Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Licensed Counseling Professionals and Our Responsibility



Do you think fudging on the time you spent with a client is an innocent mistake?  It is not.  I am always saddened when I hear of a licensed counselor being charged with fraud. We, as therapists, are entrusted with helping people when they are their most vulnerable.  It is our responsibility to know what we are doing, and that includes billing.  

If you think a billing system is too complicated, hire someone to do it and keep an eye on them.  Or go to work for a reputable agency and keep an eye on the billing.  Are you getting the point here?  If you have the license it is YOUR responsibility to understand what you are doing.  You can hire other people to do things, but it is still your responsibility to know what they are doing under your license.  

I have supervised people who are trying to get their license and they have been depending upon someone else to tell them what they can and cannot do.  They have never read the licensing laws.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, what we do as licensed people is governed by law.  The board of directors, for our licenses, enforces, approves, but the law guides what they do. 
 
Those who know me well might say I am impatient, I am rigid, and that I don’t suffer fools gladly.  They are right about all of the above when it comes to my profession.  If you are going to share my profession then it is your responsibility to carry it well and not give the rest of us a bad name.  It is your responsibility to be competent, to practice within your “scope of practice”  (don’t know what that is, then look it up), to consult with others when in doubt, to get legal advice if you go into private practice, to always treat clients with dignity and respect.  It is also your responsibility to know what you are agreeing to when you accept a contract to provide services and to know very clearly how to bill for and how to get paid for said services.
 
I am sickened and saddened when I hear about fraud or mistreatment of clients.  I am further out-raged when I hear a therapist claim ignorance.  You at least have a master’s degree if you are a licensed therapist; I don’t know what the others learned, but I learned most of this in school. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Addiction Treatment

Someone recently asked me about the Medical Model of Addictions versus the 12-Step Model.  I asked them to give me some time to ponder.  After going to school to get a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and over 30 years in the addiction field, it is hard to answer that question easily or quickly.  I will say that my views and practices have certainly evolved over the past 30 years.

I believe in the 12 steps for recovery from addictions. I think the belief you can be "cured" is dangerous. But the critics say believing you can't be cured is discouraging. That said, I do not believe one size fits all. A thorough evaluation and individualized plan is what is considered "Best Practices" today. Not everybody needs inpatient and not everybody benefits from 12-step meetings; although I usually recommend twelve step meetings and explore reasons why, if someone is resistant. My favorite expert, Dr. Mee-Lee is at UC-Davis.  The link is for his blog.  https://www.changecompanies.net/blogs/tipsntopics/
Why do I think that the idea you can be "cured" is dangerous?  Because it assumes the addict is just like everybody else.  There is evidence that the brain of addicts is different, thereby making this a brain disease, and yes, it is a disease.  Alcohol and other mind-altering chemicals react differently in an addict's brain.  Yes, with therapy, medication, program of recovery, things can get better.  My question is always, "Why would you want to take that risk (try to drink alcohol or take other drugs "socially") with something that has caused you so much pain, caused you to lose so much?" (insert whatever consequences the addict has suffered.)   

Discussion to Be Continued

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Politics Make Me Sad



I try not to become disillusioned with our country and what’s going on, but it gets harder and harder.  Forces beyond my control are making us more and more divided.  I still believe that the answer to many of our trouble is to figure out a way to get along, work together for solutions that are good for all of us.  However, we are so far apart I don’t know if that is possible.  

One of my biggest issues is when politicians use something that has happened (and seriously twist the facts) to further divide us.  A recent example:  the case of the “Little Sisters of the Poor.”  A group brought the lawsuit on behalf of the nuns and religious schools, yet, a Republican lawmaker said on Facebook, “The Administration has taken the "Little Sisters of the Poor," a group of Nuns who care for the needy in the community, to court to compel them to buy birth control (which violates their religious belief) or pay a huge IRS fine which will devestate (their misspelling, not mine) the ministry.”  This resulted in countless people rallying behind him and his conservative agenda, not bothering to read the facts of the lawsuit. 

I know there are examples on the other side, too, but this one was fresh in my mind because I just saw it.  I don’t want to dwell on the specifics of politics because I think there are problems on both sides of the fence, and as you might guess I am a liberal.  But both sides go too far.  Both sides are guilty of using the mistakes and missteps of the other side to further their agenda.  Yes, yes, I know that’s what politics are all about.  Are we really willing to let that destroy us?  Are we not still the greatest nation on earth?  Are we not still your best hope to live the life you want with opportunities that are found no other place?  Are we not still proud of the brave men and women who fight for our freedom every day?  Let’s all work together to make sure those men and women are still proud to fight for us. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Purging Clutter

I have begun a purge.  I felt compelled to buy a book called, The life-changing magic of tidying up.  I hadn't read 10 pages until I purged two large trash bags full of clothes and scarves. 

I am not sure where this purge will lead me, but I am excited to find out.  The people who know me, know that I am frugal.  I love to re-purpose, I love to recycle, I love to find new uses for old things.  But I was feeling stressed all the time.  Feeling like I never got caught up, like I never got things cleaned up, like I never got to the things that I enjoy doing.  I felt unhappy and sad.  So, I started the purge. 

Today when I got to work, I continued the purge in my office.  This is more challenging, because there are lots of things I need to keep.  But there are lots of things I don't.  I threw away, filed away, cleaned and tidied my office.  It felt good to leave on Friday afternoon with a clean (er) office. 

I continued at home, still working on my closet.  More came out.


Cute hair accessories, old nail polish, cute vintage Samsonite luggage,

purses, etc. etc.  As I sat down for a popcorn snack, I went through magazine clippings of recipes I wanted to try and purged more.  (As I'm purging, I'm adding more recipes to my recipe blog, check it out here.)

I am planning to continue all this weekend, at least Saturday.  It feels good.  It feels fresh.  I am not sure what  else I will change after finishing the book, but am excited to see.  I am hoping to purge lots of negative thoughts in the process.  More to be revealed....


 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Blessed Beyond Belief

I have been blessed, beyond belief, to have encountered, loved, counseled and learned from people from all walks of life.  I have had my own beliefs challenged, my tolerances stretched and my mind opened beyond my pre-conceived stereotypes and prejudices.  For all of this, I am grateful. 

I love learning about different cultures, different faiths, different lifestyles and just learning from people how very different their struggles have been from mine.  Some of my beliefs from childhood I have embraced and some I have been ashamed of, but all of them have made me the person I am today, imperfect in every way but still trying to get it right. 

I imagine a world where we would embrace our differences and use our unique talents to figure out how to all live together, rather than trying to be intentionally hurtful in the name of "that's what I believe."  I know what my beliefs are, but I would never be so pompous as to pretend I speak for God or interpret for another what God's word means for another's life, I can only do that for myself. 

I have very strong opinions about things, but mostly in the arena of being the champion for the underdog or working to get people to live together peacefully.  I try very hard not to express opinions that could be hurtful to others, but, again, am not perfect in doing so. 

Let's all try to reach out and touch someone, give a helping hand, find some common ground.  I'm guessing we could all have more peace.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

So busy I forget about the people

I like a clean house.  I like to cook from scratch (and by scratch I mean no packets, no mixes, as close to whole food as I can get).  I like to find interesting items at Estate Sales, Garage Sales, Thrift Stores, etc and re-purpose them into something really cool.  I see craft items (mostly jewelry these days) online or in a store and I think:  “I can make that.”  I love to have a house that people walk into and say, “This looks like something from a magazine.”  I like to grow herbs and vegetables and beautiful flowers. 

