Therapy


Let’s be honest, the television and film industry is pretty good at dramatizing situations in ways that make viewers believe what they are seeing and hearing. However, all these films and sitcoms have only one thing to offer – entertainment. Your experience with a licensed therapist will not at all resemble that of Tony Soprano nor will you find a cursed Jiminy Cricket offering his services in your area. As in many fields of practice, myths about therapy abound. By learning how counseling services really work, you may be more willing to seek the help you need. 1. Seeking therapy means you are crazy. Most often, those seeking help from a therapist are simply struggling with everyday stress. Major life changes, overwhelming grief, relationship problems, and self-esteem issues are all examples of reasons why people see a therapist. 2. You can fix your issues on your own. Sometimes a positive attitude can help someone rise from a funk or muddle through their life, but this idea tends to only exacerbate the feeling of stress and depressive feelings. An experienced therapist has the ability to give insight and wisdom that may not occur to those struggling with personal issues. 3. Therapy will confirm my worst fears. Many clients go into therapy believing that something is fundamentally wrong with them and that treatment will only confirm the ideas they have about themselves. The truth is, a therapist doesn’t want to label their clients, they simply want to help them understand why they feel what they feel. 4. Friends do the work of a therapist for free. Yes, social interaction is a very healthy activity in which to participate. On the other hand, while your friends and family may listen to you speak about your problems and sometimes offer advice, it’s a good idea to remember that these confidants don’t have the training necessary to help you learn the coping skills you need. 5. My employer will find out I’m in therapy. Whether you are worried about using your health insurance to pay for therapy or you will need time off from work for appointments, the only way your employer will know you are in therapy is if you tell them. You are not required to specify your need for time off, nor is a therapist or health insurance provider allowed to tell them about your services. 6. Counseling services cost a fortune. Of course, there are times when a client needs more sessions than others due to bigger issues and those payments can add up over time. For lesser issues, less time will be required and the suggested length of therapy...

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Nothing in this world can be completely controlled. There are moments in everyone’s life in which they find themselves suffering from things they cannot change. Learning how to accept the uncontrollable events in our lives is essential to living a happy life at home, work, or out in the community. Stop worrying. The number one thing someone can do to improve their overall mood is to learn how to stop worrying about everything all the time. Sure, there are potentially dangerous times in our lives when worrying seems like the correct response, but this is not the case at all. The only things a person has any control over are their own actions, and their reactions, to the events occurring around them. This isn’t to say you should allow yourself, or your children, to engage in dangerous activities, but there are better ways to handle these situations when they arise. A little knowledge and careful preparation go a long way to reducing worry. For instance, there’s no need to worry about getting to work on time, even when traffic seems to fight against you because you always have the option of leaving your house a little earlier. Reduce emotional pain. Let’s face it, tragedy happens. From the loss of a loved one to a sudden financial crisis, these moments come without warning and have the potential of being very negative influences on our mood. When tragedy strikes, many people find themselves running the events over and over in their minds. Unfortunately, allowing this to happen will quite often lead us to suffer from depression or substance abuse as we try to escape these thoughts. Many clients who seek help from a therapist do so because they are unable to let go of their tragedy and reduce the overwhelming emotional pain they are feeling. Counseling services are the best way to learn how to accept what has happened without denying your feelings or allowing your homelife, relationships, and career to suffer. Live stress-free. Coming to the realization that you can’t control others and learning from the consequences of your own actions are the first steps to letting go of stress. In the end, we are all powerless to change the past or predict the future. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause some sufferers to pull back from family, friends, and society in general. Most of the time, those suffering from PTSD are simply trying to avoid the situations similar to those that caused them harm. A well-trained therapist will counsel you on how to cope with the things that cause you stress and offer tools that will help you reduce...

