Social Workers

Two Crucial Facts About K2

Two Crucial Facts About K2

New strategies for substance use assessment will help us master the needed skills, so we can continue to do the best work possible for our patients and clients, helping with relapse prevention, promoting full recovery, paying attention to integrated care, lessening fragmented care, and feeling gratified, as we continue to do this challenging though noble work.

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

The system has its role to play. It needs to empower clinicians and advocates, patients and clients, if there are interests in decreasing staff turnover and restoring trust. If burnout is to be addressed and prevented and self-care promoted, we all have to work together. And, these efforts must be supported by the system, if we are to reach our goals and continue working effectively and with the passion with which we came into this field.

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

After experiencing a phenomenon for so long, it becomes the new normal, the new culture, which is then very challenging to change or undo. It is going to be a slow process, which requires a collective effort from all of us—clinicians, advocates, agency leaders and decision makers—and from the system, as a whole. It will be a process, but it indeed starts with understanding “The Why” of preventing burnout and promoting self-care.

Burnout: An Epidemic

Burnout: An Epidemic

Cynicism, depression, and lethargy are some of the manifestations of burnout. Burnout is present in about 21-67% of mental health professionals. The ramifications can be devastating for our patients and clients, our clinicians and advocates, and for our agencies and the healthcare system, as a whole. Burnout can and must be prevented. Self-care can and must be promoted. Here are four reasons why.

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Kate looked at Roger and said: “I am feeling more and more empowered each day. Peter is opening up to me.  However, he keeps talking about dying and about his non-stop cough.  How do I best support him?”

Many of the same principles required for supporting someone going through pain and loss can also be applied to assisting someone who is battling a terminal illness.  

De-escalation skills: 6 Reasons Why

De-escalation skills: 6 Reasons Why

“I went to look for help, and now I am going to jail. What do I need to live for?” Matthew said in anger to the medical student conducting the initial interview. Two days later, he was found tying the bed sheet around his neck. His roommate arrived soon enough, and he was placed on “one-to-one” monitoring for suicide watch. After discharge, Matthew found himself in jail, waiting for trial. Three days later, he was found once again, with his bed sheet around his neck, this time, unconscious.

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

Patient and client engagement is a challenge across all aspects of clinical care and more so in mental health, especially for those who feel forced into treatment. There is no single best definition for patient or client engagement, but I usually describe it as the active patient and client involvement in his or her care for best outcomes. 

Psychosis-Symptom Contextualization: 5 rule outs

Psychosis-Symptom Contextualization: 5 rule outs

Farah is a 49-year-old female, who complains of difficulty sleeping (insomnia), feeling sad (depressed mood), and has held the belief that her daughter, Mia, was stealing her money and was trying to poison her food (paranoia).  Ron, the psychiatrist seeing Farah for the first time, examined her and noticed a lump (nodule) in her neck, some hand tremors, and weight loss.  Ron quickly assessed for acute risk, referred Farah to an endocrinologist, who confirmed a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, treated Farah, and the psychiatric symptoms, including paranoia, subsided.

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Arianna’s dream was to become a researcher.  “My older brother has been sick and suffering a lot, and I want to help him and also help stop suffering in the world.”  She often said these words to herself, as a way to remember that keeping her promise alive meant hard work, keeping up with great grades, and maintaining her extracurricular activities.  Arianna wanted to be sure she was doing all the right things to get ready for college and in preparation for graduate school.  At age 15; however, Arianna suddenly developed some unusual and disturbing symptoms…

Social Determinants of Health: The Why and the What

Social Determinants of Health: The Why and the What

Meet Marcy, a social worker, treating Melanie, a 10-year-old child, whose father was recently imprisoned for domestic violence and child endangerment. Melanie came to the clinic with symptoms of PTSD and depression, including guilt. Melanie called the police, because she was so scared when her mother suffered abuse at home. Confusion, loss, shame, and embarrassment were all part of what she had to endure emotionally. What 10-year-old could bear such a thing? And Marcy, the social work therapist was determined to help Melanie make sense of it all, mourn her separation and loss, and forgive herself.

