Sensory Sensitivity + Anxiety

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that anxiety and its many facets are something I work with and write about often. An issue I’ve never touched on here in the blog is an important one – sensory sensitivity.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of sensory processing difficulties associated with numerous other conditions, and there are some diagnoses that refer directly to a person’s ability level to integrate and process sensory data. What we’re less familiar with is how anxiety may make someone a bit more sensitive to external sensory input.

I hear the word “overwhelmed” as a descriptor from my clientele about certain situations they encounter that create anxiety or just inflame it. What they’re usually trying to communicate to me is the feeling of being inundated with external stimuli like lights, sounds, physical sensations, and smells during a state of anxiety or panic.

What it is + Why it happens

During periods of anxiety, the body’s fight, flight, faint, or freeze response kicks in (or the flight/fight response). The fight/flight response is a brilliant system in the human body that integrates multiple body systems with the use of both hormones and neurotransmitters. The hormones travel throughout the bloodstream causing certain responses, and the neurotransmitters act within the brain to trigger other responses. These work together to create a group of battle or flight-ready responses in the body to prepare us to either kick some butt, run, faint for protection, or freeze in place as a means of survival.

This response isn’t just triggered by life or death danger. It can also be set off by the threat of danger or perceived danger; the perceived or real danger that starts the fight/flight response can be either emotional or physical in nature. For those of us with histories of trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and similar – we may be running in “crisis mode” to an extent with some level of the fight/flight response sort of kicked in at any point in time.

The fight/flight response causes the body to do some interesting things:

Heart rate and blood pressure increase so that more blood is moving through your system more rapidly, which makes it easier to run or fight.

The pupils dilate so that its easier to see whatever the danger is.

Veins constrict in order to get more blood into muscles to aid in fighting or fleeing.

Muscles tense, which helps get more blood into some muscles for fighting or running, and the smooth muscles relax, which increases oxygen flow.

Non-essential body systems shut down, which frees up energy for the potential need to fight or run.

It becomes hard to focus on small tasks because your attention is diverted to the bigger picture, which is staying alive.

This all happens very quickly and it can happen whether there is any “real” danger or not. Notice how part of the process is the dilation of the pupils in the eyes. Our pupils expand or contract depending on the level of light we’re exposed to in most situations. During times of intense anxiety or panic, they dilate as a means of keeping you safe. You’re on high alert for danger and this includes your pupils working to take in more light. The sensory result can be feelings of overwhelm and confusion in bright or very low lighting during times of anxiety.

Other senses may become heightened as a result of the fight/flight response in the body as well. Your brain thinks its about to have to defend you and make sure you survive, so it makes sense that sensitivity to noise in the environment as well as smell and physical touch may occur. In moments of anxiety you and your brain are on the look out for anything threatening, which means that all your senses become more “sensy” – they’re trying to detect any danger around.

This process is what creates the feeling of overwhelm that many people with anxiety experience when they’re in the wrong (or right) situation. This is why for some people a trip to the store is no big deal, and for some with anxiety, its an event requiring deep breathing exercises before and during.

This isn’t the case with all sensory sensitivity experienced by people or even by people with anxiety. It’s always important to talk with your doctor or mental health professional about any sensitivity that interferes with your daily life to be sure there isn’t something more going on.

To cope with sensory sensitivity related to anxiety, try some of these tips:

  1. If being in the store or other brightly lit places slows you down, spaces you out, or makes you want to hide, try wearing your sunglasses. This cuts the brightness back, and sometimes there’s a cozy feeling to having the eyes protected.
  2. If noise is an issue, try wearing earbuds with your favorite tunes or some relaxing music playing. You could even kill off a few chapters of an audiobook or podcast. This helps drown out the miscellaneous noise and lets you focus on just one bit of noise. Of course, this isn’t an option if you’re driving, or in an otherwise unsafe-for-earbuds-situation. Use good judgment!
  3. Before entering into a sensory-rich environment take a few minutes to practice regulating your breath and calming your nervous system by breathing in a pattern that has been shown to do so. Inhale for 4 seconds through the nose, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Keep your lips parted, your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and count evenly. Do this several times. You can also try 4-square breathing: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and then back to inhaling for 4 seconds.
  4. Try some gentle progressive muscle relaxation so you enter the environment “loosey-goosey”. Slowly tense and then release each group of muscles in your body. Don’t over-tense! It shouldn’t be painful. When you fully relax the tension it should feel like a bit of relief.

