November 3, 2020

Dear Mental Health Providers—We need Answers.

Knock knock.

Are there any mental health providers here?


It’s nice to meet you all.

My name’s Rebecca, and I’m a Ph.D. student in Positive Developmental Psychology.

I’d like to have a discussion.

It’s a very serious discussion.

I hope you don’t mind that I go first.

It’s about your work with individuals you’ve diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and/or Borderline Personality Disorder.

What’s it like working with this population?

Have you ever terminated a patient with one of these diagnoses? If so, why?

Have you ever lost a client to suicide because you terminated them?

What do you actually think about these patients?

Do you use “attention-seeking” and “manipulative” to describe their suicide attempts or cries for help? If so, I’d like to know why.

Do you understand the effect adverse childhood experiences can have on someone?

Why is the goal often to regulate their emotions with meditation and imagery rather than listen to what they have to say?

Why is the go-to treatment recommendation dialectical behavioral therapy rather than an attachment-based trauma therapy, such as Internal Family Systems?

Why do many therapists continue to label “what” they see, dismiss it, and not question why it’s happening?

Why are clients with these diagnoses not able to sit at your table and discuss what’s truly going on with them?

Why does this population continue to receive negative responses with strict boundaries rather than therapy that is warm, empathetic, and attuning to their parts?

Who gets to say they are “trauma-informed?”

Do you really feel informed?

What do you need to know more about in order to help this population?

What do you wish would change?

It’s your turn to speak. Before I pass you the talking stick though, please take a moment to think of the client you terminated if you have done so. Think about the mark this left on them. Was this the appropriate decision?




Read 8 Comments and Reply

Read 8 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Rebecca Donaldson  |  Contribution: 96,890

author: Rebecca Donaldson

Image: Ellie Burgin/Pexels

Editor: Sukriti Chopra

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video