Giving up a career is hard, especially when I studied to earn my bachelor’s degree, then a psychology degree completing a Master’s degree, and on toward earning a Ph.D. in psychology.
I worked for years as a Mental Health Clinician and did well on the job.
Then, a new thought became apparent after I came to believe in Christ Jesus and accepted him as Savior and Lord.
My view of psychotherapy gradually became different. It wasn’t accurate, as I had learned in my courses. Diagnosing became troublesome. I didn’t believe in therapeutic treatments anymore. I had come to a crossroads in my thinking about psychology.
I have become a Christian, and, after working in the field of psychology for many years while I lived in the California Bay Area, I find that I no longer can diagnose a person using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) psychiatrists use to label a person ill. I would be a liar if I thought I could help someone when I didn’t believe in the industry of psychology anymore.
A rubber room of gibberish, taking the culture of the day and mixing it with the behaviors we saw, then labeling a person what mental illnesses we chose from a manual to guide us about what went on with a person to make them this way. The cure was not to be found.
Diagnosing a person then labeling them ill is not a helpful way to treat a person. There is no compassion; no understanding, no time to build relationships with these people. Only paperwork, documentation, filing systems, and medical models to refer to.
How was I to keep a person from cutting themselves when they wanted attention all day long? How could I help them feel better about themselves?
It was all too hopeless. Some patients never made it and were lost to hell, never knowing Jesus except to find him in slogans of those helping 12-steps programs, but you picked the God you wanted. He may be a vacuum cleaner, even, to suck up all the dirt in one’s life.
This isn’t funny to me, being a Christian, looking back at all I sat through all those 30-some years while staying in Al-Anon. I was an Al-Anon misfit. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know how to fix it except to tell my story all day long and that was no help to me whatsoever.
In fact, it may have relayed too much. People didn’t seem to show the respect or kindness I craved when I went to those meetings. I was another number like everyone else. We completed on who was liked the most; on how many wanted me to sponsor them. And then I became overwhelmed. It was no fun.
My thoughts have come round now to put these words to blog; I cannot explain exactly why I don’t want to diagnose a person the way I felt I had to back then. The agency I worked for, several in fact, prompted me to use the five dimension axes system, decision tree method, and other assessment tools. Companies can collect on health insurance providers with this kind of information, so we did this to get paid.
Diagnosis codes, treatment modalities, case notes, were the road to happiness for me. Getting that paycheck every two weeks was what I needed to buy a house, pay for college, and get ahead in life. I was on my way.
I taught college and was a University Instructor. I was quite good; teaching was a natural fit for me; report-writing was an added strength, and I enjoyed teaching at the college level.
My students were happy with me and as I look back on that time, I am afraid I helped guide students into a mess, where I don’t believe in the curriculum anymore and have a large student loan bill to pay for. I doubt I will pay it off in my lifetime.