365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

Day 134/365: What Strong Self-Worth Looks Like

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5.14.2015

My first appointment of the morning was an intake interview with a new arrival.  Initial interviews take at least an hour, and they always involve a lot of paperwork, including the treatment plan.  One section of the treatment plan involves listing the patient’s current “strengths and needs.”  When we got to that part of the interview, I asked the patient to tell me what he considered his strengths.

“I’m not sure,” he said.  He sat there and I let him think about it for a minute.  He looked at me helplessly.  “I don’t know.”

“Okay,” I said.  “That’s okay.  We can come back to that part later.”

I moved on to the rest of the form and then got to the Suicide Risk Evaluation.  I went through the questions with Mr. M until I got to the part where I had to assess whether he had any current suicidal thoughts, intent, or plans.

“Basically,” I said, “are you having any thoughts or plans to end your life, right now, today?”  When conducting a suicide risk assessment, you don’t leave any room for vague answers.  You have to be blunt and direct.

I looked up from the form and saw that he was taken aback, almost affronted.

“No!” he said.  “I love me.  I wouldn’t hurt me.”

“Well, there you go,” I said.  “I think we found one of your strengths.”

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Author: FC5

Happily married and childfree by choice. Licensed clinical psychologist at a state prison for men. I work four 10-hour days in exchange for a 3-day weekend, every weekend. Outside of that, I appreciate my freedom and enjoy a life of various creative pursuits.

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