Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly a caring as well as competent instructor. It is so important in my eyes that you continue to be idealistic and enthusiastic and principled. Your students need this very, very much in our society which is becoming very cynical and self serving.
I'm therefore so concerned here because there is no perfect answer. There are only imperfect answers. Being principled is not a matter of giving up everything to stand up to any injustice. Being principled is a matter of doing the best you can to promote the values and principles that you know you need to live by within your capabilities.
Okay, why that preamble?
Because I want to make it clear that in my view, your retaining your position and you not having a complaint filed against you is going to be equal in principle in my answer as is how to deal with this counselor. Because this counselor's behavior affects people's treatment and their lives. But your being an instructor also affects people's lives. Okay?
There is a fine line between letting off steam and burnout. Well, not such a fine line. The psychiatrist is rationalizing the counselor's burnout. The counselor's behavior is almost textbook burnout behavior: blaming patients, stereotyping patients, creating separating walls between himself and patients through belittling and mocking, etc.
There is no objective timeline for burnout. Some health/mental health workers can experience it after months, others after decades. So his tenure in this position is not an indication; his behavior is.
I am assuming that the psychiatrist is his supervisor who you have access to. And that speaking with department heads or other officials there would be looked at by the psychiatrist as a breach of his authority, that you went over his head. If not, then I think you have the duty to speak with these officials. And doing so in terms of your concern that the counselor is acting/speaking in ways that make you concerned about burnout that is detrimental to patient care and intake is the best, XXXXX XXXXX If the psychiatrist is in the way, then perhaps he would listen to a second talk saying you want to reopen the discussion; because you've considered the possibility that this is letting off steam only and that you want to alert the psychiatrist that this seems to be clearly more severe, etc. and what does he think would help in remedying the problem for the patients?
Again, you can't be too pushy because doctors often have turf they feel they must defend. And you have your own job you must defend as well. Thus, this would be the approach I would recommend.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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When I talked with the psychiatrist, I did suggest it was burnout. He assured me, "He's not burned out. Just letting off steam." The man does not "look" burned out. He generally is joking--often at someone else's expense.
I do not think the psychiatrist is his supervisor. I'm not sure who it is. Someone in CD. I wondered about personally saying something to him about his impact on the students but I'm not sure that I am brave enough to do it or that it might cause conflict with our school position using it as an agency. My husband suggested I speak with the that agency CEO I know who is also a nurse. If I were to do that, I would check it out with our dean at the School of Nursing. I did appreciate your information. You are right, there is no perfect answer!