There are a few things I need to mention: 1. LMHP is used to refer to all mental health professionals who are licensed by their state to provide mental health counseling, therapy, or treatment. 2. I do not include coaching or motivational speakers here who are not licensed to provide mental health treatment. 3. I am assuming that the LMHP has three years of fully licensed experience and is in good standing. 4. Psychiatrists are not included here, as they have a medical degree and their training is different.
Top 10 Things to Help You Navigate Mental Health Treatment
1. There is little that an LMHP has not heard before. Please don’t be afraid to share your story with us. A crisis is so isolating, it can make you feel like you are the only one suffering. Fortunately, emotional pain is a universal language and an LMHP is fluent in the language and will help you translate and process it.
2. Withholding parts of your story limits our ability to help. We do understand that it may take a few sessions for trust to form, but we can only work with what you give us. We don’t actually try to figure you out; it’s a partnership.
3. LMHP’s have been taught processes for: communication, empathy, listening, problem-solving, decision making, emotional control and stress reduction. Just like a plumber who finds a leak, the LMHP applies the tools that they have according to experience. Not to say your therapist is not brilliant, but they are using a set theory developed by long-gone famous folks that has been tested and replicated.
4. We are not judging you. You have already done that for too long. LMHP’s are there to to give you the support needed to move forward throughout your sessions.
5. Therapists are not always in work mode. If you see us out in public, don’t worry. Your information is still private and we will never “out you.” However, if you approach us and ask about something we talked about in session, or you have a question for someone you know, this is probably not the time or place to have this type of discussion. Just remember, if we are not working, we are living life just like you.
6. The most important things for good therapy outcomes are (a) your willingness to participate (b) you feeling like the therapist understands you. If you are not on the same page after 2- 3 sessions you should find someone else.
7. If you don’t like something we say or the way the session is going, tell us so we can adjust. Therapy is not always emotionally pleasant, but you have a lot of options. If you went to a restaurant and the food was too salty, I hope you would ask for something else.
8. Each therapist is an individual so when you say, “Yeah I went to therapy and didn’t work.” We are kinda bummed that someone made our job harder by giving you doubts. You also make a pretty big generalization that all therapy is the same. Not true.
9. We may not seem as effected at the end of the hour as you. Most of the time, you do the heavy lifting, we focus on the technique and process. We still feel it, just not in the same way you do.
10. Anyone who claims one profession (Psychology, Social Work or Counseling) is better than the other, has not done this work long enough to see they all fit. No one LMHP is better than another; it is a matter of client preference, clinician specialty and need specialty. Again, it is important to be licensed and certified. This lets you know the LMHP has met the minimum requirements to do the work. Then look for all the specialty work they have done.