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Recently, three U.S. Senators -- Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all Senators encouraging their fellow Senators to  significantly modernize, strengthen and add benefits to the traditional Medicare Program.  They have described their rationale in their communication and a key legislative piece -- S. 286, the Medicare Mental Health Access Improvement Act -- is one of the bills they are requesting the Senate pass so the Medicare program continues to provide value to current and future enrollees.  Senator Stabenow is the co-sponsor of S. 286 with John Barrasso (R-WY).   The U.S. Senate ...
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While growth can be exciting, a successful small, solo counseling private practice is also a wonderful thing. It’s what so many of us dreamed of when we were in grad school: A full caseload of clients that are being helped with meticulous, personalized care.    You’re your own boss—you get the job (or should I say many jobs) done. Perhaps, occasionally, someone will tell you that they read an article from your blog, or watched a YouTube video, or saw you do an interview on the local news. When prospective clients reach out, they might say they heard about you through a friend who sang your praises and recommended they get started on their own mental ...
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AMHCA and ACES Form Special Task Force to Enhance Clinical Mental Health Counselor Education and Supervision Alexandria, VA   The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is pleased to announce that it has established a joint task force with the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) to explore mutually beneficial collaborations to enhance clinical mental health counselor education and supervision for the 2019-2020. Some key topics the task force will be considering include: A needs assessment related to gaps in clinical mental health counselor education and supervision. Policies to enhance academic-clinician ...
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Choosing a name for your counseling practice is fun, exciting, and… a little painful. This is something you’ll have for life, which means you want to make the right decision, one that won’t yield any regrets. I’ll share some experiences I’ve had and provide some tips along the way for picking the right name for your counseling practice:  Don’t rush the process. Recently, my wife and I built a house. Out of our depth, we asked anyone we knew with experience for advice. The best guidance I heard was this: Picking out the finishes—cabinets, countertops, lighting, appliances, fixtures—while time-consuming, is the fun part. Remember to enjoy the process. ...
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The latest mass carnage in El Paso perpetrated by what appears by a man (USING AN ASSAULT FIREARM WITH THE MOST LETHAL KIND OF AMMUNITION) with white nationalism views – and in Dayton where the motive is unclear – although one of the victims is the sister of the killer, is becoming all too common place and is spreading. The public has always believed that anyone who could such horrific things must have a mental illness which I will get to soon as one myth that must be addressed. Another myth is that gun-related policy is so polarizing that any effort to make changes at the policy and community level is futile. We must get beyond this view quickly. But now ...
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Many people wait until the new year to find the motivation, kick it into gear, and set new goals. But we should be setting, working toward, and reaching goals all the time! When it comes to growing your counseling practice , you don’t want to be caught unprepared. It’s time to prep your practice for greater success. Here are some helpful tips for doing so: 1. Ready your team. Talk to your team about their availability. See if their schedules allow them to see new clients and even expand their hours. Also, make yourself aware of other schedule changes, like if a team member will be out of commission soon or otherwise on leave/vacation. 2. Add ...
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As with most things, marketing strategies change over time—or, at least, effective marketing strategies do. Last year, I wrote about very different tips for marketing your counseling practice. Now, I present you with several important changes to effective marketing for your business: Should I dedicate time and effort to getting and maintaining a website?      For 15 years I’ve been telling counselors to get a website. Why? People are going online to find services. If you don’t have a website then a prospective client will probably find and choose a  counselor  who does. Until recently, that’s been accurate. But today we might be entering a post-website ...
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Once, with a mere 10-minute’s notice, I was asked to speak to a class of counseling students. I had absolutely nothing prepared, so I scrambled to do a small brainstorm. I asked myself: “What did I need to hear 15 years ago?” I wrote this list on the blackboard: Counseling license Ivy league degree Doctorate/PhD NCC designation ABPP certification Registered play therapist (RPT, SB-RPT) Certified addictions counselor (CAC) Gottman Certified When class started, I went to the board, circled “counseling license,” and then crossed everything else out. I told the class, “Your goal is not to collect certifications or degrees, ...
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Photo by Parker Whitson on Unsplash Do you see the signs that you're a bad therapist ? Everybody that goes into the mental health field wants to help people, but sometimes, not everyone is a skilled therapist. So, are you what's considered a bad therapist, and how do you know? What's a bad therapist? A lousy therapist is somebody who doesn't genuinely care about their clients. One would think that anyone entering the mental health field must care about their clients , but that's not always the case. Do you care? Do you care about your clients? Do you care about helping them genuinely? If you do, then that's ...
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The first year of opening your private practice isn’t easy. There is a steep-learning curve, and tasks aplenty to get done (especially if you’re putting your efforts into opening a group practice). Additionally, there’s usually fear involved. Why? Because you’re invested both emotionally and financially. You’re all in. And even if you’ve watched others succeed, you can’t be sure that the process is going to pan out for you. That said, what surprises new entrepreneurs the most isn’t the learning or the doing… it’s that things rarely go as planned. Things Don’t Go as Planned—And That’s Okay Imagine purchasing a Taj Mahal Lego set (5,922 pieces ...
