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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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Complex trauma specifically from your childhood and adolescence can also be called PTSD which is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Specifically, I am addressing the traumatic childhood experiences that have a profound impact on many different areas of their functioning. For example, children exposed to alcoholic parents or domestic violence rarely have secure childhoods; their symptomatology tends to be chronic, and ...
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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash As a counselor, it’s essential to be a good listener. If you work with teens, this may ring true even more so. You not only listen in a genuine way, but you also empathize in the same manner. Teens can tell if someone is being authentic or just trying to reassure them, rather than seeking to resolve their problems. A good teen counselor establishes trust within the relationship. The way they do this is to create a safe environment where their client can reveal what’s on their mind without pressure or judgment. Some teens come into counseling with a defensive attitude. It can be challenging to break ...
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Hello everyone -  I'm on the executive council for ACCA, and I'm hoping that some of you would consider submitting a proposal for the ACCA conference call for programs . Thanks for your consideration! 2019 American College Counseling Association Conference Call for Programs Submit your proposal by September 7, 2018 The Program Committee is seeking submissions that will contribute to the professional development of college counselors spanning all levels of experience and work settings. Our mission is to select a comprehensive set of programs that provides both breadth and depth of education and training for the variety of professionals who provide ...
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We know that separating migrant parents from their children after they enter the United States at the Mexican border is tantamount to child abuse for many children. We know it is an affront to the values that our country was built on. And by the way, to use the Scripture to justify the actions that have been taken at the border to separate families is a really a sad commentary and state of affairs. I did not know that there was a commandment on the need to separate families seeking asylum. And forget policy too. It is just dead wrong. But to get down to it, as mental health professionals, you know what happens when kids are separated from their parents. ...
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AMHCA Is Partnering with AAMFT, ABHW, ACA, CAMFT, and NCBH to Provide Medicare Coverage for Licensed Mental Health Counselors As you know, our country is experiencing a terrible crisis as thousands of Americans have become addicted to opioids. Congress is drafting legislation to combat this epidemic, but as they move this legislation forward, they have failed to fully protect Medicare beneficiaries. None of the legislation currently considered by key Congressional Committees would allow Medicare beneficiaries to seek treatment from Licensed Mental Health Counselors or Marriage and Family therapists for their addiction! One of the fastest growing segments ...
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In addition to AMHCA’s legislative strategy on passing bills that will allow clinical mental health counselors (CMHCs) to receive fee-for-service reimbursement from Medicare, we have been pursuing a second strategy or parallel advocacy effort for CMHCs to receive reimbursement through new delivery mechanisms such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and alternative payment  model (APMs) through the Medicare program. Over the last few days, more than 30 Medicaid and Medicaid bills were the subject of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee hearings focused on addressing the opioid crisis. As part of the bills considered, the following ...
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