Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, CBIT, ERP, CBT-I, Behavior Consultation, and Treatment for Anxiety and Insomnia

Laura Van Schaick-Harman, Psy.D., BC-TMH


Dr. Laura's Meaningful Psychological Services

Online and Office Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Blog

Focus on Mental Health

Posted on May 11, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (1)

 

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. It is my hope in this month's post to reduce stigma around mental health concerns and utilizing therapy. There is great need for psychological services in our communities. It is an area ever evolving, changing, and growing.

 

Notice May is Mental Health not Mental Illness Awareness Month. As mental health professionals, our commitment to our work involves not only reducing symptoms, but also identifying and building strengths and abilities. Mental health is so much more than not having mental illness. It is not the absence of symptoms. Many mental health professionals will be able to help people not only get better but to also enhance strengths, skills, and abilities. A favorite Twitter bio of mine by NY Psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman (@sambmd) includes the phrase "Fix what's wrong AND build what's strong." I love this sentence and I am on board.

 

Early in my training, I was introduced to the concept of looking at what goes right and not always just what is wrong. I am forever grateful for this. It is easy to get caught up in worry, anxiety, stress, and negative thinking patterns. It is not so easy to climb out from under these powerful thoughts and feelings, but it is possible. Therapy can help you dig out, breathe, and keep growing. This is the same concept as the saying "April showers bring May flowers."

 

In my practice, I utilize cognitive-behavior therapy and positive psychology. These styles of treatment have lots of research behind them and have been shown to help. The American Psychological Association has developed several brief animated videos to demonstrate how psychologists can help. You can watch them here.

 

Think you don't have time to go to therapy? No problem. With advancing technology, we can offer online therapy services. You can dig out and grow from your own home, office, car, playground, etc. There are options available so that your mental health can be nourished.

 

If you have questions or would like to learn more about how therapy can help you, I'm happy to talk with you for a free 15 minute consultation. All you have to do is schedule a time.

Telepsychology: I'm So Excited For Step 3!

Posted on December 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


And here we are...Step 3. I am super excited to be writing this month's article. I am feeling full of gratitude, hope, and love as I am developing some new telepsychology programs and expanding current ones in my practice. This is an exciting time to be active as a psychologist, as I am watching the field evolve in front of me and within me. I am striving to embody the new changes while providing effective care. I know my colleagues are as well.

 

There are so many options available to you. From apps and video sessions to virtual reality offices and in-person visits. E-mail, online chat, text messaging, and phone mediums are up for grabs. Which is the right one for you? Goodness of fit is an important factor of the therapeutic relationship, which in turn affects the outcome of treatment. The fit I am speaking of is not only between the client and therapist, but also the method they use to work together as well.


 

Telepsychology services might be a great option for you and they might not. Phone sessions might be really convenient, or they might not. Perhaps information gathering, such as an online educational group (see below), is appropriate for you, but you prefer therapy sessions in-person. Goodness of fit varies from person-to-person, and this is healthy. I am hoping to encourage the community to step out of the comfort zone (after all, with preparation and skills, stepping out can lead to amazing growth), and explore the multitude of treatment and educational options available. Communities no longer need to be inhibited by location, income, anxiety, transportation, distance, or schedules.


 

I wish to communicate some telepsychology options available in my practice. Lets explore if we and any of these options might be a good fit for you.


 

Dr. Laura on Demand App

This is a brand new feature. Download it for free at this website: https://drlauraondemand.appsme.com/app/dr-laura/live-life-meaningfully. The Dr. Laura on Demand app allows you to contact me quickly and conveniently, read and watch meaningful content, articles, and resources, schedule appointments, and access unique discounts on services.


 

Live Meaningfully With Anxiety Room

Opening in early 2015, the Live Meaningfully With Anxiety Room is an online resource to help people dealing with anxiety to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Purchasing access to the Room will allow 24/7 availability of resources for dealing with anxiety, including panic-attack talk-downs, coping skills, the biology of anxiety, beating anxiety, progressive muscle relaxation, and more. Members will be able to log-in any time they feel anxious (as well as any other time they would like) to cope with the unpleasant feeling. Members of the Room will receive a discount on individual therapy services if they would like to continue work on an individual and personal level.


 

Behavior Management Group

Available for parents of children aged 2-12 years, the Behavior Management Group is designed to teach strategies for dealing with problem and difficult behavior effectively, safely, and positively. This is a great option for parents who would like to manage behavior and need ideas, resources, and want to learn what works and what doesn’t. Parents can choose to participate in live workshops, or just listen to them at a later more convenient time. There is a one-time fee for complete 24/7 access to this group.


