Anonymous asked:

Have you ever found out or suspected that a client has lied or significantly distorted the truth to make their situation sound worse than it is? I mean situations where there is no financial / legal gain like compensation or sickness benefits, or where the client isn't trying to elicit a prescription for medication. What did you / would you do in that situation?

Yes, I have. It’s actually not uncommon.

I feel like I’ve answered a question similar to this, but I’m on mobile so I’m not going to go look- forgive me if this sounds familiar.

There’s an important distinction to remember when I listen to my clients- historical truth versus narrative truth. Historical truth is what actually, objectively happened (“the high yesterday was 95 degrees”). Narrative truth is all about perspective, and often changes over time as people understand themselves and their history within the greater context of their lives and their current circumstances (“my mother wanted to hurt my feelings”). When a client is telling me something, they are mostly coming from a place of narrative truth- we all are. There is always going to be distortion in narrative truth. Part of my job is to figure out where the distortions and inconsistencies are.

There are so many reasons why a client may distort things in therapy. They may have severe cognitive distortions, or maladaptive approaches to relationships, or communication problems, or cognitive deficits or personality traits that lead to tendency to distort or exaggerate. They may just really feel like they need help right now and want to make it clear to me that they are in trouble.

So part of what I need to do is figure out what’s going on- why are things being distorted? Is this really the way the client sees things? Is the client intentionally distorting things? If so, why? In essence, I use the client’s distortion as one piece of information to help me conceptualize the case and choose the best treatment plan possible. I hope that’s helpful!

isabel-isapejelagartita asked:

How many years are going to take your studies? Are you doing masters o something like that? Do you already have job? Are you in college or university? I really want to become a psychologists, now i am in ninth grade of high school, sorry if I annoyed you with my long questions.

You’re not annoying me at all!

I am in a clinical psychology program, and I will get my PhD when I am finished. I already got my master’s as an aspect of the program I’m in. I’ve been in this program for four years (just started my fifth), and if everything goes as planned, I’ll graduate with my PhD in two years. That’s fairly typical- some people do it in 5 years or 7-8 years, but I believe right about 6 is the median.

An aspect of my program (One of the best aspects- I think this is something to look for in a PhD program) is that each student is funded (a yearly stipend + tuition remission + health benefits) through a 20 hour/week placement either in the university or in the community. So each year I work somewhere that helps me gain experience in clinical psychology- either clinical work, research, or teaching.

I’m at a university- in the US, “colleges” only offer undergraduate degrees, while “universities” offer undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees. I hope that’s helpful!

Anonymous asked:

I'm having trouble navigating grad school options in my state (CA) because it just decided that LPC licensure should be a thing (I want to get my master's before thinking doctorally). I like the perspectives of MFT and LPC training. Only a few programs offer the LPC, and some offer joint MFT/LPC licensure (which sounds pretty cool), and who knows what will start to crop up in the next few years? Do you have any guidance for a nervous undergrad?

I can totally empathize that it is tough to navigate all the options, and I really commend you on looking at the licensure requirements as you consider what program you want. I also think it’s great that you’re looking at the big picture and the long term as you make your choices- in short, you’re doing a great job :)

Here are my basic thoughts: don’t just look at the type of program, look at the program itself. Program quality and the usual outcomes for graduates (and % of students who do actually graduate) vary wildly between programs, even ones of the same type. You want one that really fits with what you are interested in, seems to have high quality training (theory, practice, methods, ethics, supervision, professional development, etc.- beware ones that a) only do practicum without any foundation or b) have hardly any practicum), has good outcomes (these should be clearly outlined on their website or brochure- graduate rate, years to graduation, licensure rate, where their graduates end up, etc.), and ideally (this is tougher for a master’s) some way to get funding. Based on that, you might decide to apply to some MFT and some combined programs.

It sounds like you are being very thorough, so you are probably already aware of this, but I feel the need to say it anyway- California is a notoriously tough market for mental health professionals, particularly if you would like to be in one of the metro areas. That’s an issue all by itself, although not impossible to overcome. But because of that, there are a greater number of low quality, high cost programs, so watch out for those. I hope that’s helpful!

Anonymous asked:

I'd like to do counseling for children, but I don't know how to do that. I'm working on a bachelor's in psych right now. Any information at this point would help because my guidance counselor at school doesn't have a clue. I know I'd need my LPC, but what do I even do to get that? Thanks!

I’ll do my best, but I will just say that LPCs are not my area of expertise. Maybe someone else with more experience with LPC programs will jump in and offer some thoughts.

I don’t know how much research you’ve done so far about career possibilities, but if you haven’t looked around much yet, I’d recommend doing so. “Counseling for children” could mean a lot of things. I would be as specific as possible about what you want to do (like: what children? what age? what sorts of issues? in what kind of agency? with family involvement? what about school involvement? what kind of counseling? do you want to do anything other than counseling, like administration, assessment, family therapy, research, treatment planning, training other counselors or therapists, teaching, policy, advocacy, etc?) and then finding examples of people who do the kind of thing you want to do and figuring out what their credentials are or what’s required to do that sort of job. Maybe it is an LPC, but maybe it’s something else (or maybe there are multiple possibilities and you can figure out what you like best).

