how does it all come together?

my personal inventory...

So now you're saying to me, "Okay, I see why you've linked all the words together. How does it all come together as a self help for recovering?"

I'll show you here....

try recovering.... it's worth your efforts

The average miserable person decides that maybe "counseling" is the answer to all the problems in life.
I had gone to many different counselors looking for someone who could tell me what was wrong with me. I was very disappointed with the quality of mental health professionals I encountered.
If I was the average miserable person, I would have quit trying. Why bother? It's a waste of money!
I can see where many people who go to counselors or psychiatrists or social workers turned therapist - leave the appointment wondering who needs help more!
It takes most people quite a long time to find a counselor that they feel is competent, educated properly with experience in anxiety disorders, depression, life dysfunctions and they feel comfortable with.

Choosing a Psychotherapist - By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.

Helena is a good place to have emotional problems, an educator recently joked with me. She was referring to the fact there are many psychotherapists now practicing in Helena.

Psychotherapy can be an expensive, time-consuming process which deals with very personal, sensitive issues. How does the lay person know whom to choose as a therapist?

How can you decide who can provide you with the most effective treatment?

Probably the best way to choose a therapist is to do some research. In a small city such as Helena, most professionals are known by their reputations. Ask your physician, clergy person, school personnel or friend who has been in therapy whom they would recommend or what they think of a particular therapist.

And don't be afraid to ask a therapist about himself or herself before you decide to work with him or her. You are entitled to such information.

The following is a list of questions you may want to ask of, or about, a psychotherapist:

  1. What is his education & training? Psychiatrists have medical degrees, psychiatric social workers & counselors have master's degrees & psychologists have doctorate degrees.
  2. Is the person licensed? With the passage of the counselor's licensing bill by the 1985 Legislature, all mental health professionals can be licensed in Montana.
  3. While licensure doesn't guarantee that a therapist is effective, it does insure that the therapist has a minimum level of education & has passed written & oral examinations. Licensure also provides a board to whom you could complain about a therapist if you needed to.
  4. How much experience does the therapist have? Research has shown that more experienced therapists are usually more effective.
  5. What type of cases does the therapist usually treat? What is his therapeutic approach to problems? Obviously, you want to be treated by a therapist with experience with your type of problem in a manner you can accept.
  6. Has the therapist had therapy herself? Has she worked thru problems which are similar to your own? All therapists should have worked on, or be continually working thru, their own personal & interpersonal problems because they can interfere with effective therapy.
  7. Is the therapist supervised or does he have colleagues to whom he can talk about his work? Consultation with colleagues can improve a therapist's performance, especially when he becomes stuck with a particular case.

Finally, having met with a therapist, how did you respond to the person?

Did you feel you could open up to her & continue to work with her on your problem?

The best analogy of psychotherapy I've read is that the therapist is like a navigator whose knowledge of the river can help you thru the difficult stretches.

You remain the captain, however, deciding where & when to go.

For a successful journey, make sure you choose a navigator you can trust.

About the Author: J. Bailey Molineux, a psychologist with Adult and Child Counseling, has incorporated many of his articles in a book, Loving Isn't Easy, Isbn 1587410419, sold through bookstores everywhere or available directly from http://selfhelpbooks.com. Copyright 2002, J. Bailey Molineux and http://selfhelpbooks.com, all rights reserved. This article may be reprinted but must include authors copyright and website hyperlinks.

As you can see here, already on this page...
When reading the two articles concerning finding professional mental health help; the underlined link words are concerned with both factual information found at anxieties101 as well as, emotional information that is associated with finding a mental health professional.
Being "afraid" to ask questions, for example, is one choice of underlined link words you may choose to click on to learn more about being afraid to ask questions.
At anxieties 101, you may want to read about symptoms of mental disorders, more about mental health professionals, more about counseling methods, or just familiar words that may be brought up when speaking to someone about mental health counseling issues.
It's your recovery! You must begin by taking the responsibility yourself to research each and every subject to the best of your ability.
On most pages within the emotional feelings network of sites, you'll find links to third party articles to read more concerning your desired subject.

I suggest having a notebook to keep track of words you may want to click on in the future and what pages you have read...
Remember, having a mental illness can keep you from thinking clearly & you must help yourself as much as possible. Making the commitment to get better is tough on your best days.
If you just devote one hour a day, or 10 minutes a day - whatever you can do... it will help you!

You can perhaps see after reading the article below,  the best mental health professionals are happy to answer your questions, welcome inquiries concerning their credentials & their therapy methods.
I do feel that I must address your state of mind at the time you are trying to begin your recovery by finding a mental health professional for an assessment concerning your mental health.
If you're finding yourself experiencing many different symptoms of an anxiety disorder, (which you can read about at anxieties 101) it's extremely difficult to make sound decisions concerning anything. I can understand your fears, frustrations, anxiety and feelings of helplessness in this very difficult period in your life. I was exactly in the same place about five years ago.
The only advice I can offer you about being in an unstable frame of mind is that you read over this information, explore anxieties 101 & write down the important points you need to talk about on the phone to a receptionist when making an appointment.
There is always the option to visit your general physician first for a check up. It's a wise choice being that many symptoms of mental illness are also symptoms of physical illnesses. Your general doctor can clear up any confusion concerning your physical health. Your general doctor may also be familiar with your insurance plan & have a good referral for a mental health professional that you begin your search with.
Writing down what you need to know:
  • the determination of good physical health by your general physician
  • the referral given by your general physician
  • any other referrals you've been offered by family or friends or co-workers
  • the available list of covered mental health professionals offered by your insurance company
  • your insurance guidelines - how many visits you are allowed each year, your co-pay amount & if your insurance company deals with any mental health professionals that participate in the programs where you're entitled to 3 free visits before making a determination as to whether you feel comfortable with the therapist
  • your list of questions for the receptionist at the mental health facility you're contacting -

1. Is the therapist available for a telephone interview or an interview in person before an appointment for counseling is made?

