I have Cancer. How do I find a therapist to help me and my family?

by Charli Prather Monday, February 15, 2016


I have Cancer. How do I find a therapist to help me and my family with the social and emotional challenges we face? Here are some questions to ask:


• Have you had training in oncology (the last thing you need right now is to provide your therapist translation services)? 
• Have you worked, volunteered, or interned in a hospital or oncology center?

• Have you had a personal experience with cancer? If you are a survivor, how long have you been out of treatment? A healthy time frame of recovery is important.

• Have you worked with clients experiencing "chemo brain"? Do you have a complete understanding of "cure vs. remission" and the specific needs of a cancer patient/survivor?

• Are you available to visit me in the hospital, at home, or provide phone or closed circuit video sessions if I’m not up to coming into the office? What are the charges are related to this type of care? 
• What is your “late cancel” policy?  I may experience treatment side effects that come on unexpectedly.

• Are you willing to assist me finding resources regarding my employment, co-pays for expensive drugs, financial planning, how to talk to my kids, my boss, etc. 

• Will you be able to provide sessions that may involve family members who don’t understand the complexity of my prognosis if it changes? 
• For those with advanced cancers: Are you comfortable providing me end of life care if my condition worsens?   
• Are you familiar with MBCR?  Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery techniques?  


Charli Prather-Levinson, MSW LCSW EAP-C RYT is a former Board Certified Oncology Social Worker and 2 time cancer survivor. She works part time in private practice and works for the Cancer Support Community Headquarter’s offices part time as a Cancer Helpline Counselor.  Charli has over 20 years combined experience as a hospice therapist and as Clinical Program Director of the St. Louis Cancer Support Community affiliate. Charli also advises clients on healthy lifestyle changes that can ‘STACK THE DECK’ against emotional and physical disease. Charli also holds certifications as a Food for Life™ Plant Based Nutrition Educator and Warriors at Ease® Meditation & Yoga Teacher for those in need of a modified yoga practice due to physical limitations. Charli spends her free time traveling the country with the Wounded Warrior Project serving as a contract therapist and yoga & meditation instructor. 






 

Tags:

Advise | Anxiety | Healing | Intimacy | Mental Health | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Video Therapy | Wisdom

How to Find a Therapist Without Losing Your Mind (Hint: Use HelpPRO)

by Ashley Womble Saturday, January 30, 2016


As a Millennial, it's hard to imagine HelpPRO once existed in paper form, like a giant catalog. Even though I’ve been working in mental health for a few years, the prospect of finding a new therapist overwhelms me.  It seems natural to begin to search for a therapist online, but basic internet searches lacks the authority you need when you are looking for someone to share your deepest thoughts and feelings with.

 

In effort to make the process easier, I wrote an article “How to Find a Therapist Without Losing Your Mind" for a new website, Modernae.com. Modernae.com is the daily source for smart, original content that informs, inspires and entertains the 21st century woman.

 

HelpPRO’s William Blout gave me some great tips like avoiding e-mailing therapists since it’s easy to misinterpret tone in an e-mail. Bill also emphasized the importance of finding a mental health pro that you can trust. As Bill said, “If you don’t trust the person therapy isn’t going to work. ”You can read more of Bill’s great advice in the article and check out my work on Psychedmedia.com.

 

Ashley Womble is a writer and champion for mental health. She is the founder of Psyched, a website dedicated to changing the way people think about mental health, and the Communications Director at Fountain House. Connect with Ashley via LinkedIn or Twitter



Tags:

Advise | Intimacy | Marriage and Family Therapy | Self-Awareness | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Wisdom

I Want To Switch Therapists, But Don’t Want To Hurt My Therapist’s feelings?

by Aaron Pawelek LICSW Sunday, November 29, 2015

I recently closed my therapy practice in Dallas, TX to relocate to the East Coast to be closer to aging family members. I decided to give my 50 or so active clients 2 months notice to provide ample time for them to prepare and for me to arrange continuity of care. Those 2 months were extraordinary! Because I initiated the ending, I set in motion what therapists call the “termination phase” of therapy. I had told people: “Get ready. We are going to say goodbye”. And we did. What’s extraordinary is that real goodbyes so often never happen for therapists. When clients are either frustrated with their progress or are legitimately ready to end treatment, they either fade away or just disappear.

