Cassie Jewell has a Master's degree in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner (LSATP), and board-approved clinical supervisor in Virginia.
This is a list of quotes about addiction, suffering, and hope that spoke to me – as an addictions professional – as well as on a human level.
These quotes about addiction are raw and relatable, with perhaps my favorites being from the memoir Drinking: A Love Story, in which the author, Caroline Knapp, bares her soul so compellingly that she becomes a kindred spirit in her vulnerability. Carrie Fisher also has a way with words, frank and darkly witty on the topic of addiction.
Read on for quotes about addiction from famous actors, singers, writers, sex workers, and more.
Quotes about addiction: on why people become addicted…
“And then I realized I was high. I loved the sensation. It felt like medicine to soothe the soul and awaken the senses. There was nothing awkward or scary – I didn’t feel like I had lost control – in fact, I felt like I was in control.”
Anthony Kiedis (Founder & Lead Vocalist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
“Drugs don’t really fix anything, except for everything.”
— Ashly Lorenzana (American Sex Worker, Freelance Writer, & Writer of the Memoir Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort)
“The priority of any addict is to anaesthetize the pain of living to ease the passage of day with some purchased relief.”
Russell Brand (English Comedian, Actor, & Author of My Booky Wook)
“To a drinker the sensation is real and pure and akin to something spiritual: you seek; in the bottle, you find.”
Caroline Knapp (American Writer & Author of Drinking: A Love Story)
On what it’s like having an addiction…
“It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
Edgar Allan Poe (American Writer, Poet, & Literary Critic)
“The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”
Gabor Maté (Canadian Physician & Author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
“Imagine trying to live without air. Now imagine something worse.”
Amy Reed (American Author)
“Drugs are a sort of dusk that grant us the illusion that we’re the ones who decide when the light goes out, but that power never belongs to us. The darkness takes us whenever it likes.”
Fredrik Backman (Swedish Author, Blogger, & Columnist)
“If you have a need to be comfortable all the time—well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”
— Carrie Fisher (American Actress & Writer)
“If you’re one of us, the bottle takes your shit, that’s all. First a little, then a lot, then everything.”
Stephen King (Best-selling American Author, the “King of Horror”)
“I drank when I was happy and I drank when I was anxious and I drank when I was bored and I drank when I was depressed, which was often.”
“I’ve been asleep and I don’t know if it’s the same day or week or year, but who the hell cares anyway?”
I’m a little late in publishing Mental Health in 2022; I’d planned on posting at the start of 2023, but then… life happened. Anyway, I think it’s worth the wait, and I hope you enjoy this article as part of an ongoing post series that highlights the major findings and stories in mental health each year.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 40% of adults reported symptoms of depression and/or anxiety in 2022. Younger adults, as well as racial minorities, LGBTQ individuals, and persons with disabilities were disproportionally impacted, consistently reporting higher rates. In comparison, only 11% of adults reported experiencing anxiety or depression in 2019.
What are Americans the most stressed about? 64% are worried about personal finances, 55% are concerned about uncertainty in 2023, 49% are worried about their physical health, and 41% are worried about their mental health. Other major stressors include relationships, job security, and traveling.
What word would you use to describe the state of America in 2022? What about your own state of mind this past year?
Mental Health in 2022: A Few Stats
The latest stats from Mental Health America indicate that the most “unwell” states, ranking high in rates of mental illness/substance use and low in access to treatment services, are (with Kansas being the most “unwell” state in the U.S.):
The most “well” states, ranking low in rates of mental/substance use disorders and high in access to care, are (with Wisconsin being the “wellest” state in the U.S.):
A WalletHub study examined additional wellness factors, such as physical health, work, community, and environment to rank states on overall happiness.
The bottom 5 ranking states for happiness (with West Virginia being the unhappiest state in America):
⬇️ West Virginia 😞
The top 5 ranking states for happiness (with Hawaii being the happiest state in America):
5️⃣ New Jersey
1️⃣ Hawaii 😀
What state do you live in? Do you consider your state a happy place to live?
An article published in The Hill informs that New York will establish public health vending machines (PHVMs) throughout the city that will dispense sterile syringes, naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug), and other medical supplies as a harm reduction method to combat the opioid epidemic.
Researchers find racially discriminating language in electronic health charts by analyzing medical documentation from January 2019 to October 2020. “Compared with White patients, Black patients had 2.54 times the odds of having at least one negative descriptor in the history and physical notes.” Stigmatizing language persists, even in medical and professional communities; these biases contribute to systemic racism in America.
A study suggests that medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder reduces recidivism in individuals who are incarcerated. These findings highlight the need for treatment (versus punishment) as a more effective method for reducing crime.
February 1, 2022
Researchers discover a novel treatment that may play a major role in the treatment of alcoholism. The study, published in Cell Metabolism, illustrates how a liver-to-brain circuit is interrupted to significantly reduce alcohol consumption.
February 2, 2022
A third of Americans say social media does more harm than good to their mental health, and nearly half say that social media has hurt society at large, according to a national poll.
Psilocybin, the psychoactive property in magic mushrooms, continues to show promise as a treatment for depression. A study looked at efficacy and safety over a 12-month period and found that not only were the antidepressant benefits long-lasting, there were no adverse reactions or consequences to psilocybin-assisted therapy.
February 24, 2022
The president of the American Psychological Association releases a statement condemning Texas governor for calling on members of the public as well as licensed professionals to report parents of transgender minors. He calls the directive “ill-conceived” and asserts that it will put high-risk children at an even higher risk.
“We are gravely concerned about the immediate and long-term trauma and psychological impacts on people of all ages, families, communities, and the environment. We deplore the human cost of such aggression, including violations of human rights, adverse humanitarian consequences, deep psychological distress, and the loss of dignity and freedom. We stand in solidarity with all who are raising their voices and working tirelessly to protect and safeguard human life.”
“The American Psychiatric Association sends our support to all who are experiencing pain and suffering from these deeply troubling events, including those directly exposed to armed conflict, those displaced from their homes and country, those providing care and protection to civilians, friends and family of Ukrainian citizens, and the Ukrainian diaspora around the globe.”
In a news release, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) asserts that non-suicidal self-injury shares commonalities with addiction, including craving, tolerance, escalating severity, getting “clean,” “relapsing,” and being in “recovery.” Researchers came to this conclusion based on an extensive analysis of posts and comments on a Reddit self-harm forum. More research in this area is needed to explore self-injury as a behavioral addiction.
The CDC publishes a press release illustrating the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ mental wellbeing. Over a third (37%) of highschoolers reported poor mental health during the pandemic, and nearly one third reported current substance use. Over half (55%) experienced emotional abuse. Over a third (36%) of teens of all races reported experiencing racism, with the highest rates among Asian (64%), Black (55%), and multiracial (55%) students. What’s more, prior data suggests that the worsening mental health of teens is a trend.
April 1, 2022
The House passes a bill (first introduced May of 2021) decriminalizing marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and “eliminate criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”
Asian (21%), Hispanic (14%), and Black (32%) Americans are more likely to worry about being threatened or attacked than White Americans (4%), according to the Pew Research Center.
May 9, 2022
Research published by the American Psychological Association reveals, “People around the world experienced an increase in loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, which, although small, could have implications for people’s long-term mental and physical health, longevity and well-being.”
May 15, 2022
After SNL spoofs the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial, sex and culture critic Ella Dawsontweets, “Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.” The trial was widely followed, and the social media response was generally sympathetic towards Depp while critical of Heard, who had multiple emotional outbursts in the courtroom.
“Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke. Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.”
May 16, 2022
The president of the American Psychological Association releases a statement in response to a mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, calling it a horrific hate crime, and asserting that the APA stands against racism and hate in all forms.
“We implore our elected officials to act on meaningful, common-sense measures and begin to heal the divisions that have prevented progress in this area of public health for far too long. This senseless loss of life must end, and as a nation, we should expect action from federal and state legislative and executive leaders. Our children and communities deserve better.”
June 1, 2022
In Depp vs. Heard, Amber Heard was found liable for defamation, the jury ruling her accusations of “sexual violence” and “domestic abuse” false. In a statement, Amber told the New York Post, “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband.”
“I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
June 6, 2022
Apple announces a new Safety Check feature for iOS 16, aimed at individuals in abusive relationships. The feature provides users with an enhanced ability to control their communications and privacy.
