Is therapy really necessary? I can usually handle my problems.
While there are many situations in life that we can handle on our own, there are certain situations or circumstances that can be difficult for one to manage on their own. No matter what the situations is, therapy can provide an unbiased, supportive resource for you to gain insight into your most difficult problems. For many indivdiuals, talking to family and friends can be difficult, especially when those family and friends are emotionally connected to your situation. Realizing that therapy can help is a major insight that has to be admired. Therapy is something that can provide a long lasting impact on your life. For more serious issues, therapy can teach you the tools you need to minimize your symptoms and function at your highest level. Generally when people enter treatment they feel a sense of relief even after the first session. Therapy is a place you will learn you are not alone, and you do not need to face life's problems alone.
What is the difference between an LICSW and other mental health professionals?
An LICSW is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker - this license requires two years of post graduate experience in the field of social work and is the highest level of licensure in Massachusetts for social workers. Mental Health professionals with and LICSW have an MSW (Master in Social Work) from an accredited College or University. Social Work is a discipline focused on the pursuit of human rights and social justice. Social Workers practice to improve the quality of life of each individual, group, and community in society. Many people assume social workers work for the Department of Children and Families (DCF - formerly DSS). While many social workers work for the agency, Social Workers can be found in community mental health agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, colleges, public schools, and private practice.
LMHC - Licensed Mental Health Counselor - this licensure is obtained after two years of post graduate experience in the field of counseling. Mental Health professionals with an LMHC generally have a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology or a School Counseling specialty. Like clinical social workers, LMHC's are focused on helping individuals enhance the quality of life of individuals, facilitate personal growth, and teach indivdiuals effective ways to cope with lifes challenges.
Psychiatirist, M.D. - a Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who prescribes and monitors medication used to treat mental health disorders. While some provide psychotherapy, most limit their practice to medication management.
Clinical Psychologist - a Clinical Psychology has a doctorate degree in Psychology. Psychologists receive extensive training in psychological test administration, scoring, interpretation and reporting. Examples include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory II (MMPI-II), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test IV (WAIS-IV), and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCMI-III). These tests, along with others, help to inform diagnostic decisions and treatment planning. While Psychologists conduct testing, they also provide assessment and treatment for mentall illnesses and other psychiatric disorders. Unlike Psychiatrists, Psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Psychologists can often be found in private practice.
Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, CNS - a Psychiatric Clincial Nurse Specialist is an advance practice clincial nurse who has completed graduate level education. Clinical Nurse Practitioner's can diagnose, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for patients who have psychiatric disorders, medical mental conditions or substance abuse problems. They are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, psychosocial and physical assessment of their patients, treatment plans, and manage patient care.
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each client and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what troubles you during sessions and then integrate skills and coping mechanisms you learn into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking therapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
Can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, couple issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn.
Should I use medication while in therapy?
Medication works best in conjuction with therapy. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental, emotional and relationship problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Rather than just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. I have often found in my practice, that individuals who come in seeking medication as a solution, find resolution of their symptoms solely through the therapeutic process.
Are my sessions confidential?
The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between you and your therapist. No information can be provided or disclosed without your written permission.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
Every effort is made to notify a client if confidentiality must be breached due to one of the preceding situations.
What if I experience a mental health emergency outside of my scheduled appointment time?
If you expereience a mental health emergency outside of your scheduled appointment time, you should call 911 or go to your local emergency room. Individuals can also contact the North Central Emergency Services Hotline at 1-800-977-5555 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
You may choose to call me first, but if you are unable to reach me, you should proceed in seeking immediate medical care. Individuals who are experiencing frequent acute mental health crisis' can expect to develop a crisis plan as part of their initial treatment plan.