An evidence-based approach used by registered therapists, play therapy helps children overcome various behavioral and emotional challenges. Children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delays, and older children struggling in either home or school environments can benefit from this form of therapy.
In this blog post, we discuss how child-centered play therapy works and promotes positive change in children's lives. We'll take a closer look at some specific techniques used in play therapy and how these approaches contribute to improved behavior in our little ones. So read on to learn how does play therapy help children's behavior?
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy helps children process and express their thoughts and emotions through play, offering an enjoyable and child-friendly approach to exploring challenging issues. It goes beyond just "having fun," as a therapist observes a child's actions and choices during play to gain insights into their experiences, behaviors, and overall emotional health. Elevate Counseling uses various practices like play therapy for young children alongside newer methods such as EMDR for PTSD and trauma.
This method helps children express emotions, increase problem-solving, and boost overall mental health. By understanding why play is essential for child development, we can gain further insight into the effectiveness of this type of therapeutic approach.
Play is an essential aspect of a child's development that encourages emotional and cognitive growth. When children play, they learn how to communicate with their peers, build their self-confidence and decision-making, and attain crucial life skills. These enjoyable activities relieve stress, help children connect with others, and stimulate creativity and exploration while regulating emotions. Moreover, play allows them to practice crucial survival skills that foster learning and development.
Play is a powerful tool for helping children to understand and express their emotions. So it's no surprise that play therapy can be an effective way of improving behavior. Through investigating how children play, we therapists can assist kids in stress and habit management.
How Does Play Therapy Help Children's Behavior?
Through playing, kids can reveal and process feelings, gain problem-solving abilities, and learn how to communicate better with other people. Overall, play sessions are a powerful tool a therapist can use to observe a child's actions and gain insights into their experiences and emotional health. Therapists observe the child's behavior during play to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and offer support to help foster positive behavioral changes.
For children and adults, play is essential. Play therapy can be a potent means of aiding kids to cultivate more beneficial behaviors and enhanced coping techniques, with the potential for long-term advantages. By exploring who may benefit from play therapy, we can gain further insight into how it works to improve behavior in young people.
Who Benefits From Play Therapy?
Play therapy is often used for children ages 3-12, although babies and adults can also benefit. It is recommended in several circumstances, including:
How Does Play Therapy Help Children's Behavior?
A form of counseling that helps children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues, play therapy is a non-invasive and non-threatening approach that allows children to express themselves through play, which is their natural form of communication. Play therapy helps children understand their feelings and behaviors, equips them with the necessary tools to manage their emotions, and improves their behavior.
In a child-centered approach, play therapy allows children to lead in their therapy sessions. The therapist creates a safe and supportive environment where children can explore their feelings and behaviors without fear of judgment or punishment. During sessions, therapists will use toys, puppets, art projects, and games to encourage emotional expression in children.
Play therapy is effective for anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, and behavioral problems. Moreover, it helps children develop empathy, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills essential for healthy social and emotional development. Play therapy also helps children build positive relationships with others and learn to communicate their needs effectively.
If you are concerned about your child's behavior or emotional well-being, play therapy may be a helpful option. A qualified play therapist can work with your child to address their specific needs and help them develop the skills they need to thrive.
How Does Play Therapy Work?
Play therapy sessions typically follow a weekly or biweekly schedule, with the number of sessions varying based on factors such as problem severity, past trauma, and the child's responsiveness. During these sessions, therapists use their clinical judgment to recommend appropriate play activities that help children express themselves and address behavioral issues. Through engaging in therapeutic play, children can develop essential coping skills and improve their emotional well-being.
When children play, they learn to communicate their feelings and emotions in a safe and supportive environment. Research has demonstrated that play therapy can be beneficial in managing a wide range of psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder.
If you're seeking an approach to assist your child in developing their behavior and emotional health, look into the advantages of play therapy. A registered play therapist can work with your child using techniques like sand tray therapy and child-centered play therapy to help them develop coping skills and build resilience. To learn more about how play therapy can benefit your child's behavior and overall mental health, contact us today.
Is play therapy effective for children? This question is popular among mental health professionals and child psychologists. Play therapy is a method of communication for your children, allowing them to express their feelings through toys and play. This type of therapy is effective as a stand-alone technique or when used with medications and other therapies, depending on the child’s needs.
