When I meet with clients and their families, I often hear the following comment over and over again: “I did not like the previous therapist.” A barrage of negatives often follows this statement such as “she was controlling,” “he was crazy,” or “she did not help me.” It can be difficult to find a good therapist because it takes time. A therapist who is capable of understanding you and your needs, makes you feel comfortable and not judged, and who can step into your complicated situations and guide you into deeper insight, is worth every penny or time spent in therapy. Each therapist has a different life course, educational course, and calling. Not all therapists have the capability to be effective. We are all made differently and every experience has a way of shaping who we will ultimately become, how we will see life, and how well we can help our clients see the issues in their lives as well. The question I encourage you to ask yourself throughout this article is “what makes a therapist helpful or detrimental to a client?”
Have you ever had to face the fact that perhaps your loved one or close friend needed to be hospitalized? Was their illness so bad and jeopardizing his or her safety that you considered discussing the need to have the person “sign themselves in?” If so, join the millions of other individuals and families who have had to face this very difficult and emotionally draining situation.
Would you know where to turn for funds to pay for mental health treatment? Would you know who to ask for referrals or information on federally funded programs? If not, you are not alone because many families and caregivers struggle with this. Sadly, thousands of families become discouraged during the first year of searching for programs to help pay for mental health treatment services or services for those with intellectual disabilities (formerly called MR-Mental Retardation). After a certain period of time searching for funds to pay down costs, families get discouraged by the multiple resources thrown at them and the millions of programs that have either:
The introduction of Thorazine, an antipsychotic medication, in the mid 1950s led to multiple changes in mental health including positive (increased levels of independence, reduced psychiatric stay, and control of symptoms) and negative (terrible side effects, over-medicating, prescription drug abuse, and de-institutionalization) outcomes. Leeriness of psychotropic drugs has continued into 2013 and many supporters of medication usage are being met with resistance.
While surfing the web I read an article about the “uncivil” nature of civil commitment laws. Civil commitment is the legal process by which an individual with a severe mental illness can be involuntarily committed to a hospital for treatment. It gives families hope if their loved one doesn’t think they need help. Arguments against this action dates back to the mid-1950s when civil rights attorneys fought to reduce inpatient care. The detrimental consequences of this argument is noticeable in the increase in homelessness, victimization, crime, incarceration, and suicide.
Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT), termed shock therapy in the 1940s and 1950s, is a type of treatment used in cases of resistant or severe depression. It is often the last resort following a line of treatments (medication, talk therapy, etc.).
ECT is the induction (or encouragement) of a seizure using an electrical stimulus (or electrode) applied to the scalp to create shock-like waves to the brain. Anesthesia or a muscle relaxant is used and a device is placed between the teeth to prevent loss of teeth.
Families are quite unaware of what leads their loved one(s) to consider suicide. Suicidal ideation is the act of entertaining thoughts of taking your life. For the most part, depression alone can leave a detrimental mark on the psyche. Having worked with suicidal and extremely depressed teens, I consider depression a disease of humanity, a human condition of existence.
Watch these short clips from the Treatment Advocacy Center on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) and why we need legislation to seriously consider the need for AOT.
Why consumers need assisted outpatient treatment
A family’s journey toward saving their daughter
Taking control over a loved one’s mental health care is extremely important. Families or caregivers of an individual with a severe or untreated mental illness often believe that they will automatically have the legal authority to make decisions on their loved one’s behalf in the event they cannot make decisions themselves. The reality is that parents, families, and caregivers have limited to no legal control over an individual by the time they turn 14. In many states, an adolescent as young as 14 years old can make legal decisions on their mental health treatment and refuse to be compliant.