Video Sessions Improve Therapy

by Buck Black Thursday, December 11, 2014

In this age of connectivity, clients expect therapy to be accessible. I continue to see unmet demand for video therapy. Few therapists offer this service which I started doing a few years ago. My clients benefit from video therapy in many ways. I have clients traveling who want to keep their appointments.  I use video to meet with college students who return home for the summer and breaks. I use video to meet with clients during snow days, transportation problems, forgotten appointments (just log-on for a session so the appointment time can still be used) and for those whose illness was contagious, yet they needed their session because they felt so bad, both mentally and physically. I also have business people who want their session, but cannot afford the travel time on account of their busy schedule.

It is difficult for rural residents to get services.  Video sessions make this easier.  Rural clients, however, often do not have a fast enough internet connection, but this will improve in time.  Some rural clients have a high quality cell signal, which allows them to hold a session, but this cuts into their data allotment. I have had success relying on a phone call for the audio and tolerating a lower quality video feed.

In my experience offering the option for video sessions helps me give my clients a higher level of care and means my clients are more likely to keep their appointments. If the client is comfortable with the technology, it works well. If their internet connection goes out, then the phone is a backup. There are many clients not comfortable with video sessions and choose to only come to the office. This is OK too. Over time I believe more people will be comfortable with video sessions. 

There are some situations where video sessions are not appropriate. Examples include clients who pose a high risk, such as homicidal and/or suicidal ideation, psychosis, or who simply need a more intense services.  I never use video sessions with someone who is court ordered or having problems with denial. I don’t feel video sessions are powerful enough in this situation.  However, if someone is looking to better themselves and is higher functioning, video sessions are often ideal.

Remember, it is important for both therapist and client to have a history of using video conferencing services and have quality internet, a high quality router and computer, and good lighting. We need to ensure the technology adds to the therapy experience.

Therapy must embrace technology to remain relevant and to help clients.  If licensed therapists do not embrace video therapy, those in need of therapy will seek less qualified people who are using video services.  Lets not let our profession be left behind.

Buck Black LCSW, CST is a therapist who has several years of experience using video conferencing with clients to address anger, stress, and relationship issues.  Therapy appointments are also available at his office. His information is at www.BuckBlack.com Follow him on twitter @BuckBlack

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

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.

 

Healing After Sexual Trauma

by Gilbert Bliss Friday, July 4, 2014

I have had the privilege of working with patients who have had sexual trauma early in their lives, either as children or young adults.  As a result of this opportunity, I have come to believe that it can be important for some who have experienced such a terrible experience, either once or over time, to work with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser.  While I do not, in any way, believe that anyone should seek the advice of a therapist with whom they would experience immediate discomfort, I am of the deep conviction that a healing relationship with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser could help to lift the limitations a patient might feel with regard to letting themselves be available for a meaningful relationship with another person.

Such a venture is a very tender process, involving time and an openness of expression that could help a patient be liberated of old fears while becoming wise about how to best take care of themselves in situations that, after working through the trauma, might otherwise make them too anxious to allow involvement.  This is the process of moving from the position of victim to permission to thrive, perhaps on an even higher level than even the patient might have allowed themselves to consider.

As with any patient I see, my approach is collaborative.  If a patient is too uncomfortable with the work we are doing, I change my approach to take their feelings into account.  If the work just feels like it is "too much", we take a break.  No one should feel like a prisoner to the therapeutic endeavor.

I invite people who have had such difficult experiences to consider what, to some of my colleagues, seems a radical approach.  I would hope that the discovery would be that there is nothing to lose but some time.

Gil Bliss is a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) with a private psychotherapy practice in Towson, Maryland.  Gil has worked with a wide variety of patients, including individuals, couples and families, along with grief work with children.  His web site is www.gblisscounselor.com.

Tags:

Abuse | Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Sexual | Sexual Trauma | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Treatment Modalities

How to "Shop" for Your Therapist

by Jake Jacobsen Monday, June 16, 2014

How can I "shop" for a therapist and what are the essential qualities of a good therapeutic relationship?

These questions go hand in hand, although they are different in content. First, ask yourself: Do you feel more comfortable talking with a male or female therapist? Is it important to you if the therapist is heterosexual or openly gay or lesbian? Do you need individual therapy, couples, family, or group therapy? Are you looking for a structured therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy where you are expected to do homework addressing your problems or do you want a therapy that uses a more relational method?