Let’s examine the various aspects of play therapy and its benefits for children facing emotional or behavioral challenges.
Understanding Play Therapy: Why Play?
In recent years, numerous mental health professionals have emphasized the importance of play in human happiness and well-being. The benefits of play include:
Through play, children can express their innermost thoughts and feelings in a way that is challenging through verbal communication alone. Through play, they can explore their emotions, learn about themselves and others, develop problem-solving abilities, and practice essential life skills.
Through play, we practice our social skills and foster cognitive development. It allows us to experience emotions, develop coping strategies, and express ourselves appropriately. These benefits help alleviate anxiety while learning to take responsibility for our actions and developing language.
What Is Play Therapy?
As an overarching umbrella term, play therapy encompasses various therapeutic methods using play as a tool. In this setting, the therapist serves as a facilitator allowing the child to work independently, consider their issues, and problem-solve towards finding solutions. Play therapy aims to provide a psychological buffer between the child and their problems so they feel safe.
In play therapy, toys are tools for the child to use instead of vocabulary. The therapist can identify deficits and help the child adapt.
Further, play therapy can be a useful technique to assist kids in tackling their problems and cultivating helpful ways of managing them.
One key aspect of effective play therapy is to allow children to explore difficult emotions safely under the guidance of a skilled therapist. Through play therapy, children can explore their feelings without needing verbal expression, thus allowing them to progress at their own pace.
While play therapy is common with younger children, it can also be effective for older children and adolescents. The therapist will adapt the approach to the child's age and developmental level to ensure that the therapy is appropriate and effective.
How Does Play Therapy Work?
Play therapy is an effective method for addressing children's emotional and psychological needs, as it utilizes their natural language - play. This approach helps children express themselves more freely and comfortably than they might through verbal communication alone.
The Role of Toys in Play Therapy
Toy objects act as symbols representing various emotions or situations that the child may be experiencing but cannot articulate verbally. By observing how a child interacts with different types of toys during sessions, therapists can gain valuable insights into their inner world and develop tailored treatment plans to address specific issues.
Assessment and Goal Setting
A crucial aspect of play therapy involves assessing the child's needs before setting therapeutic goals. The therapist conducts a thorough evaluation to understand the child’s challenges while also considering factors such as age, developmental stage, family dynamics, and any relevant medical history. Based on these findings, appropriate limits are set within which therapeutic activities can take place.
Observing Child-Parent Interactions
Progress Monitoring and Adjustments
As play therapy progresses, therapists continually reassess the child's behaviors and responses to various activities. This ongoing evaluation enables them to adjust their approach accordingly, ensuring that the therapeutic goals are met effectively. By tailoring treatment plans based on individual needs, play therapy can help children overcome emotional hurdles and develop essential coping skills for navigating life's challenges.
Different Techniques Used for Play Therapy
Various techniques, such as nurturing play, storytelling, art activities, role-playing games, and music therapy, help the child explore different aspects of themselves that can lead to positive outcomes.
Let’s look at some common play therapy techniques:
Nurturing play focuses on building trust between the child and therapist by engaging in activities promoting safety, comfort, and care. This technique can benefit children who have experienced trauma or neglect as it helps them develop secure attachments.
In aggressor-victim play, children act out scenarios involving power dynamics, such as bullying or conflict resolution. Through this type of play, therapists can help children understand their feelings about aggression and victimization while teaching them healthy ways to express emotions like anger or frustration.
Sorting or Fixing Play
Sorting or fixing play involves organizing objects according to specific criteria (e.g., color, size) or repairing broken items (e.g., puzzles). Sorting or fixing play can help children build problem-solving skills and gain control.
Sleep play is a technique that uses relaxation and visualization exercises to help children process their emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a calm state. This method can be especially beneficial for children who struggle with anxiety or have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.
Play Therapy: The Bottom Line
So, is play therapy effective for children? The techniques used for play therapy are often effective in helping children express themselves and build healthy relationships.
To find a licensed mental health professional with play therapy experience, your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor can often make a referral. The Association for Play Therapy can also help you find a local registered play therapist.
If you’re considering play therapy, call our team at Elevate Counseling Group today to see how our experienced team can help you and your child.
Play is a fundamental part of childhood that teaches us many things by allowing us to explore various toys and games. It’s little wonder that play therapy evolved to help children work through some things that are difficult to face through adult methods, like talking.