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Common to most community health clinics, waiting areas are usually crowded with patients to be seen, and it was no different this time for staff psychiatrist, Dr. Davidman. Though newly recruited, he managed to quickly develop a “well-liked” reputation with patients, generally greeting everyone waiting to be seen. "I notice many things in this waiting area, but one thing catches my attention the most: many clients and patients often stop me to ask for food." This was the doctor’s personal reflection about complex issues that needed direct attention.

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Kate looked at Roger and said: “I am feeling more and more empowered each day. Peter is opening up to me.  However, he keeps talking about dying and about his non-stop cough.  How do I best support him?”

Many of the same principles required for supporting someone going through pain and loss can also be applied to assisting someone who is battling a terminal illness.  

Preventing Burnout From a System Perspective

Preventing Burnout From a System Perspective

The system has its role to play. It needs to empower clinicians and advocates, patients and clients, if there are interests in decreasing staff turnover and restoring trust. If burnout is to be addressed and prevented and self-care promoted, we all have to work together. And, these efforts must be supported by the system, if we are to reach our goals and continue working effectively and with the passion with which we came into this field.

Preventing Burnout: Why Self-Care for Clinicians and Advocates

Preventing Burnout: Why Self-Care for Clinicians and Advocates

After experiencing a phenomenon for so long, it becomes the new normal, the new culture, which is then very challenging to change or undo. It is going to be a slow process, which requires a collective effort from all of us—clinicians, advocates, agency leaders and decision makers—and from the system, as a whole. It will be a process, but it indeed starts with understanding “The Why” of preventing burnout and promoting self-care.

Preventing Burnout: Self-Care for Clinicians and Advocates

Preventing Burnout: Self-Care for Clinicians and Advocates

Cynicism, depression, and lethargy are some of the manifestations of burnout. Burnout is present in about 21-67% of mental health professionals. The ramifications can be devastating for our patients and clients, our clinicians and advocates, and for our agencies and the healthcare system, as a whole. Burnout can and must be prevented. Self-care can and must be promoted. Here are four reasons why.

 K2: The 2 Additional Facts all Clinician Needs to Know

 K2: The 2 Additional  Facts all Clinician Needs to Know

New strategies for substance use assessment will help us master the needed skills, so we can continue to do the best work possible for our patients and clients, helping with relapse prevention, promoting full recovery, paying attention to integrated care, lessening fragmented care, and feeling gratified, as we continue to do this challenging though noble work.

Mood Stabilizers: The First Five

Mood Stabilizers: The First Five

“I am starting to have an idea about the mood stabilizers. There are so many of them. How do I break them down to learn the basics about each one?”  Lily posed this question to Dawn, who had started with an overview of the Mood Stabilizers.

Why Do Patients and Clients Display Inappropriate Behaviors: 2 Reasons Why

Why Do Patients and Clients Display Inappropriate Behaviors: 2 Reasons Why

Dealing effectively with inappropriate behaviors entails looking at why our patients and clients display inappropriate behaviors.  This involves a root cause analysis, using the “Rule of 9,” as I presented in a previous article, and using the bio-psycho-social and cultural approach.  Traumatic brain injury and substance use are two biological-contributing factors.

How to Effectively Deal with Inappropriate Behaviors: “The Rule of 9”

How to Effectively Deal with Inappropriate Behaviors: “The Rule of 9”

In my articles and during SWEET seminars, I often talk about the problem-solving process, and I remind clinicians that part of the process is to first formulate and agree upon the exact defining problem.  I also explain that the next step is to seek to understand what is causing the problem in the first place.  No, I am not talking about the immediate cause.  I am talking about the root cause, and for that we need to go through the process of a root cause analysis.  A root cause analysis may come across as a daunting task.  While it is, indeed, far from a quick fix, we can adopt the “Rule of 9” to help simplify it.

Dealing Effectively with Inappropriate Behaviors- Five Steps

Dealing Effectively with Inappropriate Behaviors- Five Steps

“I need to make a decision.  I have been working for the past eight months with him, but there has been no progress.”  Maria explained this to Jena, the new clinical supervisor, only one week on the job. Maria was referring to Ken, already introduced in a previous article entitled, Dealing Effectively with Inappropriate Behaviors: The Why.