Gary Bloom

Make your life perfect, by reading stuff I know* (*not really)


You have reached the home of A Personal Guide to Working in the Mental Health System.

I wrote the Guide to help those considering counseling and psychotherapy as a profession and for those early in their clinical career who might like help with a career direction, or for those who might be just curious. I call it a personal guide, because I make no attempt to pretend that I'm a dispassionate observer.

I had a long, varied career, which started at age 18. Before I earned a bachelor's degree, I had worked with autistic children, drug-using teens and young adults, and with severely-disturbed patients in a locked mental health unit. Following attaining my license in marriage and family therapy, first in California, then in Washington State, I worked in residential treatment for schizophrenics, emergency services, outpatient clinics, an HMO, and private practice. I have also taught a few grad-school classes and dabbled in supervision. In my later years, I have moved my focus to having strong opinions.

The Guide currently is available on this website for free, or as a Kindle or Apple iBook for $6.00. If you read it here, I'd appreciate a review on Amazon, though I'd hope that you won't complain that you were ripped off.

Why buy it if you can get it for free? No good reason, other than you wish to reward a lot of hard work. Let me give you an example: The section on records and privacy, a mere thousand words, represents about $750 in trainings, an additional 40 or so hours in independent research, and several trial and error solutions on my part. That it will take you only five minutes to read is not a bug, it's a feature. There are many other examples in the guide that represent similar effort on my part, and I believe, a similar value.

I would like to thank my friend, Denise Hie, MA, LMFT, who inspired me to write this guide and has provided many critiques. And I wish to thank my wife, Joan McGinnis, MSW, LICSW. A comprehensive account of her support would double the size of the Guide. However, neither should be held responsible for guilt by association. The opinions in the Guide are mine and mine alone.

Occasional additional articles are posted on Nom de Gar, a Medium-hosted site.

Table of Contents for A Personal Guide to Working in the Mental Health System