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The discussion around income disparity in the presidential primary races has taken on a new twist – one’s health, and in particular, one’s mental health. We have known through several studies conducted over the last two decades that a significant motherhood penalty exists on wages and evaluations of workplace performance and competence. Even after statistically controlling for education, work experience, race, whether an individual works full- or part-time, and on a broad range of other human capital and occupational variables. One Stanford University research study even sent out more than 1,200 fictitious résumés to employers in a large Northeastern city, ...
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From the paid parental leave one-upmanship by Silicon Valley companies to Democratic presidential candidates calling for guaranteed paid leave to Republicans arguing mandated paid leave could drive small businesses out of business, the issue is getting more attention in the United States. Currently, the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee paid parental leave. But what are the health benefits of paid parental leave on children, mothers and fathers? There is considerable evidence now that paid parental leave can have a significant positive effect on the health of children and mothers and can have major benefits down the ...
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Whether you call them individual cells in meteorological terms or clusters in a mathematical context, it is clear – based on new research from different disciplines – that women are facing a perfect storm of factors and issues that significantly raise the risk of developing mental illnesses, especially depressive and anxiety disorders. New research and studies also highlight that there are critical high risk periods during a women’s life where mental health disorders are more likely to occur. The past decade has seen increased emphasis on women’s mental health and sex/gender differences in the federal sector and in the research community. However, several ...
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a multifaceted public health issue that has gained much attention, especially as the National Football League addresses some of its players’ violence charges. The issue, of course, is not about football or football players. The bigger issue is that domestic violence affects one in every four women — according to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The group notes that 1.3 million women are victims of assault by an intimate partner each year; 85 percent of all domestic violence victims are women; and the women at greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence are between 20 and 24 years of ...
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A reminder this Mother’s Day that millions of women suffer with postpartum depression. The birth of a child can be a joyous and exciting time. After childbirth, some women may experience postpartum depressive disorders that can adversely affect a woman’s mental health and their child. Being a mom is hard. For some, the journey to becoming a mom is really hard too. Mothers commonly experience what is called “the baby blues,” mood swings that are the result of high hormonal fluctuations that occur during and immediately after childbirth. They may also experience more serious mental health disorders such as postpartum depression, birth-related post-traumatic ...
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The American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) are now completely separate associations.  It should be well understood that there are many types of counselors nationwide, but AMHCA was the ACA division tasked to support the needs of clinical mental health counselors.  Now, AMHCA as a standalone association is the only one that is uniquely dedicated to the academic, internship, supervision, and licensure of clinical mental health counselors.  AMHCA supports students, faculty, supervisors, supervised pre-licensed and licensed clinical mental health counseling professionals.  As ACA has stated in a recent ...
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Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress:   Measure Would Allow Mental Health Counselors to Bill Medicare for Treating Seniors On January 31st, the  Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286)  was re-introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI), that will allow mental health counselors to bill Medicare for treating older adults with mental health conditions. AMHCA was instrumental in accelerating the early introduction of S. 286 in the new Congressional session.  Please see a press release below about the announcement on the re-introduction of the  Mental Health Access Improvement Act .  Rep. Thompson ...
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Photo by Ty Williams on Unsplash When a client comes to you and wants help, you’re going to assume that they’re telling you the truth. They want to heal from whatever pain they’re going through, and that’s why they’re coming to therapy. The problem is that when you realize that a client is not truthful, it’s difficult to help them because you don’t know what their actual problems are. What do you do as a therapist when you recognize that your client is lying? Pathological liars aren’t deliberately deceiving others Not all lying is malicious. It certainly can be, and there are people who have personality disorders who compulsive ...
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If you have read the article “ How to Find a Therapist”, by Andrea Peterson in the latest edition of Real Simple magazine , then you are probably upset and bewildered. The piece is in part based on an interview with Dr. David Kaplan, American Counseling Association's (ACA) Chief Professional Officer, among others. The article is patently incorrect on many levels and stands as an indication that the author simply didn’t do the most basic fact-checking. Even a rudimentary online search would have led her to the AMHCA website and more information on who counselors are and what we do. In the article Dr. Kaplan is quoted as follows: “If you’re having problems ...
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Ray (2018) noted that in the 1970’s, Jane Murphey of Harvard University studied the Eskimos of northwest Alaska and the Yoruba of rural Nigeria. This study was undertaken at a point in time when mental illness was regarded to have a relation to learning and the social construction of norms, or that mental illness did not exist was simply created by society. In addition, there was also a belief that mental illness had been created by Western societies.  A critical implication of this perspective tended to be that what we would define as mental illness in Western culture would be vastly different than that of mental illness in rural culture in a developing nation, ...
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