Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When is it time to Refer a Distressed Person to a Therapist?

It is easy to be confused about mental illness. A lot that is written and spoken by so called experts, is confusing to me and I have two degrees in psychology and counseling. In my view, experts tend to call every incident of emotional distress a "mental illness".

For example, some manuals are dedicated to the practice of correctly defining when distress is an illness and when it is just a slight, passing issue. One seems confused and confusing.  It says that grief over the death of a loved one can be called an illness if it lasts over a couple of weeks. That seems to be an exaggeration for the death of a parent, partner or child can cause deep and lasting grief for normal persons. It is wrong to call that mental illness.

Even more confusing are the labels placed on depression. A recent survey asked Ministers what they thought caused depression. The people that answered rarely said the cause was a biological brain illness. Because of that, the experts thought the Ministers were uneducated.

Do you agree they are not educated enough? I'm not at all sure. How did the survey define depression? Is all depression the same? Is deep grief and sadness the same as Clinical Depression?

Do you think all sadness, grief and depression are caused by flawed biology?

Do you think taking antidepressants is the best or only treatment for depression?

Should I refer every sad, anxious, depressed person to a Psychiatrist/Medical Doctor to get them medicine or could a minister be helpful?

A little later we will share 5 levels of distress and when to refer to a professional. Then you will be clear about who needs a therapist. I developed my scale to help Ministers and Lay Leaders differentiate among the mystifying voices of pain and distress.

I will also describe the difference between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist, a Counselor, a Social Worker, etc.

More later.

Gary Sweeten

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