Mental Health/Caregiver/Medical Care 2015
by – Sheri de Grom
Imagine my surprise when I read in the March/April 2015 issue of Psychology Network that psychotherapy was in a decline or even in a freefall.
According to a study published in the December 2010 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry:
- The proportion of people getting only psychotherapy in outpatient mental healthcare facilities had fallen from 15.9 to 10.5 percent between 1998 and 2007. That’s by more than a third.
- Individuals receiving both therapy and medications had fallen from 40 to 32.1 percent in the same time period.
- The number of people receiving only medication had increased from 44.1 to 57.4 percent.
In the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers reviewed 34 studies of mental health treatment preferences (patients and non-patients) for anxiety and depression and found that people were three times as likely to favor psychotherapy over medications.
I remember the night during Tom’s first mental health hospitalization when he said, [and he was spot on] “I’m not coming home until you agree to see a therapist at least four times. If you believe you don’t get anything out of it, then stop. It will be your choice.” You may read that blog here.
I don’t know what clued Tom into the idea that I could possibly need a therapist. He was the one in the hospital. I was the strong one. The one that could do it all. The one who was rigid about what she ate and who didn’t go to bed until she’d run 10 miles no matter the time of day or night. I was the one with only one female friend because I didn’t trust women and I refused to work in any environment with women. Mine was a man’s world.
I guess you could say Tom recognized several traits I might want to explore and get off my back. It’s 20+ years later and I’ve never once thought of stopping therapy. Until I retired, I had to hide where I was going, but I never thought about stopping. Had my destination been discovered, I would have lost my security clearance, immediately followed by the loss of my job.
My opinion is that medicine alone will not help the depressed, the anxious, the individual with PTSD, the addicted and many other diagnoses. Life’s bumps can and do take over a person’s mind and a good therapist is worth their weight in gold.
I’ve been with my current therapist for eight years and she still doesn’t let me get away with anything. I can’t begin to explain the depth of my growth since Elizabeth Crone came into my life. If she weren’t my therapist I believe we could be really good friends but she’s far too valuable to me as my therapist.
I love those moments when something we’ve talked about in a session comes together and it doesn’t matter where I am, I understand my new revelation comes from the work Elizabeth and I have done.
The worldview of therapy remains unfriendly and that leads to the continuing stigma which reigns supreme over mental health care.
Within the field of psychology there are numerous forms of sustaining brainwashing against psychotherapy. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-V-TR] provides a faux legitimacy to artificially constructed psycho-medical disorders. Big pharmacy has financial, social and political clout which out-classes Little psychotherapy on every measure. Direct-to-consumer ads for psychotropic drugs turn every TV watcher or magazine reader into his or her own personal psychiatrist.
A continuing decrease in insurance reimbursements for therapy, as well as increasing reimbursements for prescriptions, means that if people want therapy, they’ll have to pay for it themselves.
What happened to mental health parity?
Having a therapist the years I worked for the government and ran interference for Tom’s healthcare, both physical and mental, became a valuable tool in my tool box for my own sanity.
My career moved us often and I never had the opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with any of the professionals I saw before I retired. They did manage to hold me together while dealing with a demanding career, difficult step-children and Tom’s illness.
Of the 15 therapist or so I met with, I recognize most of them saw their role as holding me together while I managed a difficult career and cared for Tom. I know they weren’t overlooking my underlying needs; they were giving me what I needed on a short-term basis.
I’m positive every full-time caregiver needs a therapist who understands their role in assisting in whatever the caregiver’s complex set of problems might be.
Why do I tell you about my therapeutic relationship with Elizabeth and expand on what a difference she has made in my life? She has set the gold standard for me and I recognize God answered my prayers when I held out my hands in prayer and begged for someone to enter my life who could help me understand me.
I continue to pray for friends who tell me they’ll never spend money on a therapist. They tell me they are never going to talk about their past with anyone. I haven’t changed anyone’s mind and if it hadn’t been for Tom’s ultimatum, I’d still not know why I don’t like water except to drink and shower or why a long narrow shop had the power to keep me out on the street, no matter how much I wanted to enter. I couldn’t fasten my seat-belt before I entered therapy in 1987.
I’m not following the research trend. If I don’t see Elizabeth as often as I did when we first started working together it’s only because we’ve worked hard and have accomplished more than I could have ever dreamed. I only have to look back in my journals to find the person I used to be.
Welcome to fall everyone. I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures and hope to have time to turn the soil and prepare it for the planting of wildflower seeds and much more. I’ve been looking at the seed catalogs for months and it’s time to place my orders.
What are your thoughts? Do you think medication alone is enough for mental health? How do you wish to be cared for?