Category Archives: counseling

Counseling At A Distance

Back in May. 2015 I wrote my first blog about telephone counseling. Over the last few months, I concentrated on becoming a Distance Certified Counselor. Many states are recognizing the benefits of working in creative ways to reach clients, who because of geography, chronic disease or disability are unable to receive counseling in the typical face to face method. My new credential looks like this: Distance Certified Counselor, or DCC.

Distance Counseling is nothing new. Sigmund Freud often corresponded with his patients by letter in between regularly scheduled appointments.  Its popularity has increased over the last 20 years as the therapeutic world embraced the digital world. I participate in distance counseling in order to reach a wider range of people in various locations and to reach people who are unable to participate in typical face to face sessions.

Distance Counseling is an approach that takes the best practices of traditional counseling as well as some of its own unique advantages and adapts them for delivery to clients using electronic means.  I prefer using telephone, teleconferencing, and texting when working with my clients. We now know some clients prefer the anonymity of a distance counseling relationship and are more likely to open up and self-disclose than they would be in a traditional counseling setting.

Distance Counseling is accessible.

            Distance Counseling is convenient.

            Distance counseling provides anonymity.

For those individuals who are ambivalent about therapy or who may be uncomfortable with traditional models of therapy, Distance Counseling may be your answer. This is particularly true for individuals who are suffering social phobia, agoraphobia or anxiety disorders.

If Distance Counseling if intriguing to you, please be give me a call.

 

 

Being a Loner and Finding Love: Is It Incompatible?

 

I recloner loveently read an article on the Lonerwolf website (http://www.lonerwolf.com) discussing this apparent opposition and I thought you might be interested in it as well.

Alethia Luna suggests that being a loner comes with an unspoken “job description.” 1) You like spending most of your time alone. 2) You are self-sufficient and don’t “need” other people to fill your life, and 3) Socializing is your nemesis.

If you consider yourself a loner, this job description may give you a sense of relief from social burdens, but also a sense of loneliness just below the surface.  But how can you be a loner that enjoys your solitude but still desire to find a friend or a lover? Isn’t this completely incompatible with who you are? I think not and here’s why:

  1. Wanting to find love and friendship is normal-for any personality type.
  • Aristotle once said, “Man be nature is a social animal.” This doesn’t mean that he always enjoyed socializing, but may naturally gravitate towards collaboration with others.
  1. You don’t have to be inauthentic to find someone you authentically connect with.
  • Pretending to be someone you’re not is a certain recipe for disaster. There are unlimited ways to find and connect with people who resonate with you.
  1. Don’t let your self-definition bog you down.
  • When identifying with a label can make you feel accepted and understood, it can also box you in and restrict you. You may be a loner, but you are also many other things. You are multilayered!
  1. Think about what is really holding you back from finding love.

Perhaps your identification with the loner label is holding you back, or perhaps something else. Close relationships may have wounded you in the past, creating fear, anxiety and inability to trust in the present. Making new connections is difficult for most everybody. You are not the only one struggling with this. Consider counseling if this is an issue you can’t seem to wade through by yourself.

Besides from giving you self-concept a space to breathe, REMEMBER TO GIVE YOURSELF TIME. It is difficult to go from a homebody to a socialize overnight. Take baby steps ad be patient, but don’t give up on finding LOVE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are So Many Baby Boomers Depressed?

While browsing through one of my favorite website, psych central.com, I came across an article on baby boomers and depression. According to Dr. Donald A. Malone of the Cleveland Clinic, baby boomers have a higher prevalence rate than the generation before them. We are the generation that has continually attempted to have it all and now we are adding the diagnosis of depression to our list of gains. At 66 I feel better about my life than ever before, so I wondered why?

While baby boomers continue to gain material rewards and success, their achievements are often the result of a stressful lifestyle. It’s this stressful lifestyle that many experts link to their depression. And while endless fatigue may seem like a fact of life to the boomers, experts warn this too can lead to depression and other physical problems.

Often your family doctor is your first line of defense for a quick fix. Antidepressants  are commonly prescribed, but sometimes even though many different types of antidepressants are tried, they don’t lift your mood. We are all familiar with the lifestyle changes that could help, like exercise, acupuncture, massage, but few of us will find the time or discipline to integrate them into our day to day lives. And often we forget to look at the psychological root of the problem that could be effectively treated through psychotherapy. However, with everyone in such a hurry, the last thing most want to hear is that they should get in their car, drive across town, and to for therapy once a week.  Sounds like a glum situation!! But each of us has to remember that we got ourselves into this situation and we can find our way out. Small lifestyle changes, maybe antidepressants and therapy can help you find the personal root of your depression. While there are no quick fixes you have options that can make your life better.

Bad Habits Some Therapists Believe Are Acceptable

by Marla Chalnick

Reading my favorite collection of blogs at PsychCentral, http://blogs.psychcentral.com, I came across a blog written by Tamara Hill hi-lighting behaviors that signal you may have picked the wrong therapist. As in all professional fields, there are great therapists, good therapists and not so good therapists.  Your choice is extremely personal. Here are some  ‘red flag’ behaviors that may help you make the best choice.

