Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Those of us who chose to make our livings as mental health professionals probably didn’t do so because we had so much good mental health that we wanted to share it. Most of us likely started the process as seekers of mental health services and, somewhere along the way, discovered that we had something to offer as well.

The fact that most therapists have experienced therapy is a positive sign. This should indicate that they have a better self-awareness, understand what it is like to be in the other chair, and truly appreciate the difficulty of the work. They can also better understand the overall process of how people change and how painful this process can be. Facing the fact that we are often our own worst enemies can be frustrating, but it also allows us the opportunity to step up and make decisions that are empowering. There are few things in life that are as empowering as the notion that we can do something to alter our feelings and ultimately our behavior and health outcomes.

The most challenging aspects of seeking therapy are deciding when and with whom.

When to seek therapy depends on your tolerance of discomfort and your personal resources. Discomfort is in the eye of the beholder, and some of us don’t believe that our pain is intolerable so we are less likely to be proactive about seeking help. These are often the folks who feel that they must have severe depression before they will see a therapist. Others may choose to have a regular therapist as a trusted resource to work with as life changes take place. There really isn’t a right way to be, but as someone who likes to coach mental health, I prefer to see someone before a crisis.

In the case of diabetes, I like to meet with the families of people who have been recently diagnosed so I can get to know how they work and understand what kind of support the person who has diabetes can get. This also gives me a chance to discuss the most helpful things a family can do, so that we can keep cheering on what the person with diabetes is doing right and help head off some of the problems. This meeting also gives the family members a resource for future reference.

Years ago, I worked with the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, or DCCT (the landmark study that proved that intensive control of blood glucose levels can prevent diabetes complications). We screened all potential participants and really looked for those who were mentally healthy and had good support. During the nine years of the study, over 50% of our participants sought out counseling sessions with me, and many had regular sessions. This clearly indicates that a large percentage of people will have a need for occasional sessions to help them deal with problems in their lives. Not only people with diabetes, but almost everyone can use some time when our privacy is guaranteed and we can sit and talk with someone who cares and listens.

The other issue is who. This is often determined by insurance coverage. You may have designated mental health care providers in your insurance network. If so, you may want to find out if they understand and work with people who have diabetes. Professionally, I believe that this is useful—although many mental health issues are not diabetes-related, it is important that the provider understand how diabetes plays a part in your life.

If the provider allows it, have an “interview” time with him to ask questions about how he practices, what his expectations are, and what you can expect of him during a session. If nothing else, this will give you an initial impression of how the provider works.

Lastly, starting therapy doesn’t mean you have to stay forever. Set a limit on the initial number of sessions and then check in about how therapy is going and if it needs to continue. I usually set an initial limit of four sessions and then, if it is appropriate and we agree, we will set up more sessions. I hope that if you have pain in your life you don’t wait until it is unbearable before you seek help; get it before you are desperate and you’ll find that it is much more useful.

For more information on beginning therapy, please see my article Navigating Mental Health Care.

POST A COMMENT       
  

Comments
  1. There are no comments at this time.


Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Emotional Health
Worried About Diabetes? (03/26/14)
Diabetes Takes Courage (02/19/14)
The Stress Formula (02/04/14)
It's Not All in Your Head (But Your Head Can Help) (01/16/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions