Thursday, May 29, 2014

You're the first to know!

It's here.

The 2014 Mind Your Own Business Conference Challenge: Clients Unlimited. 

And you're the first to know!

So? What's the big deal about that? (You may wonder.) 

Maybe you're thinking, "But I'm still in graduate school." Or, "I work in an agency." Or, "I'm still earning my hours." Or, "I can't afford training now."

"So..." you say, "why does this matter to me?"

It matters to you because:

Every counselor needs clients. 
If you're in private practice, that's how you earn your living. If you're working at an agency, you need to up the numbers OR you want to reach more people with your services. If you're an intern, you need hours.
The earlier you learn, the less time you'll spend stressing about it later on. 
All in all, I'd say I spent 2 1/2 years reading every business book I could get my hands on, buying advertising, testing copy, learning to talk about what I do, and falling flat on my face before I reached a point at which I felt I had a "pretty good handle" on business as it relates to client attraction and growth. If you're just starting your graduate program, or your internship, you are actually AHEAD of the game if you start learning now. By the time you really need client attraction to happen, you'll already be an old pro.
It's FREE. 
Registering for the conference gives you an all-access pass to:
  • Six free, live video webinars with top private practice experts. (Recordings will be available for purchase, but everyone will have ample time to listen for free!)
  • The exclusive MYOB Facebook group, which only opens admission once a year. (After this we'll close it till 2015!)
  • Free gifts from me and the speakers (no one is selling during this conference - instead, we'll be giving something away at each event!) 
  • The MYOB Conference Challenge, a community accountability exercise I'll be telling you about a little closer to the start of the conference. (Which will begin in July!)
How many more reasons could you need? Everyone who's involved in the conference will get:

  • Real, actionable tips you can put to work for you tomorrow.
  • Friendship and community with other counselors just like you.
  • Tons of free gifts and goodies, as well as the inside track on our favorite services and private practice tools. 

Sound good to you? Then get in on the action here!

FREE 21-Day
Mind Your Own Business
Conference Challenge!


Sign up now to get free access to pre-conference activities, the Facebook group and of course, all the details about how to sign up to attend the webinars! Only registered members will be sent information about how to attend each event for free. So don't wait, or you might miss out! 

Register here.

Important: If you registered last year, you are probably still enrolled for this year. To re-register, you don't have to do anything, just look for the emails. (The first email, "Welcome To The Conference" will go out today.) If you are registered and don't wish to be for this year, no problem. There's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. 

Will you be attending the conference? Share in the comments section below!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Memorial Day

A hero is someone 
who has given his or her life 
to something bigger than oneself.

Joseph Campbell

We will resume regular posting next week. Enjoy time with your family and friends.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why are you qualified?

How do you know what you're doing?

"Are you married?"

"Are you a parent?"

"How old are you?"

"How long have you been doing this?"

When you're a student counselor or a counselor newbie, these questions just come at you. Most of the time, the harshest questions come from yourself.

"Are you really good enough to help them?"

"What if you hurt them?"

"Do you really know what you're doing?"

The good news is, it gets better. I was inspired to write this today because it's been so long since I struggled with those kinds of thoughts. And trust me, it's not because I don't have bouts of crazy insecurity.

It's because I know what makes me qualified. It's what makes you qualified, too.

It's because I care.

It's because I give my clients a different perspective.

Because I listen when most people would talk.

Because...all that stuff.
It's just what we do. 

 What makes YOU qualified to be a counselor? Share below! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Medication Deliberation

Have you ever had a client say to you, "I'm just not comfortable with medication?" Do you, yourself, ever struggle with whether or not to refer out to a psychiatrist, or if you decide to refer, when it's appropriate?

People - and counselors - have a lot of competing ideas about medication for mental illness.

Is it a panacea? (A sweeping solution, with the implication that some aspects of the patient's needs will slip through the cracks.)

Is it a band-aid, that will slow the damage to a wounded heart but not heal?

Is it a last resort, which should only be used when everything else has been exhausted?

Is it part of the intake process, something that should be dealt with at the beginning of therapy? 

To be honest, there is no one answer that will satisfy all therapists, and all clients. Some therapists, usually categorized as holistic therapists, do not believe in the use of medication, instead integrating alternative therapies like aromatherapy into their practice.

And whatever the therapist believes, the client may be resistant to medication, perhaps saying something like this:

  • It's a sign of weakness.
  • I don't want to "numb out."
  • I want to trust God, not drugs (or) my church doesn't believe in medication.
  • I don't want chemicals in my body.
  • I believe my body can correct itself.
  • I want to try the natural approach. 

Whatever you believe (or your client believes) there are two major options for how to approach this.

Continue to focus on non-medication alternatives. There are several resources that medical doctors recommend for situations like depression, such as increasing exercise. You might also recommend books like Trudy Scott's The Antianxiety Food Solution

If you choose to recommend medication, I find that you get the best results with your clients when you follow the following guidelines:
  • Do your best to coordinate care with the client's prescribing professional. Ask the client for a release form from the doctor's office to speak with the doctor or the staff nurse about their medication and possible side effects. Most doctors do not have the time to fully explain every possible side effect, and will not see them on a weekly basis. Therefore, your doing research on the medication they are taking for possible side effects can help them greatly. If you see a side effect popping up, you may be able to recognize and intervene more quickly than they can recognize it themselves. 
  • Reinforce medication instructions. Medication non-compliance is one of the BIGGEST challenges facing medical professionals today. A lot of that comes from misunderstandings of the risks of incorrectly taking prescription medications and lack of accountability. For example, many people tend to stop taking anti-depressant or bipolar medication when they start feeling better. But abruptly stopping some medications can drastically increase risk of suicidality and it must be addressed both before and during the implementation of a new medication.
  • Emphasize the client's ability to choose what they do what they feel is right with their medication, but to do it SAFELY. Remind them regularly that you will listen if they truly want to cease medications, even if you do not agree, so that they will share with you if they stop medications and you can help them do it safely. Otherwise, they may hide it from you in order to avoid your 'disapproval' and follow an unsafe medication regimen on their own.
  • Remind them of the importance of discussing non-prescription supplements with their doctors. "Natural" remedies, including St. John's Wort, can STILL interact with certain medications and cause unsafe side effects. 
  • Don't neglect the emotional impact of societal perspectives on medications for mental health. Whether the client's immediate society is their church, their regional area, or their family, it matters what others think about them. They may worry about judgment from others, about keeping 'secrets', about being shunned or blacklisted. They may worry that others will simply think they gave up or sold out. And they may have transferred that judgment to themselves. 
  • Consistently help them see the "big picture."  You can tell them that: "You don't have to be on medication forever, necessarily. Many people believe it is no different than taking a blood pressure medication. You have tried all the other alternatives. You may have to to dull side effects like sleeplessness, apathy, etc., so that you can implement what I am working with you on in talk therapy." Of course, if you don't believe in these things, don't go against your conscience, but if you approve of these statements they may be what the clients need to hear. 
What has been your experience with helping clients who have been prescribed psychiatric medication? What is one tip you think other counselors should know when working with clients considering psychiatric drugs? 

Post your comment below!