How may your personal bias about a specific population impact the way you approach that population? What can you do to mitigate the effects of your personal biases?

Bias can be a serious problem because it assumes a position prior to investigation. For the clinician this is problem especially if the population is part of a personal bias. For example, many people working in corrections become jaded to the inmates because they view them all as liars. The problem is that it is difficult to distinguish when a person is telling the truth in these environment because prison breeds many negative behaviors due to its nature. The prison environment makes people act violently and often prisoners learn to keep to themselves in order to remain out of bad situations. It is easy to assume that all prisoners are the same and lose sight of the purpose of therapy and to view it as being impotent in this environment. I think that we have to actively find ways to judge and determine when we are holding biases and this takes a lot of self examination and being aware of making assumptions.

Drug users are a difficult population. Addicts can be very dishonest and often damaging to the people around them. It is also very difficult to determine where the line between disorder and addiction rests.  I know that I have a personal bias with drug addicts because I do not think they are handled in a proper manner.  The disease model of addiction has inadvertently supplied addicts with an means of displacing responsibility by saying they have a disease. This also blurs the line with mental health.  It is difficult to remain objective when faced with these types of populations because their behavior can be extremely damaging.

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