Master’s level counseling programs differ from state to state (check your local state regulations to make sure you’ll be license eligible based on your program). Usually it is a two year program, and often some kind of practicum afterwards to gain clinical competency and licensure. Counseling programs will focus on counseling theories, some human development/psychology/abnormal/etc type classes, and counseling skills/ethics/professional development for the most part. I hope that’s helpful!

demauvaisenouvelle asked:

What is your theoretical orientation?

Ooh I can totally answer this, I was just working on my APPIC internship application essays.

My major theoretical orientation is evidence-based practice. It is fundamental to me that my clinical choices come from a place of EBP, so I attempt to integrate empirical evidence, client characteristics, and my own clinical judgment during all steps of my practice.

Obviously it is not as simple as that. I come from a CBT background and that has been instrumental to the way I think and understand clinical work. It’s certainly one of my favorite treatment approaches. The thing about EBP is that I believe it is important to be flexible and consider the best approach for the client, rather than solely my favorite or most traditionally used approach. So another critical component is being client-centered in my practice.

The last piece I think is really important is the use of the biopsychosocial model in my conceptualization and assessment- it is key in being thorough and accurate. That way I can truly understand the client in a clear and broad context, and make the best clinical choices possible.

Anonymous asked:

Hi! What kind of therapy would you recommend for social/general anxiety? I lost all my friends, failed my degree, and ... generally my life to it. I basically only have my parents left. I am thinking about trying CBT. Is it efficient for anxiety? How long does it take to be effective?


I can’t give individualized treatment or diagnostic advice. I really encourage you to seek treatment with a competent professional in your area if you are concerned.

So while I can’t give you advice about what will be specifically helpful to you and the issues you’re facing, but I can talk about CBT and anxiety. If you haven’t already talked to @cognitivedefusion, I would recommend getting his input as well.

there are lot of great articles about CBT and anxiety, but this meta analysis (which analyzes multiple studies on the same subject to see what the overall finding about a certain question is) is pretty good- it essentially finds that CBT is very effective for clinical and community samples in treatment for anxiety disorders.

There are multiple versions of CBT (which are generally tailored to the specific presenting problem the client has as well as other issues), so the baseline time in treatment can change. CBT manuals vary in length from maybe 6ish sessions to 20ish sessions. Of course, actual clients vary a lot from manuals, and sometimes therapy can be quite different from the manual because the client is more complex than what the manual intends so it takes longer to get through a single session or topic than the manual intends. That doesn’t mean it takes the whole manual to start seeing results- people often start seeing results really quickly, once they begin learning and applying the basics, as well as benefiting from the therapeutic relationship and feeling more hopeful. I hope that helps!

Anonymous asked:

Often when someone sends you an ask, you reply with links to articles to support your answer. I was just wondering, and forgive me if this sounds stupid, how do you read research articles with such ease? I'm a second year doing a bachelor in psych, and I still really struggle getting through the content in research articles... which is slightly inconvenient considering most assessment is lit reviews or lab reports. Any advice? Thanks so much!

It is not a stupid question at all! Becoming efficient at consuming research is really tough- I think it was one of the main things that caused my peers in college to question whether they liked research.

A lot of it is practice. I have been reading lit for like… 8 years. I’m really familiar with the language and structure of the lit in my area at this point. I would have a much harder time if I was reading outside my area- I’m even slower reading social psych articles, which isn’t that far off base, so who knows how it would go if I tried to read a chem article or something.

I also read with a purpose. Sometimes I want to read the whole article, thoroughly, critically, so that I can learn/keep up with the literature/complete a homework assignment/do other work. Other times, I have a purpose, so if I identify what I need from the article (or what I need to know so I know whether the article will give me what I want), then I can be more efficient reading.
For example, maybe I’m already familiar with the subject area but I want to know about differences between two populations- then I will check the abstract and the methods. Or maybe I’m interested in a particular sort of analysis, so I’ll check the abstract and the results section. I hope that’s helpful!

Anonymous asked:

Do you know anything about time perspective therapy? If so, what do you think of its effectiveness?

The new Zimbardo treatment for PTSD, right? I looked around and couldn’t find a single study testing its effectiveness. Zimbardo and his colleagues are arguing its effective based on (I believe) a pilot study that has not been peer reviewed and some case studies that have also not been peer reviewed (there is discussion of both in their book on it, which I’ll admit I’ve skimmed but not thoroughly read). So there’s no real evidence of effectiveness at this point, although I think it’s a pretty new treatment.

Generally, I’m not sure why a person would pick an untested therapy when there are effective treatments for PTSD already. They talk about language use, and they’re not wrong that it’s important, but other treatments don’t focus on diagnostic terms and there’s no reason to use them if it hinders progress. I would also note that Zimbardo is not a clinical psychologist and has no clinical background- something I think is important in this sort of research. He’s pretty well known for dipping a toe into some random topic for a while, whether he knows about it or not, and then moving onto something else. I hope that’s helpful!