and animals!
It is different because my time is focused on one person instead of a group.
We’re going on a trip tomorrow and I’ve promised I will bring the Winnie the Pooh colouring activity book with us.