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How do i find the right kind of mental health treatment?

I am destroying relationships in my life. I have severe issues that I have been trying to figure out and work on for a long time. I have been to 2 different therapists for treatment in the last couple years, but I feel like all they want to do is put me on pills and they aren't taking my concerns seriously enough. I think I may be dealing with abandonment issues, a really low self esteem. . .which leads to amxiety, paranoia, trust issues, etc. I have been trying self help books, etc also but I can't seem to get a grasp on it. I almost feel like I need to check myself in and get some serious treatment. I don't know if there are specialists or if I just need to hop from one shrink to another. . . I just don't want to do that. Anyone have any ideas on resources on finding the right kind of therapist? I love my family and I don't want to continue destroying the best things in my life.

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:11 AM on Mar. 11, 2013 in Health

Answers (9)
  • Have you looked into therapy groups? Talk to people who are having the same issues you are? Maybe a journal would help too. Write down all your thoughts and feelings.

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 11:49 AM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • I am not trying to say you SHOULD take drugs, but I would like to say that I think you should consider it. It doesn't have to be permanent. But if you've got anxiety and paranoia, and have trouble reading a self help book and grasping the concepts, maybe meds would help you. It could help you get those things under control, and then you could see a therapist to work on whatever issues you have, and learn coping skills to deal with the anxiety and paranoia so you can get off the meds.

    I know a lot of people are anti-meds, and yes, there are times when doctors don't try to solve the problem, but just medicate it away. But sometimes meds can be beneficial, and don't have to be a long-term situation, but a short-term coping method while you learn better, more lasting ones.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 12:46 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • There are plenty of therapists who won't (and don't) prescribe medication. They aren't licensed to do so. That is not to say that they are against clients using medication for depression or anxiety, or being on meds to manage schizophrenia or another disorder, but that they don't manage that part of the treatment.
    I spoke to my primary care physician about some issues I was having & she referred me to a specific therapist she thought could be helpful to me in sorting things out. She was more comfortable with me going this route than with prescribing medication as a first response--her thought was that this step might help identify if the depression seemed more a factor/result of situations I was struggling with, or if it was more that I was struggling in certain areas because of depression. There was also the possibility (either way) of depression responding to counseling/therapy, which makes sense when you realize that our

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:27 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • neurological "wiring" is largely impacted by our environment & experiences (in the earliest years) and while this sets up certain predictable outcomes that will continue to play out & are unlikely to change much, it is never actually "set in stone" because with the right circumstances/environment, change (actual brain change) is entirely possible throughout the human lifetime. Including radical, drastic change. (Otherwise, emotional healing would not be possible. What's happening when we genuinely heal is that our brains are changing.)
    Anyway, the guy I went to see was a therapist in private practice, a licensed clinical social worker (training was a master's in social work, not a psychology degree.) He was in practice with two psychologists. I don't think any of them were MD's (psychiatrist) but both the others were PhD's.
    There is wide variation in approach & philosophy. Can you consult with your family doctor to narrow down

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:36 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • Call your county health department if you need low-cost resources. Someone there will be able to tell you where to start, at least.

    Answer by Ballad at 1:39 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • some of the available options, identifying what might be best for addressing your particular needs, and maybe getting a sense of specific therapists who might be a good fit? Being able to talk to your doctor about the professionals he/she is mentioning could give you a chance to filter some of the info, because you'd be getting more feedback than you do by scanning the phone book listings.
    You also could look into various approaches and then try to find someone with a particular specialty or approach, such as family systems theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, somatic experiencing, or couples/family counseling. (You can do individual work with someone trained in family's more an approach to relationships & dynamics than a "technique" that depends on working with a group.)
    I think most issues ultimately involve early life stuff, and when we engage the issues that come up in the present we're resolving early stuff.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:44 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • At the very least, it makes sense that medication would be in conjunction with other care--with an effort to identify and attend to underlying causes or roots, to address the symptoms (depression, anxiety) of those issues in some other way than solely with pharmaceuticals. So you could share that concern/desire with your doctor and ask for help finding a practitioner who would match those priorities well.

    In general, a LCSW will be much less likely to rely on the single-pronged approach of medicating symptoms. (They will more likely recognize the emotional & relational roots of the biological condition, and their skills & training are focused on addressing those roots.) I think this is largely true of psychologists as well, if their training was primarily in CLINICAL psychology & counseling.

    One promising word to watch for when looking is "mindfulness-based."

    The kind of self-help book you choose can make a difference, too!

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:56 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • We have a terrible mental healthcare system in this country. My recommendation is to find a mental health nurse practitioner if you can. The model of care is a little different, so you might be more likely to get complementary therapy along with meds. I know a mental health nurse practitioner and she's really compassionate and stays very informed on best practices, not just meds as stand-alone treatment.

    Answer by katinthehat8914 at 10:40 PM on Mar. 11, 2013

  • If persistent problems are not responding to home remedies and self help books, try combining medication AND counseling. Studies show this gives the best results. Medication isn't always a 'forever' thing - that depends on your diagnosis, severity, etc. But there comes a point when you say hey, what I'm doing isn't working, I'm going to try a different approach. Psychiatrists generally are so overloaded with patients that they can't do counseling, so you check in every 4-6 weeks and bring up any major issues/medication needs with the psychiatrist. Your counseling comes from a counselor, I prefer it is someone who works in the same office/agency as your psychiatrist. I vastly prefer this as you have a psychiatrist, who is a fully trained MD with specialization in mental health, on tap, who can communicate easily and quickly with your counselor. Also consider regular meetings with a support group and a physical.

    Answer by lancet98 at 12:15 AM on May. 6, 2013

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