Teaching mental health providers how to navigate the managed care industry and increase cash flow

Addiction

MHPChat Recap – Changing Attitudes of Cannabis Use & Treatment Considerations

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Addiction, Mental Health, Psychotherapy, Tweet Chat | 0 comments

MHPChat Recap – Changing Attitudes of Cannabis Use & Treatment Considerations
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Mental Health: Is Numb the Same as Fine?

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Addiction, Mental Health, Psychotherapy | 0 comments

ID-10067232Here’s some self disclosure. I am a huge Scandal fan and one of my favorite characters is Mellie, the emotionally starved first lady. On a recent episode, Mellie was giving some advice to a colleague on how to deal with the pain of infidelity. The one little gem that stayed with me was “Numb is the same as fine.” Is it really? Well let’s dig into this a little more.

When you’re getting your wisdom teeth pulled, or any dental work involving a drill, numb is fine. Actually, it’s preferred. Most surgeries involve some form of anesthesia. Doctors tend to work better when the patient is not screaming and writhing around in pain. That’s fine. Numbness is induced in those situations. But what about those times when it’s not induced? Such as when you suddenly can’t feel your arm? Or when you can’t feel your legs after an accident. Numb is not so fine in those situations. Numbness is often a sign that something is wrong and you should probably seek some help.

Now that we’ve talked about physical numbness, let’s go a little bit deeper. Is emotional numbness the same as fine? Emotional pain can be very debilitating when not handled properly. Numbness can be a defense mechanism, especially after a traumatic event. Have you ever seen someone seem to move on autopilot after the death of a loved one? After the initial shock, it’s almost as if they are doing everything possible to not feel just to get through the day. Have you ever known someone who struggles with addiction? When you really get to the core of why they are using, it’s usually to avoid some sort of emotional pain, a desire to feel nothing. To them, it is the same as feeling fine. But is that any way to live?

Numbness has it’s purpose. It is meant to be a temporary state to encourage healing. It’s meant to keep you functional to get through the trauma. The problem comes when that numbness is a permanent fixture. It’s ok to experience joy, sadness, love, loss, anger, grief or any other emotions in between. Having feelings and dealing with them tends to make for a richer life. Being numb feels like everything is a haze. It’s like the world around you is painted in various shades of grey. But truly feeling and acknowledging those feelings is like living in a world full of bright, bold colors. I don’t know about you, but I like bright, bold colors.

Now it’s your turn. Is numb the same as fine? Can you truly live and be numb at the same time? Drop your comments below

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Coaching: When to Refer to a Therapist

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Addiction, Coaching, Depression, Mood, Psychotherapy, Refer, Trauma | 0 comments

Let me start by saying coaching is not therapy. They have similar qualities and use similar techniques. But when you dig deeper, coaching and therapy serve different purposes.

When someone is in therapy, he is usually dealing with some past trauma or a current crisis that requires professional attention in order to gain mental stability. Depending on the person’s diagnosis, he may even require the use of medications to maintain stability.
Coaching serves a different purpose. Coaching does not focus on dealing with past traumas or crises. The typical coaching client is looking to tweak certain areas of his life to make it to the next level. 
When you are coaching a client, you may notice some things that may need to be addressed, but are outside of your scope as a coach. So here are some situations in which it is advisable to refer to a therapist. 
1. Past history of trauma – If your client reveals a past history of trauma or abuse and you suspect that it’s impeding progress, by all means refer to a therapist. It’s not your job as the coach to try to help them through the trauma. There are specialized techniques for this type of work. 
2. Unstable mood – It’s one thing to feel down every once in awhile. It’s another if you’re noticing constant mood swings in your client. There may be an undiagnosed mental illness that needs to be addressed. And most coaches aren’t trained mental health professionals. 
3. Addiction – Dealing with addiction takes a special set of skills. I’m a licensed psychotherapist and even I refer out if the person has issues with addiction. 
4. Depression – If you notice your client has been appearing more depressed than usual or begins expressing a desire to no longer be alive, definitely refer to a therapist. If the client mentions that he wants to commit suicide, call for help. 
There may be other situations that arise that are best suited for therapy. When in doubt confer with a therapist at the very least. 
Side note: Since I am also a mental health professional, for ethical reasons I avoid entering into a dual relationship with my clients. If I am seeing a client for coaching and I notice that there may be some mental health issues that need to be addressed, I will refer to another therapist. 
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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