05 December 2011

Transferable Skills

I have gone to school & have years of experience in Early Childhood.  Beyond Psych 101 that I took as a senior in high school, I've only studied Child Psychology.

Working with adult women, as it works out, has many transferable skills from the ECE world.

New changes in my job has stretched my limits and mind in dealing with mental illness.  Nothing like having two paranoid schizophrenics triggering each other for about a 30-day period to test your limitations.

I've learned that a person has to really trust their gut.  Like Oprah says: trust those whispers (that aren't from paranoid schizophrenics) and act accordingly.  If you feel in danger, disengage.  If you feel like someone needs help, they probably do, perhaps a listening ear, perhaps a boundary, perhaps assurance that there is someone paying attention to their well-being.

Sometimes people just want to be left the hell alone.  This seems to be the case with some people with mental illness.  There are a handful that really do seem to just want to be left alone with their illness.  I think that needs to be honored too.  I believe some are just lost souls that will never find recovery.  It's sometimes tough to be at peace with that, for everyone involved.

An instructor reminded us that sometimes we assume too quickly.  Maybe that person isn't an ass, isn't a slut, or isn't just fun all the time.  Often there are underlying explanations for their behavior.  (this immediately made me think of the freshman in college, taking Psych 101, and diagnosing all their friends & family)

Recognizing also that sometimes people just are jerks.  There's always room for that, right?  And that mental illness or personality disorders are not an excuse for asshat behavior but a reason to help us "normal" folk cope with them.

One of the suggested methods of communicating is strangely much like improvisational acting, using the "Yes, and..." response.  The mental image that this gave me nearly did me in.  Also, speak slowly and add long pauses, much like Forest Gump.  (aren't these great? a comedian could have an hours worth of material here easily)

It occurred to me that these suggestions are applicable to us "normal" folk as well when it comes to communicating.  Along the same line of my ECE skills & education being helpful in working with adults.  These are good communication skills to use with everyone and not necessarily just with our friends with the tinfoil hats.

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