What bad therapists think:

  1. You should be forced to talk: A good therapist will alternate between challenging a client to open up by adding some pressure when necessary and allowing the client to take their time. Some therapists are uncomfortable with quiet space and their attempts to fill the room with words often backfires.
  2. You should  either take medication or don’t take medication at all: Many therapists are highly uneducated about medications. A good therapist will educate themselves about medication management and be able to discuss the pros and cons with their client. The therapist should also refer their client to a psychiatrist to ensure they are getting the best advice.
  3. Confrontations and arguments are 100% healthy: Some therapists may take out their own disappointments and anger out on their own patients. This is never appropriate!
  4. I need to answer the phone, respond to email, complete paperwork while talking to you:  A good therapist will sit calmly, help the client explore thoughts and feelings, and facilitate therapy. A client should never feel ignored.
  5. You don’t need to read it, or understand it, just sign:  A good therapist will help the client understand important details, encourage them to read the form, and ask questions.

What bad therapists might say: 

  1. You NEED to start talking:  Forcing a client to talk never works!
  2. Why do you do that?  Condescending!
  3. What’s so hard about that?  how about  ”Can you help me understand why this is so hard for you?”
  4. You aren’t trying: Maybe the therapist isn’t trying hard enough!
  5. Sit down: You ought to be able to move around if you need to!

It may take some time to find the right therapist. There are many ways to do your research. Reading reviews on the internet can be helpful. Asking your family physician might be a good resource. Ask your friends. Word of mouth is often the best predictor of  success!

5 Myths About Therapy

Psychotherapy Session

by Marla Chalnick

I read the blogs on the PsychCentral website and one of my favorite bloggers is Margarita Tartakovsky. She recently interviewed many therapists and blogged about myths that prevent people from seeking help when they need it. One might wait to get help until their concerns have deepened, when it’s harder to intervene. Or they might not go at all, suffering in silence.

Here are just five of the many myths that prevent people from entering therapy.

Myth: Going to therapy means there’s something wrong with you. Carla Naumberg, Ph.D. suggests that attending therapy means that, like every other human being on the planet, you have come up against challenges in life, and you could use some support from  a safe, impartial person. I believe that going to therapy means you are interested in solving problems you may be experiencing and understanding yourself better.

Myth: Therapy is for crazy people. Many people seek therapy as a last result because of this myth. By this time their problems have amplified. Thinking therapy is only for people out of touch with reality or psychotic is an idea that may get passed down through generations in your family. Really, therapy is effective and helpful not only for people who suffer with severe clinical issues, but anyone who  feels stuck and needs help finding a change in perspective. Clair Mellenthin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker says: “The truth is, all of us are human and each of us goes through a very personal journey in life that is ful of both joy and pain.”

Myth: The therapist is going to fix you. Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. tells us therapy is a partnership and when both parties do their part,  change is the result. The therapist offers the tools and the client implements them in his or her life. That’s what therapy is about.

Myth: Real change will be sudden and striking. “Many people seek ‘aha’ moments and can fail to see the gradual progress they are making. Lasting and meaningful change happens bit by bit, step by step, not all at once.” Janice Webb, Ph.D.

Myth: Therapy isn’t fun. Elizabeth Sullivan MFT finds therapy fun because we are often able to laugh at ourselves, increase our perspective and gratitude, and see the absurdity in this life!

Resources: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/04/07/the-biggest-myths-about-therapy/?all=1

Have You Ever Considered The Benefits Of Telephone Counseling?

by Marla Chalnickclipart0141

As a recipient and a provider of telephone counseling I find it to be a very effective way to work. For me it began when my best friend suggested I try her therapist. The problem-her therapist worked in Baltimore and I lived in Charlotte. That’s how my experience with telephone counseling began. I followed Linda, my new therapist as she moved from Baltimore to Vermont and finally to Florida. My best friend was right, Linda was the right therapist for me.

Research shows that telephone counseling is beneficial and participants report specific improvements on the issue that led them to telephone counseling and a global improvement in their emotional state. I wonder why?

Telephone counseling is convenient: We are all busy people.Telephone counseling allows us the freedom to schedule appointments at times that work in our schedules. You don’t have to get in the car and drive across town, losing valuable time. You can just pick up the phone. You can even have your session in your pajamas!

Telephone counseling assures your privacy: Of course your confidentiality is a given in any counseling relationship, but telephone counseling assures an even greater level of anonymity. You don’t have to be concerned about who you might run into in the waiting room!

Telephone counseling provides a unique relationship: Many clients prefer not to work in the traditional face to face format.  The privacy of a voice on the phone provides more comfort and allows for a more trusting relationship. Many clients seek out the very best therapist to deal with their specific issues. For example, I specialize in working with individuals and families dealing with chronic illness, more specifically autoimmune and neurological conditions. If a family is not geographically convenient to my office, they can still benefit from working with a specialist. Just like looking for the best doctor to treat your problem, you can work with the best therapist to treat your problem. This sets the relationship up for success.

Telephone Counseling is well suited for a variety of issues: Depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, eating and food issues are just some is the problems that are effectively treated. Distance therapy is not appropriate for people who are homicidal, suicidal, self injuring, or those requiring more intensive intervention.

In summary, telephone counseling is convenient and the anonymity of the service may provide clients with a greater sense of control. For clients who do not have access to mental health services it is a viable option. Without an office, clothes and physical appearance distractions, clients being counseled via phone may be inclined to better focus on what the therapist is offering.

Resources: http://www.apa.rg/monitor/apr02/studyshows.aspx

http://www.goodtherapy.org/distance-therapy.html