Behavioral Health Questions To Improve Patient Care
- What is mental health?
What is mental health?
Mental health refers to a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being. Positive mental health involves a person’s ability to cope with everyday stresses and balance all parts of life including social, physical and emotional. Mental health can affect one’s daily life, relationships and even one’s physical health.
- What is mental illness?
What is mental illness?
Mental illness refers to a wide range of conditions that disrupt a person’s ability to think, feel, relate to others and function on a daily basis. Mental and emotional health issues vary. They can cause different levels of change in a person’s cognitive and emotional reactions to everyday stresses varying from minor to severe disruptions in daily functioning.
- How many people are affected by mental health issues?
How many people are affected by mental health issues?
The most common struggles are with anxiety and depression with varying degrees of disruption on the daily ability to function.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the United States affecting 40 million adults ages 18 and older or 18% of the population. Incidentally, only one third of those suffering receive treatment even though these disorders are highly treatable.
In 2015 NIH estimated that 16.1 million adults, aged 18 or older, (which is 6.7% of all U. S. adults) in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
- What causes mental health conditions?
What causes mental health conditions?
The exact cause of mental health problems is not known. However, research has shown that there is no one cause. Most likely a combination of aspects involving biological, physical and environmental factors impact the development of a mental health problem. As such, it is important to note that mental health issues are never caused because someone is weak or because there is something wrong with who they are as a person.
- What is therapy?
What is therapy?
Also known as counseling or psychotherapy, therapy is the process of meeting with a licensed professional to resolve troubling and problematic behaviors and beliefs, thoughts, emotions and relationship issues. The goal of therapy is to develop healthy thinking and coping skills and ultimately enjoy a happier, healthier, more productive life.
- What is the difference between the various mental health professionals?
What is the difference between the various mental health professionals?
There are several different professions that assist a person in overcoming mental health concerns. A license is required in order to directly treat patients.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has extra training in mental health conditions. A psychiatrist can prescribe medication for mental health concerns.
A psychologist is a psychotherapist who has a doctorate degree. Psychologists are trained to diagnose, assess, and test. They can provide a wide variety of psychotherapy treatments.
A social worker will have completed a Master’s degree in social work and carries an LMSW or LCSW license. Social work programs require professionals to go through thousands of hours of clinical practice. A social worker is trained to assess, diagnose and provide various individual and group psychotherapies.
- How do I know that the professional I am working with is right for myself or a loved one?
How do I know that the professional I am working with is right for myself or a loved one?
It is very important that you take the time to interview the licensed professional that you are considering working with and ask any questions or bring up any concerns you have. It is critical to the success of the treatment that you feel understood and comfortable with your therapist.
- What kind of treatments do mental health professionals provide?
What kind of treatments do mental health professionals provide?
Some common types of therapy include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Also known as CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was designed to address patients’ underlying thought processes. It is believed that one’s thoughts affect one’s behavior. Therefore, by changing negative thought patterns and beliefs positive behaviors can ensue.
Sand Tray Therapy
Sand Tray Therapy a method utilized with both children and adults when talking is too difficult. Small objects in a sand tray are used to create a scene which represents the person’s world. A trained therapist observes the choice of objects and placement and assists the patient in exploring the symbolic nature of the tray.
When a child has behavioral, social or emotional difficulties, whether chronic or moderate, play and creative arts techniques can alleviate these conditions and help the child develop to his or her full potential.
Play is to children what talk is to adults. The purpose of play therapy is to provide a safe and natural medium that allows a child to work through his or her conflicts and to experiment with new ways of relating to self and others. Virginia Axline, a psychologist and one of the pioneers in the use of play therapy famously said, “Play is a child’s natural medium for self-expression”.
Psychanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy, sometimes known as insight –oriented therapy, helps patients understand and resolve their problems and conflicts by increasing awareness of unconscious thoughts and behaviors. By gaining insight into deep-seated emotional and relationship problems, symptoms and stresses can be reduced. Many people who experience lack of meaning in their lives may achieve a greater sense of fulfillment with psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Eclectic therapy also known as a multi-model approach is when the therapist incorporates a variety of therapeutic methods in order to create the most effective and ideal treatment program to meet the specific needs of the patient.
Therapy for Parenting Issues
Parenting can be a very exciting and satisfying experience. However, whether for first time parents or for more seasoned parents the responsibility can be overwhelming and challenging. Experts in the field of child psychology and development generally agree that there is no one method of parenting that is best. It is good to explore different methods and styles of parenting to match the parent and the specific needs of the child.
People need support in their development as parents hence the benefit of therapy or parenting classes. However, therapy is especially important when parenting issues lead to stress causing a parent to worry excessively, feel depressed, irritable or angry. When these conditions go untreated the well-being of the entire family is compromised. Likewise, when a child exhibits behavioral, physical, emotional or intellectual difficulties it is imperative to the child and the family that the proper parenting techniques to be utilized.
- What happens at my first appointment?
What happens at my first appointment?
Typically the first session is an information gathering session. Your therapist needs to learn about you and your history in order to properly evaluate and assess your concerns and plan the best treatment. At the same time, the first session is an opportunity for you to interview the therapist to see if the therapist’s approach and personality are a good fit for you.
- What about confidentiality?
What about confidentiality?
Conversations with your therapist are confidential; it’s between you and your therapist. Your primary care physician may also be involved in your care and treatment. Although very rare, a therapist can break confidentiality if you or someone else is not safe.
- How do I get the most out of my treatment?
How do I get the most out of my treatment?
• Make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist.
• Therapy is a partnership; make decisions, set goals and measure progress together.
• Be open and honest. Success depends on willingness to share thoughts, feelings and experiences.
• Be consistent with attending your weekly sessions.
• Remember, emotional work is often painful. Give it time. You may feel worse before you feel better.
• If therapy is not helping, talk to your therapist about it. Some changes in approach or goals might be necessary