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The Care Worker Syndromes

By Symon Price. From: “Mental Health Issues and Concerns.”

Since many care workers and psychiatrists tend to view us entirely in terms of our psychiatric diagnosis, I thought that I would turn this around and do the same to them. So here are a number of ‘syndromes’ that I have invented in order to define behaviour commonly found amongst mental health staff.

The ‘False Messiah’ syndrome.

These care workers can be spotted a mile off, mainly due to the fact that they always carry a self-satisfied air that comes from constantly thinking; ‘Aren’t I doing such good for the

Such people will criticise a client for making even the slightest ‘politically incorrect’
comment, but at the same time will have no problem with trying to lock up / medicate a client who doesn’t agree with their world view.

These care workers can never accept that they are human like the rest of us and therefore
occasionally make mistakes. Their self-righteous attitude does not allow them to accept the possibility that they may sometimes be wrong.

Such care workers often whine on about ‘the prejudice that faces the mentally ill’, but often are active contributors towards that prejudice themselves, indulging in patronising behaviour towards clients. When speaking, they talk about ‘reducing prejudice.’ When acting, they often uphold such prejudice.

At heart, such people care less about helping others than indulging in their own self

The ‘Henry the Eighth syndrome.

This type of care worker is basically a control freak. Acting more like a Nazi brown shirt than a care worker, they use various techniques to exercise as much control as possible over clients.

These techniques can include; lying, causing confusion, threatening behaviour, and secret collusion with others. Such people, either because of inward compulsion or personal pleasure, locate a client’s weak point, and then exploit that weakness in order to oppress. It is likely that such care workers would enjoy working in a dictatorship. ( Oh, I forgot; they already do. )

The ‘Hypocrite’ syndrome.

This small proportion of care workers include individuals who are highly disturbed and should not be working in a job that involves the care and treatment of others. Although often manifesting obvious signs of extreme mental imbalance, such people can ironically work in the care system for years without concerns being raised.

The ‘Willy Loman’ syndrome.’

This type of care worker probably came into the mental health system bursting with fresh ideas and boundless enthusiasm. However, after spending a few years working in a system that often actively prevents staff from helping clients, they become jaded and disillusioned, losing enthusiasm for the job. Some of these people also may have joined the mental health system after becoming burnt out in other jobs.

This type of care worker either does not care about clients, or no longer sees the point in
properly expressing any caring instinct that they might possess.

The ‘Obsessive Preacher’ syndrome.

This type of care worker has become obsessed with a particular philosophy, religion or idea. For some reason, they feel obliged to impress and promote this philosophy upon clients at every available opportunity. This promotion of ideas either occurs subtly and surreptitiously or rather blandly and obviously. Any criticism of such people usually brings a response from them that ‘they are being persecuted for their beliefs.’ Ironically, the fact that they tend to pick out vulnerable clients to preach at, means that they are the real persecutors. Such individuals are dangerous because they will often exploit clients who are in distress, and exhibiting an often false (but sometimes genuine ) concern, will ‘induct’ that client into their religion/belief system.

Let’s be clear about this. Care workers have a perfect right to believe what they will, but in
their profession, they must act in a neutral and fair manner, respect everyone else’s view of the world, and not try to constantly promote their own.

The ‘No Syndrome At All’ syndrome.

These care workers are good people who genuinely care about the clients. They tend to act in a fair and non-patronising manner. To them, providing a decent service is their paramount aim. Not as commonly found as they should be, although I have met a few and heard rumours of others.


The ‘syndromes’ mentioned above are of course mainly intended as a satire against the care services. They should not be taken as being genuine ‘medical’ syndromes. However, when looking over the various personality traits mentioned above, how many of you can spot traits that are sometimes used as the basis of a ‘diagnosis’ when a client is assessed? Therefore, as a satire, I thought that I should turn the same principle upon our ‘assessors.’

How many care workers from your local area can you ‘diagnose’ as suffering from these ‘syndromes’?

By Symon Price. 26.5.2001


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