Personal Bias in Case Management

Case Management

Personal bias and the passing of judgment are innate parts of human nature. To explore this, carefully reflect on the three scenarios below:

  • Spouse abuse. Dan comes into your office and tells you that Mary, his wife, has been beating him up. What is your first reaction?
  • Psychiatric impairment. Tasha has been your client for a few months. She calls you on the phone and urgently confides that she has been hearing voices in her head. What do you say to her?
  • Mental illness. Your newest client is Jose, an elderly man who has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As you read over his file you are reminded of your own grandfather who recently passed after living with Parkinson’s for many years. How might you approach the situation?

Personal bias can take any form, as reflected in these situations. Your preconceptions about age, race, gender, values, beliefs, mental illness, and substance abuse have the potential to influence, and possibly hinder, your relationship with a client. Case managers must be cognizant of these biases and work to address them. Identifying one’s biases requires thoughtful introspection and honesty. Coming to terms with your personal feelings and perceptions can be a challenging process. Once you have identified and addressed these biases, you can begin to work with clients in an ethical and professional manner.

For this Discussion, you consider potential personal biases of case managers. You also explore ways to address personal biases in case management.

To Prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Chapters 5, “Interpersonal, Connecting, and Information-Gathering Skills” from the Course Text. Focus on the descriptions of strategies for interacting with new clients.
  • Review the article, “An Exploration of the Working Alliance in Mental Health Case Management.” Consider the criteria used to gage the effectiveness of case manager relationships with clients.
  • Review the article “Understanding the Role of Individual Consumer—Provider Relationships within Assertive Community Treatment.” Consider the types of relationships described and the approaches inherent in each type.
  • Review the web articles “Test Yourself for Hidden Bias,” “Good Morning Boys and Girls,”and Not Post-Racial Yet.” Pay attention to the biases described, and consider potential biases that case managers might bring to their work with clients.
  • Develop two strategies that a case manager can use to mitigate personal bias when working with clients.
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