Treatment Articles

How to Find a Therapist You Love

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

How to Find a Therapist You LoveWhen I was struggling with my eating disorder, I’d have particularly awful days. Often, it involved me crying into my carpet and wishing I didn’t exist. In those moments, when life was heavy and pressing, I was willing to reach out for help, but I didn’t know where to begin.

My eating disorder was a shameful secret, so naturally I didn’t want to elaborate to the random secretary who answered the phone. I did leave an awkward message or two on a voicemail.

Can New York City Fix Its Mental Health Treatment Problem?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Can New York City Fix Its Mental Health Treatment Problem?New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes he can fix New York City’s terrible problem within its criminal justice system and its poor treatment (and mistreatment) of people with mental illness. He’s putting some much-needed money where his mouth is — $130 million, to be specific.

The money will be used to help begin to reform how those with mental illness are treated while in custody, help shunt them over to treatment services as a first response, and train all of its police officers on how to respond to people with mental illness with compassion rather than violence.

But is it enough to address the problems of providing timely public mental health care to those in the criminal justice system, in a city of 8+ million?

Probably not.

What I Wish People Knew about Depression

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

robin-williamsSomeone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response.

I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

How to Deal with Invasive Thoughts

Monday, November 24th, 2014

inside_mind_schizophreniaI’m no stranger to nasty thoughts. I recognize when they’re present so innately that it’s safe to say it almost hurts. In my almost nine years of living with schizophrenia I’ve had to battle my fair share of these thoughts and I’ve gotten so good at it that I can almost see them coming from a mile away.

If it wasn’t the notion that people were making fun of me it was the idea that I’m more important than anyone else, i.e. grandiosity.

I’ve been subject to many nights where I just stared at the ceiling in the dark letting these little monsters run and play their tricks through all corners of my mind.

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

Friday, November 21st, 2014

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC: Part 1In Massachusetts — supposedly one of the most enlightened and liberal states you can live in in our fine United States — a facility is engaged in a horrifying business. Some have even call it state-sanctioned torture on American soil.

They degrade human beings daily, calling it a form of “treatment.”

They do this regardless of the lack of scientific evidence on the treatment (outside a few flimsy studies published by the facility’s former disgraced director, Matthew Israel). They do it even when important safeguards were lacking for years.

Yes, I’m talking about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. And yet another survivor from that institute is speaking out.

Overcoming 3 Common Obstacles in Therapy

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Overcoming 3 Common Obstacles in TherapyIf you’re new to therapy, you may not know what to expect. To help you make the most of the process, we asked seasoned clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, to share the three biggest obstacles in therapy along with how to overcome each one.

How Mindful Analogies Can Help Kids in Therapy

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Kids in TherapySchool-aged children (6 to 11 years) often wonder why they are sitting in your office for therapy. Many thoughts and emotions are associated with coming to a mental health provider’s office, including curiosity, anxiety and even fear. In order to help kids deal with whatever may be bringing them to therapy, it’s important that they understand why they may need such a service.

Kids are most receptive to messages that are age-appropriate and stated in ways that they can make sense of and understand. For elementary school-aged children, a mindful analogy is often an excellent tool to employ. Analogies help children make sense of concepts that often aren’t easily explained.

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Over the past week, I’ve come across two very different approaches to schizophrenia prevention. I know to some that may sound like an incredulous possibility. But I believe it’s something that’s achievable within our lifetime.

Schizophrenia is uniquely situated to be acted upon by prevention methods. We know it has a larger genetic component than virtually any other mental disorder today. And unlike many other mental health concerns, it has a list of symptoms to watch out for (prodromal symptoms, they’re called) before it turns into full-blown schizophrenia.

Here’s how we may be able to prevent schizophrenia in the future.

6 Ways to Convince an Addict to Get Help

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

addiction-300x212Many people who struggle with alcohol or drugs have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need.

Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person dealing with substance abuse to get help.

10 Introductory Questions Therapists Commonly Ask

Friday, October 24th, 2014

10 Introductory Questions Therapists Commonly AskTherapy is about the fine art of asking directive questions. So what should you expect from your first appointment with a counselor, social worker or psychologist?

The answer is simple: You should expect easy, brain-expanding questions, questions and more questions. A “change map” (often called “treatment goals”) is then created to guide you in solving the problems that are currently plaguing you.

Here are 10 of the more typical questions a psychotherapist will ask to prime your mental pump for positive change during the counseling process. Following the question is an example of what it might sound like.

The Secret to Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

sad_woman09dYou’d never suspect this by listening to pharmaceutical ads, but only one-third of people with major depression get better after trying an antidepressant. The others go on to try different drugs, or combinations of medicine and psychotherapy, and usually seven in 10 achieve remission.

The other third?

They are labeled with the three most dreaded words in the mental health profession: treatment-resistant depression.

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