I have written 7 office policies that I will be hanging up in my office and also putting into my intake forms. I thought I would share these office policies on my blog as well. All of these changes will be going into effect as of May 1st, 2017. As therapists, counselors, social workers, doctors, and psychiatrists if we ALL joined together and ALL committed to having the same policies, I think we would see an END to the suicide craze in the United States.
Policies of the Aurora Center for Healing and Change
- My role as your therapist is twofold; First to help you BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF emotionally, relationally, professionally, and spiritually. Second, to help you HEAL your pain. If I am not helping you accomplish these two things in your life than please stop seeing me and ask me for referrals.
- You may ask me any questions during your therapy session, within reason of course. Sometimes in order for people to move forward in therapy and feel comfortable receiving therapy, they want to know if their therapist has ever had to overcome adversity; e.g. Depression, anxiety, etc. So I will share with discretion of course if it will increase the likelihood of my client having a successful experience in therapy. For example, if a client asks me; have you ever struggled with Depression? I would probably answer back, “Yes, I have battled and overcome significant depression at certain points in my life.”
- If you would like to get the most out of your therapy session, please bring in a therapy notebook to each session. I recommend just leaving it in your car, so you always have it. If you would like me to keep it in my office, until you are done with therapy, in which I will return it to you, I would be more than happy to do that.
- Your feedback regarding your counseling experience is critical in order for you to have the best therapy experience possible. Therefore please give me your feedback after each session or at the beginning of the next session. You may also write down your feedback in a few words in your therapy notebook and bring it to the next session.
- Please let me know when you would like to transition out of therapy or terminate therapy. If you would like to re-enroll in therapy, I would ask that you bring in the same therapy notebook that you previously used if you still have it. The reality is, if you find that therapy is very helpful for you, you may request it on and off again throughout your life. For optimal interpersonal growth, I would recommend that all people receive 2-3 counseling sessions each year. Just like your car needs oils changes every 3-4 months, your LIFE would benefit from some consistent counseling in the same way. We care for our cars, much more than we care for our LIFE.
- If you would like referrals for other mental health clinicians, please let me know that and I will be more than happy to provide those referrals for you.
- If you are having any suicidal feelings, please bring up these feelings in each session. While this conversation may feel hard to initiate, you will feel a sigh of relief after you share these feelings. I will ask you about these feelings as well. With depression and suicidal feelings, I rate these feelings based off of severity on a scale from 1-10, 1 being mild and 10 being most severe. If you are my client in therapy, you are making A COMMITMENT TO ME TO NOT ATTEMPT SUICIDE. My part of this contract is that I WILL DO MY BEST TO TEACH YOU HOW TO HEAL YOUR PAIN, HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, AND FEEL YOUR PAIN. If you cannot make this commitment to me, I am not the RIGHT therapist for you. I ADHERE TO THIS POLICY TO ENSURE THAT # 1 ON THIS LIST IS HAPPENING. I cannot help you evolve into the BEST version of yourself, if you are entertaining the idea of suicide. While I understand that you may have suicidal feelings while you are in therapy, I do not feel like I am asking for too much. I need you to make a commitment to your life, if you are under my care.
IN 2017, we live in a culture now where “suicidal feelings are often times a conditioned way of thinking when life becomes incredibly incredibly painful and intolerable”. The reality is that in all human history we have not had the problems with suicidal ideation that we have had most recently since the onset of antidepressants. In the 1700’s. 1800’s and 1900’s people RARELY ever heard of the word suicide.
There were NO BOOKS WRITTEN ON THE TOPIC OF SUICIDE. THERE WERE NO SUICIDE HOTLINES IN THIS ERA. THERAPISTS, SCHOOL COUNSELORS, AND PSYCHIATRISTS WERE NOT REQUIRED TO ASK THEIR CLIENTS REGARDING THEIR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS EVERY SESSION if they said they had high depression. (This is not a literal statement, take it with a grain of salt, maybe there was one book, that’s not my point.)
Suicidal rates the last several years have been at all time high. Interestingly enough, people were obviously much happier before antidepressants became in existence because the suicide statistics in those days WERE MUCH LOWER THAN THEY ARE NOW. It is of my belief that antidepressants have created a culture where we are 100% intolerable to emotional pain. If we have a lot of emotional pain, we think we must get medicated to cure our pain. While I will always encourage clients to “follow doctors orders” I do not agree with this philosophy and way of thinking.
© Kelly Johnson, MA, LPC