Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Get Better Today!

You may have heard me say that I use RRT or Rapid Resolution Treatment(R). But what the heck is that? And why do I use it? The short answer: because it works, is painless, and gives immediate relief. Immediate!?! You heard me.

(That's me in a session in my office in Weston, FL)

A little background: At this point, I've been practicing in this field for almost a decade. I started in case management and moved up the ranks through community mental health and into private practice. I have been studying psychology for my entire education after high school, some seven years of college. Point is: I've been at this awhile and am trained in making people well; but, now I'm trained in making people well, whole, happy, and doing it FAST!

I'm a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Treatment (RRT), through this amazing agency called the Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence (ISSV), which means that I have conference calls every few weeks, am always brushing up my skills and learning new techniques, and twice a year I attend an intensive training to get even more polished. Although I have only been using it for a year, what a year it's been! I took the training and experience I already had in working with trauma (my specialty) and turned it from warm to burning hot. RRT allows me to have a client talk about horribly painful events with no tears, no retraumatization, and be talking, laughing, and healing all the while. In a single visit, you feel better. Not just a little better like "oh, now that I talked about it, I kinda feel better." That's crap. Better like "I feel like all my problems are solvable and I can go live my happy life." That's the goal, and it's easy - and fun!

Let me get on my ego trip for a second and tell you that seeing a client's problems resolved in a session or two is good for me. What used to take 6-9 months of weekly visits, or pouring through pain, of talking about it until it doesn't hurt anymore, is done in about 3 hours, about 2 visits. Sometimes even less. And that's just the trauma part. RRT is great for grief over a death or ended relationship, for anxiety and panic attack, depression, weight loss, changing bad habits, addiction (including smoking), motivation, and damned near anything you come in with. And if it's that good for me, imagine how good that is for you! You come less often, feel like yourself faster, and we bankrupt the tissue industry that traditional therapy has been supporting.

I hear you thinking, "oh, but surely you're blowing this out of proportion. People don't get 'cured' by this, do they? They don't stay well?" Oh, yeah, Kool Aid. Lasting results from a visit or two. People are getting better through RRT and staying well. They're coming back and saying "you know, I have this friend..." and referring people they love. That's my hope for the future, that everyone will feel good, be well, and if they know someone who needs to get better, they'll say "you know what worked for me? No, it's good. Come do it!" And we'll all be talking and laughing together. Isn't that the whole point of this crazy life, anyhow?

For further proof, check out a testimonial of mine that was featured at ISofSV this month.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Medicated

 Westerners (that's us in the US) are quick to take a pill. Headache? Have an aspirin. Sore muscles? Advil. Hearing voices? We've got anti-psychotics. A little down? How about some anti-depressants? We even make cute cartoon commercials to personify your feelings and show how they hang around. Did you ever notice that the bad feelings in the commercials never quite go away? They're always lingering nearby. But is that reality? Do life's bad feelings go away?

Have you ever been sad? Sure you have. Would you describe yourself as "sad" right now? If not, could you search and think until you found something to make you sad? Sure. Does that mean you're secretly sad? Of course not! Sadness goes away. That's called happiness, or contentment. And you've had that, too, right? Right. So isn't the goal of psychiatry to make people well enough to where they resume daily contentment; as least as much as anyone without chemical imbalance? Theoretically, yes, but that is not generally what we're seeing. 

The majority of folks are being prescribed a pill for one thing or another, asked to check back in a month for symptom monitoring, which takes about 15 minutes, and given a refill or a new prescription. Some pills are prescribed just to offset the symptoms of other pills. Cogentin, for example (a Parkinson's disease medication), is prescribed to prevent possible seizures from medications like Abilify (an anti-psychotic). You don't have to have every had a history of seizure disorder or any actual seizures to get this additional medication, and the possible side effects of Cogentin are equally as numerous as any other medication, of course. Psychotic symptoms? Here's two prescriptions! What does this do to our bodies, our minds, our wallets, and our insurance system? With good insurance you're a cash pinata.

Interestingly, the US is very different from other countries in how it handles mental illness in relation to medication. In Europe, it is generally suggested, but is up to the patient to decide their treatment. In the US, land of the free, we tend to dictate. Lexicographers, think of the meaning of the word "prescribe", (scribe) to lay down as a rule (pre) before something happens.

So if medication is not the first step, what's a person to do? I'm a therapist - and when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail - so I believe you should seek therapy. There are plenty of good therapists all over the world, though you do have to find one that fits your personality. Together with your therapist, you should be seeking the roots of the problem: What caused the symptom? And tackling it from that end. Stress causes you to hear voices? How can you manage your stress - exercise, diet, Tai Chi, breathing exercises, meditation, music, structuring your day to include relaxation? Anger issues? I run groups to teach appropriate anger management for teens and adults. Depression caused by grief or other issues? Hypnotherapy is great for grief, depression, anxiety, and so many things. 

Your problems are solvable!  Whatever the issue, there is a cause and there is a fix. Be slow to medicate and quick to look for the source. Like a weed, life's dilemmas can be pulled up and dealt with. Like weeds, they'll come back eventually, but you can handle that, too. And once you have found strength in overcoming a problem, you can rely on that strength next time. When is the last time a pill ever taught you that?