Could one of your patients secretly be a vampire? While the number of vampires in the United States is unknown, a qualitative study in the journal Critical Social Work suggests that they may be afraid to reveal their identity to clinicians for fear of being judged.

DJ Williams, PhD, MSW, MS, of Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID, and colleagues interviewed 11 self-identified vampires who expressed the need for extra energy on a regular basis to sustain health via gathering psychic or pranic energy, consuming small amounts of human or animal blood, or both. These vampires are not the same as so-called lifestyle vampires who focus on certain practices such as wearing specific clothing styles, sleeping in coffins, or wearing fangs. Real vampires believe they are born with the condition, with some reporting they wished they did not have this vampiric condition. The researchers designed the study to assess how the vampires had disclosed their identity to clinicians when seeking help for psychological or physical issues. The mean age of the participants was 37.6 and they had identified as a vampire for a mean of 14.2 years.

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The vampires overwhelmingly said that they would be uncomfortable disclosing their identity to a clinician for fear of being judged as psychopathological (delusional, immature, unstable, etc.). Dr Williams remarked that this may also be applicable to other alternative identities and practices, and that there is a significant need among clinicians for improved understanding and elimination of intentional and unintentional bias in clinical practice.

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