Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Trauma of Joblessness

As the old saying goes, a recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose yours.

I would add that in a depression you are not the only one who is suffering. As more and more of your neighbors lose their jobs you also lose hope. And, much, much more.

Yesterday's New York Times report on a poll of people who have lost their jobs paints a stark picture of the way this kind of trauma can damage a person's psyche. Link here.

Unfortunately, the despair and anguish that accompany chronic joblessness is a normal reaction, not to a personal failure, but to a failure of reality.

Surely, it is good that such people have access to counseling or coaching to help them work out a new strategy for finding a new job. Clearly, introspection should not be on the counseling menu.

The chronically jobless need help evaluating all options, seeking help wherever it is available, and forcing themselves to look toward a more promising future.

But, as the article says, many of these people cannot afford professional help. While many coaches and therapists do offer a free sample-session, it might be helpful for some mental health practices to set up pro bono services to offer help to those who are suffering the extreme trauma of joblessness. If law practices can do pro bono work, why shouldn't mental health clinics do the same, on a limited basis?


Anonymous said...

many therapists, counselors, and clinics do offer pro bono services and some cities even have formally organized networks of therapists and counselors who do pro bono work. and the Give an Hour group is a national network of therapists offering pro bono services to vets and their families.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for the reference to the Give an Hour Group. Is there a place where people can find a list of clinics offering pro bono counseling?

Anonymous said...

the pro-bono counseling services umbrella groups are often very location-specific and should probably be googled to find them in one's own area. or perhaps some of these groups below would know of others in other areas. and even without an umbrella group, most therapists and clinics are able to reduce/negotiate fees to provide pro bono-ish services. one shouldn't let the fear of fees keep one from asking for help.
some examples:






hope that helps

keep up the great work on this absolutely essential and increasingly all-encompassing blog!

Dan B.