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Dangerous Situations

English: Former recovery sanitorium for Psychi...

English: Former recovery sanitorium for Psychiatric hospital Wolfheze (today a cafeteria for personnel); protected building (gemeentelijke monument Renkum) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you ever wonder if it ever got dangerous in tense therapy situations or diagnostic interviews?  The answer is, “Yes.”  You are never as safe as you think you might be.  I had just about finished a two hour interview with a man and he told me that he had thought about bringing a gun to the interview and had gotten talked out of it.  That was after he told me that he had once stalked a guy with a gun and the only reason he hadn’t shot him was that he never came out of the building that he was watching before he got discouraged and left.  That was my closest call and it wasn’t at one of the prisons where I had worked and was often alone with prisoners.  (Please note that they now do the counseling there with video counseling and counselors are not actually in the same room with offenders).

Earlier in my career, I was in a dicey situation and I actually got hurt (not seriously) in one of them when I least expected it.  I was working temporarily at a large mental institution where I was often left in charge of a large number of people.  This happened at lunch time when I was alone in the cafeteria with three different wards.  Only one of them was mine and at least one of them was an open ward.  Technically I was not alone, but the cafeteria workers had nothing to do with watching the residents.  A lady (whom I later found out was from an open ward) was creating a disturbance and smearing condiments all over herself and the furniture.  I decided to take the calm approach and went over to her and touched her on the arm (which I later learned was a “no-no” with a patient you didn’t know) and she slapped me hard in the face.  Did I say that I was surprised?  Fortunately a nursing staff member came in who knew the patient came in the cafeteria and talked to her and walked away with her.  Did anybody pay attention to me to see if I was injured, of course not?  That was fortunately the only time that I have ever been hurt.

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