2. Does the therapist have experience in treating the mental illness (or marriage counseling, family therapy, or addiction therapy) you're dealing with? (Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, etc.)

3. How long has the therapist been in practice?

4. What are the policies concerning appointments at the facility? (Ask this question because if you are in extreme mental distress, sometimes it's wise to ask for a reminder call the day before your appointments & some facilities will not comply with this request! If you miss an appointment, your insurance company will not pay for it. You will be held responsible for the $100.00+ dollars yourself!)

Those questions above are a good start. Write down the answers to the questions you've asked on the same piece of paper that you've written down your questions on. Take your time. It's the receptionist's job to answer your questions. 

This call may take some time though. You may have to be put on hold from time to time & I understand how frustrating & anxious you may become. Just try to do some deep breathing, relaxation breathing to keep yourself in control during the telephone interviews.


How To Choose A Competent Therapist - By Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW

I received a disturbing email this week. It's one of many on the same theme which I have received over time, so I knew it was time to address this issue.

Here's the story.

A young lady's boyfriend went to see a doctor for depression. She shared with me that the doctor apparently said he has "Level 8 Depression" & that he spends too much time with his girlfriend. The girlfriend states she sends him daily emails for support of his depression & they date on the weekends & that's it. She wanted to know my opinion.


I explained, first of all, that there is no such thing as "Level 8 Depression." And, secondly, I had entirely too little information to be making any judgment about their relationship.

If the information I received is accurate, shame on that doctor. No wonder so many are cynical about the therapy & psychiatry profession. Good golly!

Here's a great example of the kind of client I would want you to be. I will call him Sam.

Sam & I haven't met yet, but he emailed me locally from here in Indianapolis where I practice & asked me to give him a call. I called him. He said he was interested in marriage counseling. We proceeded to talk for about minutes.

First we had the usual small talk to warm up the conversation, then he asked about my credentials & licensing. I explained that I am state licensed & nationally certified. Then he asked how much experience I had, which is years.

Later in the conversation he asked what made me an "expert" in marriage counseling, what model I use & what success couples were experiencing thru counseling with me.

These were absolutely excellent questions! You should never be afraid to ask vital questions like these.

Sam apologized once or twice for asking so many questions. My response each time was that I was flattered to answer all his questions & I told him that I would do exactly the same thing were I him.

Would you go see a podiatrist for a heart condition or a veterinarian who fancied himself to be a pulmonary specialist?

Of course not, but if you aren't your own advocate & sleuth that may be just what happens when it comes to your mental health.

Finally, Sam asked what I thought about seeing a couple from a different cultural background. I told him that as long as they didn't mind teaching me cultural customs I may be ignorant of, that I would be fine.

Then I asked him how that would be for them. By that time we had talked for nearly 20 minutes. We had established a rapport. He said, "Based on how our conversation has gone thus far, I believe you're the right fit for us."

The only sad part about this story is that is doesn't occur nearly enough. I wished more clients would call or email & interview me just like Sam did.

Some therapists never even talk to clients before the first interview. Someone else may do the intake for them. If a therapist won't talk to you directly if you request it, take heed!

Besides the valuable information from both stories, I want to give you clear guidelines on how to proceed with receiving the right help from the right professional.

First, you can't beat a personal referral. In fact, % of my referrals are word-of-mouth. I was interviewed on a radio talk show at the beginning of this year.

From that one hour on the air, several clients have found their way to me. So, Keep your eyes & ears open for professionals who are headlined on the local news, radio & in the newspaper.

Many of my clients both online & off have referred to me as a "friend" at some point in our work together. I can't think of a better compliment. However, though I'm a good guy & a good therapist, you certainly wouldn't want to ask me for help if you have bulimia (an eating disorder).

Why? I don't have any expertise in this area. Make sense? So make sure that the person your going to consult with, online or off, has expertise in your area of need.

Certainly check that your potential helper is appropriately certified and/or licensed.

Keep in mind that unless a psychiatrist has obtained training to provide psychotherapy, they DON'T receive this as part of their medical training. As a rule of thumb, psychiatrists are trained in evaluation & medication.

So many of you are looking for professional consultation online today. There are several things to look for. There are beginning regulatory guidelines for those practicing on the net. My site Overcoming Depression is an information & resource site only.

However, if you were looking at the site where I offer professional email consultation (CounselingPros.com) you would first note that there's a picture of me listed up top & right. Underneath that are my credentials & a link for you to verify them with the state of Indiana Health Profession's Bureau.

Scroll down & you'll see my toll-free number where you can actually call to see if I'm a real person ;-)

Some professionals also choose to list their snail mail address. For privacy issues (junk mail mostly) I don't do this.

For an exhaustive resource on securing the best online help I have written a book entitled, "The Online Counseling Consumer's Guide." It's on the CounselingPros.com site, it's an e-book & it's free. Help yourself.

Remember, the care you choose & receive is initially your responsibility. You deserve no less than the best. Go out & get it!

Author: Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
E-mail: mailto:editor@overcoming-depression.com
Copyright: by Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW
Web Address: http://www.Overcoming-Depression.com
Word Count: 960
Category: Mental Health
Dave Turo-Shields, ACSW, LCSW is an author, university faculty member, success coach and veteran psychotherapist whose passion is guiding others to their own success in life. For weekly doses of the webs HOTTEST success tips, sign up for Dave’s powerful “Feeling Great!” ezine at http://www.Overcoming-Depression.com

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