Archives for Patient Rights
In the original 1938 Alcoholics Anonymous book*, 15 emotional/spiritual symptoms (referred to as maladies) of addiction are listed: being restless, irritable, and discontented having trouble with personal relationships not being able to control our emotional natures being prey to (or suffering from) misery and depression not being able to make a living (or a happy and successful life) having feelings of uselessness being full of fear unhappiness inability to be of real help to other people being like "the actor who wants to run the whole show" being "driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity" self-will run riot leading a double life living like a tornado running through the lives of others exhibiting selfish and inconsiderate habits These maladies are all rooted in
Look for a therapist with the right balance of professionalism and personality if you want therapy to succeed. Although ideally you will find a therapist with excellent credentials, appropriate training, and relevant experience, as well as a very high percentage of successful outcomes, if you dislike your therapist or don’t trust them—therapy will not be successful. A therapist should have a fairly good balance of professional attributes and personality. Concerning personality, you want to put at least some trust in your gut feelings. If you would like a more concrete way to assess personality, the following information may help. Likability is important if you want to be able to form the kind of connection you need for successful therapy. There is no shame in rejecting a qualified therapist because you don't "click."
When searching for and interviewing a prospective therapist, ask him to tell you about his rate of successful outcomes. A therapist should be able to tell you what percentage (approximately/in the ball park), of his patients with problems similar to yours (for example, clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, addiction, and so on), have achieved successful outcomes with his help. If you don't have a diagnosis, it still may be helpful to hear from the therapist how his patients have improved.
Q. I want to leave my therapist and maybe find a new one. She wants to talk about why I want to leave. I don't want to pay for another session. Should I schedule a session to fire my therapist or not? A. It depends. The one absolutely rock-solid reason to avoid another session
Is therapy not working for you? Do you feel disappointed in how your therapist and you interact? Do you not seem to be getting to the root of your problems? Do you feel that something is missing? Sometimes in these cases, patients don't know what to do except let therapy drag on until they find a new therapist. Or, they let the feelings of dissatisfaction build up until they reach the point of total frustration and then suddenly quit. Either right away or after a time, they search for someone new. Is there anything you can do to stop this vicious cycle and get the help you want? If you are dissatisfied, you might consider discussing with your therapist the problems with how therapy is going. Tell your therapist why you aren’t happy with therapy or with him (or her). Your genuine feelings should be validated. Your therapist should not be defensive. Give your therapist the chance to correct issues that are alienating you. (Sometimes, your therapist might offer an explanation of why certain processes are in your best interest. Try and stay open to this. You can always discuss anything questionable with a friend, mentor or another therapist.) Remember, you can be your own best advocate.* Preventative Measures One of the best ways to thwart problems is
Your Emotional Scaffolding: Developing Coping Skills The systematic, yet personal approach that I believe really works is a combination of the use of proven treatment methods and the therapist’s techniques. Effective therapists primarily use proven treatment methods supported by their own studiously developed personal techniques. Whenever possible (and that is the vast majority of the time), it's important for your therapist to first help you improve—or, if necessary, develop from scratch—your emotional scaffolding comprised of your coping skills and strategies, before digging up and exploring your past.
*Let's begin answering this essential question: What is therapy, really? By definition, psychotherapy is “The treatment of mental or emotional problems by the use of techniques that are tailored to the unique problems and backgrounds of the individual and that may include talk therapy, behavioral modification, medication, and other treatments.” The goal of psychotherapy is to help resolve an individual’s mental and emotional problems and, at the same time, teach that individual how to attain the skills needed to deal with life on life’s terms. Therapy is also an inner journey with the therapist as guide. With a good therapist assisting you, your emotions (what you feel) begin to get in sync with your intellect (what you know). When your head leads and your heart follows, the world becomes an easier, more meaningful place in which to live. Therapy is not about
Your thoughts and feelings are not, as some suggest, your interface with reality. They are your reality. That's why understanding that you can change your thoughts and feelings is so important, because once you believe you can change them, you give yourself the freedom to do so. Gaining mastery over your thoughts and feelings changes your life. Of course, this is easier said than done.