Research indicates that fewer youth attempt suicide in states with hate crime laws protecting LGBTQ individuals. This is true for both highschoolers who identify as LGBTQ as well as those who identify as straight.
June 24, 2022
The Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade. The ramifications of this are varied and far-reaching; one prediction is that there will be a significant increase in maternal mortality. Additionally, according to The Turnaway Study (University of California San Francisco), researchers found that being denied an abortion was linked to serious health and wellbeing consequences, including an increased risk of poverty, a greater likelihood of staying in an abusive partnership, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, decreased motivation for life goals, poorer physical health, and serious implications for both the unwanted child as well as existing children in the family.
June 24, 2022
Biden signs into law federal gun safety legislation. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938) includes several gun violence prevention provisions in addition to improving access to mental health care. Notably, it closes the “boyfriend loop,” banning anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” from having a gun.
The findings of a JAMA Open Networkstudy indicate that young adolescents who experience cyberbullying are more likely to report suicidal thoughts and/or attempt suicide, even more so than students who are victims of “traditional” (offline) bullying.
June 28, 2022
Americans have complex views surrounding gender identity and transgender issues, according to a Pew Research Report. While a majority of Americans (64%) believe transgender individuals should be protected from discrimination, only 38% believe gender identity can be different from sex assigned at birth. What’s more, approximately 40% of Americans expressed that society has gone “too far” in accepting transgender individuals. Many Americans feel uncomfortable with nonbinary concepts of gender as well as the fast pace of change surrounding gender issues in society.
“The issue is so new to me I can’t keep up. I don’t know what to think about all of this new information. I’m baffled by so many changes.”
Pew Research Survey Responder on Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
July 1, 2022
A largescale retrospective study indicates that medical cannabis use is associated with significant and lasting improvements in individuals with depression and anxiety. Previous research in this area has yielded mixed results; the implications of such a largescale study provide evidence to support cannabis as an effective treatment for depression/anxiety in some individuals.
July 6, 2022
According to a Pew Research Report, 62% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. 57% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade while only 41% approve.
July 16, 2022
The 988-suicide lifeline is launched. This new, nationwide easy-to-remember phone number helps Americans in crisis connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors as an alternative to dialing 911.
July 20, 2022
Researchers discover a neurotransmitter responsible for assigning either positive or negative emotions to events. By targeting this molecule, PTSD and related disorders may be treated more effectively.
August 4, 2022
The American Psychological Association adopts the Racial Equity Action Plan “to utilize racial equity as a critical lens to drive APA’s strategic priorities and measure the magnitude of APA’s impact.” This follows their formal apology issued October of 2021 for their role in and contributions to systemic racism.
August 11, 2022
The American Psychiatric Association reports that most Americans believe mental health programming is needed in schools, including education, staff training, and connecting students to providers. Parents’ top three concerns for K-12 students are gun violence, mental health, and cyberbullying/social media.
The American Psychological Association calls upon U.S. courts to ban the death penalty for anyone younger than 21, citing scientific research that shows adolescents’ brains continue to develop in their early 20’s.
August 24, 2022
According to a study published in Health Communication, individuals who obsessively check the news are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, as well as poor physical health.
September 1, 2022
According to a Pew Research Report, “Americans’ ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as – and more politically polarized than – at any point in more than three decades of polling on the nation’s highest court.” Positive ratings fell sharply after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June.
“Americans’ ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as – and more politically polarized than – at any point in more than three decades of polling on the nation’s highest court.”
Pew Research Center
September 20, 2022
A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) news release outlines a promising treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Researchers found that spironolactone, a medication prescribed for heart and blood pressure problems, significantly reduced alcohol consumption. Currently, there are only three approved medications for AUD; new pharmacological treatments are needed to improve outcomes.
September 21, 2022
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) releases the NIDA 2022-2026 Strategic Plan for advancing scientific research and educating federal agencies; state and local health, education, and human services; and the legal system, as well as policymakers on addiction.
September 23, 2022
The FDA clears a new protocol, named the Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT), for fast and effective treatment of depression. In clinical trials, participants experienced relief after only 5 treatments.
September 28, 2022
A large-scale observational study published in JAMA Psychiatry confirms a link between folic acid and reduced rates of suicide attempts and self-harm, implicating the B vitamin as a potential tool for suicide prevention.
October 6, 2022
An American Psychiatric Association poll finds that 79% of Americans believe mental health is a public health emergency and warrants more attention from lawmakers.
October 10, 2022
A study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that 4 in 10 Americans surveyed were dishonest about having COVID-19 and/or didn’t comply with preventive measures during the height of the pandemic. Most commonly, survey participants reported misrepresenting their COVID-19 status, breaking quarantine rules, telling others they were taking more precautions than they actually were, and saying they were vaccinated when they weren’t.
October 17, 2022
In an American Psychiatric Association national poll, only 1 in 5 Americans believe individuals who are incarcerated receive the mental health care they need. What’s more, 75% of Americans believe mental health treatment should be available in prisons and jails. (Note: It’s estimated that nearly half of persons who are incarcerated have a mental disorder.)
October 19, 2022
Homicide is found to be a leading cause of death in pregnant women and in women who had recently given birth. Most of these deaths were associated with the lethal combination of domestic abuse and firearm violence.
October 19, 2022
An American Psychological Association nationwide poll reveals that 27% of Americans are stressed to the point where they can barely function. The top stressors were inflation, violence/crime, the current political climate, and the racial climate. What’s more, 76% of Americans reported having a stress-related health issue.
Antisemitic Campaign Slogan Inspired by Kanye “Ye” West’s Comments
October 26, 2022
A promising study published in Pharmaceutics validates a highly effective vaccine for fentanyl use disorder. This groundbreaking vaccine essentially blocks fentanyl from entering the brain, eliminating the drug’s euphoric (and lethal) effects. Once approved by the FDA, the vaccine will be tested in human subjects in clinical trials.
October 27, 2022
In the largest ever analysis conducted on mass school shootings, researchers find that of the nearly 100 mass killings examined, the shooter/killer did not have a severe mental illness. In academic settings, most mass killings were U.S.-based and involved firearms. Perpetrators were primarily white males. In the mass killings where psychosis was a factor, the killer most often used a weapon other than a firearm. Nearly half of the killers died by suicide. This analysis lends to a body of research that will help policymakers and law enforcement officials better identify risk factors and prevent mass shootings from occurring. This research also supports the American Psychiatric Association’s stance on violence and mental health.
“It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators thereof. A vast majority of firearm violence is not attributed to mental illness. Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatize and interfere with people accessing needed treatment without addressing the root causes of firearm violence. Although there is no single cause of firearm violence, individuals can and have been emboldened to act violently by inflammatory public discourse and provocative, hateful and destructive rhetoric.
American Psychiatric Association
November 1, 2022
Researchers find that nearly 30% of kratom users showed signs of addiction (i.e., increased use, cravings, tolerance, impairment in major life areas, withdrawal, etc.). The DSM-5-TR does not recognize kratom use as a disorder, and previous studies indicate that kratom may be a harm-reduction measure for opioid users. This highlights a need for more research.
November 3, 2022
An American Psychiatric Association Healthy Minds poll finds that nearly 40% of Americans face declining mood in the upcoming winter months.
Researchers aim to better understand the factors that contributed to physician burnout during the height of the pandemic; the most frequently cited stressors were concern related to exposure, the burden of patient deaths, workload volume, medical uncertainty on how to provide care for COVID-19 patients, caring for patients with no family or outside support, and dealing with mistrust or skepticism for COVID-19.
November 15, 2022
An increased demand for mental health treatment places a strain on providers who are already at capacity. The 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Impact Survey revealed that 6 in 10 practitioners had no openings for new patients, with nearly half reporting being unable to meet current demands. Meanwhile, compared to pre-pandemic years, providers reported an increase in patients seeking treatment for anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma.
In a press release, the American Psychiatric Association condemns the shooting at Club Q Nightclub in Colorado Springs, asserting, “Bias toward LGBTQI people, whatever form it takes, hurts mental health. We stand opposed to laws and rhetoric that discriminate against this community, whether it is promoting dangerous conversion therapy or restricting provision of health care services to trans or gender-diverse individuals.”
