Make Sure Your Therapist is Current
January 12, 2010 · Posted in Education, EMDR, Media, Mental Health · Permalink

ocean-current-1Judith Warner’s Sunday Times, Op-Ed The Wrong Story about Depression is the perfect response to the recent hoopla over the study on the effectiveness of antidepressants. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a placebo is just as likely to help mild depression as popular antidepressant drugs. The media picked up, simplified and amplified that little piece of information and left out the much more important facts about depression in America.

Warner writes, “Antidepressants do work for very severely depressed people, as well as for those whose mild depression is chronic. However, the researchers found, the pills don’t work for people who aren’t really depressed — people with short-term, minor depression whose problems tend to get better on their own. For many of them, it’s often been observed, merely participating in a drug trial (with its accompanying conversation, education and emphasis on self-care) can be anti-depressant enough.” Quite a different message than, “Antidepressants are no better than sugar pills!”

But then Warner takes it further when she talks about the death of mental health professionals who are skilled in using proven and effective methods of alleviating depression.

“In 2008, a team of psychologists brought this point home in blunt terms in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest. “Despite the availability of highly effective interventions,” they wrote, “relatively few psychologists learn or practice these interventions.” This is the big picture of mental health care in America: not perfectly healthy people popping pills for no reason, but people with real illnesses lacking access to care; facing barriers like ignorance, stigma and high prices; or finding care that is ineffective.”

We can’t agree more. Treatments like EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and mindfulness based treatments are researched approaches and techniques that are proven to help with anxiety and depression. While it would be difficult for a therapist to be intensively trained in all these approaches, they should, at the very least, know about them and at best be skilled in one or more. Therapists need to be perpetual students and keep up with new developments in the field. Clients as consumers need to ask what recent training the person has. The combination of being seasoned by experience and current by education makes a worthy therapist.

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  1. Liz
    January 14th, 2010 | 11:09 am

    As someone who had been to a handful of therapists in twenties, none of whom I felt particularly good about, when I decided to go back into therapy I took a stronger approach. Before the first appointment I had a list of questions in my mind about their training, approach, and how they thought they could help me. It took seeing several different person before I found a good fit – but it was so worth it.

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