Perhaps, early in my career as a mental health counselor, I couldn’t even see the untold story. During my second job, I worked at a day program that was connected to a 30 day crisis house.
Landing the job gave me the financial power to leave a ghetto apartment in the most murderous city on the East Coast. Since I was only just entering a Master’s Program, I felt extremely privileged. As a result, I aligned myself with my supervisor and other more experienced workers. Without credentials, I was focused on working with people who would get my back.
One day, I received a client and was ready to get to work on housing issues, when I found out that she came attached with a more experienced case manager. Though not very talkative, she did tell me very clearly that she did not want to go to a particular boarding home, the largest such facility in the county. When I talked to the case manager who would later be my supervisor when I got promoted, he was clear about the woman’s future. She had to go to the unwanted boarding home.
“Wow, that girl is really sick!” I heard the coworker who worked the graveyard shift at the crisis house say.
“I don’t get it,” I said, “I don’t see why she can’t live where she wants to. I help other people find housing, why can’t I help her.”
“That girl is very sick, I can just tell by the way her eyes roll to the side” said my co-worker
I deferred to experience. Sure I had been hospitalized for six months myself, but I knew better than to make waves. The woman was shipped away to the very place she most did not want to go. She had been right not to trust any of us. For us, she was just protocol.