Checking In With Yourself

When you’re feeling really depressed, upset, or anxious, it can be hard to come up with ways to understand what is happening with yourself, let alone what to do about it. Even the most basic self-care can be hard to remember when your executive functioning is down.

This is a very helpful list to have handy for those times when you are unable to generate the energy to remember how to support yourself:

 

Therapeutic Art 12/13 and 1/10: Register Soon!

Single-Session three-hour therapeutic art groups for adults, each focused on a specific theme:

Thursday, December 13, 5-7pm: Art Therapy for Anxiety

~Appropriate for adults with OCD, Panic, Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other anxiety disorders.
~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly) REGISTRATION EXTENDED THROUGH 12/5

Thursday, January 10, 5-7:30pm: Art Therapy for Trauma History 

~Appropriate for adults with PTSD or related issues deriving from experiences of violence or abusive/chaotic/violent environment
~Online Signup via Eventbrite (or contact us directly) REGISTER THROUGH 12/30


 

~All supplies provided

~You may sign up for one or both groups, depending on availability of spaces

~Many insurances will reimburse – please ask for a receipt

~If you are not a current client at Intersectional Life C&P, a referral from your current therapist is required ~OR~ if you don’t have a therapist you may request a brief screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

 

 

 

Trained Volunteers Offer Crisis Support Via Text

While hotlines are not a substitute for clinical care, they can be a caring connection that may help someone having any sort of crisis or trouble to figure out how they’re feeling, what’s going on,  and what they want to do about it. They can also offer referrals if needed. Because so many people use text as a means of communication, now there are text hotlines for crises:

Frequently asked questions answered by Crisis Text Line:

https://twitter.com/CrisisTextLine/status/1067459982143221765

 

About Insurance

Why did you stop taking insurance?

After several years of being in-network with most major insurances, we decided to stop “taking” (being in-network with) most of them beginning January of 2018. This was for several reasons:

  1. Client cost: Most clients still had to pay out of pocket up to 6-9 months into each year, until their deductibles were met. Therefore, in many cases it did not make mental health care more financially accessible at all. Submitting out-of-pocket payments to insurance for reimbursement is a greatly streamlined method for most and often has very similar cost and deductible fulfillment outcome for clients.
  2. Administrative time and cost: Being in-network in many cases means an enormous amount of administrative work, paperwork, and being on the phone–not just once or twice, and not just for urgent or crucial questions–but as an ongoing condition of being in-network. All of that ended up literally taking much more time than actually seeing clients in session each week!
  3. Who are we accountable to, the client or the insurance company?: Insurance coverage often means being required to repeatedly justify treatment based on insurance rubrics rather than individual need. Many, many clients are well-served by attending only a few sessions during times of increased stress. But for those who require longer-term support and management, return visits–whether twice a week or twice a year–may be a necessary part of staying on-track with recovery and maintenance of mental health. Furthermore, if someone is experiencing a problematic life issue that is not related to a specific diagnosis, or a diagnosis that is not covered by insurance, there may be pressure on the therapist to come up with a diagnosis more for the sake of insurance coverage than for treatment planning. In some cases, that diagnosis may then be considered a pre-existing condition for future insurance packages.
  4. Confidentiality: Most insurances require certain information about clients in order to decide whether they will cover sessions. At a minimum, this usually includes a covered diagnosis and a session date. Sometimes this is not much of an issue (“depression is the common cold of mental health”!), but mental illness and injury is still unfairly stigmatized. Some people do not want certain information about their mental health to be included in the medical record that their insurance company may be maintaining.

Some of these points and more are discussed by other therapists.

While we do offer reimbursement services (assistance and support in submitting receipts to insurance companies for reimbursement), not every psychology practice does. If your therapist does not, you can call your insurance company for instructions, or you may even want to try a fee-for-reimbursement app service such as Better.

For additional alternatives to insurance coverage, please refer to the assistance (bottom) section of our service rates and financial page.

What to Say Around the Table

For many people, the holidays are a time of increased anxiety and depression because of ongoing family conflict. Often people struggle to find ways to respond to outrageous or subtle expressions of prejudice or bigotry. Responding to the prejudice of family members and neighbors is even harder if you experience anxiety, PTSD, or your family is a mental health risk! It can help to make sure you are feeling stable yourself, and to be prepared beforehand.

First of all, remember to take care of yourself. You deserve protection, and you are allowed to set boundaries about how family members treat you! You are also allowed to withdraw and rest when you need to, to ask for help with tasks, to say “no” to unwanted activities, and to take care of bodily functions such as eating and going to the bathroom. That may sound obvious to some, but if your family has some dysfunction, those may be things you need to practice allowing yourself.

Secondly, try reading through this list of six steps (below) to speaking up. It will help you to frame your responses and to feel stable in your understanding, which will reduce your anxiety about a possible confrontation even if no conflict occurs. It also explains how to point out unacceptable behavior without name-calling or escalation:

Six Steps to Speaking Up Against Bigotry

If you are interested in broadening your skills in speaking up, here is a comprehensive list of a variety of situations and topics for which you might need a concrete and useful way to respond:

Responding to Everyday Bigotry

Have a peaceful and healthy weekend!

Thanksgiving / National Day of Mourning

The first Thanksgiving was actually a fact-finding mission:

 

On Thanksgiving Day, many will be commemorating the losses of Indigenous peoples and protesting continued injustices.

International Men’s Day: Men’s Mental Health

Men struggle with mental health as much as anyone else, but for cultural reasons may not talk about it or seek help.

Everyone needs support sometimes no matter how strong they are. It’s healthy to talk about it with someone you trust instead of suffering alone.

Mindfully Running a Half-Marathon

Having PTSD and asthma means that there are many times I can’t run or my training is derailed for short or long periods.

I began running because it was an activity I remembered enjoying in childhood, and I really wanted to reclaim it. I also wanted to improve my cardiopulmonary health. I never thought I would make it up to even a single mile! But that wasn’t the important part. I wanted to develop a habit and create new, positive mental associations.

My training method was this: I would run only as far as it felt good and enjoyable, and then stop or walk. If I felt like it, I could start again. When I felt done, I was done!

Because I took the performance pressure (“shoulds”) off myself and made the activity 100% about enjoyment and health, it ended up being something I have stuck with, and I progressed far more than I imagined possible.

Not only do I only run as much as feels okay, I likewise never pressure myself to run when I’m not feeling well, or I’m too tired from missing sleep, or something hurts.

In this way I am mindful of not being a punitive taskmaster towards myself, which would activate PTSD symptoms and also put me at increased risk for injury or illness. Exercising punitively is a form of perfectionism that can be injurious very quickly.

I accept my current level of ability as it is, knowing it does not make me superior or inferior to anyone else. I also know my ability is temporary, fluctuates, and includes a large component of sheer luck.

I pay caring attention to my body’s needs, which sometimes (often!) means I have to re-start my training all over again from mile 1. But it also means I am more likely to be able to continue running further into my lifespan.

I hope that whatever kind of exercise you prefer, you remember that the point of exercise is to improve your physical and mental health, rather than to punish your body (for eating, for example!) If you are exercising in a self-punitive way, it will not be healthy for you for very long.

And I want you to experience as much physical and mental health as you can, for as long as you can!