You should be clear about all of these questions when shopping for a therapist. If, however, you are not clear about what you need, that’s OK too. Start the ball rolling by going to a therapist that has some of what you want. For example someone might choose to work with an openly lesbian therapist that specializes in substance abuse. Once in therapy, the therapist can further assess if the client needs additional help, such as, weekly AA meetings or harm reduction as the main treatment method in the therapy. 

During the first session with a therapist, you will experience first hand how the therapist forms a good therapeutic relationship (or not) by how they interact with you. In that initial session, you can start by asking what the letters after their name signify, and what their training was in psychology. For example: an LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker that was trained in psychology, and psychotherapy techniques. An ATR is a registered art therapist that was trained in the psychology of imagery, psychotherapy, and the creative art process to help people express their emotions. If the therapist isn’t forth coming answering these questions or if the interactions feel too awkward or it just doesn’t feel like a good fit, then that therapist is probably not right for you. I often suggest clients initially come for three sessions to assess the fit. Usually, people know within the first or second session if it feels like a good fit. People are often anxious in the first session so it can be difficult to make an accurate assessment then.

The essential qualities for a good therapeutic relationship are a therapist’s compassionate warmth, professionalism, and transparency with how they are working with you. You want a therapist to be someone with whom you feel you can say whatever is on your mind without feeling judged or pathologized for expressing what you think and feel. A therapist is someone with whom you can feel heard, validated, and challenged by in a compassionately thoughtful way.

Jake H Jacobsen, ATR, LCSW works in Portland, Oregon specializing in working with the LGBTQ community, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Jake uses both online (Skype) therapy, and in-office therapy.  For more information visit http://jakehjacobsen.wix.com/therapyinportland

              

Tags:

Anxiety | Intimacy | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? STRESS!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HelpPRO brings you the final in our Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl suggests lifestyle choices we control.

Stress is one of the primary 'triggers' for people who deal with mental health issues.  If our lives were stress free we may not have the preponderance of mental health challenges we face.  Understanding and managing stress is key to managing mental health issues.

The Mayo Clinic has a great tool to help you understand and learn more about your stress triggers.   Normal, everyday stress may help motivate us to find a good job, support our families, eat healthy, and exercise.  However, everyday stress often builds up and turns into chronic stress which feeds mental health symptoms.  Make a list of the top 10 issues you face right now. 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. 

Circle the issues above that are external exasperations. Check those issues that are within your control.

Are any of your top 10 issues internal irritations?  Please list them below.

The good news is we have the ability to control our thoughts when we manage our mental health issues by caring for ourselves both physically and emotionally and taking medication (where appropriate). The bad news is our fears, attitudes and expectations have been our companions for a long time and it is not easy to change.

Here are some simple stress relievers to help you manage stress more effectively.

Yoga

Meditation

Music

Art

Sports/Exercise

Deep Breathing

Spending time with friends and loved ones

Hobbies

Learn more about stress relievers here and relax your way to positive mental and emotional health!

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Are You Serious! I can be normal? GO GREEN!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 19, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a smile to boost your mood.  This week …….. GO GREEN!

Studies show living close to green areas like parks and gardens is good for your mental health. Just having a green plant in your house or workplace can reduce stress.  Those with ADHD who get outside to exercise or work concentrate and focus better.

Going green may improve your mental health in ways that have long lasting effects on your life.  Simply surrounding yourself with green can reduce anxiety and stress, lessen depression and lead to more happiness overall.

Go green! Be happy! Feel Good! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

Tags:

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? SMILE!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, February 13, 2014

HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, to help people with mental health issues and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges. Cheryl offers lifestyle choices we control that really make a difference.

Last week Cheryl suggested a pet to boost your mood.  This week …….. a smile! Cool

Do you want to be happier - SMILE!  Smiling can truly change the way you feel. No need to  quote research or provide reasoning or justification. Just smile. Try it for yourself.

When you feel down - browse pictures you like, particularly ones that make you smile. Then smile. It may not last, but it may be the nudge you need to engage in a pleasant activity to improve your mood. 

When you are angry - smile. Then keep smiling. It is hard to be angry or frustrated with a smile on your face.   Fake it until you make it with a smile! 

