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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  PsyD, LPC, CHt
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Question: Say a hypothetical person is despondant because he

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Question: Say a hypothetical person is despondant because he is unlikeable. That means that people do not like him because of some innate quality.

Also consider that the hypothetical person's professional was taken from him. Thus, all the years of study for the Ph.D. and the post-doc slave years and the years of experience on the job are gone. Whoosh.

No drugs or talk therapy has made a dent.

The person has to decide whether 30 years of painful isolation and zero friendship are bearable.

This person is known to neither you or I. The above statements are facts, not inteprertations.

Pretend you're back in grad school and your advisor presents you with this scenario.

What do you say?


A speculative reply to address this scenario:


Things to look for:

If the individual has to decide if his life is "bearable", this sounds like a suicidal ideation. Risk factors would need to be assessed and proper referral made i.e. to inpatient facility or if suicidability is ruled out for the moment, a higher level of care such as: residential treatment, intensive outpatient therapy, etc (since outpatient therapy had been shown to bring little if any improvement)


Factors to be considered would be 1) how was his profession take away? Was it due to misconduct, did he lose a licensure needed to practice in his field, was the loss of job more to do with loss of status/title and monetary gain, can this individual obtain a similar work or at least work relevant to his educational level/experience elsewhere,

2) is this person having any support system at least of family members if not friends,

3) has the individual even been assessed for a personality Axis II diagnosis focusing on why he thinks/believes he's unlikable?

4) What actual diagnosis was the person treated for w/ therapy and medication that did not yield any results? Could there have been a misdiagnoses or the treatment offered not matching this person's symptoms?

5) If risk factors are ruled out (suicidal/homicidal ideations), then, what would this individual be willing to try next /determine level of willingness/openness to 1) get proper diagnosis w/ the appropriate treatment 2) try to connect w. local support groups/family/friends (even one friend) 3) re-organize his priorities and instead of see oneself in the victim role, try to come up with a plan of action as to how to address his current predicament ex: A) contact a legal representative to determine if loss of job was justified, B) if he can apply for unemployment or if he qualifies for any health disability benefits C) explore other employment options without being rigid in his choices to consider other positions; decide to start his own business (does not have to be in the field of his study) initially as means of income, D) engage in self introspection to determine how much of his own actions led to this current situation, challenge negative thoughts E) find ways to change some of his behavior and belief system in order to get different results F) Find something that makes him feel useful to others such as volunteering, join clubs/spiritual/religious groups/gym, anything that lets him stay engage with others in a positive way.


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