Archives for Patient Rights
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.
It’s safe to say one of the main goals of therapy is to teach you how to help yourself so you don’t actually have to be in therapy, at least not for a moment longer than necessary. If you don't have a diagnosis which requires ongoing therapy, then ask yourself:
A clinical philosophy or style is the general approach a therapist subscribes to, believes in, and/or uses in treatment. Some common clinical approaches therapists may take include: reality oriented (therapy that focuses on counseling and problem solving in the here and now as well as offering instruction in how to create a better future)
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.