December 8, 2022
In a press release, the American Psychological Association applauds Congress for passing the Respect for Marriage Act.
“APA has long been a strong advocate for marriage equality, based on the psychological research indicating that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights, particularly for same-sex couples.”
Frank C. Worrell, APA President
December 22, 2022
Research suggests that the AI driving ChatGPT may one day be able to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s by identifying speech patterns and/or features associated with early stages of dementia.
To conclude, 2022 was the beginning of the end of the pandemic, leaving Americans feeling uncertain about the future. Burnout, higher rates of mental illness and substance use, increased overdose deaths, and firearm deaths were common themes in 2022. Tragically, 2022 was the year that gun violence became a leading cause of death in children.
While many adults and children experienced mental distress in 2022, at the same time, measures were put in place to help Americans heal as well as feel safe again. The Biden Administration awarded over $1 million in funds to reduce burnout and improve retention in healthcare workers impacted by the pandemic, and the House passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act to address the nation’s mental health crisis. A nationwide suicide hotline was established for individuals at risk for suicide or bystanders to quickly get the help they need.
In 2022, President Biden also signed the Violence Against Women Act and the Safer Communities Act to reduce gun violence. Controversially, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. It remains to be seen what the repercussions will be.
Regarding the opioid epidemic, while overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2022, groundbreaking research led to a vaccine that can prevent fentanyl addiction and overdose. This vaccine, which may be available as early as next year, will be a gamechanger.
To close, while many Americans expressed feeling mental distress and uncertainty about the future, a majority also reported feeling satisfied with their work and in their personal lives. Half of Americans, in fact, said they were not just satisfied but thriving! Despite some of the tragedies and the setbacks of the year, it appears that 2022 is the light at the end of the tunnel.
There are a multitude of ways mental health professionals can earn continuing education (CE) credits on various topics and through different routes to improve their professional abilities, broaden their knowledge, and stay current in the mental health field. That said, some CE credit offerings are more creative and innovative than others.
In this article, we’ll look at a few of these unique and cutting-edge alternative CE credit offerings that are available for the inventive therapist wishing to advance their professional development.
Professional licensing boards for mental health professionals require continuing education credits for license renewal. For example, mental health professionals in California must obtain 36 CE credits every two years to maintain their licenses. LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs all need to earn CEs annually.
Ultimately, CEs allow therapists to provide better care to the individuals they serve. There are a variety of methods and modalities in which professionals can earn these CEs, including online, through conferences, or at multiday workshops. Continuing education helps professionals recognize knowledge gaps as well as learn new skills. What’s more, they can network with others in the field and continue to advance in their career.
25 Creative CE Credit Offerings for Mental Health Professionals
For new and exciting ways for mental health professionals to earn CEs, here are 25 creative and innovative CE credit offerings.
The Affirmative Couch is a committed advocate for the mental health of LGBTQIA+, consensually non-monogamous, and kink communities, working with both groups and individual providers. The organization was founded in response to the paucity of affirmative mental health care providers able to meet the needs of sexuality-, gender-, and/or relationship-expansive communities.
To address this problem, they take a multi-pronged approach: provide continuing education for affirmative psychotherapists, transform more group practices and clinics to become leaders in affirmative mental healthcare, empower beginner affirmative therapists with information, and create visibility of affirmative mental health professionals.
Current CE credit offerings range from $20 (1 CE) to $240 (12 CEs).
ALLEGRA Learning Solutions designs and develops continuing professional education courses, certificate programs, curricula, classes, and workshops for an interdisciplinary audience, including nurses, health care professionals, and other interested individuals.
With a focus on integrative health, wellness, and a holistic perspective, they are the premier education provider for those who wish to enhance their health care knowledge, skills and abilities. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions believe that individuals have the capacity to heal themselves and that health care providers must deliver care with intention and in partnership so people can tap into their own innate healing abilities.
Currently, course offerings range from $10 (for 1 contact hour) to $40 (for 4 contact hours) with certificate courses ranging from $64 to $272.
The Mission of the California Association for Play Therapy (CalAPT) is to sustain a community of support for play therapists and to promote an understanding of play therapy and its effective practice through outreach, training and research. They place a special emphasis on diversity and the developmentally appropriate treatment of children’s mental health.
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically-based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Play therapy also may be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about and resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child.
The registration fee for a workshop is around $100; CalAPT also provides free CE credit offerings for members.
Center for Council’s Council Training Level One (CT1) offers a thorough introduction to the pedagogy, modalities and forms of council practice and offers 15 CE credits. This workshop is an opportunity to develop your understanding of, fluency with, and capacity to engage in and facilitate council – a dialogic practice of authentic expression and attentive mindful listening – so as to integrate this evidence-based methodology into professional settings and personal practice.
Center for Council offers CT1 workshops throughout the year in the Los Angeles area and intermittently in locations throughout the US and Europe. Early bird registration fees start at $399.
Council Level Two and Level Three trainings are also offered for advanced practitioners who have completed Council Training Level One.
The Center for Reflective Communities (CRC) provides early intervention and parent training to enhance relationships between children and caregivers, leading to greater school readiness, increased academic achievement, and more productive lives. Their Reflective approach is especially effective in communities with risk factors including poverty, a history of loss or trauma, and other barriers to healthy child development and school readiness.
The Center for Story and Symbol offers continuing education seminars and workshops on the psychology of fairy tales, mythic stories, creativity, movies as mythic imagination, and law and ethics for psychotherapists. CE credit offerings are available for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, teachers, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. Courses meet requirements in most states.
Online interactive courses that provide CEs cost $140 and home study CE courses are $95. (Non-CE courses can be purchased for a lower price.)
Clearly Clinical started out as Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Irias, LMFT’s passion project… she thought online CE credit offerings could use an upgrade. When she was a new therapist at a county-contracted facility, she went online for her CE courses because she didn’t have the money or time off for the in-person stuff. To her dismay, it seemed like the really great educational opportunities were reserved for the therapists with big wallets. Discouraged, she worked with what she had, and read online PDFs to get her CE credits.
As a result, Beth set out to create new online CE credit offerings* for therapists, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and addiction professionals that were affordable, meaningful, diverse, and accessible. “Why not podcasts?,” she thought.
Cognitive Leap offers efficient, objective, and fun assessment tools, as well as engaging treatment systems that bring children, families, and clinicians together to support lasting functional improvements. They aim to empower and extend the resource capacities of clinicians and therapists globally, especially in developing nations and communities where high-quality mental healthcare is in limited supply.
Cognitive Leap is committed to developing and providing non-stigmatizing approaches for treating mental health conditions that empower patients by recognizing their strengths and talents while removing their barriers to success.
LeapPlatform is a clinician education and training platform with Cognitive Leap’s APA-certified program in digital treatments administration with CE credit offerings.
The Cultural Foundations Credential (CFC) is a multidimensional learning process through which participants gain the foundational skills, awareness, and practice required for effective intercultural interactions. The principles of cultural humility, intersectionality, antiracism, and social justice inform each aspect of the program and provide structure for this holistic process designed to spark transformational change.
Workshops for organizations start at $2,250 (for up to 50 participants).
Discovery Behavioral Health believes that everyone deserves a happy, rewarding life. That’s why they connect people, professionals, and payors through a seamless network of evidence-based treatment centers in communities nationwide. They believe when access to care is easy, recovery is possible.
Currently, Discovery Behavioral Health does not provide CE credit offerings, but they publish articles on mental health, substance use, and recovery, as well as a treatment locator tool.
The Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles is accredited by the National Association for Drama Therapy as a training program for students and clinicians interested in the clinical applications of drama in therapy. It is a recognized and well-respected program at the forefront of drama, narrative, and creative arts therapy training, and offers an NADTA-approved alternative training track towards becoming a Registered Drama Therapist.
Drama therapy is the skilled and deliberate use of drama and theater to achieve therapeutic goals. It engages the imagination and involves participants intellectually, emotionally, and physically; it provides participants with a safe yet stimulating environment in which they can explore personal and family stories, set goals, uncover and express feelings, resolve problematic patterns, and (when appropriate), achieve catharsis.
Clinicians can register for courses such as Allies in Healing: Narradrama and Narrative Therapy and Dance Movement for Trauma for 1 CE credit offering per course hour.
