This is part of a Shrinks Think series called Normal or Not and deals with how mental health professionals think about normal or not normal and the tools they use in trying to decide who fits in one or another category. These posts are useful reviews for therapists and good information for anyone working with therapists, but I am also sharing this information with the public. Knowledge is power. I think the best users of such services are educated consumers. If you have not read Part I, click here and read this first. Then click here for Part II. Today’s offering is the Mini Mental Status Examination, often used to decide cognitive impairment.
WARNING: You cannot diagnosis yourself or a family member. Three mental health experts can examine the same person and each come up with a different diagnosis. Same is true in dealing with many physical illnesses. Modern medicine knows a lot, but is still based on group statistics and falls short when applied to one person. So use this knowledge only to help you better understand what the professionals are saying and doing. Be an educated consumer, but don’t practice medicine without a license.
MY EXPERTISE: Besides being a licensed therapist, for years, I taught various graduate level Human Development Courses at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. I was one of the first social workers allowed to teach one of those courses; for years they had been taught only by psychiatrists. I always gave my students extensive Lecture Notes. My formal training was augmented by twelve years sharing my home with an every changing group of foster children all in trouble with the law and many who had been traumatized or had other emotional challenges. Over 366 lived with us as members of our family. Some we loved, most we liked, a few we feared; each taught us something and mostly how strong we humans are.
I spent lots of years learning; I hope what I give back is valuable to someone and my need to share is healthy narcissism.
Share, care, and stay strong.