Hi there, I’m Liz Taylor and I have been a qualified Social Worker for over 10 years.
I trained and practised in Manchester in the UK, in a range of different areas with different clients.
Mental Health Social Worker
However I am primarily a mental health social worker, and have worked with people in the community, medical inpatients, and psychiatric inpatients (including psychiatric intensive care and forensic inpatient services).
I have a strong belief that the main person in a therapeutic environment is always the client. Everyone is an individual and therefore their treatment and care should be tailored around their specific needs.
I am passionate about my work and provide a non-judgmental, trusting, safe, working relationship and environment.
When working with any individual I like to identify the issues that they wish to work on, what they would like to achieve through counselling, and compile a care plan that we are happy to work towards. This will also include any other persons involved such as other health workers, teams and also any informal support.
I have worked with many people with a range of mental health needs including:
- Personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, narcissism, and unstable personality disorder to name a few.
- Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
- Depression and low mood including self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
- Anger issues and management.
- Alcohol and drug addictions.
- Dual diagnosis – a mental health diagnosis with an alcohol or drug issue.
- Bereavement counselling within a hospital, the community, and a hospice.
- End of life counselling including support for families.
- Learning disabilities – working with people with autism, Asperger’s and ADHD.
- Social anxiety.
- Couples counselling.
- Social issues in general.
All of these conditions can cause problems in every aspect of the individual’s life. Their family and friend contact may decrease, they may isolate themselves, find themselves unable to work, may not be able to sustain relationships, and it can feel like every area of life is falling apart.
I strongly feel that no one is exempt from any difficulties in their life – and you never really know what is fully going on for somebody else – however empathy enables you to try and put yourself in their shoes.
I also understand the possible stigma and difficulty in asking for help. We may feel that we have let ourselves, and others, down – or that we are not strong enough and that we ‘should’ be able to cope with whatever life throws at us. However this is simply not true. Support is essential to enable each individual to return to a place where they are happy in their lives again.
Refusing to access support when you know it will benefit you, can potentially result in a ‘crisis’, which is something I aim to prevent with the client. The earlier an issue is identified, we can work towards preventing a crisis.
Approach to Therapy
I work and identify closely with the Relapse Prevention Model and this involves working directly with people to identify their ‘early warning signs’ of becoming unwell, in order to try and avert a potential crisis.
However it is often the case that we only seek out help when we are at crisis point, when we feel there is no one left to turn to. The good news is, positive work and outcomes can still be achieved at this point.
Anxiety management and anger management are tools that are extremely useful, alongside cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT).
I utilise psychosocial models that focus on the individual’s ability to function with their ‘condition’; however a condition does not define a person or become who they are. Therefore the aim will always be to enable a person to function and feel a sense of control in their lives, and to achieve the goals and outcomes that they wish.
It is imperative to look at each person’s life holistically as a starting point, and those areas of his/her life that are being negatively impacted – but also to highlight positive aspects. This can bring about improvement in how the person is feeling, and help them work towards changes for the better.
In an increasingly busy world, we are expected to cope with different roles and move through these fluidly; mum, dad, son, daughter, employee, employer, carer, to name a few.
Life however can throw anything at us at any time – bereavement, depression, anxiety, stress, money problems, employment and social issues to name a few.
It is only natural that at times it can all become overwhelming and professional support can help us to get through these difficult periods in our lives. I personally feel that seeking professional help is an exceptionally brave step to take, but also the right step to move forward.