When you feel tired and apathetic - smile. It may provide the gateway to pleasant dreams or induce a serene and tranquil state on days you may not have what it takes to get a lot done.

Smile ... It is contagious. Not only will smiling lift your spirits, it will lift the spirits of those around you.

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags:

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Pets Are a Mood Booster!

by Cheryl Johnson Wednesday, February 5, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP (http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap/) and NAMI (http://www.nami.org) instructor. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

Last week we talked about food affecting your mood. Remember Vitamin D? Plenty of sunshine can improve your mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D in combination with K vitamins to improve your mood (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx).

Vitamin D and a pet that likes to be outdoors is a sure recipe to boost your mood and lift your spirits.  We recommend owning a pet, however, only if you are stable and healthy enough. Pets require a lot of care.  Alternatively, you can walk or spend time with a friends’ pet. Are you ready for a pet?  http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html      Keep in mind puppies and kittens are much more work than older dogs and cats.  There are many older pets in shelters that need homes.  These articles present considerations to help you decide to own a pet or not.  Owning a pet is a huge commitment. Your life as well as your pets’ is at stake. 

http://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/puppies-vs-senior-dog-adoption/

http://savingcaesar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/rebellious-rescue-or-pesky-puppy.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/yournewdog/Before-You-Adopt

A fish tank is much lower maintenance option for a pet. Ever wonder why you see fish tanks in doctor’s offices?  Fish have a calming effect on mood, but even fish require food and attention.  http://www.mynycdoctor.com/aquarium-therapy-adhd/  http://aquariumdesignindia.com/residential-aquarium

One of the biggest benefits to my two puppies, Patty  and Selma is that one is a lap dog who likes to snugglewhile the other is active and a constant reminder to get up and out and enjoy the sunshine!  I work from home and sit in my office with Patty stretched out on my lap.  Selma on the other hand tugs on mysleeve or arm several times a day to remind me to get out and enjoy the sun.  I go out for 5-10 minutes,even in the bitter cold and rain to play ball with Selma who does not understand bad weather.Even when I am not in the mood to boost my mood – each animal is a mood booster -- either a calming spirit or motivation to get up and move and enjoy Mother Nature, whether I am in the mood or not!  Both provide that nudge I need to feel good. 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

Tags: , ,

Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

Are You Serious! I can be normal….? Choose Your Food. Choose Your Mood!

by Cheryl Johnson Thursday, January 30, 2014

To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from certified WRAP and NAMI instructor, Cheryl Johnson. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.

It’s no secret food affects your mood.  Skip a meal and you feel sluggish and may get a headache.  But can food actually make you more positive and upbeat?  There is growing evidence certain foods can improve your mood.  Food is not a cure or a substitute for medication for diagnosed mood disorders, but it can serve as another tool to keep your perspective bright.  Here are some simple suggestions, but if you do research on your own, there is a wealth of information on foods to improve your mood.

Carbs – those evil carbs that make you gain weight and are not healthy.  Not necessarily.  Good carbs contribute to serotonin production, the calming, feel good brain chemical that can help alleviate depression.  (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – fish, flaxseed and walnuts are rich in Omega-3 and also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  Fish is a good mood food!  Personally I like walnuts, but moderation is important.  Walnuts can contribute to weight gain, another factor that may contribute to a sour mood. (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods)

Vitamin D – Plenty of sunshine can improve mood.  Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D.  But keep in mind that without K vitamins – vitamin D has limited effect on mood.  (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx)

Chocolate and Caffeine – The milk chocolate many of us love only has minimal impact on mood.  The best chocolate for mood is more than 50% cocoa and the higher the better.  Cocoa rich chocolate is an acquired taste so give it a chance and enjoy the added benefit of a calmer and more relaxed mood.  (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/27/chocolate-and-mood-disorders/)  And what about caffeine?  Moderation is best.  Caffeine may affect sleep and lack of sleep can affect mood, but a cup or two of coffee will not hurt and may help perk you up and focus to get your work done contributing to a good mood…. 

Take time to learn more at the links provided (or any others) or talk to your doctor and nutritionist. 

Focus on good mood food! 

Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at cherstinane@readwritetechnology.com.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mental Health | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities | Mood

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