For various reasons, many with psychological origins and some I’ve spent years in therapy trying to resolve, I am some manner of obsessed with making sure these things happen.  Well, did I mention I have a full-time job, own a retail store with my husband and try to pack as much knowledge in my head on various subjects on a daily basis??? 

So, here’s my problem, I work so hard at making my house comfortable, my yard beautiful and making sure I don’t spend a penny more on anything than I need to, that I forget about one thing:  people.  Yes, sometimes I am so busy making sure everything is perfect for my party, my guests, and my friends and family that I forget to enjoy the people. 


I am independent, sometimes fiercely so.  I enjoy time to myself.  I enjoy getting my projects caught up.  So much so, that I forget how filled up I get by spending quality time with family and friends.  Do you have this need to be perfect?  If so, how do you deal with it?  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orlando, EAPA, Disney and Kennedy Space Center: A contrast of experiences



I just got back from spending a week in Orlando; quite the contrast in experiences.  First I was there for the EAPA (Employee Assistance Professionals Association) World Conference.  Amazing Conference, in part because they have speakers from around the world and I love the Employee Assistance World.  It rained every day during the conference, probably a good thing because there was no reason to be tempted to hang out by the pool.  For personal health reasons I wasn’t able to attend the last evening experience, to volunteer at the “Give the Children the World” Village.  I’m guessing that would have been life-changing. 


After the conference was over, I polled friends and family and my husband and I decided to go to Epcot Center.  We opted to take the hotel bus, to avoid walking so far before we got in and to save the $17 in parking.  I thought $220 for admission was enough to give Disney before we ever got in.  It was still a very long walk from where the bus let us off and where we had to return to get back on the bus.  At the end of the day, I had a good time and bought some interesting items in the Italian, French, German and Canadian stores.  I was disappointed that many of those stores and a HUGE amount of Disney items were made in China.  I avoided those as much as possible.   We took a couple of boat tours and saw a couple of interesting short films (still don’t know why they make you stand up to watch these, though).


What I did not like:  the decadence: the high price to get in, the lack of anyone inside or outside the gate to greet you, to hand you a brochure, to tell you where everything is.  I felt let down.  Sorta like “we have your money now we don’t really care."  Once further inside there were some very nice and very helpful people, but it is a bit overwhelming when you first enter. 


I did not like the crowds.  I did not like the insanely high price you paid for anything to eat or drink.  I did not like seeing so many children who didn’t seem to be having a good time because they were being dragged around, seemingly beyond their tolerance level, probably because their parents wanted to get their money’s worth before leaving the park.  


I did not like the lack of signage.  I’m sure there were some very cool exhibits that we missed simply because we couldn’t figure out what was there and just decided to move on because we were getting weary of the walking and the crowds.
Next day we decided to go to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  What a difference.  From the people who re-directed us to go to another line, where there wasn’t as long a wait, to the people whom we bought tickets from and gave us maps and explained everything to us, to the lady at the food window who offered that I could buy the child’s meal if I wanted to; everybody was nicer, calmer, proud of what they were doing and where they were. 

The music playing caused me to have a sense of pride and awe.  I loved the I MAX movie about the space station and all the cooperation between countries to get it done.  (Wouldn’t it be nice if we could cooperate like that on everything?)  I loved the fact that it seemed as though I could reach out and touch the controls on the space station when I was watching in 3D. I loved seeing space through the Hubble Telescope's Eyes (another I MAX 3D movie we saw while there).

I love the fact that the visitor’s center is self-sustaining.  It was exciting and refreshing to see the “rocket garden” and see how far we’ve come in the space program.  






We loved getting our picture taken with the ‘astronaut’.  I have no idea who was in that space suit and I really don’t care.  It was a fun and exciting day and it made me wish I had not spent any money at Disney and had spent another day exploring the rest of what there was to offer at the Kennedy Space Visitor's Center.   I think it a shame how many families come to the Orlando area and how few take their children to something so historic and magnificent.  But to steal from Dennis Miller, “That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong.”