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Being talked to like a child?

I began attending a group about three weeks ago at the mental health center I go to now. It’s a small group and I so far like the woman who runs the group and for the most part the others in the group. The other day though I was in this group and we were talking about our goals for the week and I had said that I wasn’t sure if I should continue working on my writing or come up with a new goal. The woman running the group said in this tone I can’t explain but it’s how you’d talk to a group of little kids or something “It looks like he’s having some trouble making a decision can anyone think of anything that might help him make a decision?”

I don’t know, it was partly the way she said this and partly what was said that struck me as if I was being treated like a child or something. In fact I hadn’t been having trouble making a decision so much as I was unclear of whether or not we could continue to work on last weeks goal or had to develop a new one for the coming week. I hadn’t got this far in explaining that before she asked the group to help me with making my decision.

I mean it’s one thing when she has to tell the 22 year old guy next to me to pay attention and stop throwing things across the room at her…as far as I’m concerned if your doing that then you should be talked to like your a child. But I don’t know, I guess I’m not really accustomed to being treated like I’m mentally ill and myself wouldn’t treat an adult with a mental illness any differently than I would any other adult. But as rare as it’s been I have noticed that some people in the mental health world do treat us like less than the adults we are.

I just know enough to see that there is a difference in how some people treat us folks with mental illness and how they’d be interacting with anyone else. It just made me feel so…mentally ill. Of course I didn’t raise the issue and just went along with it when I should have just explained my confusion as to what was expected of me. But I didn’t, for I am not that assertive to say the least.

I think I have read it somewhere that the mentally ills would like to be treated as normal human beings. Difference in treatment like what you have said is actually degrading us rather than helping us. I think this is a misconception of the general public.

Treating someone like a child isn’t much help to the person, if anything it makes them feel worse, feel different.

I had a therapist who would always talk to people in the day program like they were children. I couldn’t stand her because of it. It was only years later that I realized that she talked to everyone like that, it was just her manner.

What you describe is one of the hazards of mental health treatment. I wouldn’t worry about it unless she makes a habit of it. Then you might say something about it.

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