Occupational Disorders: A Treatment Guide for Therapists

Occupational Disorders: A Treatment Guide for Therapists

Occupational Disorders: A Treatment Guide for Therapists

Occupational Disorders: A Treatment Guide for Therapists

Synopsis

The new federal guidelines to help employers understand how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to employees with an emotional disorder make it imperative that occupational psychologists and front line managers identify those workers who have an emotional disorder and distinguish them from those workers who are lazy or have a bad attitude. Kantor provides vital clinical information that assists professional consultants and supervisors alike in complying with the new guidelines while distinguishing true disability from behavioral problems which call for administrative action. Avoiding stress-heavy theory and one-size-fits-all approaches to treating occupational disorders, Kantor provides a comprehensive view of factors contributing to workplace traumas and presents an incremental approach to developing correct disgnoses and effective clinical therapies. Kantor describes both the familiar and the less familiar occupational disorders, shows how they develop as a result of dysfunctional interaction between workers and their environment, and suggests case-specific methods for preventing and curing many of the most debilitating workplace traumas.

Excerpt

Occupational disorders do not take life, they merely ruin it. The victims of occupational disorders are rarely hospitalized or die by their own hand. Instead they are up and about, but constantly miserable and wishing they were dead. Every Monday morning, at work, they ache for Friday night to come. Then every Friday night, at home, they fear the coming of Monday morning. Their careers are either compromised or in a shambles, with some stuck in dead-end jobs, mired at the bottom of the corporate ladder, and others closer to the top of the ladder, but tottering and about to fall off.

The scientific literature offers very little in the way of assistance to those who need help with their occupational disorder. Just as some art critics see representational as inferior to abstract art, and just as some scientists see applied as inferior to abstract science, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals tend to view occupational disorders as inferior disorders, unworthy of serious consideration. As a result, the subject has not attracted much scientific interest. Instead it has remained a stepchild resolutely cloistered and neglected by the rest of the family. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) focuses more on the interpersonal than the occupational manifestations of the disorders it studies. Borderline personality disorder, for example, is discussed almost exclusively in terms of problems with love, not problems with work. It is as if borderlines merge and emerge with (and idealize and devalue) others not 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, but nights and weekends only. There is a separate branch of the mental health professions devoted to occupational disorders, and this has its own, often autistic, terminology. What the DSM-IV calls conversion symptoms the occupational disorders branch of the mental health profession calls writer's cramp or repetitive strain injury. Often these professionals diagnose occupational disorders improperly.

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