Elevate You CE’s mission is to advance your skills, knowledge, and wellbeing so you can experience fulfillment and longevity in the mental health field. Elevate You CE knows how challenging your work can be and keep your wellbeing in mind when designing courses and coaching services.
Course fees range from $20 (for 1 CE) to $350 (for 12 CEs). A 30-hour Mindfulness Certification program is also offered for $799. Some examples of course offerings include Treating Grief After the Loss of a Pet, A Successful Path to Body Acceptance, and Getting the Shame Out of Substance Misuse.
Feeling Good Institute is on a mission to improve lives. It was born to set the standards, train, organize, and support the therapist community practicing a highly effective form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called TEAM-CBT.
Developed by Dr. David Burns, TEAM-CBT is eight times more effective than other treatment approaches. Clients see a 30% average reduction in suffering per therapy hour and meaningful improvement within 5 sessions.
In addition to comprehensive training courses, Feeling Good Institute offers free 1-hour webinars that introduce participants to basic CBT skills.
A Home Within is the only national organization dedicated solely to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. They envision a world in which every foster child has a relationship with at least one consistent, caring adult. They provide open-ended, individual psychotherapy, free of charge, to current and former foster youth.
While A Home Within does not currently provide CE credit offerings, they publish clinical resources and tools for mental health professionals.
Illuminated Education provides educational activities designed for people who are interested in issues related to psychology, healing, and other aspects of human thought, feeling, and behavior. The goal is to present up-to-date, thought-provoking content integrating material from psychology and other fields including (but not limited to) mind-body medicine, mindfulness practice, and eastern and shamanic approaches to health and healing.
CEs are offered for reading a journal article or other publication and then passing a test. Fees range from $10 (for 1 CE) to $90 (for 9 CEs).
16. Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT)
The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) condemns violence and oppression in all its forms. They stand with all who work for equality and peace.
IVAT is a one-stop shop to address and end violence. They host two international summits annually, house three academic journals, maintain several research databases, provide program evaluation, consultation, and a wide array of trainings addressing violence, abuse, and trauma – many of which can be used toward specialty certificates and continuing education, and offer vital professional and clinical services to San Diego County and beyond.
Webinar training fees range from $20-$35 and offer 1-2.5 CEs.
For over three decades, two questions have driven the therapy orientation of Natural Processing Trainings: “How does our nature work, and how can we best work with that nature?” These questions have led them to find ways to work with the potential movement and integration of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual natures.
“Natural processing” is the somatically-based, process-oriented therapy that emerged from the integration of multiple approaches to healing and growth.
Course fees range from $40-$375 (for 13.5 CE hours).
Soultenders is committed to making quality mental health services accessible to all by offering licensed mental health providers with their administrative needs so they can focus on their clients and their private practice instead of the paperwork.
Soultenders provides CE credit offerings that go further than meeting the requirement standard and also meet the professional needs of therapists. They offer CEs for social workers, psychologists, counselors, and MFTs. (Registration required to enroll in courses.)
The Spiritual Competency Academy offers mental health professionals a selection of over 30 unique online courses that provide the skills and knowledge to become more spiritually competent. Their foundational curriculum starts with a course on how to conduct an evidence-based and spiritually sensitive spiritual assessment. Other courses cover a wide variety of topics including self-compassion, mindfulness, and forgiveness.
All courses are free to enroll in (after registering for a free account); CEs are offered for a fee (averaging around $10 per credit hour).
After experiencing the powerful and profound changes that can occur through partnership with horses, Stand InBalance founder Dr. Val transitioned from her private practice in Santa Monica to developing the Stand InBalance Ranch.
Stand InBalance is proud to offer innovative CE courses for psychologists, LMFTs, LCSWs, and addiction treatment counselors. Their small group CE workshops and retreats provide a combination of didactic and experiential learning designed to enhance clinical skills, and bring more joy and resonance to your life and practice.
Examples of CE courses offered for mental health professionals include Intro to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Growth & Learning Workshop,Countertransference and Restorative Experience Workshop, and Moving from Resistance to Resonance.
Two Chairs believes that high-quality care starts with taking care of clinicians. They are building a mental health system that takes care of you by prioritizing your personal wellbeing, providing opportunities for growth and connection, and empowering you to do work you enjoy.
For free CE credit offerings, join the Two Chairs Clinician Community.
A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) believes that creating art is a human right. They exist to empower individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma through a transformative healing arts program.
AWBW views art as a catalyst to release trauma, build resilience, and ignite social change. When individuals create art in a safe community they can be heard and respected – replacing violence and shame with safety and hope.
Earn CEs by registering for a Windows Facilitator Training where you will get everything you need to implement art programming and become a Certified Windows Facilitator, as well as gain ongoing access to an expanding curriculum of 600+ strengths-based art workshops and free professional development opportunities.
The Zur Institute provides a variety of learning modalities and address challenges professionals are likely to routinely encounter. Their content embraces diverse approaches and orientations, and recognizes the importance of addressing diversity across a broad-spectrum including, but not limited to, culture, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic variables.
The Zur Institute currently has over 120 unique courses with CE credit offerings ranging from $19 (for 1 CE) to $199 (for 26 CEs). Additionally, sign up for their newsletter for free resources and promotions.
To conclude, online trainings, podcasts, webinars, and in-person workshops are a fantastic method to discover the most recent developments and evidence-based treatments in the field of mental health. CE credit offerings are a great approach to advance knowledge and expand expertise while maintaining the standards for licensure. For therapists wishing to advance their professional development, there are numerous innovative and creative CE credit offerings to choose from.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sydney Scanlon, Executive Development Specialist, Center for Council
Sydney Scanlon has been working in nonprofits across the world focusing on issues of healthcare, education, equity, and mental health. She has published research experience in climate change and health, childhood trauma, and psychedelic therapy. She has been working in marketing and design for universities, nonprofits, and musicians.
This a list of 40 of the best apps for mental health and wellness. These top-rated apps are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and/or improve wellbeing.
For more evidence-based apps, visit One Mind PsyberGuide, a non-profit organization that evaluates mental health apps and then rates them based on credibility, user experience, transparency, and professional reviews.
Start by entering your sobriety date and then calculate how much you typically spend on your habit per day. You’re prompted to enter why you want to stay sober. Next, make a pledge to yourself and start tracking sober days. This app tracks not only sober time, but money saved by abstaining.
From the App Store: “Along with tracking your sober days, it helps you build new habits and provides ongoing motivation by connecting you to a wide network of people all striving for the same goal: staying sober one day at a time.”
A mobile sober community for connecting with others in recovery. Customize your experience based on your personal goals by answering questions such as “Are you in recovery?” and “Are you currently using/drinking, but want to stop?” or “Are you unsure if you even have a problem?” Connect with friends via your contact list, search for people nearby, track your sobriety date, and chat or post comments.
*Professional consultation and recovery coaching available for a fee.
Designed for Veterans, Stay Quit Coach is designed to help Veterans and others quit smoking for good.
From the App Store: “Stay Quit Coach is based on an integrated care manual for Veterans with PTSD who smoke cigarettes. It offers information, a breathing exercise, coping plans based on the “Ask, Advise, Replace, Mentally Cope” (AARM) model, motivational messages, medication reminders, money-saved calculator, and resources to stay quit. The app is can be used on its own, but for maximum benefit use Stay Quit Coach with the help of a counselor or health care provider.”
Also designed for Veterans, VetChange is a mobile app that can help users with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) build skills to reduce problem drinking. The app offers proven self-help tools to help not only Veterans and active services members, but anyone with PTSD who wants to manage their drinking.
Daylio is a self-care bullet journal app for tracking your mood and monitoring your goals.
From the App Store: “Daylio is a very versatile app, and you can turn it in whatever you need to track: A fitness goal pal, a mental health coach, a food log, a gratitude diary, or a mood tracker. Exercise, meditate, eat, and be grateful. Take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.”
Scientifically-proven methods for breaking old patterns and creating new, healthier habits. Find your happiness score. Use tools, activities, and games to gradually improve your mental health and increase happiness.
From the App Store: “MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress, and panic by following evidence-based strategies. Using CBT tools, you can challenge negativity, learn more about anxiety, develop more effective ways of thinking, be mindful, and relax.
