Archives for Patient Rights


Do You Have To Tell Your Therapist In Person That You’re Leaving?

Dedicated, skilled, and caring therapists will, together with you, discuss the right time to end therapy. Usually they'll discuss it with you in the first few sessions so you can be prepared for about how long therapy might take. They'll share with you possible treatment time-frames, and together you'll decide how to proceed.

Your therapist and you will schedule regular progress check-ins, every few sessions or even once per session, and assess how effective the therapy is for you. If it isn't after a reasonable period of time, a responsive therapist will try other approaches with you or might even suggest a different therapist.

But suppose that you decide your therapist isn't for you and you are planning to leave therapy, either to work with someone else or because you feel you no longer need therapy—what should your course of action be?
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Is Psychology Doomed? The Problem With Psychological Research

Richard's off, C.R. writes:

"Of 100 studies published in top-ranking journals in 2008, 75% of social psychology experiments and half of cognitive studies failed the replication test."

So states a Guardian article about a recent study in the journal, Science, "which saw 270 scientists repeat experiments on five continents, [and which] was launched by psychologists in the US in response to rising concerns over the reliability of psychology research."

Why is this important and why should you care?
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Do You Really Need To Talk About Your Past?

Does therapy absolutely require you to "talk about your past?" Do you need to "go down that road?"

My answer, adapted from Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On, may surprise you.

Your therapist will, beginning from the very first session, evaluate how you cope with problems and challenges. Where your coping skills aren’t as strong as they might be, a good therapist will teach you how to strengthen them. I believe that generally, only then, should your therapist ask your permission to go ahead and explore important events in your past.
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Just as some medical doctors aren’t in tune with the importance of recommending psychotherapeutic evaluations, some psychotherapists aren’t aware of the importance of recommending medical evaluations.

Sadly, I would say this is often the case. Illnesses that should be treated medically can sometimes masquerade as emotional problems.

For example, a condition such as mitral- valve prolapse (a common disorder where the valve between the heart's heart’s left upper chamber and the left lower chamber doesn't doesn’t close properly) can cause symptoms of anxiety, including heart palpitations.
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Being Shy Can Be A Good Thing

A little over a decade ago, I was consulted by a young couple regarding their nine-year old son. The school had recommended counseling. They felt his shyness and lack of participation in class was concealing a deeper problem, perhaps abuse, depression, or other issue.

The boy had once participated freely in class, but by mid-year, he never raised his hands and looked like he was daydreaming. The parents took him to a specialist who felt he might be on the autism spectrum and recommended therapy. They wanted another opinion.
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The Summertime Blahs & Blues

For many of us, summer is the time we feel the most upbeat. For those with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the long days packed with sunshine can offer blessed relief from depression and low energy.

Outdoor walks and other activities and a more relaxed approach to time are things both of us really look forward to and enjoy.

But for some, the summertime is emotionally difficult. The very things that make summer appealing to one person, make it seem negative to another. You can end up with the blahs or even the blues. Here are a few, plus some quick fixes:
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Therapists: Could A Medical Condition Be The Cause Of Your Client’s Mental Illness?

A well-trained and dedicated medical doctor will consider whether or not there is an emotional component possibly triggering a physical issue, such as stress in the case of fatigue. But often, those in the mental health field, especially psychotherapists, might not evaluate and rule out medical or other issues in the case of a client presenting with a mental illness.

In training sessions with interns and therapists-in-training, I emphasize the importance of doing a comprehensive evaluation before diagnosing—and doing therapy with—a client. I explain that when it comes to a mental health evaluation it is as vital for therapists to determine which factors are contributing to or causing mental illness, whether that mental illness is mild or more severe.

Yet many therapists jump right into talk therapy at the first or second visit; not everyone in private practice examines medical records or asks their clients to get blood-work done.
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Getting Focused On Life, Feelings, Hopes: A Therapy Tool

In recent comments, Lorr, a reader asked to see an example of a personal perspective paper, a therapy tool that can benefit clients who struggle with articulating their experience.

Lorr asks:

I think the PPP is a great idea, I read about it in your book. Do you have a format or samples? I’m not sure how to get started.

How is the PPP different from a biography?

A biography, or autobiography, can tell the events in a person's life, without the inner experience. A PPP is more focused on what these events felt like and how they impacted the person's emotions and his own insights into his challenges.
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