Message To Counselors, Social Workers, Lawyers, Teachers, Parents And Others

When a patient, client, child, friend, or other is showing signs of emotional distress, is your first reaction to assume that they have caused the majority of their own problems, or that they are in some way deficient, weak, or defective as a human being?

Counselors, doctors, legal professionals, teachers and instructors (especially health and legal workers) should EXPECT a person who is coming in to speak with them to be feeling some sort of elevated emotional state. To judge a person negatively for elevated emotions when they're in a health worker's office, or a legal worker's office, shows a serious lack of awareness.
Assuming that a client, patient, or student is representing the "way they always are" OUTSIDE of a health or legal office, or classroom, is again a serious misjudgment.
People are anxious (most normal people, anyway) who are speaking to a lawyer or legal worker, mental health worker, physician, or social worker. That's not some kind of display of ignorance or weakness, it's a display of NORMALCY.
Only sociopaths are always cool as a cucumber, and if you didn't know that, look it up, it's important.

Patients in a therapist's or doctor's office are OF COURSE going to display some kind of emotions, they think they can TRUST health professionals to be professional, and to remain objective and non-judgmental. People tend to believe that healthcare workers are ON THEIR SIDE, and are trying to help them find solutions, not JUDGE them like anyone "outside" would, so they tend to "bare their souls" because they think they CAN, and even that they're SUPPOSED TO. Healthcare workers who are judgmental and arrogant toward patients and clients who are trusting them with their exposed heart and soul are massively unethical and unprofessional.

Students, both children and young adults especially, tend to believe that Teachers and Instructors are ALSO "on their side", that they're going to be OBJECTIVE toward all students, alert, aware, and caring, like a mentor should be, especially a mentor of youths. Playing favorites, targeting kids who are "annoying", over-disciplining some kids and letting others get away with anything, gossiping about students, giving some extra help and care, and ignoring or picking on others, creating little Hierarchies in one's classroom or SCHOOL, gender and ancestry bias, allowing students to bully others; NONE of that should even be happening. And yet, all of it can be found in nearly any school in many Western cultures, and in other cultures as well. Teachers and instructors who participate in this will often claim a neutral position, or completely deny that it exists. But it's very, very easy to see, and pretty much impossible to hide. The "proof" is the behavior of the students in the school. Difficult homes or not. When the entire school or university faculty, administration, staff, and local governmental and community ties to the school are functioning in a healthy way, it's easy to tell which kids have terrible home lives, trauma issues, or disorders from the kids who don't; they stand out, and they are given as much extra help and care as possible.
But when it's not, it's nearly impossible to tell them apart, and few care to try.

Assumptions lay groundwork for more assumptions. When we make judgments about other people, including children, it's not reality based. It's coming from our own imagination.

When a person shows up at a therapist's or lawyer's office showing apparent signs of anxiety, depression, or signs of some or other emotional or mental illness, if we see that person as that disorder incarnate, we don't see them as a valid human being.
Then, we don't actually try to find out more information, or new information. We only accept and hear that which lines up with our mental PICTURE we have created about who and what the person is. 
And then we treat them accordingly.
Those who don't think they do this may be more susceptible than others to doing this, because they are in denial. Assumption and judgment about other people is a human brain function, everyone does it automatically. (Yes, yes, you know all this already...but knowing it and applying it to one's SELF are two different things.)  Our brains "size up" and summarize other people based on superficial information, so we can get through our OWN life and our day to day activities efficiently. Our brains want to determine QUICKLY who is a threat and who is not a threat. The problem lies in the errors of that process, especially when one's occupation is about directly dealing with other people.

The reason there are so many successful con-artists is because human beings tend to be very over-confident in their ability to judge other people. We often make errors in judgement, such as mistaking a kind, very intelligent person as "incompetent" or "weak", and an arrogant bully as "competent" and "knowledgeable".
Many people are more likely to trust a con-artist or a bully than a person who is actually trustworthy or competent, because our judgment processing is really more for immediate danger rather than judging a person's entire character.

In other words, if we don't find a person intimidating, we tend to START ADDING our own made-up negative judgments about their "weakness of character".
When we add these negative judgments, it's about ourselves, not the other person. We're basically trying to find ways to feel like the person is inferior to us, so we can feel justified in feeling dominant and superior over them.
When we do feel intimidated by another person, like they're some kind of authority figure or expert, we tend to START ADDING our own made-up POSITIVE judgments about the person's character.
After we've made these judgments about a person, we then only accept "information" about them into our brains that corroborates, lines up with, our judgments.

