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The Affects of Paranoia on Private Investigators in Canada

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Paranoia and delusions are just some of the many ways mental illness affects Canadians every day. According to the Government of Canada, 1 in 3 Canadians suffers from mental illness at least once during their life. Many Private investigators see some evidence of mental illness up close and personal. Sometimes, agencies will receive calls from individuals suffering from paranoia. These people might feel that their neighbour is spying on them, or that someone is poisoning their water. These examples serve as a reminder that while the individual believes what they tell the private investigator, it might not necessarily be true.

Good private investigators take every case seriously. He or she will want to help their clients to the best of their ability. When a private investigator is faced with an individual that suffers from paranoia or delusions, however, it often increases the difficulty of the case. A private investigator needs to know how to break the news to their client with care and kindness, and they also need to know when to say no.

Knowing When to Turn a Case Away . . .

In all honesty, it is often difficult to tell if an individual is suffering from paranoia or if they really have a genuine case.

More often than not, a private investigator will take the individual’s case only to realize that the individual is paranoid. Unfortunately, it’s the individual’s mistrust of other people that makes them think that there is a problem in the first place. A good private investigator will present this information—with kindness and understanding—to the individual. In most situations, this means that the private investigator will tell the individual that they have found no evidence that what the individual claimed is true. At this point, a paranoid individual will often request that the private investigator continue the investigation. A good private investigator will encourage the individual to trust that the information they’ve found is accurate. If the individual still insists, the private investigator will refuse to take on the case again.

All too often, unethical private investigators will take advantage of people suffering from paranoia. They will continue to work for the individual, even though they know that the investigation is a dead end. This is extremely unethical for many reasons, one of which is that the private investigator or private investigation agency is receiving money for services that will never result in a solution.

So . . . What is the Purpose of Private Investigation?

The main purpose of a private investigation is to solve a problem or answer a question. For example, a lawyer might ask a private investigator to return to the scene of an accident to try and confirm identify the guilty party. Another example includes an individual who wants a private investigator to find out if their spouse is cheating.

A good private investigator strives to bring peace of mind to their clients—regardless of the outcome of the case. After all, a private investigator is an impartial party that searches for information that helps to pinpoint the truth. Therefore, when a potential client wants a private investigator to look into something that isn’t real, the reality is, he or she really can’t help that individual.

When to Invest in an Investigation

While many people can afford to hire a private investigator, the services provided aren’t always cheap. For someone who is simply looking for peace of mind, this isn’t a problem. People who contact private investigators generally want to find birth parents, uncover the truth about a cheating spouse, find hidden assets and so on. For all of these services, it makes sense to approach and pay a private investigator.

When an individual requests something a little different from a private investigator, that private investigator should ask a few more questions. Experienced private investigators might catch signs of paranoia but again, it can sometimes be difficult to tell. If however, the private investigator does not feel that the individual has a case, they should really try to convince that individual not to spend their money.

Any private investigator that knowingly accepts money from someone suffering from delusions or paranoia isn’t acting in an ethical manner.

Examples: Why Private investigators Might Not Take Your Case

Quite often, a private investigator will interview an individual before taking on his of her case. Through this interview, the private investigator can determine quite quickly whether or not the case is legitimate. A private investigator will listen for signs of paranoia, or a disjointed narrative.

An example of this includes:

A potential client tells a private investigator that someone is following them in his or her apartment building. They also might think that their neighbor is watching them and has bugged their home.

In other cases, it’s not as easy to tell if the person suffers from delusions or paranoia. In fact, the Smith Investigation Agency has come across this type of situation. A client hired us to check into their spouse. Our private investigators looked into the case. They conducted some surveillance and determined that the spouse wasn’t cheating on our client. Our client however was convinced that their spouse was unfaithful. Our private investigators took on the case a second time, and once again determined that the client’s spouse was faithful.

Unfortunately, the evidence we provided to support our findings still didn’t help the client. They wanted us to keep going until we found something to prove they were right about their spouse. At this point, we made the decision to end our relationship with this particular client. It is impossible for a good private investigator to prove something that isn’t actually true. In this situation, we also felt it wasn’t ethical to continue to take this individual’s money.

Private Investigation isn’t for Everyone

As mentioned above, it’s a private investigator’s job to be an impartial party during the investigation. Therefore, if they take on a case only to discover evidence of paranoia, the investigator must present that information to the individual. It is also up to the private investigator to turn the individual away when it becomes clear that they can’t help.

Mental illness is a serious condition. Thanks to mental health awareness and to many courageous individuals, Canadians know more now than ever, the kind of affect mental illness has on our friends, families and neighbors. While a private investigator isn’t a licensed health professional, they do try their best to identify the situation and help the person to recognize the symptoms of paranoia or delusion. This prevents the individual from wasting their money and will hopefully encourage them to seek the right kind of care.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

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