Learn about the different CBT strategies, including writing thought journals, challenging yourself with belief experiments, building fear ladders, and doing comfort zone challenges. Listen to calming audio to reframe your thoughts, practice mindfulness, and stay grounded. Participate in the MindShift CBT Community Forum: share stories, learn about others’ experiences, and provide peer advice in a safe environment. All the exercises are presented in small chunks with plenty of supporting information to help you naturally integrate these strategies with the rest of your life.”
From the App Store: “SuperBetter builds resilience – the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of life’s challenges. Playing SuperBetter unlocks heroic potential to overcome tough situations and achieve goals that matter most.
SuperBetter is validated in published studies to build resilience, improve mental health, and support recovery.
In randomized controlled and clinical trials conducted at University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University, playing SuperBetter was associated with improvements in resilience, mental health, and social emotional skills. Published meta-analyses show its effectiveness for reducing anxiety and depression.”
An app designed for use by patients and their behavioral health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking. Patients and providers can collaborate to personalize the VHB content based on the patient’s specific needs and treatment goals.
Chat with Woebot and learn CBT and DBT skills to combat depression and anxiety. Woebot helps you to monitor your mood and develop self-awareness.
From the App Store: “Woebot was built on a foundation of clinical evidence, and studies show that it works. In a clinical trial involving 400 participants, Woebot users showed a 32% reduction in depression and a 38% reduction in anxiety after just four weeks.”
Designed for Veterans with PTSD, this is a companion app for individuals participating in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with a licensed mental health professional. The app contains support materials for a complete course of CPT to help patients manage their treatment, including between session assignments, mobile versions of CPT worksheets, readings, and PTSD symptom monitoring.
PE Coach is designed to be used during prolonged exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a licensed mental health professional. The app provides therapist-assigned exercises and allows users to track and record progress. In addition, the app provides techniques such as controlled breathing to help decrease distress.
Designed for Veterans and individuals with PTSD, this app provides education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools for managing stress such as relaxation skills and positive self-talk.
This app offers a self-help course based on Skills Training in Affective & Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR), an evidence-based psychotherapy that uses cognitive and behavioral techniques to help with managing emotions and relationships. It can be helpful for individuals with PTSD.
Developed for Veterans, this is a companion app for people who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with a health provider, or who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and would like to improve their sleep habits. The app offers information and tips for developing positive sleep routines and improving sleep environments to help alleviate symptoms of insomnia.
Designed for Veterans, service members, and individuals with insomnia, this app offers weekly guided training plans, a sleep coach that provides feedback, an interactive sleep diary, and 17 additional tools for improving sleep.
From the App Store: “This app is based on scientific research about how people can change their behaviors and thoughts to improve their sleep. Insomnia Coach is designed to be used daily for 5 weeks by following the Training Plan. After that, you can continue using the app to track your sleep and maintain good sleep habits.”
From the App Store: “iBreathe is a simple yet powerful app to guide you through deep breathing exercises and breathwork. Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, insomnia, or are trying to meditate and relax, iBreathe provides an easy-to-use beautifully designed user interface.”
Developed for Veterans and services members, this app provides a gradual, self-guided training program for understanding and adopting mindfulness practice. Mindfulness Coach also offers a library of information about mindfulness, 12 audio-guided exercises, and a catalog of additional exercises available for download.
ACT Coach was developed for Veterans, service members, and individuals who are participating in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with a therapist. The app offers exercises, tools, information, and tracking logs.
Designed for Veterans and military service members, but can be used by anyone with anger problems. The AIMS app is based on the Anger and Irritability Management Skills online self-help course (http://www.veterantraining.va.gov/aims/) and provides education about anger, opportunities for finding support, the ability to create an anger management plan, anger tracking, and tools to help manage angry reactions.
This app offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship with 14 card decks and over 1,000 flashcards.
From the App Store: “As the world’s most trusted relationship company, our mission is to improve people’s lives through products and programs that educate, inspire, and heal. Our approach to relationships is based on more than four decades of ongoing research by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. We serve couples and parents directly while providing world-class training to the professionals who support them, and we are committed to making our services accessible to everyone.”
An app for managing recovery from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. This app is also intended for individuals with general eating, weight, and shape concerns.
BEST APPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH: PAID & SUBSCRIPTION APPS
A 100% online therapy service that matches you to a provider.
From the App Store: “Facing obstacles alone can be daunting – receiving support and guidance from a professional therapist has been shown to make huge, positive changes to help you overcome personal challenges. When you sign up we’ll match you to an available therapist who fits your objectives, preferences and the type of issues you’re dealing with. Different therapists have different approaches and areas of expertise so we’ll work with you to find the right person who can achieve the best results for you.
There are over 20,000 therapists on BetterHelp, each with at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. They are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D./PsyD), marriage and family therapists (MFT), clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional therapists (LPC), or similar credentials.
Together you’ll work towards making a positive change in your life, accomplishing your goals, and overcoming your problems.”
This app is an evidence-based tool for reducing symptoms of depression with CBT techniques and activities such as challenging irrational or self-defeating thoughts, tracking moods, and journaling (Moodnotes).
MoodMission is clinically-proven tool for coping with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Tell the app how you’re feeling to receive 5 evidence-based “Missions” to improve your mood and earn rewards.
From the App Store: “MoodMission is based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based psychological therapy for anxiety and depression. Anyone can use MoodMission, whether you just want a lift in your day or need a bit more help recovering from anxiety or depression.”
Backed by over 10 years of clinical research, Personal Zen’s core therapeutic mechanism of action is a game-based approach to Attention Bias Modification (ABM). To reduce symptoms of distress and anxiety, play this mobile game 4 times per week for at least 4 weeks.
From the App Store: “Replika is for anyone who wants a friend with no judgment, drama, or social anxiety involved. You can form an actual emotional connection, share a laugh, or get real with an AI that’s so good it almost seems human.
Replika is an AI friend that is just as unique as you are. The more you chat, the more Replika develops its own personality and memories alongside you, the more it learns: teach Replika about the world and yourself, help it explore human relationships and grow into a machine so beautiful that a soul would want to live in it. You also get to decide if you want Replika to be your friend, romantic partner or mentor.
Replika can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, track your mood, learn coping skills, calm anxiety and work toward goals like positive thinking, stress management, socializing and finding love. Improve your mental well-being with Replika.”
Sanvello is clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
From the App Store: “Whether you’re feeling anxious, lonely, overwhelmed, or just burned out, Sanvello will meet you where you’re at. Think of it as your feel-better toolkit, including therapy, coaching, coping techniques, meditations, and goal and mood tracking, designed by experts to help you feel better.”
An app for managing anxiety, depression, PTSD, or substance abuse. Play for 3 minutes a day, 3 days a week, and experience clinical improvement within 6 weeks.
From the App Store: “Visit Socks for a few minutes a few times a week or whenever you need that immediate relief or non -judgmental support. Enabling self-reliance is simple and fun when working with Socks who will holistically guide you through exercises in managing your stress, dealing with challenges and practicing a variety of proven techniques. Empower yourself as you learn which of these skills will work for you.”
Similar to BetterHelp, with Talkspace, you undergo a brief assessment to get matched with a provider before starting online therapy. Talkspace also offers psychiatry services.
From the App Store: “The Talkspace provider network has thousands of licensed therapists across the 50 U.S. states who have been vetted and accredited according to NCQA standards. They have experience treating the most common mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance use, stress, relationships, PTSD, and more.
Talkspace has been shown to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. In one recent study, 81% of participants felt Talkspace is as effective or better than in-person therapy. In another, individuals who used Talkspace for only 2 months significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
UpLift is a self-help app for depression and anxiety that was developed by expert psychologists and leaders from the field of mobile mental health. It utilizes CBT, an evidence-based practice.
From the App Store: “UpLift provides you with 11 interactive psychology sessions that are around 45 minutes long each week. In the sessions, you’ll be answering questions, doing self care exercises, and getting customized feedback and guidance to strengthen your well-being.”
Calm is a mindful meditation app with a free version that offers limited sessions, but you can purchase a subscription for unlimited access to guided meditations, sleep stories, breathwork exercises, music, and more.
Additional Paid & Subscription Apps for Mental Health
A health and mood tracker app backed by scientific review.