If we see or hear the person doing or saying something that doesn't line up with our judgment of them, we reject the information. If someone else says things about the person that don't line up, we'll probably reject the information. We only want to hear and see "bad stuff" about people who we've judged as bad or weak, and we only want to hear and see "good stuff" about people who we've judged as good or strong.

We tend to cast others in certain "light", and then filter everything they say and do, and everything about them through this light.

What we RARELY do is SUSPEND judgment and assumption about others. We usually judge and assess them upon meeting them, and believe ourselves, clueless about our own ignorance about them.
The more "expert" we perceive ourselves to be, the more we tend to believe our own assumptions, assessments, and judgments.

A signal for ourselves that we are judging a person negatively is when we find ourselves casting shame on them, especially when our occupation or position is in a legal, mentoring, or caretaker role. Shaming others or seeing others in a "shameful" light (people often shake their heads or smirk to express this) is extremely inappropriate in any caregiving, mentoring/teaching, or legal role. One's perception needs to be as objective as possible, and allowing JUDGMENT such as this destroys objectivity, and therefore severely compromises one's ability to perform their REAL job, or be a proper Parent. 

Further, many who have been abuse targets are "hyper-aware" of others judging them.
When a patient, client, (or child) picks up on someone's negative judgment toward them, they will immediately sense this and stop trusting (an accurate reaction). They have learned from experience that those who judge another in a negative light will not remain objective, or be seriously thinking or working in their best interest. 

True professionalism in any field requires objectivity. When a person's occupation deals directly with human beings, then objectivity, civility, respect, and a measure of empathy are required, as does good parenting.

A confusion of "respect" and "civility" with elitism and fear is actually common in this current cultural climate, unfortunately, and speaks to a serious cultural problem with ego-identity and boundary issues. Treating other people with respect and civility is not about the other person, it's about one's OWN values and integrity. Having a habit of assessing others to decide whether they "deserve" one's respect and courtesy is a symptom of boundary, self-acceptance, and identity issues.

Respect and civility have nothing to do with submission, nor do they indicate adulation of another person. Those with healthy boundaries and self-confidence keep their values and integrity intact no matter who they're speaking to or dealing with. They don't have a need to "assess" others as "inferior", for any reason, because they aren't compelled or have a desire to assess anyone as innately SUPERIOR.

~Positions of authority are positions, not innate qualities of a human being.
Expertise is about something that is learned and practiced, it does not indicate anything about a person's character.
Academic degrees are accomplishments, but they are not an indication of superior intelligence in comparison to another who does not have the same degree, or equivalent education.
Even having formal education in a certain subject does not mean that one is categorically and automatically more knowledgeable than a person who did not complete a formal education in that subject.
A poor or working class background does not indicate anything at all about a person's intelligence, character, or ability.
A middle-class or wealthy background does not indicate anything at all about a person's intelligence, character, or ability.
A person's hair color, height, weight, ancestry, muscle tone, or facial features also do not indicate anything at all about their intelligence, character, or ability.

These are all assumptions and assessments that many humans project onto others.
Ironically, those who project negative judgments onto other people are usually highly offended when someone does the same thing to THEM. But without objectivity, one cannot see the hypocrisy or silliness.

Everyone wants to be seen in a POSITIVE LIGHT by others, and RESPECTED for all the positive things about their character, their intentions, their motivations, and their accomplishments, and they DO NOT want to be judged in a negative way.
And yet, many, many people do the opposite to OTHERS

Professionalism requires objectivity, and keeping one's mind on the job at hand, not on passing judgment on clients, patients, students, children and others.


When a client, patient, student, or child's parent is speculating about or analyzing his or her own situation, behavior, past, or health, or that of their child's, it's not something that they don't have a "right" to do, or are CLUELESS about just because they don't have the same academic background or position as you do. If that's what you think, then either someone told you wrong, or you are trapped in your own identity issues.
When they are trying to figure out the dynamics of a situation or an event, that's not the same thing as BLAMING OTHERS for their own mistakes and behaviors, or as avoiding blame and responsibility. They are PROBABLY EXPECTING YOU to HELP them analyze and figure out the details, because that's part of your JOB.
Your job is not to judge them and diminish them as human beings, making yourself feel like you're above them. Your job needs to be done WITHOUT inserting your own personal, emotional, and ego issues.

We all fall short of objectivity and professionalism from time to time in whatever our job is, but our human frailty is no excuse for not trying to reach this goal every day. 

One's motivations for choosing a career path show up in their job performance.
How a person treats the PEOPLE who they're working with and for shows what they're really about.