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The need for therapy extends far beyond basic mental health issues. Most are aware that those with depression, eating disorders, and other diagnoses, are strongly encouraged to seek the services of a licensed professional in order to cope and begin healing. However, those without a clear family history or diagnosis may not even know that a therapist may be able to help with the things affecting their lives and relationships. 1. Sudden Mood Swings Abrupt and unaccountable changes in mood can be attributed to several different factors depending on the person and their situation. Though mood swings are sometimes connected to bipolar disorder, they can also be caused by other issues such as depression, stress, puberty, and pregnancy. 2. Loss of Motivation Often, patients do not see their own lack of desire or willingness to do the things they normally enjoy. This loss of motivation to carry out everyday tasks, or engage in beloved activities, is usually first spotted by friends and family members who will ask about the change and suggest seeing a therapist to find the cause. 3. Feelings of Isolation Perhaps you feel alone in a room full of people. It could be that you are going through something and it feels as if no one around you supports you or understands. These feelings are likely if you have been ill, suffered a recent personal or professional setback, or have lost connections with close family and friends after a change in your location. 4. Changes in Sleep Patterns Depression and anxiety are the two most common reasons why someone’s sleeping patterns will change. Those with depression and a loss of motivation will often find they are sleeping more each day, but do not feel rested upon waking. On the other hand, stress and anxiety will likely cause bouts of insomnia as patients fret and worry over the things that are affecting their lives. 5. Substance Abuse Substance abuse is not the reason to see a therapist or the problem with which she will help you learn to cope. Instead, therapists seek to find and treat the underlying issues that have led their patients to seek solace in drugs and/or alcohol. 6. Harmful Thoughts Persistent thoughts of harming yourself or others is a very moral reason to see a therapist. Stress and trauma are two of the biggest causes of sudden harmful thoughts. Patients are less likely to act on these thoughts if they are able to find ways of dealing with the pain or frustration from which they stem. 7. Recent Trauma Due to the host of ill-effects to which trauma can lead, seeking advice from...

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As technology progresses, doctors and therapists are beginning to see patients via the internet. Utilizing other medical services, physicians are remotely diagnosing and prescribing treatments to patients. Likewise, therapists have also begun counseling clients using email, group webinars, and text messaging. While this type of web therapy may seem like a convenient idea, there are several reasons you should continue seeing your therapist in-office. 1. Finding Quality Services Trying to find a high-quality, licensed, therapist through a smartphone app is probably the most difficult avenue for finding services. How do you verify the experience or qualifications of someone you’ve never met? These counselors could be anywhere in the world. Even if they are licensed, it does not mean they are licensed in your state or any other in the country. If you find yourself in-office counseling services and your therapist has found text messages as a helpful tool for reminders and quick check-ins, then by all means you should utilize this technology. The point is, seeing a real, live, person in an established office in your hometown is really the only way to verify their qualifications. 2. Valuable Cues Therapists use more than words to develop treatment plans for their clients. Not only would an online therapist fail to see drooping shoulders in a text message or email, but they would not hear the erms, um, and oh’s, that may accompany responses. These forms of communication allow clients to edit their replies and this can be misleading. There is a lack of pressure and clients have ample time to think about what they will say so their responses are less organic which can create problems for counselors. In an office, a therapist will see the body language and verbal pauses you use when confronted with certain questions or topics which allows him or her to assess you and treat you in the best way possible. 3. Client Confidentiality How often do we hear that some social media site or app has been hacked and users’ confidential payment information has been compromised. Anyone can create and release an app, but by no means does this mean they are interested in protecting your private information. Online counseling service websites may not be secure which can expose your deepest issues to the public. Contrarily, in-office therapy sessions are completely confidential, aside from a few exceptions, and you can be assured that a truly qualified and licensed therapist will be HIPAA-compliant in every case. 4. Insurance Coverage The use of web-connected counseling services is a fairly new concept. There hasn’t even been enough time to fully research these types of services. For this...

