Day in the life of
Psychologist – Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen
I work as a psychologist at a community health clinic in San Diego.
My Typical Day
My typical day involves doing mental health screenings, administering psychological assessments, and providing psychotherapy to a wide diversity of mental health patients (whom I prefer to regard as mental health athletes).
For nearly a year, our sessions have been conducted via telehealth and involve making phone calls, all due to the pandemic.
My day is never typical because I never know whether I will be managing a mental health crisis; helping a patient to maintain stability; or encounter an atypical mental health issue, that does not fit neatly into any particular diagnostic category.
In addition to doing typical psychologist things, as a singer/songwriter, and a mental health provider that has previously worked as a music therapist, I continuously seek out ways of intervening to alleviate mental health suffering through the avenue of music. That could involve helping musically-inclined patients use their musical skills as a way of exploring unresolved issues and as an avenue of self-expression and catharsis (letting out all that is bottled up inside).
For those patients that love music, but lack the interest and skills to express themselves directly through music, intervention via music could involve helping patients create musical playlists consisting of songs they find to meaningfully address their issues and songs they find therapeutic.
The biggest pro is the opportunity to play an active role in alleviating human suffering, and to enhance the quality of life for my patients, by guiding them to discover the vast array of internal and external resources that offer a path to healing.
The biggest con is that, if I don’t take care of myself, and if I take too much responsibility for the mental health of my patients, is that I could end up with burnout, and then, not only will my own mental health suffer, but I could become considerably less effective in working with individuals on my caseload.
One of the ways music prevents me from getting burned out is by helping me to bring a healthy perspective to my role, and not to take myself too seriously. That’s what I tried to accomplish in writing and recording this original song: Psychological Cowboy (Original song by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT © 1990, 2020) and this one as well… Shrink Rapped (Original song by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT © 1990, 2020).
In short, I love my profession, and I love what music does to make my work even more interesting and beneficial to both my patients and to my own sense of personal well-being.
assess and evaluate individuals' problems through the use of case history, interview, and observation and provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment.