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Without much exaggeration, it can be said that practical psychology is now an integral part of the daily life of Americans. Does the child have difficulty in school? His affairs are handled by a school psychologist. Family troubles force the couple to think about divorce? With them – together and separately, and (most importantly!) With their children – a family psychologist and marriage counselor will work. Does age take its toll? The attending physician will send the elderly patient to a consultation with the gerontopsychologist. According to statistics, about a third of the entire population of America had at least once in life dealt with a psychologist (not including those who use the services of mental health specialists in a hospital) (Tuli, 2016).
It is clear that this was not always the case. The popularization and spread of psychology in America in the last century is a separate exciting and instructive story. I will give only one fact: for the last half-century, the number of psychologists here has increased almost 40 times! And most importantly, psychology influenced how modern Americans perceive emotional and emotional disorders. Henceforth, personal failures, character shortcomings, mental disorders, misconduct, chronic dissatisfaction with oneself and the environment … – everything that the generation of their parents attributed to weakness or corruption is seen as a consequence of emotional and mental disorders that can be cured and corrected with the help of a mental health specialist. On the other hand, people with serious mental problems who used to be treated with inhuman methods, like many-hour baths, insulin injections, and electroshock, are now coming back to life with the help of medications and psychotherapy. Most of those who were previously doomed to isolation and suffering, now live in society, going through outpatient treatment with psychotherapists in community mental health centers (Stoffel, 2013).
The army of American professionals specializing in mental health is numerous and diverse. In addition to psychiatrists, whose story is not the aim of this article, psychologists. ” Counselor ” (counselors) are also represented and can be translated as “adviser” or “consultant”, and also social workers. At the same time, there is a detachment of self-proclaimed healers of emotional wounds still unaccounted for, and not all of them are charlatans. An American psychologist is primarily a researcher, a scientist with one of two titles: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) in one of the psychological specializations (there are more than 50 of them). Both titles correspond approximately to the level of our candidate of sciences. Psychologists conduct research, develop new theories and methods, write articles and books, and also prepare students – both for work in the academic field and for a practical career. To get the right to work as a psychologist in the US, one has to study for a long time – with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the work in the specialty can be at the assistant level, and a psychologist with a master’s diploma can get the lowest position in the education system or business. But just an academic title is also not enough: you need another year or two of assistant practice, after which you can try to pass the exam for a license. To work as a psychoanalyst, you need to study even longer – from 8 to 10 years of additional training, which includes compulsory own psychoanalysis.
More than a quarter of all American practicing psychologists are employed in the private sector. This is one of the highest rates (exceeding the national average by as much as four times) for all professions requiring higher education. Particularly practicing psychologists open individual offices or group centers in partnership with other psychologists, and sometimes with “ordinary” doctors. However, only a tenth of the total number of psychologists works in public service at the state or municipal level (in public hospitals, clinics, prisons, etc.).
The majority are engaged in the education system (university departments and laboratories) and healthcare (private clinics and medical offices, nursing homes, family services, etc.), in research organizations, consulting firms, religious organizations. American universities and colleges graduate bachelors and masters of psychology with a large margin. Many of them, not having found work on a specialty, pass in other spheres of activity where the basic knowledge in the field of psychology appears not superfluous. Particularly practicing psychologists earn on average more than those who work for hire. On average, the salary of a psychologist is somewhat higher than that of a teacher and is substantially lower than that of a doctor (Townley, 2009).
If we develop the military metaphor stated at the beginning of the article, American psychologists are generals, and so-called Counselor -consultants or advisers-are field officers in the battle for the mental health of citizens. There are a lot of them in America – almost twice as many as psychologists, and slightly less than doctors of all specialties, and this segment of the labor market is growing more rapidly than the average indicators lately. To work as a Counselor, you need to get a special psychological education at the master’s level, then about a year to practice in this field in assistant positions and, finally, take the certification exam. Like psychologists, Counselor also have different specializations. The largest detachment, numbering almost half of the total – is the school chancellors. They deal with children both individually and in group (Herman, 2010). Conduct testing and apply other special methods to assess the abilities, interests, talents and personal characteristics of each student. The duties of the Counselors working with high school students include also career guidance, help in writing a resume for recruitment and filling out applications for admission to the university. The Counselors, who help students of lower grades, are less testing, and more are watching how children behave in the lessons and changes. They work in close contact with teachers and parents to help each child develop the habit of learning, coping with difficulties and crisis situations.