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Choosing to see a therapist is the first step in finding relief from your symptoms. When you are suffering from personal or socially-related issues, you will likely need the help of a professional counselor to help you learn to cope. Licensed therapists are highly trained in proven techniques and treatments for disorders ranging from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. The following breakdown explains the requirements for providing counseling services and will ease any fears you may have about your therapist’s ability to help you. Step 1: Extensive Education Much like our clinical medical providers, therapists are required to complete many years of education that begins with an undergraduate degree that will often be related to the field in some way. Next, future counselors must attend a minimum of 60 hours of graduate work that will include, but are not limited to, concepts such as substance abuse, human sexuality, and psychopathology. Beyond the classwork, the MFT trainee is required to complete at least 150 hours of face-to-face counseling. They may even undertake 75 hours of client-centered advocacy training, or if not, another 75 hours of face-to-face will be needed to obtain their master’s degree. Step 2: Dual Exams Some states have very thorough and strict examination policies for licensed marriage and family therapists. In California, the licensing program entails two exams, with time-limits in place, to be sure that counselors are up-to-date on techniques and regulations. Upon receiving a graduate degree, prospective therapists will have their fingerprints taken and apply for their chance to sit for three separate written tests. The Law and Ethics Exam will assess the applicant’s knowledge and ability to apply legal and ethical standards. The California Clinical Exam tests prospective therapists knowledge of, and ability to implement, psychotherapeutic principles, methods, treatments and their applications. Applicants are allowed four hours to complete this 170 question exam. Step 3: Supervised Training Those graduates that have completed school and passed their exams are not simply thrown to the wolves. First, they must fulfill many hours of supervised training in a real-world setting. Now known as an MFT Intern, a candidate will need to work under supervision for 104 weeks or at least 3,000 hours. Within this amount of time, they are required to engage in 500 hours of psychotherapy, but no more than 500 hours of group therapy and 375 hours of tele-counseling. Additionally, up to 500 hours of administrative activities such as writing evaluations, processing notes, and completing reports will be accepted. Up to 1,000 non-counseling hours are allowable and may include workshops, meetings, and receiving psychotherapy themselves. You may be needing therapy for yourself, or to work...

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Each year, approximately 18.5 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness. Unfortunately, more than half of these Americans do not seek treatment and this can lead to further issues including hospitalization and suicide. Most of the time, adults are not aware they are suffering from mental disorders such as depression until it is too late. What most do not realize is that depression can be caused by several factors or any combination of them. However, no matter the cause, or causes, of someone’s depressed feelings, seeking the help of a qualified and licensed therapist is highly recommended in most cases. 1. Genetics As research is completed, it has been concluded that someone with a relative that suffers from clinical depression in nearly five times more likely to develop the disorder themselves. Scientists believe that a genetic link can be found in up to 40 percent of those whom suffer from depression and have even isolated a prevalent gene, chromosome 3p25-26, in some families. 2. Hormone Levels One’s mood is highly regulated by a person’s endocrine system and the hormones it produces. Rapid or extreme changes in hormone levels can cause depression in pregnant and postpartum women, those suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or menopause. Men are also likely to experience clinical depression due to other sex hormone imbalances including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. 3. Medical Conditions Other causes of hormone imbalances are caused by issues with one’s thyroid. Both hyperthyroidism, caused by an overactive thyroid, and its counterpart hypothyroidism, may present themselves during periods of hormonal flux in men and women. Women may be misdiagnosed as having a panic disorder or anorexia when, in fact, she is suffering from an underactive thyroid. 4. Stress Adrenal issues are another hormone-related cause of depression. If someone seems to feel sluggish, moody, or depressed, they may have a chronic imbalance in their stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Stressful life situations, and the inability to cope with them, can lead to these imbalances. Seeking treatment from a therapist helps those suffering from stress-related depression to learn healthy coping mechanisms when life gets tough. 5. Substance Abuse Although no direct cause-and-effect has been found between substance abuse and depression the two are very closely linked. Drug and alcohol use may increase an underlying risk for mental disorders or make the symptoms worse. A person’s attempts at recovery from addiction may even cause depression. Those suffering from substance addiction often seek therapy services in order to learn how to fight these closely-related illnesses. Depression is a serious medical illness that affects how one feels, thinks, and acts. Those suffering from depression may...

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