Play therapy is a powerful tool that can help children overcome various emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. As a parent or guardian, you might wonder what are the benefits of play therapy for a child and what makes it such an effective approach?
What Are the Benefits of Play Therapy for a Child?
Play therapy helps children between the ages of three and 12 to resolve psychosocial difficulties they are facing. Using play in the right setting, with a trained therapist, can help children face and work through their struggles in a healthy way.
Therapists work with children on communication and learning to express themselves in healthy ways while gaining insights into their daily life. It is particularly effective for younger children who lack sufficient verbal skills to express their feelings and experiences.
Play therapy typically involves various techniques to reach the child through something they enjoy, including imaginative role-playing, artistic activities, building with blocks, or some form of storytelling. The children can communicate more easily and without the pressure of verbalizing direct thoughts and emotions.
Therapists can observe the child's play and find ways to help them develop social skills, emotional regulation, and creative solutions to life stressors.
Children who participate in play therapy often experience improved self-esteem, increased self-awareness, and better social skills. They also learn to express themselves more effectively and develop a greater sense of control over their lives.
Who Benefits from Play Therapy?
Though play therapy is typically reserved for younger children and preteens, it can help individuals of all ages and backgrounds to face and work through traumatic or stressful issues. Some common uses of play therapy include those who have faced one or more of the following:
Play therapy is most effective for children experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges who lack the capacity to address them via traditional methods.
Benefits of Play Therapy
Play therapy typically helps up to 71 percent of children referred for the treatment. Some of the key benefits include social and emotional growth.
Children gain confidence and learn self-respect as they become more adept at play therapy and communicating with their therapist. The strong relationship between therapist and child can serve as a model for other relationships and ultimately friendships.
As a side benefit, play therapy can support proper language development as well as better fine and gross motor skills.
How Long Does Play Therapy Take?
No play therapy session is the same, but given a child’s attention span, it’s typically held to less than an hour. Sessions typically last 30 to 50 minutes once per week, and many kids attend for around 20 sessions.
Progress depends on the individual child and the issues they need to work through, so it’s important to understand that each child works at a different pace. Children with less severe concerns or those who quickly establish trust with their therapist might experience positive changes faster than those with complex or persistent issues.
Goals of Play Therapy
Therapy goals will differ for every child, and a good therapist creates goals based on the individual’s needs. They will converse with you to determine the desired results and the key roadblocks to overcome.
Some goals for children might involve learning how to respect others and develop healthy friendships. Others might need to work on finding healthy ways to express their emotions, especially after trauma.
Therapists may encourage family members to participate to gain insight into a child’s behavior and find ways to apply some methods at home.
Play therapy can provide a nurturing environment for children to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe space. With support from a trained therapist, they can develop effective coping skills and learn how to build healthy relationships.
If you think your kid may gain from play therapy, contact our expert team of licensed therapists at Elevate Counseling. We are available to help your child learn how to cope and thrive.
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that tries to enhance family communication and relationships. It is a team-based strategy that assists families in identifying and addressing problems that may be creating conflict or distress.
Benefits of family therapy include improved interaction, more understanding and empathy, problem-solving abilities, and closer relationships between family members. Working together, families may learn to overcome obstacles, strengthen bonds, and create a more supportive and enjoyable home environment.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on family interactions. It is a collaborative method in which all family members work together to identify and resolve problems that create conflict or discomfort. Family therapy sessions with a therapist or counselor usually include open conversations and problem-solving activities.
The fundamental principles of family therapy are based on the idea that families are systems and issues affecting one member of the family might affect the rest of the clan. The members of a family may improve their ability to communicate and engage positively with one another if they work together to recognize and alter destructive patterns of behavior.
Several problems are improved with the use of family therapy. Even when there aren't any glaring issues, it may improve family interactions and bonding.
Common Goals of Family Therapy
The goal of family therapy is to improve communication, lessen arguments, and forge closer ties among family members.
The purpose of family therapy is to help family members better understand and care for one another by identifying and resolving dysfunctional patterns of interaction. In addition to bringing people closer together, it might also help them learn to solve problems, increase their awareness of others' perspectives, and enhance their ability to communicate with one another.