Rehabilitation Counselors work with disabled people. They work in a specific place – in the Supportive Homes. They help them to solve personal, social and professional problems, as well as cope with the stress associated with their disability. Their goal is to expand the patient’s capabilities, up to the ability to live and provide for themselves. The mental health counselors are trained in special psychotherapeutic techniques to work with patients suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, as well as those who have other addictions, those who are depressed, have suicidal tendencies, have problems with self-esteem or uncontrollable emotions from for personal, family or career failures. A special group of Counselors is family and marriage counselors (Marriage and family therapists). They use psychotherapeutic methods to resolve conflict situations in the family, teach people the art of communication and understanding, identify and correct mistakes in the perception of the partner and in one’s own behavior; If the divorce is unavoidable, they help to survive the stress associated with it. The smaller, but fast-growing specializations of the Counselors include gerontologists who help older people accept the inevitable changes in the style of life, multiculturalists (in a multinational country like the United States, one must be able to get along with people of different cultures) and genetics that provide information and psychological support to families in risk group or already having members with genetic diseases. The average salary of the Counselors is lower than that of psychologists and is approximately at the level of teachers’ salaries (Drake, 2014).
Social workers are not involved in diagnostics and treatment. People turn to them when they fall into unfavorable social situations: sharply deteriorated housing conditions (for example, because of a hurricane or flood), job loss, serious illness, disability, and various kinds of addiction (alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.). Social workers protect the interests of children if their parents do not treat them well or are divorced. They are still slightly smaller than the Counselors, but more than psychologists and the demand for them is constantly growing. Among them, the highest percentage (40%) of those working in public institutions – in the departments of public health and social security. Among such organizations are Supportive Homes. The rest are engaged in private medical and social services. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work (there is also such a specialty here) will allow you to work only at the lowest positions. To make a career, you need a master’s degree, or even a doctor (either Ph.D. or D.S.W., which stands for a doctor in social work). The salaries of social workers are on average a little lower than the teachers’ salaries.
One of the new and popular in America professions is the “life coach”. These specialists do not deal with mental illness and problems (although there are many former psychologists among them), but help healthy people to determine their priorities and goals in work, family, and life in general. For example, business coaches teach managers at all levels how to become more effective managers.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 57 million Americans suffer from mental disorders and need medical attention. Unfortunately, effective treatment can get less than one percent of patients, because the Department of Health does not refer mental illnesses to the category of ailments that threaten the health of the nation. Diseases most often cause a change in the somatic state. According to statistics, the likelihood of a mental disorder increases with age, and people in old age rarely go to a nursing home for the mentally ill and to medical specialists. Unfortunately, today not all close people have a desire, and also an opportunity to care for elderly or young relatives who have deviations in the psyche. In this case, you should contact a Supportive Home for the mentally ill, where the patients are given proper care.
Caring for a patient with a psychiatric disorder, especially an elderly person, requires selflessness, certain skills, and plenty of time. If there are a family and daily work, it is very difficult to change the habitual way of life and devote it to caring for an elderly relative who is seriously ill. Also, constrained conditions often do not allow giving the ill relative of a separate room indoors. High-quality care for people with disabilities and mental disorders can be obtained only in a specialized place, where the staff has accumulated experience with such diseases. The services of our boarding house are able to make favorable living conditions for your relative. A favorable climate for the psyche, as well as a soothing atmosphere that supports and protects our patients from stress. The absence of negative pressure on the elderly patient from the highly qualified staff of a nursing home for the mentally ill, which is why the guests do not have a feeling of constant supervision and total control. Observance of behavioral norms that give patients confidence in themselves, as well as in the world around them. Long-term or short-term accommodation in spacious and cozy rooms of Supportive Home, where modern furniture fits the needs of patients who have difficulties with self-movement. Medical care for the mentally ill, if necessary, providing a round-the-clock nurse. Conducting regular medical and preventive examinations. Performing hygienic care for people with mental disorders. A balanced diet, the fulfillment of all dietician appointments. Occupations of special therapeutic physical culture by patients with mental disabilities with the help of special installed simulators. Walking along theterritory, celebrating birthdays and other events. Good attitude towards elderly patients, attention to incoming requests.
In psychology, disorders are divided into endogenous (appear for internal reasons or factors, for example, heredity); exogenous (they are formed under the influence of factors from the outside, for example, head injuries, viruses, psychological traumas, alcohol, narcotic substances). Such diseases as psychosis, schizophrenia and many others can cause certain factors. In most cases, coping with such people is problematic, and sometimes impossible. That’s why the control of specialists is extremely important, providing an ideal atmosphere and comfort.
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