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Real Vampires' Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals Helping professionals in multiple disciplines, including social workers, are commonly taught to embrace human diversity, think critically, empower clients, and respect client self determination.
Indeed, much of clinical practice with clients is predicated on such professional values, which are important to the establishment of a strong therapeutic alliance and an effective treatment outcome. This study applies qualitative measures, such as an open ended questionnaire and creative analytic practice (CAP) strategy in the form of poetic representation, to provide insights into how people with a specific nontraditional identity, that of vampire, feel about disclosing this salient identity to helping professionals within a clinical context. As a CAP method, poetic representation is valuable in acknowledging participants subjective realities and preserving emotional intensity in participants responses. 19). Of course, an important part of helping people deal with various issues includes following professional standards, such as those pertaining to practicing with cultural competence, embracing human diversity, and promoting social justice. The present study focuses on a largely hidden population, people who self identify as vampires, to gain their personal insights regarding how social workers and helping professionals treat them upon disclosing their vampire identities. This study focuses on vampires, in contrast to lifestyle vampires. While lifestyle vampires identify in various ways with the persona of mythical vampires, the defining feature of real vampirism centers on claims of needing extra energy regularly in order to sustain health (Laycock, 2009a). For the purposes of this study, we provide a summary of self identified vampirism, including real vampirism, shortly herein. However, readers who desire a more thorough discussion of different forms of vampirism are referred to Laycock (2009a). Although this study focuses on a people with a particular alternative identity, its findings may also be relevant to people who adopt other alternative identities, such as goths, otherkin, furries, and specific BDSM identities. Generally, it seems that rapid advances in technology provide a social environment conducive to the development of unique and unconventional identities. We should not be surprised to see a proliferation of nontraditional identities in the future. In order to help diverse clients successfully resolve a variety of potential issues, a strong therapeutic alliance with the helping professional must be developed. It is important for helping professionals, such as social workers, to remember that people with vampire identities are just that, people have common issues like those with mainstream identities. Self identified vampires work regular jobs and participate in the broader communities in which they live. Like people in the mainstream, self identified vampires may deal with stress, various health issues, relationship difficulties, education or career transitions, and various other struggles that people commonly face. Social workers and helping professionals can, of course, be valuable in helping people, including vampires, resolve such issues. We will now review the importance of the therapeutic alliance as important background information for this exploratory study. Indeed, it is important for helping professionals to show acceptance, warmth, and empathy toward diverse clients. We will then provide an overview of self identified vampirism louis vuitton purses and wallets before presenting our methods, findings, discussion, and conclusion. Background: The Therapeutic Alliance Over recent decades, a growing body of scholarly literature illustrates the importance of the therapeutic alliance on psychotherapy effectiveness. However, there is still much for researchers to learn about specific components, modeling, and discrete measurement of the therapeutic alliance (Elvins Green, 2008). The alliance has been conceptualized in slightly different ways across studies (for example, as therapeutic alliance, therapeutic bond, helping alliance, or working alliance), yet empirical reviews consistently demonstrate that this aspect of psychotherapy significantly impacts treatment effectiveness (Elvins Green, 2008; Lambert Barley, 2001; McLeod, 2011; Sharf, Primavera, Diener, 2010). Studies have shown that client perceptions of the alliance are particularly important to positive therapeutic outcome (Bachelor, 2013; Bedi, Davis, Williams, 2005; Horvath, 2001), and that therapists vary in their abilities to establish strong alliances with a range of different clients (Del Re, Fluckiger, Horvath, Symonds, Wampold, 2012). For clients, important factors to a successful alliance include being able to approach and trust the therapist, sensing that the therapist has a nonjudgmental stance, feeling a sense of equality in the therapeutic relationship, and therapist attentiveness (Manso Rauktis, 2011; Ribner Knei Paz, 2002; Simpson Bedi, 2012). Indeed, an insufficiency of these factors, as perceived by clients, is likely to result in a poor alliance; thus, therapists should continually strive to be accepting, open, nonjudgmental, and fully attentive to client needs and belief systems. Despite professional admonitions for therapists to be open, nonjudgmental, and sensitive to human diversity, Vasquez (2007) reported that unintentional bias might be part of the therapist client interaction and significantly impair the alliance. Vasquez analysis helps