Psychopharmacotherapy is not a hot topic in social work but it should be. People who are using medication, especially psychotropics should be able to talk to their counsellor (yes, I know I'm shoulding right now but hear me out). There is a real and serious reluctance in social work to talk about medication, we can't diagnose (in Canada), we certainly can't prescribe medication and this results in most social workers telling clients that they are not able to talk about medications.
Well, why the heck not? I implore you, my fellow social work students and practitioners to broaden your understanding of medications, their effects and how individuals experience them in their many varied ways. I'm currently working in an interdisciplinary medical team and getting some great insight from nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists on medication but the best words are from clients sharing their experiences.
So here I am left wondering how much is too much when it comes to my talks about medication. Should I just listen intently and nod in acknowledgement to my clients insights and concerns but withholding any information; or do I share the stories I've heard/read to help clients understanding and making meaning out of their medication. I propose that talking about medication is a good thing, exploring it's strengths and perceived benefits for clients or acknowledging limitations. Once a social worker becomes comfortable with medication terminology and navigating the world of pharmaceuticals, a social worker could become proactive and prepare clients who are awaiting psychiatric evaluation, making referrals or sharing information on medication.