From the App Store: “Bearable was launched to help people to understand the impact of different treatments and medication on common health issues such as anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue.
Bearable helps you discover what’s really making your health better and worse. Our simple, customizable health tracking tools empower you to understand the correlation between anything you do and the impact it has on your health.
By learning what affects your mood, symptoms, sleep, and energy, you can have more control over your health and wellness, more information for your doctor, and more tools to manage triggers, treatments, and flare-ups.”
Designed by a licensed clinical psychologist to help individuals receiving DBT treatment or to refresh previously learned skills.
Bonus:MyMentalHealth.org on the App Store is a new, free app that offers a 28-day addiction program, assessments for substance use and PTSD, and 365 days of recovery support. The app is completely confidential and self-directed. (Click here for more information.) Thanks to Shaun Garber for recommending this resource!
When people find out I served in the military, their usual response is, “Thank you for your service.” This is popular on Veterans Day.
Honestly, I never know how to respond. I typically say ‘thank you’ back. I never say, “You’re welcome.” Something meant to be pleasant sometimes becomes an awkward exchange. It’s not like other holidays when I can confidently reply ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’
I reflected on why I have such a hard time accepting credit for my service – and I found two major culprits.
The Glorified Soldier
Firstly, when I hear the word “veteran,” it conjures up images of classic war movies with brave heroes like John Wayne in The Green Berets or Charlie Sheen in Platoon, engaging in jungle warfare in Vietnam.
I also think about the men of WWII considered ‘The Greatest Generation’ with their elegant olive drab green uniforms and Jeeps; one of my favorite shows is Band of Brothers on HBO.
Although I tried my best to do my job everyday, I couldn’t relate to nor live up to those expectations. Those men jumped out of airplanes into aerial artillery to fight off the Nazis.
But every Veteran has their own story – and this one is mine.
Combat, Coffee, & Staying Sane
My first combat tour was Operation Iraqi Freedom from the year 2004 to 2005. I remember one long year of staring at a computer, daily gym workouts, and running on the treadmill.
We came under attack several times, and it was dangerous; however, the hardest part of the deployment was keeping our minds busy and sane. The best medicine for my mental health was coffee, music, workouts, bootleg movies, and books. Care packages and letters were a rare treat.
A prominent memory I have is when the helicopters landed on our last night to take us to the airport to start our long journey back home. The memory of that night has remained vivid in my mind for over 17 years.
I think the second reason I find it difficult to respond to ‘thank you for your service’ is that I try to avoid traumatic memories. For a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is typical to steer clear of conversations that may trigger unwanted memories.
Recently, I reflected on a memory I had been avoiding for quite some time. I was attached to a unit in Herat, Afghanistan in 2009, co-located with our Italian NATO partners. I remember the first day I landed. It was a cold morning, about 3 a.m., and I was transported alone by a cargo plane. All I could see was shadows of tents and huts and the silhouette of the mountains. I remember the stars shined like bright diamonds like I had never seen before in the United States.
I would spend four months at that location. It was difficult at first; however, we gained momentum and accomplished several missions.
Our base was attacked late one night; most of the staff had already gone to bed. I heard the first explosion from a distance. Several explosions followed, and they kept getting closer.
The enemy was creeping Rocket Artillery from the mountains. We were extremely vulnerable because we lived in tents and worked out of wooden huts. There were several concrete bunkers spread throughout the base for added protection, so my first reaction was to put on my gear and go wait it out in the bunker.
I was the first one there and I waited for everyone to follow. I was safe but I was alone, and I was worried about the others. No one joined me. I left the safety of the bunker and went to check on one of my friends. He was dead asleep. I remember waking him to the sound of explosions. “We are being attacked,” I said. He woke with a start and put on his armor vest and helmet and set off to check on the others.
The rest is a blur. I remember we split up to wake everyone, directing them to the bunkers, while the reaction team set out to take care of the shooters. By the time I made it back to the bunker, it was full. I crammed in at an exposed end. The explosions kept getting closer and started to hit some of our tents and equipment.
I remember feeling terrified from the uncertainty and the deafening explosions. We were lucky we did not lose anyone that night.
Thinking back on this memory, I realize I didn’t think twice about risking my safety to help my fellow soldiers. It’s what I would expected from them as well.
Normally, when people say “thank you for your service,” they don’t know why they are actually thanking me, and honestly, until recently, neither did I.
The things I experienced while serving have been the source of nightmares, anxiety, and depression. What’s more, when I returned from deployment, I had to face life, new careers, civilian culture, housing, anger, marital problems, and financial stress without the moral support I used to get in the military.
I actually missed the life purpose supplied by combat and the need to feel needed by my band of brothers. At first, I tried to cope with alcohol, as many veterans do, but I realized it was not the answer. I eventually sought expert help from the Veterans Affairs. Today, part of the way I cope is by helping others as a mental health counselor.
After much thought and self-reflection, I am finally able to accept the great complement, “Thank you for your service.”
This is what you are thanking me for: I chose a timeless and noble profession. I chose to serve. I left the comfort of my family and my home to follow through with a commitment, to make good on an oath I made when I was a skinny 18-year-old fresh out of high school. I chose to stay drug-free and obey all the laws, to lead an honorable life to be fit for duty and able to serve. I chose to risk my safety for the benefit of the greater good. So, thank you for acknowledging my service.
And to all my fellow veterans: Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines, “Thank you for your service.”
Call TTY if you have hearing loss at 1-800-799-4889
If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, visit VeteransCrisisLine for more resources.
About the Author: Seferino Martinez is a Texas native who joined the military after graduating high school. He is a veteran of both the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Liberty University and is a Licensed Mental Health Professional in the state of Virginia.
Amazon: “In her refreshingly blunt #1 New York Time’s bestseller, You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero served up hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, and the occasional swear word, all with the goal of helping readers reverse self-sabotaging behaviors and create a life they love. You will love this badass kit, which includes an 88-page mini abridgement of Sincero’s irreverent guide and a Badass Button for your desk, kitchen, or bedroom that spouts inspiring messages in Sincero’s own voice. It’s the perfect anytime reminder that ‘You are a badass!'”
What comes to mind when you hear the term psychotherapy? Lying on a couch and recounting the details of a dream you had while being psychoanalyzed by a man who silently takes notes? This sofa-shaped business card holder is the perfect gift for any therapist or psychologist, regardless of their theoretical orientation!
Amazon: “From the bestselling international coloring book series, Color Yourself Calm. Creating beautiful art can be a positive and relaxing experience. This kit includes 10 colored pencils and 50 illustrated cards with detailed designs to complete. Lift your mood and focus your mind – no drawing skills required!”
Psychology Today publishes content written by clinicians, experts and researchers from across the fields of behavior and psychology. It is the original and largest publishing enterprise that is exclusively dedicated to human behavior. The magazine has received numerous awards for both editorial and design, and is published six times a year.
15. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR)
It’s here! The long-anticipated revised text of the DSM-5 arrived this year, and it includes a new diagnosis – prolonged grief disorder – as well as new diagnostic codes for suicidal behavior, plus much more. Every therapist needs a copy of their own!
16. Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5-TR
If the DSM-5-TR isn’t in your budget, consider this handy, spiral-bound desk reference for a third of the price.
Amazon: “The Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5-TR is a concise, affordable companion to the ultimate psychiatric reference, DSM-5-TR. It includes the fully revised diagnostic classification, as well as all the diagnostic criteria from DSM-5-TR in an easy-to-use format. This handy reference provides quick access to the information essential to making a diagnosis. Designed to supplement DSM-5-TR, this convenient guide will assist all mental health professionals as they integrate the DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria into their diagnoses.”
Amazon: “A wistful, honest and highly relatable account of modern life. Dinosaur Therapy is a book of cartoons for grown-ups from the very successful web comic @dinosandcomics. In each comic, dinosaur characters grapple with questions around the meaning of life and mental health, trying to make sense of the world and cope with their own place in it.”
Amazon: “Guided by Michael A. Britt, creator of popular podcast The Psych Files, you can conduct your own experiments when browsing your favorite websites (to test the “curiosity effect”), in restaurants (learning how to increase your tips), when presented with advertisements (you’d be surprised how much you’re influenced by the color red), and even right on your smartphone (and why you panic when you can’t find it). You’ll even figure out how contagious yawning works!”