Here is my advice (It may sound a little harsh, but hear me out): tell us what’s going on, say goodbye, and don’t worry about our feelings. If you’re ready to finish work with us, we will have feelings about it, rest assured. We will miss you! But if we let those feelings cloud our professional judgment, or if we take your departure personally, then we’re not keeping our part of the bargain. Remember, when we agreed to work with you, we agreed to ensure your best interests.

Here’s why I really want you to say goodbye when you’re ready to leave. Goodbyes are hard. They hurt and often bring about profound expressions of sadness and grief. In many ways, this is the essence of psychotherapy: learning how to communicate deep and painful truths in caring ways and developing the courage and willingness to do so. By practicing “goodbyes” in the therapy room, you will learn how to do it successfully in life.

Furthermore, it may be time to switch therapists. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your therapist, then there may be unaddressed issues in the therapeutic alliance. It’s possible these issues—at least your role in them—reflect the very things you are trying to resolve in your personal relationships. By intentionally entering into the termination phase of therapy and saying goodbye, you give yourself and your therapist a chance to explore and resolve these issues, so you don’t carry them into your relationship with your next therapist. Your therapist may also help with a referral to a therapist who may be a better fit for you, but cannot help if he/she does not know.

One more thing—sometimes clients want to switch therapists because the therapy has stagnated or become stuck. Again, bring it to our attention. That may be just what your therapist needs to hear to get the treatment going again. You might find it’s not goodbye after all. Maybe we just needed a nudge!

Aaron Pawelek, LICSW, has been providing psychotherapy to adults, couples, and teens for 10 years. He is a graduate of both the Boston University School of Social Work and the Boston University School of Theology. He is in private practice with the New England Pastoral Institute in Salem, NH. Prior to moving to New England to be closer to aging family members, Aaron was the training director and a staff therapist for the Pastoral Counseling Center of Dallas, TX. Aaron has a variety of clinical interests including working with people with disabilities, adults raised by parents with mental illness or addiction, people in addiction recovery themselves, couples in crisis, and people in the GLBT community. As a pastorally oriented psychotherapist, Aaron helps people integrate their spiritual and religious resources into the therapy process if they wish.


Tags:

Advise | Anxiety | Healing | Intimacy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Wisdom

Surprise! They’re Not Changing. How About You?

by Sherry Katz Friday, June 12, 2015

Is one of your reasons for starting therapy because every approach you’ve tried in a particular relationship increases your frustration, hurt, and sadness?

And after explaining your outlook and reasoning to this person many times, the relationship patterns are still the same?

Therapy will give your sincere and heartfelt effort and concern, a new direction. 

Step One is accepting the profound realization that you are only able to change yourself. 

Despite your many good ideas and earnest care, the other person in the relationship, whether partner, sibling, adult child, any meaningful family member, may not want to understand your point, or want to agree with it.

The deeper problem is not necessarily that you have bad ideas or that the other person is intentionally being difficult.  

The discontent you are facing in the stressed relationship, is a pathway to knowing more about your own standards and satisfactions in relating.

If you are upset because the other person does not accept your suggestions, instead of inwardly disapproving, utilize this feeling of rejection as a sign of how highly you value that your advice is followed. 

If the other person criticizes what you consider key points in your value system, then allow yourself to appreciate that you have a clear value system.

If the other person dismisses your feelings, then this is your moment to be even more aware that your emotions are a way to express yourself.

All of these interactions are painful and tiring to some degree. 

Your reason for talking with a therapist is to stabilize and ground your perspective, believe in your right to be who you are, and strengthen your confidence in handling your part in a relationship that is currently stressed, and any relationship that develops in your world.

Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ.  Comments and questions are welcome.  www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com

Let's Get High

by Julie Davis Thursday, December 4, 2014

Smoke a joint … Drink a shot of tequila … Eat a donut … Get angry … Worry … Run on a treadmill … Climb a mountain ... Hunt for a fashion bargain. 

You can get “high” by ingesting a substance, activating a thought, or moving the body in a way that triggers a chemical reaction leading to a feeling of “high.” 

Until you are comfortable NOT being “high” you will search and find how to get “high.” You might stop drinking alcohol but find yourself reaching for more sweets.  When you are unable to exercise you might become agitated, start shopping, drink alcohol, caffeine, or soda.

