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When social workers, clients have more in common than you think

Ilene Fishman. Photo courtesy of National Eating Disorders Association.

Ilene Fishman. Photo courtesy of National Eating Disorders Association.

National Association of Social Workers member Ilene Fishman overcame eating disorders she began suffering from when she was 12 years old, this article in Huffington Post said.

Fishman, MSW, LCSW, said her experiences now help her in treating clients who have eating disorders.

“It really gives me a depth of understanding,” she said. “Other therapists might be less comfortable with eating disorder behaviors, but I engaged in all of them myself. I’m not intimidated by them.”

However, some experts in the article said mental health professionals who are recovering from addictions and other disorders may be stigmatized or get less respect from others in the field.

There is a also a fear clients could be harmed by social workers and other professionals who really have not recovered, the article said.

Q: Should social workers who are recovering from an addiction or mental illness disclose to clients they are treating for the same issue? Do you think social workers who are recovering can relate better to clients or do they endanger them?

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