An Amazon bestseller! “Living your values increases your compassion, reduces your stress, enhances your confidence, and allows you to experience more intimacy in your relationships. These 78 cards offer you a practical set of tools for determining your core values and practicing them in your daily life. Start off with a simple sorting exercise, then dive deeper into your highest values with the prompts and activities listed on each card.”
A 24″ inflatable ball that features questions, quotes, and positive affirmations to help clients to open up; this therapy tool inspires new ways of thinking about coping with anger. (Alternatively, you may want to consider the Toss ‘n Talk-About Addiction Ball for $22.99 on Amazon.)
Amazon: “Help young kids talk about their own feelings and learn to empathize with others. This learning faces toy is fun to play with and a great conversation starter. Children can play independently, recreate a story, or describe their own feelings.”
Great for group therapy. Includes laminated game cards, calling cards, chips, reproducible handouts, and instructions. (Wellness Reproductions & Publishing also offers bingo kits for coping skills, stress management, social skills for teens, and more. If you’re looking for something fancier, check out The Coping Game from Wellness Reproductions & Publishing for $59.95 on Amazon.)
31. GIANTmicrobes Deluxe Brain with Plush Neurons and Neurotransmitters
A fun icebreaker activity for groups. Perfect for the therapist who works in a hospital or residential setting, or who does group therapy. “This cute, compact tin is filled with 50 hilarious and thought-provoking questions asking players to choose between two equally good, unpleasant, or absurd scenarios.” (Alternatively, consider Googling “would you rather” scenarios and make your own cards or worksheets!)
Amazon: “Includes one Totika Therapy Game Cube and six decks of Totika question cards, each deck with 150-188 questions, prompts and scenarios for a total of more than 1,000 interventions. The Early Childhood Social Emotional card deck is for ages 4-7 and the Teen-Adult Principles/Values card deck is for ages 13 to adult. The Anger, Resilience, Bullying, and Icebreakers cards are for ages 8 and up.”
Amazon: “This set is a companion to the bestselling books ‘A Little SPOT of Emotion Books Box Set!’ This set comes with a newly released hardcover special edition ‘A Little SPOT of Feelings‘ book with all 8 Emotion plush toys! The PLUSH TOY EMOTIONS included are: Anger, Anxiety, Peaceful, Sadness, Happiness, Love, Confidence and Scribble (Tangled). The book included features a bonus mirror in the back of the book along with a FEELINGS POSTER that is printed on the inside of the dustjacket. The poster and mirror were added to help children identify facial expressions.”
Currently on my own Amazon wish list! Both soothing and decorative, a great addition to any office space. (Hint: Watch the price on this one! While working on this post over the course of a few days, the price increased from $22.99 to $29.70.)
37. ‘What You Say In Here Stays In Here’ Canvas Wall Art
A mini label making machine for the therapist who loves staying organized! (Another item to watch for price changes; it went from $30.59 to $36.99 in one day. Alternatively, there are plenty of cheaper label makers that also have high ratings on Amazon.)
39. Himalayan Salt Lamp Bowl with Natural Crystal Chunks
Amazon: “Himalayan salt lamps give your home, business, store or lounge a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere. Not only does it help enhance the mood, its amber glow gives the ambience a special interior design experience.”
40. Therapy Office Desk Décor: Things I Can Control
Amazon: “This desk décor item will remind you to focus on what you can control and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Perfect office décor for any psychologist, counselor, social worker, teacher, or therapist!”
Amazon: “This unique Stress Less Cards deck contains 50 extremely effective exercises to help you relieve stress and deal with anxiety whenever you need it the most. Easy for everyone to use, these powerful techniques can be quickly memorized and used in any situation; on the bus, at work, at your desk, while queuing at the supermarket or before going to bed at night. These exercises are designed to stop that stress reaction and help you relax.”
Amazon: “This gift is an encouragement not only to believe in oneself more, but to do more and be more of what you want to be in your life. Love yourself, embrace yourself and never stop moving forward.”
Another one from my own Amazon wish list. It’s a little pricey, but top-rated! “The massage chair utilizes innovative 2D/3D finger pressure shiatsu, rolling, compression, vibration and heat functions to provide you an omni comfortable massage to the back like a spa massage.”
What are some of your unique gift ideas for therapists? Post in a comment!
True to my vision, Mind Remake Project features real-life experiences about living with mental illness and/or addiction. To date, a handful of guest writers have courageously shared about how they experienced depression or battled with alcoholism. On an even grittier, soul-baring level, an anonymous person, impromptu, shared in a comment about being homeless and addicted to drugs.
Meanwhile, when it comes to my mental health and personal experiences, I’ve disclosed very little. Talking about this isn’t something I shy away from, but I find the subject rarely comes up. Polite exchange in social settings allows for topics limited to the weather, current events, career, physical health, etc. To openly discuss a mental condition is too taboo for the office watering hole or cocktail hour.
In the event that mental illness is mentioned, it brings about a palpable shift, an undercurrent of tension to the room. (I witnessed this phenomenon when I single-handedly [mouthedly?] shut down a lively group conversation; someone asked me how I got the scar on my ankle, and I answered honestly.) In response to the discomfort, some use humor to lighten the mood while others quickly change the topic; some become quiet, shifting nervously, while others exit the conversation.
Meanwhile, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about, say, a colonoscopy, which is a medical procedure involving someone (a doctor, ideally) putting a scope up your butt. This takes place only after you’ve cleared out your bowels, a feat accomplished via pharmaceutically-induced diarrhea.
The above shows how stigma, even in a passive role, persists.
The absurdity of it is that in today’s society:
Explosive poops and scope up your butt = okay to talk about
Your mental illness = not okay to talk about, absolutely not!
And if someone feels uncomfortable (or fears making others uncomfortable) when talking about their depression experience, imagine how difficult it would be to seek treatment!
Thus far, as this site’s creator (a mental health professional who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past), I’ve posted only research findings, information/resources related to mental health topics, and guest contributions, but have not shared my own experiences, including the very ones that influenced my career path while fostering empathy. That’s about to change.
I’m writing this post, not to provide resources or clinical tools, but to be transparent with readers about my own mental health and how I experienced depression. Also, this is to take a healthy risk while taking a stand against stigma, and, as always, in the hopes of helping anyone out there feel a little less alone.
How I Experienced Depression: Tears, Poetry, & Pain
In my teens and early 20’s, I experienced depression, including several episodes that were severe. And while nearly two decades separate me from those times, the memories can come back in a rush if, for example, I’m working with a client who is severely depressed, and I recognize the all-too-familiar signs. It attests to how powerful depression is.
This post is not to advise or offer tips for healthy coping; it’s simply to share my experience. The following are some of the ways I experienced depression and how I coped with it:
1. I cried
So much. Nearly every night, I sobbed myself to sleep. Life hurt so, so bad.
I cried during the day too, sometimes in the bathroom at school. Once, I couldn’t stop crying and I had to go home.
I took walks in the rain and wept with the sky. Other times, I would sob in the mirror, and it would make me cry harder because of how ugly I looked, red-faced and nose streaming. My puffy eyelids would be pink and swollen, like two fat earthworms.
Alone, I would sob aloud. When I thought others might be within hearing distance, I’d muffle my cries, hyperventilating into my pillow or a wad of tissues.
However, when a person is depressed, the crying persists, but without any sense of relief. My tears only brought headaches and more tears, a faucet I couldn’t shut off.
2. I skipped class
It’s possible my teachers wrote me off as a delinquent. I was regularly late to class, or I would leave early. In college, I sometimes didn’t go at all.
The teachers, professors, and pastors placed in my life to guide and mentor me ascertained that if I was serious about my studies, I would be on time, engage in class, or at least not have so many absences. I was reprimanded as they saw fit. But it’s hard to focus on school when you don’t want to be alive.
My reality was that I struggled to get out of bed in the mornings because I didn’t want to live – I woke up feeling disappointed that I was still alive, dreading the day. What’s more, being around others, attempting to hold it together, was too much to endure. I could barely function, and being surrounded by seemingly happy-go-lucky, oblivious classmates and teachers made it worse.
The pain of depression is all-encompassing and emotionally draining; to have to pretend to be okay on top of it devours whatever’s left. When I could no longer hold together the façade, I escaped.