 

There are more options available, not only in my practice, but in other psychology practices as well. I hope you find a good fit for you.


 

Oh, and if any of these choices are a great fit, and you access any one of them, you will get $10 off your first therapy session should you choose to pursue individual services.

Telepsychology: The Next Step

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In August I wrote about how online therapy can help and several factors to consider when thinking about online services. This month's article is intended to be part two, or the next step. Telepsychology and other online/remote/distance services are increasing in popularity and availability. As a psychologist, online options allow us to gain training, attend conferences, and become certified in new specialties. The availability of cell phones, tablets, computers, and other devices allow psychologists and their clients to connect in ways like never before. As you probably already know, I love providing telepsychology services. Take this next step with me and learn some more reasons why and how the practice of psychology is evolving.


 

 

Maintain Continuity of Care

Telepsychology allows psychologists and clients to continue working together during almost any circumstance. Whether it's travel, a long work commute, illness, child care, busyness, work, bad weather, transportation issues, or other life situation, a client can still access psychological services. To illustrate, in my last post I shared some experiences about being a new mommy. Telepsychology allowed me to continue work with my clients while I was on maternity leave and gave me the option of (warning:-total self-disclosure here) conducting sessions in pajamas with messy hair and most likely spit up on my shirt. This type of service also gave me the best opportunity of all-the ability to care for my baby and spend time with him easily while being a working mom. Telepsychology is and will be an excellent option for parents.


As Effective as Face-to-Face Treatment

Telepsychological services have demonstrated effectiveness similar to traditional office visits, based on empirical research. This means telepsychology clients can expect high quality treatment, interventions, and assessments that give the same results and contribute to mental health as effectively as in-person visits. There are a variety of programs that allow for secure video sessions, which can feel as if everyone is in the same room together. Smart phones allow for the use of texting, email, video conferencing, and app use. I look forward to reviewing more literature about the use of these technologies clinically.


Access Information and Services Quickly-Connect, Collaborate, and Care

The practice of telepsychology allows psychologists and the public to exchange and share information quickly and conveniently. I can review research, attend workshops, network with colleagues, and offer free consultations to people interested in my services easily and conveniently. Clients find greater availability and flexibility with the scheduling of online and phone sessions. There is no wait time, no travel time, and we can meet for shorter and longer periods of time. I can email interesting articles, share helpful resources and links, and monitor progress of treatment remotely.


Stay (wirelessly) tuned for next month's post-in which I will be sharing information about brand new telepsychology services I will be offering. I am cooking up some very exciting options!

Online Therapy Can Help: Three Reasons Why and Things to Consider

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Online therapy, also known as telehealth, or e-therapy is becoming more and more popular. I am a big fan of these services for several reasons that I wish to share with you. There are also some concerns to watch out for when considering participating in online services.

 

 


Three reasons why I love online therapy services and how they can help:

 

 


Saves You Time and Money

Online therapy services are super convenient, since you can access a variety of providers, services, and resources quickly and easily. You save time commuting to an office, especially if you live or work far away from the provider you would like to work with. You also save commuting costs, such as gas, train fare, or subway fees.


Better Selection of Providers

Are you frustrated with the lack of providers in your area? Are you uncomfortable going to an office setting where you may see a friend, neighbor, or your child's classmate? Have you had trouble finding a provider within a reasonable distance from you? Online therapy services allow you to reach providers who may have offices hundreds of miles away from you or who have offices close by. Many providers will work with clients online now due to financial, insurance, scheduling, commuting, rapport, and specialization reasons. This allows you to choose from a greater pool of providers and to select someone who you feel is the best fit for you. Don't let geography get in the way!


Kids Can Do it Too

Don't underestimate the ability of children to participate in and benefit from online therapy services. In fact, many children and adolescents actually are more savvy with this service than their parents are. Of course, the success of treatment varies from child to child and family to family, but it may be worth trying. I have been able to work with children and adolescents online conveniently and easily.


There are many more reasons why online therapy can help-stay tuned for future posts about this.


And now some things to watch out for:

 

 

When you meet for your session, be present (e.g., you should not be doing dishes, watching TV, checking your cell phone, or surfing the Internet for information unrelated to treatment or the session). Treat the session the same as meeting in person in an office setting. Make sure the provider is present too.

 

 

Make sure the provider is licensed to work with you in your state. Laws vary state to state.

 

 

Ask about the security of the program you will use for sessions. These may include video conferencing, phone, e-mail, text, and online chat.

 

 

Ask about the benefits and risks associated with online therapy services.

In my practice, I offer several choices for people looking into online therapy options. Check out my website at www.meaningfulpsychservices.com for detailed information.