Sunday, May 17, 2015

Counseling vs. Psychotherapy

I was recently at a workshop in L.A. and given the traffic congestion I decided to take the train. Coming back on the Friday evening, I sat next to an attorney that commutes daily and we began to chat. The topic came up that I was a therapist. Attorney" What kind of therapist?" Me" a counselor, I do psychotherapy"

This got me thinking and realized that I differentiate between being a counselor and or a psychotherapist.

For you the client or for the person looking to seek guidance and direction, realizing what your intention is and what role the professional has is important.

A Counselor will see a couple or an individual and help them work thru, educate and find answers to a problem or a situation.

A Psychotherapist will do the same thing and will also invite you to look at the patterns and triggers that arise at different seasons of your life.

All Psychotherapists are also counselors, not all counselors are psychotherapists. We use the word Counseling to mean Therapy, but we must get clarity from you the client on what your focus is before entering into a psychotherapy working relationship.

I worked for many years at a faith based counseling center. Most of my clients  that I worked with dealt with some type of a  current crisis, marital conflicts, parenting issues along with exploring their internal world to identify and make changes that would and are long lasting. Unfortunately, there were some that came in for Counseling. Wanting direction with a rebellious teen, Aging parent, problem mother in law, holiday stress and other behavioral/ situational topics. This is fine, the mistake I made and the confusion that they had was I would deal with the current crisis, provide counseling, referrals and suggestions , then along side that  I would also begin some psycho-therapeutic exploration  of patterns and history.
This is when a person would say:

A. Wow, I see where this is coming from.. (and psychotherapy would continue or the person would decide                                                                     these are issues to be addressed down the road)

B. This isn't why I came in! (This reply was as much my fault for not clarifying the psycho-therapeutic process  as their lack of understanding of psychology. I made the assumption that we had an applied agreement to explore self, when I didn't.)

C. My child/parent/co-worker has a problem not me. (These are the clients that want Other to be fixed or         changed. Traditional problem solving techniques are given but psychotherapy for the person in the room is     needed for change to occur for anyone in the system.These are the times clients get angry.)

Over the years, I improved my verbal and clinical agreement with clients in the faith based setting and C was less of an issue for two reasons, I was able to refer out after the first call to a counselor that could better meet their needs and/ or explain that I was only able to help if the person sitting across from me was also willing to explore their-selves and their own patterns.

As an ACT therapist, I focus on helping clients move towards the goals and values they desire while exploring the current emotions and patterns that are causing pain, depression and anxiety.

For the therapist, clarify with your client if they are seeking a counselor or a psychotherapist.

For the client, feel free to ask the therapist questions and be open to sharing if you are looking for tools for a current situation and if you are willing and or interested in exploring changes that will allow you to handle life in a more direct and masterful way.

Kendall Wagner, MFT
Carlsbad Counseling Center

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why and How the Court Offers Programs and Resources by Attorney Bradley Corbett

Why and How the Court Offers Programs and Resources
The Superior Court of California has a commitment to all litigants—providing the community with a fair, equal, and timely system. While jail time can often be the end result for some, the court seeks to provide fair and correct rulings that will benefit and promote long term public confidence. In such an endeavor, the court often views rehabilitation classes and programs as viable options for those who qualify. This opens the door to long-term correction and justice long after the pounding of the gavel.
Why not jail?
While other rulings are often needed, i.e. jail time, rehabilitation classes and programs are better alternatives and give long term results. The accused will often be offered the opportunity to participate in a course to fulfill or in correspondence with their charge.
The following are examples included on the San Diego Court Programs Referral List and offered by centers such as Carlsbad Counseling Center:
Anger Management
Elder Abuse
Mental Health (Court Mandated Counseling)
Shoplifting and Theft
Supervised Visitation
Completion of these classes prior to or in accordance with a court’s ruling can often result in lessened sentencing. The court will often allow these classes and programs as an option for lowering or dismissing your charges. This has proven to be a just and viable option in many cases.
How it Works
While the court does not provide or affiliate with the linked courses or programs, they do compile, share, and accept services from them when in accordance with court ruling. These services will facilitate long term change and betterment. Such services can be viewed positively by the court and give you better standing in your case, and more importantly in your life.

This post was brought to you by The Law Office of Bradly Corbett. For more legal information or to request legal services, contact Bradley Corbett today for a free consultation.
                  The Law Office of Bradley R. Corbett
                  620 South Melrose, Suite 101

                  Vista, CA 92081
                  North County San Diego760.201.9839
                  Downtown San Diego619.800.4449
                  Temecula and Murrieta: 951.732.8611

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mindfulness: A tool that is useful across multiple clinical and emotional challenges.

I have been licensed for a long time (over 21 years). Over time you see "techniques and treatment models" come and go. Most of the time they are not very different to what is already being seen as the standard of care and best practices, they have only been expanded . 
When you ask a therapist what is their theoretical orientation or way of treating clients, you will hear the word Eclectic. Meaning the therapist will borrow from various modalities and styles. Mindfulness is one of those tools that can be used by a variety of theoretical orientations. 
For Example
I enjoy  international cuisines, we have spices in our kitchen collected from various countries and international food stores. Once I get them home, I may use them in ways the original cooks never considered or thought they could be used by different cuisines.  Mindfulness is like this. 
Mindfulness does have some  roots in religion, primarily credit is given to Buddhism but Christians and others also have forms of Mindfulness that are used to find the Peace that surpasses understanding. A professional well trained clinician can respect your personal values and work with you on using  mindfulness towards an acceptance of self and or changes in behaviors and reactions

Mindfulness is a tool that helps the client focus on the here and now and or past emotion without ruminating or getting triggered. Breathing is a very common tool of mindfulness. Letting past, present emotions and experiences be viewed without being overwhelmed. 

In cases of Anxiety and Depression, being able to focus on the sensations and thoughts with out reacting with an overwhelming response, allows you to then Observe the thought or feeling, Describe what you are feeling and viewing then you participate thru the event or emotion vs. reacting to a trigger. This is very similar to how it is used with people coping with Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder.

When one decides and makes the commitment to in depth change and growth, Mindfulness allows one to explore how past experiences, memories and emotions interfere with a fuller sense of self in the present. One can see the past events as events that are there but no longer require a lot of behaviors to hide avoid or react to. 

There are many clinical theories that use Mindfulness, DBT, ACT, 
MCBT , Psychodynamic and more. 

If you have any questions or would like to know if using mindfulness would be helpful to you, please feel free to contact me at: Kendall Wagner, MFT #31553


Friday, May 1, 2015

Hope and Understanding: Borderline Personality Disorder

There are so many misconceptions about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), not only by clients and family members but within the therapeutic community itself. BPD is treatable , it does require hard work, commitment and a long term relationship with your therapist.

In my office I use DBT and Mindfulness exercises as a part of the treatment approach. Clients can learn, take and utilize the tools when away from the office.

Here is a wonderful YouTube about understanding BPD.

BACK FROM THE EDGE: Borderline Personality Disorder.

Please feel free to contact the center directly if you have questions about this or other mental health  concerns.

Kendall Wagner,MFT