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When an athlete has yet to master a skill, many coaches will focus on that problem area. When an employee is struggling at work at a specific duty, most supervisors will focus on that problem area. Similarly, in behavioral health, when working with a client to improve his or her functioning, many clinicians will focus on that problem area. Is there any thing wrong with this approach? Let’s consider the consequences of focusing only on problem areas:

  • Anxiety on the part of the learner (athlete, employee, client)
  • Frustration on the part of the learner
  • Resentment on the part of the learner
  • Low self esteem on the part of the learner
  • In the worst case scenario, giving up on the part of the learner

Now let’s consider the consequences of focusing on strengths and helping the athlete, employee or client make use of an existing strength to overcome or work around a problem area.

  • Sense of empowerment
  • Thinking of solving issues in a whole new light
  • Sense of hope
  • Creativity in thinking and...
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Seven Hundred years before the coining of the term “deinstitutionalization,” the city of Geel in the Antwerp province of Belgium was on the way to perfecting this model of community based care for individuals with a behavioral health problem.Since the 13th century, each of the families in Geel welcomed individuals with a mental illness into their home. Initially, this feat was accomplished by religious “canons,” but after the 18th century, it just became a part of their community life. There is no stigma to being different in this community; indeed, it is the norm. When Western Health Practitioners visit, they often comment, “this is fantastic, what programs do you have?” They always receive the same reply from the citizens of Geel, ” we have no programs.” All of the family members, “adopted” or otherwise, are included in all aspects of their lives (leisure, meals, religious, sports, holidays). When Western Practitioners comment on how well the citizens of Geel pull off this seeming miracle, Geel citizens just humbly note that they have a 700 year jump on the rest of the...

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This blog will be the 1st of a 2 part series regarding LGBTQ basics. Professionals in the field of Behavioral Health get questions about these letters and definitions quite often, so I thought we’d just start with some of the more common terms and acronyms.

(not sure if we should begin or end with this statement) Also worth knowing, US Care, LLC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

Ally | A person who is not LGBTQ but shows support for LGBTQ people and promotes equality in a variety of ways.

Androgynous | Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.

Asexual | The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.

Bisexual | A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same...

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A few things we should all know:

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death in the United States, outpacing gun violence and auto accidents.

Though the root of the current opioid drug crisis is linked with over prescription of painkillers, it is the heroin laced with fentanyl that is the most deadly in many States. Patients can find illegal heroin to be cheaper than paying their co-pay for prescription medication and easier to obtain than a legal prescription.

The age of overdose deaths is trending downward and now reaching its first peak in individuals who are in their 20s – this is a significant change from what we were seeing in the year 2000.

These are a few suggestions on what we can do to address this growing overdose crisis:

  1. Educate young people at home, in school, in the community about making safe decisions, refusing to succumb to peer pressure and asking a trusted adult any questions that they have about drugs.
  2. Improving access to evidence based, affordable drug treatment services in every community.
  3. Supporting...
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The classic dilemma of “should I or shouldn’t I” is explored here by Maxx Bauman. Maxx has worked in the field of Special Education in the area of Behavior Management and is currently a Professional Writer specializing in LGBTQ publications. Because both of Maxx’s parents are licensed therapists, Maxx faced much less self-stigma when considering getting counseling.

Similar to the 3 important rules in real estate (location, location, location), counseling also has 3 rules: timing, timing and timing. Other than the concept of timing (I’m ready to make a change or at least seriously consider a change). Besides timing, changing behavior is not complicated; hard work to achieve, but not complicated. To change I only need two things: motivation to change and a replacement behavior. For example, I really want to stop smoking cigarettes and I am motivated because I know that smoking is bad for my health. True, but smoking gives me great pleasure, so now I need a replacement behavior. Chewing gum, healthy snacks and gnawing on a toothpick are common alternates. Of course,...

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These are the words of distress that behavioral health professionals hear form families when a son or daughter has their first breakdown. What we used to term, “nervous breakdown” is now more commonly referred to as the initial signs of mental illness. This experience for families is always a time of grief, however; with proper support, the family and the struggling young person can learn to live with and even thrive with their condition. Though it is most typical for the first signs of mental illness to occur in late teens or early 20’s, clinicians have seen initial symptoms in much younger children and sometimes much later in middle age.

My older brother, Dave, first experienced symptoms at age 21. He was working part time, enrolled in college, and had been out to training camp with the Baltimore Orioles. He looked like our local hero on the outside. Out of seemingly nowhere, he began experiencing paranoid delusions, hearing voices and behaving in a bizarre manner. He was admitted to a state hospital where he was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Fortunately,...

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Now, more than ever, there are open discussions in the world of behavioral health about person centered services that are culturally appropriate. For several decades the counseling professions have recognized that the relationship between the counselor and client is the number 1 determinant for positive change for clients. In other words, clients are most likely to change their behavior for the better if the counseling relationship is characterized as a good, strong bond.

The question of choosing the right therapist, while important to all clients, is even a more sensitive issue for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) due to decades of being marginalized. To that end I have asked and LGBTQ Literature Poet and Editor, Maxx Bauman, to comment on choosing the right therapist.

Are Queer Therapists Necessarily Better than ~Queer~ Friendly~ Therapists?

If you already have a therapist:

  • Does your therapist make assumptions about your gender, sexuality, or identity?
  • Do you teach your therapist about...
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Over the years, many of my clients have asked, “Why did you want to be “Dr. Sam?” While it is true that my mom often said to me that my handwriting was atrociously sloppy so I should be a Doctor, the real answer is that our Family Doctor started calling me “Dr. Sam” when I was 3 years old. I recall really liking the way that sounded and seeing the sparkle in his eyes when he called me that name.

One of the most powerful tools we have as parents, siblings, teachers, community leaders and therapists is the way we use language. Negative language or criticism, by itself, can damage a child’s self-esteem. While it is true that young people should learn how to handle criticism, children also need to hear what they are doing right.

Let’s take an early life scenario as an example. When Susie is 11 months old, she is trying to learn how to walk. Let’s imagine that we have two adults (or older siblings), one on each side of Susie and encouraging her to walk between the 2 of them. One has their arms wide and saying come on, Susie walk to me; you can do it.” If Susie does...

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There has been a wave of media attention centered on popular (TV, Movies, Music, Art) media’s glorification of teen suicide, and yet it is good to continue this conversation from all perspectives. We know that recent research noted a significant leap in teen Web searches related to suicide and the most popular searches among those were items like “how to kill myself.”

That is dramatic, however; thinking about and searching for information on suicide is not the same as committing suicide. The existing research does not say definitively either way. That part actually does not matter unless there is a monumental change in store for popular media. The part that matters the most is that we communicate more often and more clearly on this difficult topic. Sometimes people are afraid to talk about suicide because they think that talking about suicide causes suicide – that is a myth. Actually the opposite is true; talking about it means someone cares and having someone to talk with is often cited as a life saver by individuals who have suicidal thoughts. If you can take away...

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