Avoiding mental health scams: Choose a well-practiced therapist

It’s true: There are scams in mental healthcare, ethics code violations, and practitioners operating outside their knowledge scope of care - just like every other business field. To ensure you’ve partnered with the right person, consider what their licensure letters mean ahead of time to better understand legal practice guidelines. It can seem like an overwhelming step, so I’ve synthesized the mandatory TN and Federal practice guidelines, carefully outlining each title’s strengths, limits, and non-negotiables.

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#12: The choice to be quiet is a privilege because it means you had the chance to speak.

But for the first time, not talking is a choice: an option among options with equally guaranteed safety, inner-fulfillment, and contentment. Not talking is, for the first time, not a result of forced, coerced silence as a hustling mechanism for basic met needs. The choice to be quiet is a privilege because it means you had the chance to speak, and you had that chance either because you pushed yourself forward to demand being heard or you were already well enough to be in the spotlight.

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#10: I used to say my therapists were crazy. Nope, that was ED.

If my life were a novel, and I had to give that novel a title, it’d be: My Therapist is Crazy, except it wouldn’t actually be funny, because the joke’s on me.

I say that not because I’ve necessarily done anything wrong, but because I struggle significantly with the lie that mental health illness is a choice, and therefore its cure is in making better decisions. Just typing those words incites a cringing within my body that I can hardly tolerate.

It’s been about a year now since I’ve returned from full-time, but it feels like just yesterday, and it feels like I dreamt far more in the way of personal achievements than mine presently. There is nothing true about this, because my clinicians and I intentionally did not materialize recovery into socially constructed adulthood milestones. At the same time, my desiring those milestones also leads me to question whether I’m “grown up enough” for my age.

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#6: In asking forgiveness, character reformation and general reconciliation, there is an authentic ownership required on all parties' accounts... Forgiveness makes NPR

Today's "Morning Edition" broadcast included Peter Overby's "Why Trump Appointees Refer To 'Optics' When Discussing Spending Scandals," which contextualized the Trump Administrations poor acknowledgement and ownership of scandals with an overall communication trend to apologize for another's reaction to poor conduct rather than take responsibility for that poor conduct and commit to active, long-term change as a true demonstration of reconciliation. I immediately thought of my recent decisions to separate from unhealthy relationships that do not bring life and my adopting an insecurity around those decisions.

I am thankful for NPR programming as its writing practices contextualize so well that its consumers can explicitly notice the report's relevance to what valid emotions and experiences they feel, especially for those like me who grieve very deeply when we continually see a poor character in our national leaders. It gives hope that there are still high standards for humanity and our expectation for common dignity.

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#10: I talk to friend today, and we celebrate what it is like to be well

I talk to friend today, and we celebrate what it is like to be well: What it is like to have been putting one piece here, one piece there, another in the center, one in the far back and a few others tucked away for safe keeping.

We celebrate what it is like to have stepped forth steps kin to excellent campfire mound stick construction, and we smile from polar ends of Memphis in matched expectation. This is a rare feeling we have. The feeling called, “Things are working.”

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#7: There are always delicious days. There are not delicious weeks.

"There are always delicious days. There are not delicious weeks. The business inevitably involves some amount of drudgery, among which microfilmed seventeenth-century French diplomatic dispatches rank high. But yes, archival euphoria comes fairly easily to me. I love not knowing what I'm going to encounter on a given day, every once in a while extracting the nugget that clarifies your thinking or that - by some kind of alchemy - organizes the material. It's like weeks in the optician's chair, adjusting your focus with every page." Stacy Schiff

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#4: What our friends may never tell us before appropriately drifting away

Recovery takes a toll on friendships, romantic partnerships, and family relationships because our healing process is messy, exceptionally intense to experience and excruciatingly painful to watch.

Our process of focusing inwards is NOT selfish because our becoming our best selves is exactly what empowers us to bless the world we genuinely love; nevertheless, that process is appropriately very exclusive, internal, without an estimated time arrival, finish line or task checklist to indicate completion, and it is unpredictable.

None of those unpredictable factors build a sturdy foundation, and only a small percentage of the finest, firmest foundations survive inconsistency. Consequentially, we finish once beautiful relationships very divided, and what makes it most difficult is not a poor relational stewardship of either party but rather every finite human’s self-awareness of her capacity, its limits, own evolving hardships and decision for what or whom to sacrifice pieces of her well being.

In that already fragile, complex process, each party is guaranteed feeling shame, unintentionally choosing silence as an (ironic) attempt to hide the truth that may hurt the other. It is counterproductive, expediting the relationship’s crumbling foundation.

Our illness’ severity does not fairly propagate unkindness, nor does it breed respect, dignity or the appropriate level intimacy each relationship needs. And though every trauma is valid, abuse victims particularly wrestle with the idea that “our needs are not real” and “we got what we deserved,” a double-edged sword because it means we have not only been beaten down by lies but have adopted them as permanent life stories on which to base our decisions for self-care.

In the other pair of flip-flops, there is the equally real, crucial, basic boundary that no other individual we know informally is our therapist, caretaker or fixer.

Even those with the most incredible emotional intelligence, mental health awareness, magnificent of the most magnificent verbalization and listening skills, or our own fellow recovering overcomers cannot parent or take care of us.

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