In the past, we posted an article that looked into more detailed differences between various healthcare professionals. This article is a spin off from that one by providing some tips on how to decide who the best healthcare professional for your child might be and how to find one nearby.
How do I find the right healthcare professional for my child?
This is a tricky question that can have a lot of correct answers. Remember that you and your child are the expert in your family’s needs so listening to your intuition and asking yourself real questions is a great place to start. The steps below are guidelines for navigating the system and may not be the best fit for everyone.
Thanks to all of the users who participated in the SOVA Project’s Pet Photo Contest! Take a peek through the gallery for a complete look at the pictures. The winner’s username will be posted in the comments section, so remember to login to see if it is you. You can also check out the winning photo on our Instagram Page: sovaproject
Recently one of our team members wrote an article entitled, “What do all of these letters mean?” This article provided a brief overview of the post-nominal letters (those initials after someone’s name) we so often see while navigating the health world. Some of you asked for more information (thank you for your input!), so now we are delivering. This post reviews the details about certain health professionals. Review the image below which highlights some of the main points regrading education, medication, and therapy.
So first of all, what is co-rumination? Co-rumination is discussing problems with others (in this case, your child) frequently, repeatedly, and excessively while never achieving a solution to fixing the problem.
Although co-rumination can be helpful at times by providing emotional support, it is not a productive form of communication because it does not allow for coping skills to develop which can hinder recovery.
You can think about it almost like a bug bite. The more you scratch, the itchier and redder it becomes. However, if you apply ointment and refrain from touching it, the bug bite begins to disappear.
A recent study found that adolescents with depression get into the habit of co-ruminating with their friends and their parents more than people who do not have depression. But with parents – as opposed to friends – they were more likely to have conversations about solving the problem.
So what does this mean for me? When talking with your child about problems occurring in their life, it is important not only to show your emotional support for them but also to help them to think of ways they might solve the issue. Sometimes when you hear your child talk about something that is upsetting them, it might cause you to feel anxious or worried for them. Before thinking about what you are saying you might blurt out something like, “You’re right! That teacher is no good!” or “You keep getting these headaches all the time – what the heck is going on with you?” This might in turn make your child feel more anxious – which makes you feel more anxious – and you get the picture. Try to instead name their emotion and your emotion. And then move on to asking them if they can think of any possible solutions. Try something like, “Wow that is really frustrating about your teacher. Can we sit down and map out exactly what happened and think about what you might have done differently?” or “Ok these headaches are happening a lot. Let’s make an appointment with your doctor, and before you go try to write down everything you can about your headaches so we are prepared to talk about it.”
By talking with your child about ways to overcome the barriers in their life, your child will begin to develop the necessary problem-solving skills they will need long term so they can pull them out as a skill they have even when you are not around. If this is working, you might start to get less “freak out” texts! Instead of agitating the “bug bite”, help your child find a solution to the problem they are experiencing so they can build the skills they need for future problems.
Have you felt like you have co-ruminated with your child before? What happened and what do you think you could do differently?
While social media is often a place to connect with your friends and relatives, it can easily become a place for unwelcome users as well. One of the greatest aspects of today’s social media outlets is that each of them have developed a way for you to block or delete anyone that you do not want to see your posts or to contact you.
A few of the comments from young people on our adolescent site mention that looking back, some of them wish they would have opened up more with a therapist. Has your child expressed their worries about opening up? This is very common.
Some people may worry about:
- Feeling judged
- Feeling embarrassed
- Being told that something is wrong with them
- Being let down
- Getting hurt
- Not being able to deal with raw emotions
- Having a panic attack
Of course these are all valid concerns. Some things that may help is remembering that a therapist’s job is to listen to people’s thoughts and about intimate details of their lives. This means that probably what you are telling them is a version of something they have heard before or at least something they have training in.
A therapist’s role includes:
- Making you feel safe and comfortable
- Listening without judgment
- Helping you reach the goals of your therapy
- Keeping what you tell them private
- Helping you gauge if you need to take a break if your emotions are too strong
If your child is getting therapy and feels they cannot open up enough with their therapist, it is important for them to be honest. Your or your child can let the therapist know they are having a hard time opening up and sharing. This is something the therapist can work on with your child! Also if it’s not a right fit, its ok to tell them that too.
Has your child had trouble opening up to a therapist? Are there ways they overcame this?
You may have seen them before while navigating the mental health world…MD, LPC, MFT, LCSW, PhD…what do they all mean?!
Here is a very brief introduction to what some of these different letter stand for and what they might mean to you.
Social Workers: Social workers can have a wide range of specialties and skills, and the term social worker can refer to a volunteer with a little experience up to a clinical social worker with years of practice. When receiving therapy from a social worker you want someone with a Masters in Social Work (MSW) who has a license to do therapy which could be a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Clinical Social worker (LCSW). Social workers are often members of the National Association of Social Workers, where you can find more information on the professional and search for clinicians.
Counselors and Therapists: This is a wide term that can encompass many different specialties and background. One of these titles is Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This title includes someone who got a master’s degree in Psychology, Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, Human Services, or a similar field, and have a certain number of supervised practice hours. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) is another title you may see, which just means the counselor specializes in marriage and family therapy. The titles let you know that these counselors have the appropriate education and post-education training.
Psychologists: A psychologist will have a doctorate degree and will always have the letters PhD or PsyD after their name which means they are licensed to practice. Well it’s not uncommon to see a psychologist for talk therapy, they are especially skilled in testing and diagnosing. You may be referred by a Social Worker or Counselor to a Psychologist for a one-time test or assessment. It is common for a psychologist to have an LPC after their name as well as the PhD or Psyd.
Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are doctors (MDs) who went to medical school and did their residency with a mental health or psychiatry focus. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication, and are often referred by one of the other mental health professionals. It is unlikely you would ever find a psychiatrist to receive talk therapy from weekly, and psychiatrists may or may not be trained in therapy. It’s common to be referred to a psychiatrist after seeing one of the other professions first.
Have you wondered what all these letters meant? Was this brief overview helpful? Let us know in the comments!
It can be difficult to recognize when your child may need help with an emotional problem. Sometimes, it may seem like they are having a good day and are figuring things out. All of a sudden, though, they seem irritable, closed off, or distant – and you’re not sure what happened. One way to think about whether their emotional problem is an issue is thinking about how they are functioning.
Several research studies have looked into the types of problems adolescents can have when they don’t get help for depression. Young people who suffer from depression can have worse grades, get involved with drugs or alcohol, have risky sexual behavior, and have more health problems when they are older, causing them to miss work or school.
These problems all mean that they may have trouble functioning because of depression. Most people consider having health problems, using drugs and alcohol, having worse grades, and risky sexual behavior as a problem. These problems can show up when depression becomes serious. Its also important to try to recognize earlier signs of having trouble functioning.
Think about what has been important to your child in the past. What are their interests? goals? Do they really enjoy a sport? art? other activities? Are there people in their lives whose relationships were important to them and now they are not as close? or arguing all the time with them? What do they want their life to look like?
Maybe they want to be able to play basketball with their friends, get an art project done, not fight with their sister, and go to school without getting a headache. If depression is keeping your child from living the life they want to live, then that is what having trouble functioning means. The good news is there is help out there that can help get them back to being who they want to be.
Have you noticed these things in your child? Has anything you’ve said or done helped them? Stay tuned for future posts on different treatment options which may work for them.
Last year an interesting New York Times article came out about a woman who posted a tweet she thought only 170 of her followers would see.