explain underutilization of services and high dropout rates by people of color, and she further suggests that unintentional therapist biases and subsequent microaggressions that convey attitudes of dominance and superiority can occur toward clients who occupy other positions of minority status. In other words, clients who differ significantly from their therapists on factors that are socially constructed as less desired, such as race and ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or identity, socioeconomic status, disability status, or religious affiliation, are more likely to experience alliance issues. For example, clients in minority positions may be hesitant to be authentic and to disclose important information about themselves out of fear of being rejected. The Alliance Involving Clients with Alternative Identities People with alternative identities face the same potential for microaggressions and oppression from their workers as those who occupy other positions of minority status. For example, recent literature reviews on bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM) clearly show that participation is not associated with psychopathology (Powls Davies, 2012; Williams, 2013), yet research on the therapy disclosure experiences of people with alternative BDSM or sexuality identities suggests that many psychotherapists and medical professionals remain closed to such identities (Hoff Sprott, 2009; Kolmes, Stock, Moser, 2006; Wright, 2009). It is understood within social work that it is crucial that therapists continually work to identify their own biases regarding how they are likely to interpret various practices. Social workers, of course, should conscientiously be fully inclusive, listen carefully to clients, promote self determination and empower, and provide warmth and support. Workers should be especially aware of their positions of power and work to manage these positions in ways that support, rather than potentially harm, their clients. More education among social workers and helping professionals concerning alternative identities and practices is needed. We challenge social workers and helping professionals to consider embracing aspects of diversity, such as vampirism, which are not typically taught in social work curriculums. At the same time, there remains a need for workers to approach their interpretations of identities and practices critically. In the case of self identified vampirism, interpretation is likely to be shaped by specific social discourses associated with the helping professions, but perhaps interpretations are also significantly flavored by longstanding cross cultural vampire myths found in such things as books and popular cinematic output. Indeed, because these myths, historically, are so powerful, it is virtually impossible for social workers and helping professionals to not be influenced by them in some way. Therefore, social workers need to recognize that unlike many lifestyle vampires, vampire mythology may be important to louis vuitton purses replica some who identify as real vampires but not others. Widespread Popularity of Vampire Myths Mythical vampires seem to capture attention and generate interest like few other topics can. Mythological vampiric figures have been present across diverse cultures for thousands of years. Particularly interesting, of course, is that the vampire seems to occupy a curious space between life and death. It has been widely believed on different continents and across various cultures that at death, souls hovered about their dead body for three days; in some places, that time span was considerably lengthened, and the vulnerable body needed to be watched to protect evil spirits from entering it, thus creating a vampire (Sugg, 2011). Of course, while part of the widespread curiosity in vampires can be explained by the mysterious place they occupy between life and death, as reflected in Sugg study about longstanding prescientific beliefs associated with the death process, the popularized figure of the vampire also reflects particular traits, both highly desirable and repulsive, of mere humans. As realized within popular culture and media studies, vampires are seen as attractive, intelligent, seductive, and powerful. They are also sadistic, abhorrent, and frightening. This reflection of ourselves, along with a universal curiosity about death, may account for their tremendous popularity. Real Vampires: People with a Unique Identity Nobody knows an exact number, but there are many people worldwide who self identify as vampires (Atlanta Vampire Alliance, 2007). Despite the use of the word people with such alternative identities do not seem to be psychologically and socially unstable (Browning, in press; Laycock, 2009a, 2009b; Williams, 2008, 2009). Laycock (2009a) has thoroughly described the different kinds of self identified vampires in contemporary society, and contrasts between and vampires. Many people who relate as vampires focus on certain lifestyle practices of one form or another. According to Laycock (2009a), and other experts in the field, some lifestylers enjoy wearing specific clothing styles, sleeping in coffins, or perhaps even sporting fangs. Others may regularly participate in live action role playing games (LARPing) that focus on vampires, such as Vampire: The Masquerade. Such generalization is a significant problem, given the tremendous diversity and wide range of beliefs and practices among vampires. While some identification with vampires, particularly among youth, may be due, in part, to a narrative collective assimilation hypothesis (Gabriel Young, 2011), wherein