Ultimately, family therapy seeks to create a more supportive and fulfilling home environment where all family members feel heard, understood, and valued.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Family therapy can offer a range of benefits for individuals and families, including:
Overall, the benefits of family therapy can be far-reaching, providing individuals and families with the tools they need to navigate challenges, resolve conflicts, and build better and more fulfilling relationships.
Family therapy is a valuable tool for improving communication, resolving conflicts, and strengthening relationships within the family unit.
By working together to identify and address issues, families can learn to develop effective coping strategies and problem-solving skills, leading to a more supportive and fulfilling home environment.
Whether dealing with behavioral issues, mental health challenges or simply seeking to enhance family dynamics, one of the top benefits of family therapy sessions is that they provide a safe and validating space for families to learn and grow together. If you’re in or around Rockwall, TX, contact the family therapy experts at Elevate Rockwall to schedule an appointment today.
Do you need help with an adolescent child who refuses therapy? This is a difficult question parents face when their teen displays signs of mental health issues. Parents can face a tough decision regarding their teen's mental health if they begin showing signs of emotional issues.
You may feel like you have no good options available if your adolescent resists professional help and support. However, understanding why adolescents refuse therapy and the benefits they could receive from seeking treatment can provide insight into how best to approach this situation with care and compassion.
So how do you help an adolescent child who refuses therapy? Let’s explore some of the reasons why, as well as potential strategies for helping them accept assistance, and resources that may be available should you decide to pursue further intervention for your child who refuses therapy.
Why Do Teen Children Refuse the Therapy That They Need?
Adolescents may spurn counseling on various grounds, like the apprehension of assessment or lack of knowledge of what therapy is. Major obstacles to getting a teenager to accept therapy include fear of judgment, a lack of trust, and feelings of discomfort.
Fear of Judgment
Adolescents may be reluctant to open up about their feelings in front of adults due to a fear of being judged or misunderstood. They may be wary of expressing themselves, especially in front of an adult they don’t know. Consulting a therapist, then, can be challenging for them.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager. You were worried about what your friends thought, what the cool kids were doing, whether you wore the right clothes, and if the music you listened to was acceptable to your peers. Kids still feel those things. And there’s mounting evidence that social media tendencies are exacerbating them. so the risk of making them feel judged is always a real one.
Alleviating the apprehension of being judged requires cultivating a space where teens feel secure and valued when disclosing their issues.
Lack of Trust
Another reason some adolescents may not want therapy stems from a distrust of the process or the therapist. And if they’ve had negative past experiences with other adults or professionals, they might be further entrenched in the belief that more therapy isn’t an answer.
Building trust with an adolescent who refuses therapy means extending patience and understanding to the teenager who needs help during times of difficulty.
Many adolescents have no desire to talk about personal matters. It can be intimidating and overwhelming and lead them to avoid therapy altogether. Therapists must take the time to get acquainted before diving into more serious topics. Taking this time allows teens to adjust before delving deeper into conversations regarding mental health concerns or emotional struggles they are facing.
Teenagers may also see the admission of a need for help as a sign of weakness. Many people recognize this admission as a sign of true strength, but few of those people are teenagers. Seeking professional assistance shows courage, strength, and resilience. And most kids have all those qualities.
There may also be an element of fear or embarrassment, so a teenager's insistence that “I don’t need any help” may be a cover for not wanting to admit to feeling apprehension.
Is It Okay to Force Your Adolescent Child to Get Treatment?
The short answer is usually not. A teenager who feels compelled to seek treatment is unlikely to feel motivated to change. Even if they get dragged to their appointments, talking about their feelings will likely be low on their list of priorities that day.
That doesn’t mean you can’t require your teen to attend a few sessions. As mentioned above, a skilled therapist should be able to set the teenager at ease in those few mandatory sessions and perhaps make inroads that will help the client realize the necessity and importance of the process.
Since we were all teens at some point, we can recognize that a teenager might not want his parents to know he’s enjoying the process or that it’s helping. If a teenager complains about going to therapy, but you’re not having to haul them in kicking and screaming each week, it might be going better than they’re letting on.
All this goes by the wayside, though, if an adolescent is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. Risky behaviors are also red flags that can justify forcing a kid into a therapist’s office.
How Do You Help an Adolescent Child Who Refuses Therapy?
Overcoming objections can make an enormous difference in talking a teenager down from their adamant refusal to participate in therapy.
1. Explain What Therapy Is
How many teenagers know anything about anything? Not a majority. We often fear what we don’t understand, so getting your adolescent to understand what therapy is may do a lot to help.
Age-appropriate explanations can help someone understand better what the process entails. Young children need to know that they won’t get any shots. Teenagers might need specific instruction about client confidentiality and that nothing they share with a therapist will get back to mom and dad.
Having a better understanding of what they can expect may help assuage your teenager’s doubts.
2. Make Them Part of the Process
Just as we avoid tantrums from our kids when they’re toddlers by giving them choices, we can help teenagers better accept therapy and the need for it by giving them some input into the process.
Offer different treatment options, allow them to essentially “audition” a therapist or two, and allow them to have a part in the final decision. This thought process is similar to the one many people use with the type of work supervisor who needs to believe that the new office procedure was his idea.
3. Find the Right Therapist
Every patient is different, no matter what age. Therapists won’t be one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to find one that your teenager can work with. If they don’t like or respect the person they are working with, therapy will be ineffective.
If your teen has tried therapy in the past and didn’t get anything out of it, ask questions. What didn’t they like? What helped? What didn’t? (And make them give real answers as opposed to the non-communicative catch-alls many teenagers use: “Nothing helped. It was all terrible.”)
These questions can help you select a therapist and make your teenager more amenable to the process.
4. Don’t Give Up
Helping an adolescent child who refuses therapy is not a one-conversation undertaking. Important conversations aren’t typically settled in one sitting. Progress may come gradually. So don’t give up on the conversation. If your child says no the first time you talk about therapy, keep trying.
It’s also important to continue listening to how your teen feels and what they think they need. Use the strategies above and try asking clinicians what they would recommend.
5. Bring Up the Subject With Your Teen Positively
If you think your teen might need counseling, how you broach the subject is very important. The first conversation you have will likely set the tone for your teen’s attitude toward therapy.
It’s common for teens to be embarrassed by their problems, and it can be hard for them to admit they need help. As such, it’s important to avoid sending a message that could cause feelings of shame.
You don’t want to imply your teen is crazy, that there’s something wrong with them, or that they’re not smart enough to make good choices. Instead, share why you believe counseling is important and how it could be helpful. Ask for input from your teen and be willing to listen to your teen’s opinions.
If you experience therapy yourself, consider sharing that with your teen, which can normalize it and remove some of the stigma the adolescent may associate with it.
The decision to help an adolescent child who refuses therapy is a difficult one. It requires understanding why they may be refusing, exploring the potential benefits of therapy, and considering strategies that can make it easier for them to engage in treatment.
If you are worried about your adolescent’s mental health and well-being, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance. There are many resources available that can provide support as you work with your adolescent on their journey towards healing and growth.
Take action now to help an adolescent child who refuses therapy. Reach out to us at Elevate Counseling for guidance on how best to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and patience.
Addictive disorders are a set of illnesses that can affect both the body and the mind. Addiction therapy is a crucial therapeutic option for recovering from addiction disorders. Therapy treatment for addiction helps end the addiction cycle. Addiction treatment is challenging and needs continual support.
21.7 million people, or about 8.1 percent of the population, in the US need or regularly get treatment for substance abuse disorders. If you wish to overcome your addiction, don't discount the benefits of therapy.
Therapy is a crucial component since our thoughts and behaviors interconnect. However, addiction therapy must cover as broad a spectrum as the condition itself. Medical professionals should tailor addiction therapy to the needs of each patient.
Most people ask, "What is addiction treatment therapy?" This article describes addiction treatment therapy and the steps to recovery. If you’re struggling with addiction and live in Rockwall, TX, reach out to the team at Elevate Rockwall today to schedule an appointment.
What is Addiction Treatment Therapy?
Recognizing that drug or alcohol use is a problem in your life is essential. This is the first step toward recovering from addiction. Once you realize this, you're ready for therapy and should immediately seek out therapy treatment for addiction.
Treatment options for addiction depend on several factors, such as:
Some of the addiction treatment therapy options are:
The first step in treating addiction is detoxification. It entails eliminating a drug from the body and minimizing withdrawal symptoms. A treatment facility may employ specific medications to lessen withdrawal symptoms. If you have a substance addiction, you may need medicine to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal.
Counseling and Behavioral Addiction Treatment Therapy
This is yet another popular form of therapy for addiction treatment. Therapy sessions may be one-on-one, in a group, or with the entire family. It depends on the requirements of the person who wants to begin receiving therapy. The number of sessions is usually high but decreases as symptoms become better.
There are other types of therapy for addiction, including:
If you have an addiction disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy is very useful. This therapy can help you identify and alter thought patterns on substance use.
Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy
Additionally crucial is multidimensional family therapy. It aids in bettering family dynamics when a teen with a substance use issue is present.
This therapy is essential since it increases people's willingness to alter their behavior. It's imperative that you get this therapy if you abuse drugs.
Counseling for Addiction
This therapy assists clients in altering their attitudes and behaviors toward substance abuse. It also improves life skills and supports other addiction therapies.
Other Addiction Treatment Therapy Options
There are other therapy treatments for addiction. Depending on your needs, each type of therapy differs and may be less or more helpful.
Here are other therapy alternatives if you want to begin addiction therapy:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Change and acceptance are the main goals of dialectical behavior therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy helps those with substance use problems. DBT emphasizes reducing substance use and actions associated with substance use disorders.
It encourages beneficial actions that keep an addict away from drugs, such as forming new relationships. DBT therapists use individual, group, and treatment interventions between sessions.
Contingency Management Therapy
Contingency management is a treatment in which people get rewards for positive changes. Positive reinforcement enhances the frequency of a behavior. This is the basis for this therapy.
The following are some of the advantages of contingency management therapy for addiction:
Couples and Family Therapy
Addiction has an impact on your life and can transform your entire family. A strong family relationship makes you more likely to succeed in addiction rehabilitation. If you use drugs or alcohol, you should also attend family or couples therapy.
Family members can be significant transformation agents in your life. They increase your chances of staying in therapy. Additionally, family counseling lowers recurrence rates and increases family happiness.
12-Step and Community Programs
A 12-step program is a structured method of overcoming or recuperating from addiction. The fundamental focus of 12-step and community programs is acceptance. It also focuses on full involvement in the recovery community. The primary goal of this therapy is to stay sober.
Addiction is a long-term condition. People who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol before are more likely to form issues with them again. Therefore, it’s a good idea to engage in maintenance therapy. This therapy helps in avoiding substance abuse addiction and relapse.
Maintenance therapy includes counseling and medication. Currently, the FDA has three drugs for treating opioid addiction and alcohol addiction.
Why is Therapy Essential in Treating Addiction?
People struggling with substance misuse can suffer physical, mental, and emotional side effects. Having an addiction disorder is traumatic and demoralizing. To treat addiction, therapy is necessary.
Therapy treatment for addiction will assist you in breaking your drug-using habit. You will love your progress after addiction therapy and begin to regain your personal confidence.
Here are reasons why therapy is essential in treating addiction:
Therapy can assist in overcoming personal treatment resistance. You will be more receptive to the possibility of addiction treatment if you seek therapy. Therapy also ensures you get good, long-lasting results and quick healing.
Do I Need a Substance Abuse Therapist or Recovery Therapist?
Yes. For addiction recovery, you require a substance abuse therapist. Successful addiction recovery is not something you can accomplish on your own. But you can overcome your drug addiction with a group of therapists.
Most expert recovery therapists will give you strategies for reducing withdrawal symptoms. For effective therapy, look for qualified and experienced therapists.
Community programs, detox facilities, or drug treatment facilities may also recommend you to a competent therapist. If you want to deal with your addiction, find a good therapist. You’ll also have the advantage of asking your therapist for suggestions on appropriate treatments.
Substance abuse disorders are complex and often need lengthy, intense treatment. The substance and the intensity of the addiction determine the treatment. Detoxification is the first step in treating substance addiction. Detox aids in reducing withdrawal symptoms as the chemicals leave your system.
There are numerous ways to treat addiction disorders. If you need addiction treatment therapy, we're here for you. Call us today, and let us help you through this recovery process.
Lara Yates, LCSW
Lara is a therapist who sees clients at Elevate Counseling Group in Rockwall, TX. Lara works with teens, adults and couples.