While these tips will get you through a moment or two when things become overwhelming, working on your underlying anxiety is where the real gold is at. Check out my course on taming your anxiety or visit my work with me page to find out about working directly with me on your anxiety.

Whitney

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Communicating Boundaries (to people who don’t care or listen)

Boundaries are the things that tell us where someone else ends and we begin. They tell us what is ok with us and in which relationships and what isn’t. Nearly every person on the planet has at some point had a boundary problem.

Clear signs you’re in need of a boundary tune-up are dreading social interactions with a particular person or people, getting easily dragged into other people’s ‘drama’, having a hard time telling people ‘no’, having trouble making decisions or assertions for fear of judgment, having your feelings hurt or feeling disrespected, and feeling like you need to explain yourself (to people who aren’t signing your paychecks).

If any of that sounds familiar, this post may be helpful for you. To narrow things down, these tips are best for those resistant to boundaries and for relationships that simply aren’t healthy. They’re for people who really don’t or won’t hear you. These aren’t tips for initial attempts at boundaries in healthy relationships.

In a perfect world, you would be able to easily decide what is ok with you, communicate that to others, and everyone would respond, “Okie dokie,” and abide by what you’ve stated is ok or not. The trouble with that is that when we enter relationships or even entire families, we take on roles that others want us to, sometimes without knowing. Others get used to having us in a particular role and therefore ok with whatever things they assume we’ll do, tolerate, or participate in. When we tell someone, “No,” for the first time it isn’t easy for us to say and it isn’t easy for them to hear and act on.

Setting boundaries is often an equal issue of pattern-breaking. We’re making a new pattern for us and we’re trying to get others to go along with that, which is often entirely up to our willingness to set a boundary and reinforce it like a sentry standing guard at a gate. This takes effort on our part in a major way.

Communication plays a large part in that sort of pattern breaking and it isn’t the seemingly simple matter of explaining our positions and then everyone jumping on board with them. If people are really very used to your responses in a situation or you playing a particular part with them or within a family group, standing guard for your boundaries will involve some communication changes.

In many (MANY) situations it will take a total make-over of how you engage with others to both set and reinforce boundaries.

Opinions, judgment, and input from others often flood when people are used to us allowing that to happen. You can’t control what someone will say or do in response to a decision, but we can control how we present information, what information is presented, and how we respond to unsolicited input. Check out these tips for starting to lay and protect boundaries where opinion, judgment, unsolicited advice, or ‘drama’ are the issues:

  1. Limit the information you share with people who offer judgment/opinion/advice that you don’t want. While you’re building and reinforcing boundaries keep conversation to non-controversial topics. Now isn’t the time to share with boundary-hating Aunt Edna that you’re thinking of quitting your job to return to school. Keep information you share non-personal to the extent possible. When you need to let people know about a decision you’ve made (and spend some time thinking about whether they really need to know!) just deliver the information that you’re doing such and so and leave out the details as to the hows, whys, and wherefores.
  2. Retreat from drama. When your friend who is big into drama calls to do their daily drama-dump, be unavailable if you want to. Don’t explain why. Be bored with what you’re hearing and don’t offer solutions or fixes for the person’s drama. Be polite, but don’t get involved. The goal here is to avoid emotional entanglement that really isn’t yours to begin with. You can avoid feeling angry, jealous, or upset about things that this person brings to you if you don’t engage past listening in a very flat and bored way. If someone succeeds in roping you in, the drama for them and for you will only escalate. Try shutting things down with:
  • That’s too bad.
  • You really should talk to (someone the situation actually concerns) about this.
  • I can’t help with this.
  1. Make like a cheese-puff. I like this one because I like cheese puffs. They’re light and fluffy, just like you need to be with people who have historically upset you, roped you into drama, or pushed too many of your other buttons. Be full of fluff, light, and airy as a general rule.
  2. Don’t answer intrusive questions. When someone asks you a question that isn’t ok try not engaging with it. In some relationship its easy to take on the idea you owe an explanation to someone, or in your eagerness to feel understood you may answer a question that steps over the boundaries you want to create. Instead, shut things down with:
  • What a great question! Why do you ask?
  • That’s already taken care of.
  • I’m not really into talking about that.
  • Oh, that’s too bad. I already decided.
  • I’d like to hear how/what you’re doing.
  1. Make your tone flat. Tone of voice communicates a lot, and if someone’s goal is to upset you in some way, your tone can be the first indicator of that. Try to keep an even tone, a non-emotional tone, avoid raising your voice. Keep your tone flat if possible and depending on who and what situation you’re dealing with.
  2. Its always ok to take space. Remember that if someone is emotionally or verbally abusive, or you are feeling uncomfortable, it is ok for you to walk away, take a break, or leave the situation altogether. Listen to your gut and do what is best for you.

