Continuing Education

K2 and Marijuana

K2 and Marijuana

Patients and clients bear witness to the dangers and adverse effects of K2. How can we capitalize on the principle of social currency and that of peership, to help our patients and clients, like Raj, who uses K2, a dangerous drug with significant adverse effects? After all, this is in line with the principle of harm reduction.

Two Crucial Facts About K2

Two Crucial Facts About K2

New strategies for substance use assessment will help us master the needed skills, so we can continue to do the best work possible for our patients and clients, helping with relapse prevention, promoting full recovery, paying attention to integrated care, lessening fragmented care, and feeling gratified, as we continue to do this challenging though noble work.

What Causes Addiction?

What Causes Addiction?

Contrary to popular belief, while personal efforts can contribute to one’s attendance to appointments, groups, and to one taking medications as prescribed, addiction or substance use disorders are caused by a combination of bio-psycho-social and cultural factors, and the treatment also requires the same multidimensional approach. As clinicians, it is our role and duty to follow this framework in our assessment, treatment, and approach with our patients and clients, and especially in how we communicate with them and talk about them and about addiction, as a whole.

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Split treatment remains a challenge and has been shown to be detrimental to our patients and clients. This becomes more significant when it involves a patient population with several comorbidities. Patients with both mental health and substance use treatment needs are particularly vulnerable to split treatment, and integrating substance use treatment and mental health services is not only advised but also essential if we are to make meaningful changes.

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

The system has its role to play. It needs to empower clinicians and advocates, patients and clients, if there are interests in decreasing staff turnover and restoring trust. If burnout is to be addressed and prevented and self-care promoted, we all have to work together. And, these efforts must be supported by the system, if we are to reach our goals and continue working effectively and with the passion with which we came into this field.

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

After experiencing a phenomenon for so long, it becomes the new normal, the new culture, which is then very challenging to change or undo. It is going to be a slow process, which requires a collective effort from all of us—clinicians, advocates, agency leaders and decision makers—and from the system, as a whole. It will be a process, but it indeed starts with understanding “The Why” of preventing burnout and promoting self-care.

Burnout: An Epidemic

Burnout: An Epidemic

Cynicism, depression, and lethargy are some of the manifestations of burnout. Burnout is present in about 21-67% of mental health professionals. The ramifications can be devastating for our patients and clients, our clinicians and advocates, and for our agencies and the healthcare system, as a whole. Burnout can and must be prevented. Self-care can and must be promoted. Here are four reasons why.

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

A lack of purpose and direction in treatment has been one of the factors contributing to feeling drained when working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This draining propensity is rather common; it adds to negative countertransference and leads to clinician resistance to working with these patients and clients.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Clinicians’ Responsibility

Borderline Personality Disorder: Clinicians’ Responsibility

Prior to learning the skills, exploring the reasons why of the skills helps put things into context and helps prepare the terrain for a successful implementation. Strong Countertransference, Draining Propensity, and Splitting Ability are the three reasons why it is crucial for us as clinicians to learn and master the skills for working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ? (Part II)

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ? (Part II)

“I have been talking with Peter about diabetes, and we were working on starting an exercise regimen. He recently started to talk about his migraine medication.”  Kate eagerly articulated these words to Roger, who then responded, “We will get to talk about medications. But before we do so, let us discuss the remaining 7 of the 12 most common physical health conditions.”

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff: 5 Reasons Why

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff: 5 Reasons Why

Peter received home health care resident visits from multiple providers, including, nursing care, the care coordinator, and the diabetic educator, in addition to visits from Kate, the social worker.  He began sharing medical concerns and complaints with Kate that he was not sharing with the rest of the staff. However Kate was limited in her understanding and ability to best support Peter.

5 De-escalation Principles to Master

5 De-escalation Principles to Master

“What are you laughing about; why are you laughing at me?” Castro asked these questions during his visit with Jack in the ER. He started to raise his voice, then he got up, made a fist, and as the situation escalated, he ended up in restraints.

De-escalation Skills: 5 Reasons Why Patients and Clients are likely to escalate

De-escalation Skills: 5 Reasons Why Patients and Clients are likely to escalate

“How dare you tell me I can’t leave; who do you think you are?  How dare you?”  Harry spoke these words loudly and in anger to Nate, a forensic social worker, who was meeting with him for the first time, for an evaluation.  

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

5 tips to help engage your patients and clients

Patient and client engagement is a challenge across all aspects of clinical care and more so in mental health, especially for those who feel forced into treatment. There is no single best definition for patient or client engagement, but I usually describe it as the active patient and client involvement in his or her care for best outcomes. 

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

“I used to just equate hearing voices with schizophrenia,” said Clara, a clinician employed at the Hope Center. “Now, I know how naive of me that was. I walked in the room expecting it to be psychosis related to schizophrenia, not realizing that it could have been a physical or a different mental health issue. I feel embarrassed and wonder how often I have misdiagnosed clients who have been under my care,” Clara added.

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Arianna’s dream was to become a researcher.  “My older brother has been sick and suffering a lot, and I want to help him and also help stop suffering in the world.”  She often said these words to herself, as a way to remember that keeping her promise alive meant hard work, keeping up with great grades, and maintaining her extracurricular activities.  Arianna wanted to be sure she was doing all the right things to get ready for college and in preparation for graduate school.  At age 15; however, Arianna suddenly developed some unusual and disturbing symptoms…

Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health

Common to most community health clinics, waiting areas are usually crowded with patients to be seen, and it was no different this time for staff psychiatrist, Dr. Davidman. Though newly recruited, he managed to quickly develop a “well-liked” reputation with patients, generally greeting everyone waiting to be seen. "I notice many things in this waiting area, but one thing catches my attention the most: many clients and patients often stop me to ask for food." This was the doctor’s personal reflection about complex issues that needed direct attention.

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ?

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ?

“I have been talking with Peter about diabetes, and we were working on starting an exercise regimen. He recently started to talk about his migraine medication.”  Kate eagerly articulated these words to Roger, who then responded, “We will get to talk about medications. But before we do so, let us discuss the remaining 7 of the 12 most common physical health conditions.”

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff

Peter received home health care resident visits from multiple providers, including, nursing care, the care coordinator, and the diabetic educator, in addition to visits from Kate, the social worker.  He began sharing medical concerns and complaints with Kate that he was not sharing with the rest of the staff. However Kate was limited in her understanding and ability to best support Peter.

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

A lack of purpose and direction in treatment has been one of the factors contributing to feeling drained when working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This draining propensity is rather common; it adds to negative countertransference and leads to clinician resistance to working with these patients and clients.