Yes, real vampires, albeit self-identified, exist among us. They are human beings who need an unprejudiced environment as much as the next person, a new study comes to suggest.
The study, developed by DJ Williams and Emily Prior from the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles, was published in the Critical Social Work journal and is titled “Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires’ Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals.
The purpose of the study is to understand an alternative identity that is certainly uncommon and typically sparks controversial reactions, ranging from the fear of the mythical immortal creatures of the night to prejudice and stigma.
Self-identified vampires are real and they live among us. Far from being the demonic servants of the night, they are humans who claim their need of energy can only be met by drinking small amounts of blood from volunteer donors. And they are also touched by fear of identity disclosure to society at large and health practitioners in particular.
DJ Williams stated:
“We really need to understand some of these new identities and new ways to identify ourselves, and some of these new identities do not fit into stereotypes”.
If we think of modern-day vampires it is quite possible that we prompt an image of teenagers cloth in goth attire and sporting the gloomy fangs and lifestyle of a media created image of vampires. But this is not the case with self-identified vampires.
They are older, successful men and women who fear to disclose their identity to physicians or psychologists or social workers as they know the service they would get for any of their problems would be stained by prejudice, fear and stereotyping.
That is the conclusion of the study of DJ Williams and Emily Prior:
“People of all kinds sometimes struggle with relationship issues or have a death in the family or struggles with career and job-type issues. Some of these people with alternate identities may come to a therapist with these issues, and if clinicians are open and educated about this group they should be able to help the individual much better.”
The study was conducted on 11 adults who self-identified as real vampires and lived as such for an average of 14.2 years. A set of questions was given to the participants to assess their alternative identity choice and the fears connected to it.
The concerns of the 11 participants largely revolved around stigmatization, being labeled as psychotic or diagnosed with any other mental health issue or simply being regarded as evil.
For these reasons, they are reluctant to reach out to physicians, which prevents them to seek treatment at the time they most need it.
As such, the authors concluded, openness and education are key factors in taking the community of self-identified real vampires out of the dark.
Education among clinicians and social workers alike could help build trust and end the ushering of an alternative identity community by providing more efficient service.
Image Source: dailymail.co.uk
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