Using these communication tactics should help you to disengage emotionally and mentally from people and patterns that have upset you in the past. The goal is to make yourself a bit boring to people who tend to suck you in for their personal joy or gain or people who tend to feel entitled to explanations and details when they aren’t really. Over time, people will begin to see that you aren’t playing into situations in the way that you may have in past, they may get bored trying to get you to respond in a particular way and stop trying their usual things with you – or they may never give up. Utilizing these methods for keeping your business yours, theirs theirs, and your emotions where you’d like them will help in either case.

Be light and airy!

Whitney

Name it to Tame it!

One of the most common things I hear from clients coming into therapy with me is that they have a pile of intense emotions that they want to decrease or even make go away entirely. There’s a basket of emotions that a lot of us find uncomfortable. No one would see all the emotions we can experience laid out on a buffet table and walk up and choose a heaping slice of anger or a bowl of sadness – so in that sense we’re talking more comfortable versus less comfortable emotions.

To preach the therapist’s cliché – there really aren’t any “bad” or “good” emotions. There are just emotions, and depending on the person, some are more comfortable than others.

Emotions are an advanced form of internal communication that can inform our beliefs, our wants, and our behaviors. I like to use this as an example of emotion as communication: If you’re angry and your spouse isn’t quite getting it, and you’re not great at expressing what you’re feeling, that is communication that doesn’t get heard. For some of us that means it’ll seep out in some other way like a slammed door or overzealously chopping vegetables for dinner. It will find its way out.

So, again with another therapist’s cliché, when approaching emotions in an effort to decrease their intensity and influence overall, communicating them is key. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit your spouse down and enumerate in detail all the things you feel about them having lost your house keys. It means that in the way you label and describe emotional experiences even just to yourself, you have the ability to change the intensity of what you’re feeling. It also means by being able to accurately describe what you’re experiencing to said hypothetical spouse, they may better understand what you’ve got going on and be able to respond in a more helpful way.

Emotional granularity is the term used to describe a person’s ability to specify and differentiate between different emotions. Researchers are learning that higher emotional granularity indicates the potential for better mental health, may serve as a prevention tool for some mental health problems, and is associated with less reactivity to negative emotions. Less reactivity to negative emotions is what many people are aiming for when entering therapy (translation: being angry about being cut off in traffic will be less likely to take over the day).

Increasing emotional granularity can be a fun exercise. You can start out by researching different words that describe emotions in your own language and culture and you can expand on that by researching terms and words for emotions in other cultures. Its amazing how much variety there is in relating different types of emotions.

Having and building this vocabulary can help you go from, “I’m angry,” to, “I’m sensory-overload-angry.” Sensory overload angry is the term we use in our house when there is too much going on. We might have company, dogs barking, a TV blaring, the lights on, and music going somewhere else. It can get to be too much. Instead of stalking around and shutting things off, yelling for people to be quiet, or hiding in a closet with all of the anger this particular situation can generate, we can label it so we know what’s going on, so others know what’s going on, and so we can take the right action. Maybe most importantly with this particular descriptor we know that the anger is situational and temporary. By identifying it that way it helps it not take over the day.

In our house we’ve worked to identify some common sources of more uncomfortable feelings, determine the degree to which they’re temporary, (all emotions are temporary and will change eventually, and having a label that helps categorize them that way is powerful – it stops you from lining up the whole day to stew on things).  We work at being able to think in these more specific terms and discuss emotions in more specific terms with each other. It can also be fun to sit down and discuss with the family the different types of each emotion you all notice personally and sort of craft a family emotion dictionary in that sense.

