A situation occurred at my internship today that triggered a need to blog. As my readers, loved ones, & “admirers” know, I am a social worker & therapist. Now, I KNOW the stigma surrounding therapy, social workers, & mental health. However, today’s situation made me think of all of the comments I have encountered so far & made me realize the rest of my life is going to be filled with this bullshit. The following is a list of thoughts/opinions from people who are not in this field have…
**Sidenote: If you have never went to a therapist & you don’t know much about this field, I can GUARANTEE you are wrong in your opinion. Learn facts before talking.
Thoughts/Opinions of Social Work
- Social workers steal people’s kids. FACT: Social workers work in multiple fields including the clinical field. So, you’re wrong. Also, you need to look up the facts about foster care instead of relying on the myths surrounding it.
- Social workers need to mind their own business. FACT: Whenever you decide to harm another individual IT IS OUR BUSINESS. Actually, you have no business to be physically & verbally abusing another human being. Period.
- Social workers hand out welfare like candy. FACT: Again, social workers don’t just work in child welfare & public welfare offices. Btw, I do hand out candy, LOL.
- Caseworkers, social services workers, & volunteers are social workers. FACT: They are not! Social workers have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree & are trained professionals. However, social workers can assume these roles.
- Social workers only help the oppressed/poor. FACT: Although majority of clients are from these backgrounds, social workers help people from every background & “level of society”.
- A bunch of socialists. FACT: Socialism is a political or economic theory. Social work is not socialism. We help with individuals & communities to develop their best potential in life.
- Social workers don’t make a lot of money. FACT: Sometimes true, yes, but it depends where you work & what job you take on. Some social workers make 6 figures based on years of experience, location, & career type.
- Social workers shouldn’t be therapists. FACT: This is an actual argument in the social work field because social work started as a community based program. Individual therapy is said to be for psychologist who focus on micro-level problems. With this mindset also comes the opinion of social workers not being as good of therapists like psychologists. You’re completely and ignorantly wrong if you think this. See #1 under opinions about therapy.
- Social workers are pushovers. FACT: No. We may have hearts of gold & truly want to help others, but that does not mean we are pushovers & allow others to step all over us. We are realists & we help people help themselves! We aren’t here to coddle & sugarcoat your bad behaviors.
- You don’t need the education to be a social worker. FACT: I will agree some of the basic jobs people get in direct care is more of a learning experience, however, I’ve learned sooooooo much in college that majority of people have no idea what I’m talking about. I used to think this way once in a while. I realized how wrong I was & it truly is a very ignorant comment made by insecure people. It is super important to know theories, history, techniques, populations, diversity, etc. to succeed as a professional.
Thoughts/Opinions about Psychologists
- They only diagnose people & are shrinks. FACT: Psychologists, like social workers, work in many different fields not just therapy.
- Psychologists believe everyone has a diagnosis. FACT: That’s your own uneducated opinion most likely based off of insecurity, fear, & plain ignorance.
- Psychologists get paid to listen to you vent. FACT: Uh, no. It’s more than venting & it is a process & skillful language used to help people. This can also fit under the therapy category. I’ve heard, “Geez I could be a therapist” because someone gave “good advice”. Therapists don’t give advice. Such a common misconception & no, not everyone is a psychologist/therapist just because they used common sense to help a friend.
Thoughts/Opinions about Therapy
- You need a psychology/psychiatry degree to be a therapist. FACT: Social workers are sometimes the only therapists in rural & remote areas. All you need is a social work degree & license (by state regs) to be a mental health therapist (counselor).
- Therapy is about being diagnosed with a mental illness. FACT: Sometimes life is overwhelming & it is hard to manage your stress. Therapy isn’t about a diagnosis. You can seek therapy services during hard times. However, you do need a diagnosis for your insurance to pay for appointments, otherwise you’re responsible to pay out of pocket for therapy services.
- You can work on your own problems without a therapist. FACT: Although true to some extent, if you’re walking around undiagnosed & feel like a failure it is because you really do need the help.
- Therapists blame your problems on your childhood. FACT: Oh boy, one of my favorite myths. No, that’s part of it sometimes, but there are way too many factors in each individuals’ life that play part into your “problems”.
- Therapists fix your problems/give advice. FACT: Therapy is about CHANGE not a cure. Therapists do not give advice to fix your problems. Therapists “manipulate” conversation to get you thinking & learning about how to fix your own damn problems.
- Therapists only diagnose people. FACT: see #2.
- “I’m a weak person & there’s something wrong with me if I see a therapists.” FACT: Again, see #2. Sometimes shit happens & life becomes too much. You don’t have to be “mentally ill” to seek counseling. What a bogus misconception.
- Therapists write down everything I say & judge me based on that. FACT: No, we write down information based on what we see & hear yes, but it is so we remember & can keep it to help YOU work on yourself in future sessions. Also yes, sometimes we do call you out on your shit because…(see #9)
- Therapists sugar coat & are nice. FACT: Yes, we obviously have a caring heart, but we are not here to sugar coat your bullshit. We call people out on discrepancies & when we catch you in a lie. Again, therapy is about change. How can you change if you continue to lie, manipulate, & not be honest with yourself? Sometimes people don’t realize they say one thing & their body language says something else. We don’t just “listen” we watch.
- Therapists brainwash. FACT: HAHAHAHAHA. Literally, that’s all I feel like saying, but no. How would we brainwash you? We don’t talk you into feeling, believing, or doing anything. This is literally about YOU & YOUR choices.
The most common myths/rude comments I’ve heard so far…
- Psychology isn’t a real science.
- Social workers don’t make a lot of money.
- Social workers steal kids.
- “I don’t know, you tell me what to do, you’re the therapist.”
- “I don’t know miss therapist, you tell me!”-my husband LOL ugh.
- “Aren’t you supposed to just ask me questions & I answer?”
- Therapy is for pussies.
- Therapists think everyone has a diagnosis.
- “I’m at a breaking point, but not the type you people write down on a piece of paper & freak out about so don’t go there.”
- “God no! I don’t need an appointment I think psychologists are crazy & what you do is insane.” -when asked if someone wanted to do an intake.
- “I know, my childhood is to blame for how I am.” -sarcasm
- “Can you give me advice about this?”
- “I don’t know, what do you want to talk about?” -client to therapist
- “I feel bad for the people you help.” -because I didn’t put up with someone’s bullshit excuse about their mental illness making them treat others like dirt (not in a session this was in a personal setting). Newsflash, again, I’m not here to sugarcoat & baby people. I’m also a human & not always in therapy mode, which means I don’t have to take anyone’s crap.
- I have physically watched someone smirk & crinkle up the counseling center info sheet I handed to them.
Responses I’ve heard after providing services…
- “Wow, I’ve never thought this much about myself ever.”
- “You really had me thinking…”
- “This is intense. I never had to think like this.”
- “I always leave here feeling great because you have me thinking deeper about myself than I ever have.”
- “I always leave having learned something new about myself!”
- “I didn’t know that. Wow.”
- “Really, I didn’t know you do that here.”
- “Thank you for the information, I will be right over to see you!”
- I’ve been asked general questions about grad school & master’s degrees after people have learned the truth about social workers
- “You’ve helped me a lot.” -my response is you’re welcome BUT you technically helped yourself.