Understanding Where One Comes From
Sometimes psychiatric patients have absolutely no logical explanation for their behavior. They may say one thing and do something completely different. They may be functioning well today and be catatonic tomorrow. They may attend groups this afternoon with good participation and defecate on themselves in the evening.
Mental illness works in unexpected ways; treating it is an art and science. You have to carefully listen to your patients every day; new emerging details can provide new meanings behind their illness. Sometimes it may become frustrating to listen to them; especially when they demonstrate no progress.
But patience is key to better understanding the mind of a psychiatric patient. You have to put in the time and effort to listen to every word and attempt to understand their behaviors. Sometimes it all makes sense, while at other times, you become lost in a puzzle.
Many times, psychiatric patients will have explanations and reasons that do not make sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to them. You have to validate their explanations even if you do not agree with them. This is because you have to show them that their way of viewing things is relatable.
Building rapport is very important if you want to get anywhere with a psychiatric patient. Why would they waste their time sharing their world with you if you cannot establish rapport? In order to establish rapport, you must demonstrate careful listening skills and a genuine desire to learn more about them.
And when you think that you may have hit a roadblock, the last thing that you want to do is to give up on your patient. What you need to do is to continue talking to them with the intent on helping them overcome their problems. It may not happen today or tomorrow.
But with a genuine and gentle approach, you may one day help them overcome their illness and help them live a more peaceful life.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)