people experience a narrative before psychologically becoming a part of the collective within it, this possibility does not seem to account for the tremendous range and diversity of self identified vampirism. In contrast to the tremendous diversity of various lifestyle vampires, the essential feature of real vampirism is their belief in the need to take in energy (called feeding) from time to time from a willing in order to maintain physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Real vampires report that without occasional feeding, their overall health and well being suffer. Hence, the term vampirism is used to describe the feeding process. Real vampires may or may not find interest in mythical vampires or pop culture vampirism; these seem to be irrelevant to their self identified vampirism (Laycock, 2010). Many real vampires report feeding on psychic or pranic energy, and pranic energy is believed to be strongly connected to nature, generally, and often breathing, specifically (Belanger, 2004). It is generally expected within the community that vampires should act ethically and responsibly in feeding practices. Unlike lifestyle vampires, real vampires believe that they do not choose their vampiric condition; they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation (Laycock, 2010). Thus, real vampirism should be approached as an alternative identity, rather than as an institution (Laycock, 2010). Some real vampires report wishing that they did not have a vampiric condition, stating that their lives would be easier without it (Laycock, 2010). For some, vampire community events provide an important source of social support (Browning, in press). A large international demographic survey (N=750) conducted internally by the real vampire community shows extensive demographic diversity (Atlanta Vampire Alliance, 2007). According to the results, real vampires reflect a variety of ages, religious and spiritual views, races and ethnicities, occupations, education levels, and sexual and gender identities. However, such people are often severely othered and marginalized, irrespective of education and professional status (Laycock, 2009b; Williams, 2013). Counter to common assumptions that presume self identified vampires must be confused youth and young adults and/or dangerous psychopaths, scholars (who have spent extended time with real vampires) have stated that real vampires are rather ordinary people with no apparent increased risk for dangerousness (Laycock, 2009a, 2009b; Williams, 2008, 2009, 2013). It is beyond the scope of this study to provide an in depth description of self identified vampirism, but for detailed information readers are referred to specific works by Belanger (2007) and Laycock (2009a, 2010). Specifically, we wanted to know if vampires had disclosed their alternative identity, and if so, how that was received by the clinician. If participants had not disclosed louis vuitton bags 2 their identity, we were also interested in knowing whether they would do so and then why or why not. We wanted to obtain rich, detailed first person accounts about real vampires disclosure experiences, why or why not they disclosed to clinicians, and how vampires felt they were, or would be treated. Of course, our knowledge and experience have shaped our approach to this project. Our purpose was to empower the voices of people who self identify as real vampires and acknowledge their unique insights with respect to their experiences and attitudes of disclosing their vampire identities to social workers and helping professionals. We were interested in whether or not such vampires are or would be comfortable mentioning these identities in clinical settings. These identities are salient and important to participants, and they could impact other common health or mental health issues for which vampires, like anybody else, might seek professional help. For the purpose of this study, a brief open ended questionnaire, which included demographic questions, was developed. The measure asked participants about their disclosure experiences. Approval to conduct the study was granted through a university institutional review board (IRB). Well established and personally known contacts, who are vampire leaders in Atlanta, Georgia, were asked to select 11 adult participants through purposive sampling. In an effort to ensure self identities were chronic and stable, participants were included if they self identified as vampires for several years. All participants, with one exception (South Africa), were residing within the United States (nine different states were represented). The mean age of participants was 37.6 years; only three participants were under the age of 30 years, while six were over the age of 40. Participants reported adopting a real vampire identity for a mean of 14.2 years (range = 3.5 to 41 years). Reported religious affiliations included pagan (n=5), Wicca (n=4), (n=1), and affiliation (n=1). Nearly all (82%) of participants reported their gender as being female, including one intersexed, female assigned individual and a postoperative, male to female transsexual.
One participant identified as louis vuitton agenda amazon male and another as gender queer. Regarding sexual orientation, five participants identified as bisexual or bicurious, three as heterosexual, two as pansexual/omnisexual, and one as asexual. Six participants reported their relationship status as being single, two were married and another engaged to be married, one was in a relationship but not married, and one reported complicated.
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