Friday, September 21, 2007

High And Low

Finding a good therapist is a little like finding a good pet. Sometimes, it's "dog-gone" hard. It would be nice if we could just tune in to Dr. Phil everyday, and he would counsel us through the T.V. in our living room, but finding someone that we can work with is just not that easy. Therapists are like auto mechanics, some are skilled and trustworthy, and some are not.

So, how can we find a qualified person to help us adapt to a life of depression? We might begin by understanding the types of therapists that are available.


01-Psychologists-Licensed practicing psychologists are specifically trained in the mind and behavior as well as diagnosis, assessment and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. The treatment provided is often called "talk therapy." **Not all psychologists believe that chronic depression is a result of a chemical imbalance, and they may attempt to persuade you to give up your medication. Ask them for their views on this issue.

02-Social Workers-C.S.W.s usually have earned at least a Master's Degree, and they also receive training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the above-named disorders. Their goal is to maintain physical, psychological, and social functioning.

03-Psychiatrists prescribe medication. They have the background and experience to understand how the body and the mind as a whole react when psychiatric medication is used to affect brain chemistry. Psychiatrists, as a rule, do not engage in psychotherapy.

04-Marriage and Family Therapists-These counselors have at least a Masters Degree, and have specialized training in the area of family dynamics and therapy.

05-Other mental health professionals might include Certified Counselors, Religious Counselors, and Psychiatric Nurses or Nurse Practitioners.

Locating a good therapist is most likely accomplished (a) through word of mouth, (b) professional referral, (c) church counselors, (d) support groups, or (e) the Yellow Pages. The most reliable sources are friends, family or acquaintances who have actually worked with a particular therapist.

Questions To Ask
01-What is your professional training and degree?

02-How much experience have you had with my particular mood disorder?

03-What theoretical school of thought do you follow?

04-How long are the sessions, and what is the charge per session?

05-Will you accept my insurance? Do you have a payment plan? Are your fees based on a sliding scale?

06-Have you ever been in therapy yourself? For how long?

07-Is it possible to reach you after hours for an emergency?

08-What can I expect from you and what do you expect from me in counseling?

09-How long will I need to be in therapy?

10-Are there other types of treatments for my problem that you would recommend?

11-How do you decide when therapy is done? Are you goal-oriented?

12-Do you take the lead in a session, or do you expect the client to take the lead?

13-Do you tend to focus on what has happened in the past, or on what is happening in the present?

14-What should I do if I feel that therapy is not helping me?

15-Is there a charge for the initial "get-acquainted" counseling session?

Unfortunately, many of us are unable to pay for the type of therapeutic counseling that we need or desire. Personally, that has been a little frustrating to me. I'm sure that I would benefit from therapy, as do almost all people who have chronic mood disorders, but many of us don't have the funds or insurance to get the help we need. This is a frequent complaint among support group members.

If you are able, seek out a qualified therapist who can be another asset in the treatment of your mood disorder. Taking advantage of every resource available is the best approach to controlling and living with depression.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

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