The cool part is that if you do this work and you learn to specify emotions past their more basic labels, you create a positive change in yourself that helps you tackle what the day may throw at you, you set yourself up for continued expression in this way that your children, spouse, and others will pick up on – it will help them out too. By naming emotions in a very specific way we tame them and feel them less intensely, we communicate them, which takes away some of their heaviness and power in our daily living.

Just like in Harry Potter, fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself – name it to tame it!

Happy granulating!

Whitney

 

Online Counseling Services

We do everything online. Shop, pay bills, talk to our medical doctors, and talk to mental health professionals. Online therapy has had a lot of tomatoes flung its way, but the research speaks to its effectiveness in multiple situations.

Regardless of therapeutic platform, the relationship that therapist and client build together is the most important factor in successful therapeutic outcomes. Other factors that contribute are the client’s belief that therapy will help, the clinician’s ability to build rapport, and finally, presenting problem, and method of approach.

As early as 2012 research had indicated that online therapeutic relationships aren’t any less deep or rewarding as those formed in the in-person setting (Sucala et. al., 2012). This particular concern about online therapy isn’t something I’ve had an issue with. Not every counselor is right for every client; it is essential to get that “click” between counselor and client. Sometimes I’m not the right person for the work ahead. This happens in my online practice just as rarely as it happens in person.

The research questions we need to ask are, “What are effective online therapists doing? What skills do they have?

Not every mental health counselor belongs in the online environment. It requires a bit of tech savvy, the ability to communicate well in text and email, and to troubleshoot on the fly. That isn’t a set of skills that some therapists have or even want. Not all modalities translate well into the online environment either. Some have specific research support in the online environment like cognitive behavior therapy, and some just translate the mediums better.

Clinician flexibility is a must! Our ability to adapt is important in the in-person setting as well. Far too many times I encounter tales from clients and other clinicians alike that reveal the hazards of ill-equipped therapists in the online environment.

Thankfully, I grew up a product of the email and chat room generation. I mastered text as that technology became more common. Some of these skills have come in very handy in communicating across different tech platforms with my clients. Its not that my old “yahoo chat” skills made my clinician game strong – its that my ability to read between the lines of text on a screen, and to deliver text on a screen is a bit finer tuned than someone else’s who didn’t have that experience.

You know that person who always thinks you’re angry in text? I’m not usually that guy. I’m also not the guy who sends texts that come off as forceful. A therapist’s ability to be genuine, admit mistakes, seek feedback, and monitor therapy progress help determine outcomes too. Any ethical therapist is going to do these things in order to work with the client, regardless of medium.

Not all clients are suitable for online therapy. Crisis situations, recent suicide attempts or plans, and other considerations may mean that in-person help is the place to address particular issues. An ethical therapist will refer someone not suitable for online therapy to local resources.

Any ethically practicing therapist will utilize research proven means of intervention regardless of the platform through which they’re delivered. Research about what interventions are most helpful in the online environment are developing and its important for clinicians to stay up to date on this information.

“E-therapy” has been shown to be effective for a variety of issues (Barak et. al, 2008). Anxiety, depression, and the variations thereof have research support. In my practice I have case study support for a variety of more detailed issues. As an ethical and licensed therapist, I’m not willing or able to practice outside the realm of my expertise. If a problem doesn’t fit well in the online environment, I refer it out. Most counseling interventions used during counseling can be successfully transferred to online chat according to Barak et. al, (2008).

There are some clear benefits to online therapy:

  • Access in rural areas is increased
  • Access to qualified clinicians at a broader range of hours
  • Enhanced privacy for clients (no car to park in a therapist’s lot)
  • Fees for online services may be lower than for in-person sessions as overhead costs are reduced
  • Lower fees increase accessibility to services
  • No travel of any distance to a counselor’s office
  • Appointments can occur outside normal business hours which enhances convenience and accessibility

The factor that rates highest in the research as the most important factor in successful therapy outcomes is that of the therapeutic relationship or alliance. This alliance occurs and is part of the healing process and work that takes place in therapy. The ability to get online and fish from a much larger pond of professionals increases the likelihood that someone will find their ideal match. That match may just make the difference.

