The practice of Clinical Psychology looks deeply at people’s motives, feelings, thoughts and actions in hopes of providing them relief from distress. It is a profession that requires deep empathy for humanity’s struggles to help bring about change. The field is one that requires significant training, education as well as mental and emotional strength.
As clinical psychologists, we work with clients of all ages facing countless challenges. Our clients come from all walks of life and social groups, representing the larger American society.
In providing mental health treatment, we are addressing topics that impact humanity as a whole; including violence, trauma, loss, grief, politics – the list goes on.
The impact of psychotherapy is enormous and touches individuals, families, and society. Despite all of this, we are in a profession that is paid drastically less than other fields with the same level of education.
I remember being in grade school and hearing the age-old cliché, “Big boys don’t cry,” whenever a male peer began to show he was upset about something.
At the time, I didn’t think twice about it, and I’m sure there were moments when I repeated those very words, not realizing the harm I was doing. Regardless of intention, I now see that these types of subtle messages convey a normative stance of stoicism, invulnerability, and detachment that contribute to toxic ideals of masculinity.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve watched friends’ and family members’ facial expressions drop and felt a chilling silence upon mentioning various forms of mental illness.
These are open-minded people. They are willing to talk about politics, religion, drugs, and other controversial topics. But they withdraw when the topic of mental illness comes up.
I don’t start these conversations to cause a ruckus. Instead, I want to honestly talk about the impact mental illness has on individuals and society as a whole. Our mental health system is dysfunctional and we need to address it head-on if we hope to change anything. This entails embracing mental health as an acceptable and appropriate subject.
Most of us know that physical exercise is beneficial and necessary for attaining and prolonging good physical health. Exercising helps with maintaining and reducing weight and body fat, improving cholesterol, and reducing the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, among many other physical health benefits.
The question that has come up in recent decades, and one particularly salient for mental health professionals, is whether exercise helps with our mental health as well, and if so, how?
The Millennial generation, born roughly between 1980 and 2000, is a generation categorized by the digital age. An overwhelming majority owns a computer, a smartphone and uses the Internet daily. Coined “digital natives”, Millennials are a generation raised on using social media as a primary way to communicate and express oneself. This is the generation that is now entering into the field of psychotherapy.
The social media obsession has significant implications for this generation of psychologists, both relationally and professionally. We are entering into the field with a perspective of the world much different than our predecessors. We deal with public exposure in a way that has not yet been faced. There can be some harmful consequences of our lives being so public. As we enter into this field, we must be thoughtful about our social media use and the implications it has for both our work as therapists and in our personal lives.
As we enter into this field, we must be thoughtful about our social media use and the implications it has for both our work as therapists and in our personal lives.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article discussing the problems with obtaining mental health care without insurance. One of the suggestions I included was using an online community, such as 7 Cups of Tea, for additional support when needed.
While this site has become fairly well known, I know many people who still are not aware of it or who do not know what an amazing resource it can be. The goal of this blog article, therefore, is to introduce readers to 7 Cups of Tea as well as provide an inside view of the site from a psychologist’s perspective.
As a child, my family did not have a lot of money. In fact, we regularly struggled. I know there were periods of time that we went without health insurance. While we had some major medical problems during that time (we sought care at the University Hospital), we were, for the most part, mentally and physically healthy.
I did, however, have some friends who were not able to seek mental health treatment due to not having health insurance. Sure, they could go to the hospital, but routine care was not in the cards. In the state where I lived, only pregnant women and children were eligible for state Medicaid—regardless of income.
I have always thought of myself as the kind of psychologist who offers a safe space for a patient to walk in, unload all that is bothering them out onto my carpet, and leave without a thought for me to clean up. Sometimes they continue to carry pieces with them, but with each additional session, we are able to get to the core of the issue together.
I am sure all of us would love to have a caseload of clients who come in on time, ready to work on their issues, make progress at a steady pace, and pay on time (preferably in cash!). Unfortunately, this is, for most of us, not a fact of life.
Sexual minority individuals frequently experience mental and physical health challenges due to discrimination, hostility and violence. Here’s what you should know about your bisexual clients: http://ow.ly/qlDL50D8XFk
The lack of consistent attention to cultural issues can create and maintain impasses that affect your clients’ progress. Macy Wilson, Psy.D. explains how to approach these conversations in your practice: http://ow.ly/OoAJ50D8Xrb