After 15 years in the field of mental health, I have come to learn there is a huge learning curve for families that comes when seeking the RIGHT provider for you. Most Americans can tell me the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist; a cardiologist and a primary care doctor; a surgeon and a nurse. So why is there so much naiveté when it comes to the world of mental health and all the different providers? I think it comes with the massive stigma attached to seeking out treatment (more on that later in another blog post) and the lack of education in schools and our homes. If it’s not “cool” or accepted to talk about it, a lot don’t know about it.
A common complaint I hear is “I went to see a psychiatrist and they didn’t listen” or “I saw a therapist but she never put me on medication.”
The goal of this post is to educate and break this down for you, so you can choose the right provider or path for you, according to what you are looking for.
*Disclaimer- I am NOT saying one provider or license is better than any other. We all serve different purposes and have been trained to focus on different things. We are all parts of one large community that would be worse off if we didn’t have the variety we did.* This is not one size fits all. It is YOUR responsibility to do your research to find who is right for you.
With that being said, let’s begin.
PSYCHIATRIST- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. An M.D. They went to school to learn about your brain, its chemistry and medication. Their sole job is to listen to your symptoms, diagnose, and PERSCRIBE MEDICATION. So often I hear complaints about psychiatrist, “they didn’t talk to me, and they didn’t listen.” With good intentions I think the public will often set them up for failure, expecting something out of them they are not trained to do. Their job is not to provide therapy. They are the doctor of the brain, medication management is their goal. These doctors aid in the overall health when medication management can be PARTNERED with talk therapy.
PSYCHOLOGIST- A psychologist is also a doctor but holds a PhD. They tend to focus more on
administering assessments (i.e. IQ test, ADHD assessments, psychological evaluations, and more). While they can perform therapy, most entered into a PhD program for research purposes. You CAN diagnose and provide therapy with a Master’s degree; the main purpose for moving forward with a PhD is research.
THERAPIST (LPC & LCSW)- I am grouping these two license holders together for the sake of the length of this blog. The two (Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker) are different in a lot of ways when it comes to our boards, our training, and backgrounds. BUT we are similar enough to group together for the time being. Both diagnose and provide therapy. A social worker CAN become a therapist after going further in education, licensing, and obtaining thousands of hours in training. I personally hold an LCSW. I get a lot of shock when people learn my background and roots are in social
work. There is a lot of stigma in that itself and people assume I just work for CPS or “take kids out of homes” (again, another blog post later on LPC vs LCSW tracks). Therapists are trained in dozens and dozens of different theories, therapy modalities, and can work with children, adults, families, and couples. Both are trained in the life span (birth to death) and all diagnoses found in the DSM-V (our bible for diagnosing and mental health disorders). Therapist CAN NOT prescribe medication. We are the talk therapy portion of your care. If we begin working with you and feel you would benefit from being on medication, we will often write a letter to either your psychiatrist or primary care doctor, often citing you are under our care and what symptoms we are noticing. We may encourage you to get an evaluation to see if medication would work best in you, while continuing to see us as therapist. Think of
it as a treatment team of support around you. What therapist do not do, is give our opinion. My clients will often ask “well, what do you think? Tell me what to do.” That is not our job. You can get that for free from a friend having coffee. Our job is to partner with you in finding the best version of yourself you can be, through different treatment modalities and therapies that fit best for whatever you are walking through. Opinions do not heal trauma. Therapy does. I bring this up because while we are talking about titles, often lines can get blurred of clients wanting their therapist to be their friend. It’s understandable. It can be very intimate sharing pain, your story and your healing with someone.
LPC-A- I thought this credential was worth mentioning. If you notice your therapist has a letter “A” after their license, this means they are working on becoming fully licensed (LPC, the ‘A’ will drop off) after obtaining 3,000 hours, under the supervision of a LPC-Supervisor. So, if you are looking for a more seasoned therapist, this is important to know.
While there are still many more credentials I did not cover, my goal was to hit on the most common feedback I hear in my practice. I truly hope this was helpful. There can be frustration when time and money are lost and if you feel you have spent energy towards the possible wrong provider; depending on what your goals are. This can often make people want to quit. Please keep going. Finding the right therapist/doctor for you can be like dating; not everyone is a good match. Advocate for yourself and ask questions. You will not offend your mental health provider.
Lara Yates, LCSW is a therapist who sees clients at Elevate Counseling Group in Rockwall, Texas.