Finding a good online therapist is the same as finding a good one in person:

Examine credentials and education
Research the clinician through their state licensing board
Find out what professional organizations the therapist belongs to and review their ethics code (For example, I’m a member of the American Counseling Association and the National Board for Certified Counselors – both have ethics codes and so does my state. I adhere to all three.)
Ask questions about expertise and experience
Speak up and change counselors when in doubt

For more info check out this blog on finding a good counselor and this one on the differences in mental health professions.

References

Sucala, M., Schnur, J. B., Constantino, M. J., Miller, S. J., Brackman, E. H., & Montgomery, G. H. (2012). The Therapeutic Relationship in E-Therapy for Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research14(4), e110. http://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2084

Azy Barak, Liat Hen, Meyran Boniel-Nissim & Na’ama Shapira (2008) A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 26:2-4, 109-160, DOI: 10.1080/15228830802094429

Questions to Ask Your Mental Health Provider

In keeping with my theme for this week – some more helpful info on choosing a mental health professional to work with.

You’ve been looking for a mental health professional and you’ve found one that speaks to you. You know that you prefer talk therapy as your treatment, so you’ve narrowed it down to therapists who provide it. Now what?

Contact the professional you chose and ask some questions!

  1. What is your degree in?
  2. What license do you hold?
  3. Who issued your license?
  4. What professional organizations do you belong to?
  5. I think my main issue is __________. Do you have experience working with this?
  6. What is your method or approach to [my issue]?
  7. Do you have any special certifications?

Any professional you reach out to should be happy to answer these questions and walk you through what their typical process is. If they don’t want to answer or don’t have answers to your questions, move to the next person on your list!

Decoding Mental Health Professions

For the last few weeks I’ve been working with a large online provider of counseling to comb through informative and self-help articles for accuracy. Its been a fun project to check through writing, edit, and make sure things are accurate and helpful for those who enter the great unknown of the internet with questions about mental health.

This project has shed some light on things that it would seem (judging off the articles I’m going through) are confusing for people. It adds an additional layer of stress to the hunt for information when every article you click on has contradictory information, uses different words to describe the same things, or has flat out false information.

Here you are, cruising the ‘net, and looking for information or help – and people are slinging useless advice pellets filled with confusing junk at you while you’re doing it. That isn’t helpful at all.

Some Background

My professional organizations, the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), both work diligently to a few ends that are applicable to these issues. The ACA urges counselors to use the word “counselor” to describe their work. The thinking is that all the professionals in a field using the same word will help prevent confusion. Sadly, our claim on that word goes into a long list of people who also use the word – and without the education or licensure to do so: camp counselors, financial counselors, legal counselors (lawyers), peer counselors, faith counselors – and on, and on. The ACA has also advocated for its profession and members by working with state legislatures to protect the word “counselor” from misuse and misrepresentation. This hasn’t worked either.

My home state’s answer to this was to grant us and only us the access to use the term “licensed professional counselor”. That is both a mouthful and not much of a move to explain to the public who or what we are. Add to this that in other states “professional counselors” are called something different, like “licensed mental health counselor” (LMHC), and there are hundreds of other license names for the exact same profession across state lines. The ACA and the NBCC are both working hard to create continuity for our profession and a clear sense of who and what we are for consumers, and state boards and lawmakers simply aren’t as cooperative as they could be.

Even right here in Texas there are multiple licensed professionals that use the word counselor.

So today I am writing to demystify and decode some mental health community conundrums.

My hope, is that in the vast vacuum of the interwebs, if you are searching for mental health or emotional health help that this article finds you and helps you, even just a tiny bit.

Misunderstood Words

Psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, counselor.

Can a psychologist see patients? Is a therapist a psychologist? Can a psychiatrist provide therapy? Can a counselor diagnose? All good questions. Some definitions and clarity for you:

Psychologist – a psychologist who uses the title ‘psychologist’ typically has a minimum of a doctoral degree in psychology. Doctorates in psychology vary. Emphasis can be on research (why we do what we do), teaching (a psych professor), or clinical applications (like in therapy). Psychologists who are licensed as practicing or clinical psychologists can provide testing to determine what the problem is when there is one, diagnosis of issues, and treatment. Psychologists don’t prescribe medication. Bottom line: can see clients if licensed, can test and diagnose if licensed, usually has a doctoral degree, works in private practice, clinics, and hospitals.