Do you think you have an addiction/motivation/discipline problem with alcohol, food, anger, worry, spending?  Are you are interested in eliminating unhealthy substances and processes that make you “high?”  Good!  However, until you are willing and able to be “NOT HIGH” you might find yourself seeking other forms of getting “high.”  

This week, I invite you to consider how you might feel “NOT HIGH:”       

Confused? Embarrassed? Out of control? Terrified? Lonely? Edgy? Depressed?  Anxious? Calm? Bored? Unimportant?

These are the experiences that might require understanding and attention before you stop thinking, “Let’s get high!”

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keeppeople stuck (www.juliedavismft.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service (text JULIETUESDAY to 22828). Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California, New York), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anger | Animal Instinct | Anxiety | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Primitive Mind | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Treatment Modalities | Wisdom

A New Language

by Julie Davis Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At the dinner table, we said, “Hey, pass the stew,” and “Give me the gravy when you’re done.”  We didn’t say “Please” and we didn’t say “Thank you.”  We talked over each other and cut each other off.  Conversations were loud and there was a lot of joking and making fun of each other. 

My first dinner date with my future husband was almost the last (I found out years later…).

At his dinner table, they said, “Please, when you can, pass the stew.  Thank you.  Are you sure you are done?” and “Would you like more? Can I get you anything?  I’m fine.  Thank you.  Please take the last roll.”  They talked in turn and listened patiently.  Conversations were soft and light – usually about something outside of the room. 

My language was interpreted initially as rude and crude.  His language was boring and superficial to me.  It’s amazing we had a second date!

But we took the time to ask questions and discovered that the language was different but the intention the same.  We both wanted to be heard and understood and were interested in hearing and understanding each other.  So we created our own language.  He became bolder in expressing raw thoughts and feelings and I became softer and added “Please” and “Thank you” to my vocabulary.

What language is comfortable for you?  If you feel “in conflict” with someone (child, boss, spouse, employee, friend, etc) take a moment to consider:

This person isn’t purposefully rude/avoidant/loud/dismissive/disrespectful; he/she just speaks a different language.  Underneath this language is someone wanting to be heard and understood and accepted. 

If this person is interested (it takes two to communicate and grow closer) then initiate a discussion on how YOU can learn his/her language:

What do I say that makes you feel closer to/more distant from me?

What can I say that would make you feel closer to me?

Listen to the answers. Say “Thank-you.” Work together. Create a new language that works for both of you.

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Couples | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

Black and White Thinking

by Julie Davis Sunday, September 21, 2014

Believing “black and white” (always/never/all/nothing) thoughts about yourself and others can trigger feelings and actions that harm health, relationships, productivity, and emotional stability: 

Belief

Feeling

Action

I always screw up

Ashamed, angry, hopeless, defeated

Beat self up, medicate,   screw up more, quit,       isolate

He never helps around the house

Angry, resentful, helpless, victim,

Nag, control, complain,       fix, explain, defend, manipulate, fight

All the good jobs are taken

Hopeless, scared, angry

Give up, settle,         medicate, complain

There’s nothing I can do about it

Powerless, afraid, angry

Give in, quit, seethe,        hide,

Over time, black and white thinking can lead to depression, obsessions, addiction, panic, rage, and trauma.  Thus, it is important to “hold every thought captive!” This week, I invite you to catch your black/white thinking and reframe it in a way that leaves you feeling calm, open, flexible:

Absolute

Reframe

Feeling

Action

I always screw up

Sometimes I blow it. 

Humble, interested, motivated

Improve skills,     try again.

He never helps around the house

Sometimes he forgets/puts things off. 

Curious, collaborative

Ask for clarity; discuss and       set  boundaries.

All the good jobs are taken

Many good jobs are taken.   

Disappointed yet determined, creative

Keep looking.     Ask for help.

There’s nothing I can do about it

There is something I can do. 

Curious, creative, collaborative

Get wise advice. Ask for help. 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

 

The Therapeutic Relationship and You

by Shelley Quinones Monday, September 8, 2014

The kids tell me what bugs them about each other, repeatedly. My spouse complains about work. Friends share about their current boyfriend. I listen to it all. But who listens, really listens to me? I try to speak up, but they talk over me, interrupt, or suddenly have to go do something.

