top of page

The War Between Values and Professional Rules

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

For YEARS, I worked in a career that was out of alignment with my values.

Everyone talks about how “broken” the system is. Everyone talks about how we have an illness system, not a wellness system. Everyone talks about how we keep people stuck, treating symptoms, instead of root causes. The dysfunction of the system is certainly no secret.

But I thought I could be in it anyway AND honor my own values.

I thought I could be a powerful force in the mental health industry. I thought I could operate in my own values, influence the big bad “SYSTEM”, and change it.


The compromises in the system that DID NOT align with my values:

  • Hierarchical relationships, based on status and credentials

  • Expert approach, rather than self direction

  • Treatments focused on diagnoses, labels, and medications, instead of lifestyle and needs

  • Secrecy masked as confidentiality

  • Disingenuine belief in self-direction/independence

  • Very restrictive non-personal relationships between clients and staff

  • Non-affectionate language and touch restrictions

Even though I did not align with some of the values and practices of the field I was working in, I convinced myself I could make it work.

The values my soul held:

  • My heart pulled me to reach out to clients in a more personal and open way than was allowed.

  • My spirit valued absolute equality, regardless of credentials or education or diagnoses.

  • My intuition told me human touch and loving, affectionate words were essential to healing.

  • My soul was repelled by the system of man-made diagnoses and compelled me to dare to question the ultimate authority - the DSM.

  • My heart was sad every time a doctor or counselor told one of my clients they were not going to get better and that they were always going to be medicated. I felt caged when I was not allowed to present alternative options to traditional medicines. I felt heavy I was not allowed to believe clients could truly get better.

  • I felt inspired to hold long term relationships with clients, occasionally touching base with them over the years and sharing mentoring opportunities when it felt right.

  • My soul vehemently believed in the power of choice and unlimited possibilities, but often my unconventional answers were not accepted.

  • My entire being believed in innate divine giftings, not able to be learned through formal education or credentialing, yet letters behind one’s name seemed to be the only authority that mattered. I did not align with the idea one’s gifts needed to be validated by a man-made system.

For 13 YEARS, I took trainings, Continuing Education Units, and submitted myself to clinical supervision, which all followed a set of values that did not align with my spirit. It was tricky. I either followed my own values and lived in fear of being caught, or followed their values and felt completely misaligned and icky. It took its toll.

That’s a long time to play tug of war.

After supervising for 2 and a half years at a treatment center, I was let go for maintaining friendships with past residents. I had poured my heart and soul into that job. I am still friends with most of those girls today and that was over 10 years ago. I am glad I followed my heart.

After over 10 years of working with clients with mental illness, I have maintained many friendships with so many families. I have baked birthday cakes. I have made dinners. I have gone to weddings and funerals and birthday parties. I have given and accepted gifts. I have introduced friends and family members. I have given so many hugs and “I love you’s”. I have sat with a past client and held her hand as I watched her die of cancer. All of these things broke the rules. But they were what my own intuition and heart inspired me to do. I am not sorry for any of them.

When I left the financial and mental “safety” of the field of social work, I also was free to leave all of the suffocating rules behind. However, the brainwashed “rules” have stuck with me. Sometimes, I still watch my back as if someone is going to “catch me” when I speak freely with a client on Facebook or give someone a hug.

I am letting go of the rules more each day. I am letting my heart lead. I am listening to my intuition and inspiration.

I am FREE to love freely. I am free to operate in my Divine gifts, without permission.

Whose rules are limiting you?

Whose rules are pretending to usurp your own values and gifts?

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page