Psychiatrists (M.D.)– a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who went to medical school and chose to focus on the medical and biological side of mental health. Psychiatrists should have the abbreviation, M.D. behind their names (medical doctor) in most states and will be licensed in their respective states as psychiatrists. They may work in hospitals, clinics, or private practice. Their specialty is in the medical side of mental and emotional health concerns. They prescribe medications to treat mental health conditions, perform diagnosis and testing, and usually don’t provide therapy. They may work with your therapist or your family doctor while they address your mental health concerns. Bottom line: can see clients to diagnose, test, and treat (usually with medication), has a medical degree.

Therapists – this word isn’t “protected”. There are all sorts of therapists out there. Occupational, physical, respiratory…so take this word with a grain of salt and pay attention to the license, education, and eye chart behind this person’s name. This person could and should have any number of licenses: licensed as a psychologist, a professional counselor, a marriage and family therapist, an social worker. Therapists typically don’t prescribe medication (unless your psychiatrist calls himself or herself a therapist). Bottom line: if its a mental health “therapist” they may be a counselor, marriage and family therapist, or social worker using this title. If licensed each has a minimum of a master’s degree and can use talk therapy, treat, diagnose, and assess (depending on state regulations).

Counselor (LPC/LMHC) – this word isn’t as “protected” as it should be. A professional counselor has a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling, counseling psychology, or clinical mental health counseling. They should also be licensed by their state (reflected in the name eye chart) to practice. This may be LPC, LMHC, LMC, and many others. Counselors work with individuals and groups using any number of “talk therapy” methods from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to family systems theory. I’ll come back to theories in a later post. Counselors can also diagnose (in Texas, anyway – be sure to check in your state by contacting your state’s board of counseling), provide testing, assessments, and evaluations of many kinds. Counselors don’t prescribe medication, but they will work with you and your doctor should you be on or desire medication to help you with your diagnosis or issues. Counselors work in clinics, hospitals, community mental health centers, and in their own private practices. Bottom line: can see clients for talk therapy treatment, assess, evaluate, diagnose (in most states), and has a minimum of a master’s degree and 3,000 hours of supervised practice before licensure (in most states).

Social Worker (LMSW/LCSW) – Social workers don’t all work for ‘social services’. Many of them work as counselors in multiple settings. A social worker functioning as a therapist or counselor should have a master’s degree in social work at a minimum. “Social worker” isn’t a protected term in the way it should be. Just meeting someone who uses that title doesn’t indicate education or license. Someone calling themselves a social worker may have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If they are practicing therapy, they should have a master’s degree and a license issued by their state. Bottom line: social workers working as therapists should be licensed by their state and have a master’s degree. Individual states will have regulations about diagnosis. Social workers are typically trained to deal with more basic needs (safety, etc.) while other types of therapists are trained to deal with higher order needs. See Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs for a picture of this. Counselors and marriage and family therapists focus on the top half of that triangle, social workers on the bottom half in most of their educational programs.

A special note on “coaching”. Life coaching and other popular forms of “coaching” aren’t, at the time of this writing, regulated by any state licensing board. A coach may have any education from high school equivalency to a master’s degree, from a certificate in coaching to none at all. The coaching profession has several organizations and people who issue trainings and certifications in it, and anyone can get one and open up a practice as a life coach. If you want to work with a coach, try finding a counselor or social worker that offers coaching services. At the very least, ask questions and do research before you sign up with a coach.

Medication

If you want or need medication-based intervention for mental health struggles your first stop should be either your family doctor or a psychiatrist. They are typically the only two professions that can prescribe medication. While its ideal that a psychiatrist oversees your medication treatment for mental health matters, it may not always be possible. There is a shortage of psychiatrists in my home state (Texas) and few of them here accept insurance. This means that many times going to your regular family doctor is the best option.

A Final Thought

Any professional you go to for help with your mental health concerns should be willing to answer questions from you about their education and qualifications. If you go to work with any sort of ‘therapist’ – counselor, social worker, or psychologist, ask what theory or method they use when working with clients. If the person you contact doesn’t want to answer questions, keep looking.

If you’ve got questions relating to the counseling profession or mental health professions in general, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy hunting!

 

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