What if there was someone who would give me undivided attention, be non-judgmental, and be on my side? Man that only exists in fairy tales.

No. That kind of relationship exists in real life. There are people, gifted people, trained to be therapists and counselors who are happy to come along side you and help you identify solutions to problems.

The therapeutic relationship is special, one based on teamwork where you share valuable memories and situations and the therapist provides wisdom and guidance. The relationship starts slow as you get to know each other then as you learn to trust your teammate, you share deeper and receive deeper insights. Before you know it, you feel better and are making choices to improve your life.

This relationship might seem one sided but you deserve to make an investment in yourself that will lead to an improved sense of value and contentment with your life.

Therapy doesn’t have to be forever. You can use it as a tool to help you over a difficult bump in the road or to spur you on to greatness. You can take the time you need to process your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. It also doesn’t have to be murky and dark. Some therapists infuse lightness and humor to help get through weighty topics while still offering respect and kindness.

Therapy is an important and valuable opportunity to gain healing and define your life in new ways. Your therapist is waiting to hear from you.

Shelley Quinones is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is a Christian Therapist and has been in the helping field for over 23 years and Licensed for 11 of those. She has helped many people sort through depression, anxiety, and traumatic situations to find a renewed sense of peace and joy.

Tags:

Healing | Intimacy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

Three A's To Thrive

by Gilbert Bliss Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When I talk to clients about their family upbringing, I often get the response, "We had food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes to wear".  There is so much this description leaves out.

Abraham Maslow developed his well known Hierarchy of Needs including food, shelter and safety.  What is left out, is what I call the three A's required to maximize our life experience …

Approval.

As children, we need to know our right to be on this planet and in the lives of those who raise us is never in question.  Parents have what children perceive as ultimate authority over their lives. The parent who abuses that can put the child in a state of mortal fear, creating a foundation for emotional problems.  Children should hear, "We brought you into this world and welcome you as part of our lives", or, for adoptees, "We chose to make you part of our family, no less than any other child we have or may have in the future".  The extraordinary power parents have needs to be put to use for children, not against them.  This does not mean all behavior is acceptable, but that a child's life has inherent validity.

Affirmation.

This may sound like a synonym for approval, but it goes further.  The idea behind affirmation is that a child's character is never in question.  Mistakes in judgment are not "flaws", but are: mistakes, pure and simple.  Affirmed children and, later, adults, are better able to stand on their own making important decisions and not second guessing themselves with regard to their essential integrity.  Affirmation continues beyond age 18.  Children outgrow their need for approval, but the need for affirmation, be it quiet or loud, continues.  Healthy affirmation outlives us and is an important gift to those we love.

Affection.

The importance of physical affection has been scientifically and anecdotally validated.  Babies physically wither if they are not held and stroked.  The effects of withholding of affection have been demonstrated in children raised in institutions that do not offer healing touch.  Touch creates a bridge between what is spoken by voice and meant by intention. Couples are clear that affection is often as important as sex; in a world where they have given each other permission to share what they would not share with anyone else, the daily small demonstrations of intimate attention carry great meaning, affirmation of their mutual attraction to each other.  This carries a powerful message of safety, as well.

Approval, affirmation, and affection must coexist with each other.  There is little chance of success if one is left out, or one emphasized more than the other, unless there is a particular need to do so.  People can withstand incredibly difficult circumstances and thrive with these elements in place.

Gilbert Bliss is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Towson, Maryland.  His experience includes work with individuals, couples, families and children in bereavement.  His web site is www.gblisscounselor.com.

Tags:

Abuse | Child Abuse | Healing | Intimacy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapy | Trauma

The Story Behind The Story

by Julie Davis Monday, July 14, 2014

 

Consider this week that everything coming at you - anger, fear, judgment, criticism, avoidance - isn't personal; that it has a story behind it: 


-Spouse's anger might really be fear about his job.

-Child's resistance might actually be a natural development towards individuation.

-Boss's criticism might be rooted in his fear of being criticized by his boss. 

-Neighbor's avoidance of your "dog poop" letter might be he's busy taking care of sick grandma.

 

The only way to know is to ask.  This week - instead of getting defensive, offended, scared, angry - ask for the story behind the story.

 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

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