3. I self-injured
The previously mentioned scar on my ankle is from a burn. I used a cigarette lighter to singe my own flesh. (The scar is still there, but today completely covered with a tattoo.) And my conversation-stopping response? It was just the truth, which was, “I was really depressed when I was younger so I would cut myself and burn myself with lighters.”
I even wrote a poem about self-mutilation (titled ‘Self-Inflicted Relief’) in which I graphically described self-harming, how Gillette became a weapon, and how the pain on the outside matched what was within.
Did it help to self-harm? Yes. It allowed me to express myself as well as punish myself. What’s more, it provided me with a sense of control.
Did I do it for attention or was it a cry for help? Not consciously, but maybe on a subconscious level? Self-harm is counterintuitive to one of our most basic, primitive drives: survival.
To purposefully hurt oneself goes against the self-preservation instinct. Due to this, when self-harm occurs, it means something is very wrong, and some form of ‘attention’ or help (i.e., intervention, treatment, etc.) is needed. In a roundabout way, a person who self-harms is getting their needs met by doing whatever it takes to survive.
4. I wrote
Trapped in a classroom, in my bedroom, or in my own head, alone with my pain, I wrote. In my depression, I journaled and I wrote poetry – lots and lots of poetry. It helped.
I also wrote notes and letters to friends. I wrote about boys and homework or drew peace signs or copied whatever the girls in the grade above me were scrawling on the covers of their composition books. The notes and letters I wrote served as distractions.
What I never wrote about to my friends was how sometimes, I wanted to die, or how I would feel paralyzed, turn bright red, and be irrationally embarrassed every time a teacher called on me in class (which I later learned was social anxiety). Those types of things were my deepest secrets, secrets I guarded with my life.
5. I ate and slept
If my depression had been a starving beast, and all I had to do to appease it was feed it, I would have conquered that monster the day I started college.
My first year at the small, private university I attended, I gained the ‘freshman 15’… each and every month. I worked in the cafeteria and, after serving lunch, I’d make myself a to-go box filled with double (sometimes triple) portions of everything. (Due to my social anxiety, I was never able to face the dining room alone. I would rather have all my fingers cut off – slowly – with a rusty tomato knife, than walk into the vast sea of students eating and socializing.) I’d take my cafeteria carryout back to my dorm room and eat by myself.
What’s more, I had round-the-clock access to junk food: chips, candy bars, milkshakes, etc. Eating was my main (sometimes my only) source of pleasure.
Along with the gluttony and lack of a social life came excessive sleeping. I’d go to bed early (as in, before 9’o’clock) every night and sleep until I had to be up the next morning.
In fact, my sleep habits were such a sure bet, the one night I stayed out past curfew, it went unnoticed by the resident assistant who did bed checks. She must have assumed that the dark lump of pillows on my bed was me because: when I had never not been in bed by 9:00 p.m.? And figuratively, I was a lump – a depressed, food-devouring lump of pillows and pain.
6. I tried to kill myself
What if you know with a certainty that things won’t change? What happens when you’re hopeless, drowning in your misery, and death starts to look more and more appealing? Sometimes, the only way to end the pain is to end yourself.
At least, that’s how I felt when I was severely depressed. That’s what the suicidal mind feels, thinks, and believes. But that isn’t (and wasn’t my) reality. Depression has a way of dimming your vision, making you forget that the world was once bright or that you’re not actually going blind.
For me to see the light, I had to stop viewing darkness as my fate, my friend… a long-term solution to my short-term pain. It never was. I wanted the pain to end, but I didn’t want to die. So, I lived. I learned to endure, and eventually, learned to love my life.
To conclude… depression really f***ing sucks. And it’s so lonely, bearing that heavy burden by yourself. And it gets so old, having to hide the pain all the time.
At least, that was how I experienced depression. It took me too long to learn that while it sucked, I didn’t have to deal with it alone or hide it. I only wish I had known sooner; I would have reached out and found the support and care I needed.
If you can relate to feeling depressed but think you can’t speak up or that no one will understand, you don’t have to go through this alone! Help is out there. It gets better. It will be better, you will feel better, and you will be better… I promise.
First, let me say this post falls outside my site’s niche… but I was so entertained when I read these responses to negative hotel reviews, I felt like this was too good to not share. (That said, humor is an important coping tool… laughter is great for mental wellbeing!)
In preparation for a weekend trip to Cancun, I started reading reviews for the hotel I booked, paying special attention to the bad ones. At first, I didn’t bother to read the hotel’s responses until this sentence caught my eye:
“I am sorry that you were not able to reach your desired alcoholic state, but your health is very important to us.”
Warmest Regards, Guest Experience Manager
This cleverness was in response to a reviewer who complained about not being able to get drunk (insinuating that the drinks were watered down).
I began reading not only the negative reviews, but the corresponding responses from the hotel. Not only does an elusive guest experience manager politely respond to every single review, his responses are artfully crafted, a delicious concoction of apologetic concern and tact, perfected with a splash of snark (always closing with the salutation, “Warmest Regards, Guest Experience Manager”).
So subtle is the sarcasm, it could potentially be attributed to a language barrier, but I’m convinced that’s not it, and that the guest experience manager is a mastermind (with a great sense of humor!)
Read the responses and decide for yourself!
Beware bad reviewers: the guest experience manager at Hotel NYX is not afraid to call you out on your own bad behavior!
1) To ronX4715NF, who left two stars because he asked to remain parked in the lot for a few hours after checking out and was told no, and then also asked to take a few items from the breakfast buffet to-go and was told no:
Thank you for sharing your review. Unfortunately, when you requested to use our parking lot, it was not at your check-out; rather, you informed us that you had been a guest of the hotel a few days ago and wanted to go to Plaza La Isla, but did not want to pay for parking at the mall. Since you were no longer a guest a few days ago, we cannot allow you to use our limited parking space, which our current guests need. I am sorry if that experience outside your stay has affected the good service you mentioned you enjoyed. We hope you will be able to visit us again and make use of all our facilities, and we look forward to welcoming you back.
2) To 933yushanh, who left two stars because there was a leak and no hot water in their room:
Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable review. I am sorry that your room had a leak during the raging [storm] that we had. In that type of situations, we definitely change the room in order to offer you better experience. However, we don’t have any information of requesting a change of room or informing the situation regarding the hot water. We really encourage our guest to inform front desk in order to assist them properly. We hope you can give us the opportunity to welcome you again and offer you a better stay.
3) To hectorh831, who left one star for the staff who were “unhelpful, unorganized, and not professional.” He also accused the hotel of not being gay-friendly.
Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable review. I am sorry that you didn’t enjoy your short stay with us. As your records informs, you did not appreciate the fact that our restaurants have a dress code. Gentlemen must wear a sleeve shirt. I am sorry if you perceive it as a personal attack. I am also aware that we gift you a NYX sleeve shirt in order to avoid any inconvenience with the restaurants, as you state that you had no other shirt than sleeveless. We can assure you that our hotels do not make any type of discrimination or difference regarding your personal preference. As a matter of a fact, we have many groups, events, and weddings of all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities. Therefore, your complaint is misplaced. We will always be glad to welcome you again, in order to pamper you.
4) To carolinaei13, who left one star because she was robbed of a small amount of money left in her backpack and then staff were unhelpful and not empathetic to her situation:
Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable review. I am truly sorry that you weren’t able to fully enjoy your stay with us. The first time that you report the situation to front desk, our receptionist explain to you the process when something is lost. After that, a security agent is in charge of taking the report, looking into the system to see who enter to the room, check the room and if you allow it, to make a thorough search of the room and your belongings, either to verify that the object or money is not there, or to find it, as it is often found among the belongings. Our receptionist has to translate everything to the security agent, I am sorry if you find her services as rude. Regarding the security report, our security supervisor accompanied you to your room to check your room badge and do the searching in your room, however, right there you decided that you would not let him in to do the check after he explained to you again about the process, refusing his services. By interrupting and rejecting the investigation, we cannot assist you further than that. It was also explained to you that you should make use of the safe box to store important items and/or money, otherwise the hotel cannot be held responsible. At the end, you were told to see a manager the next day. The room badge shows us that no staff enter the room because you left the “do not disturb” sign. Then you conjectured that someone may enter through the window. Security did check on the outside area of your room, however, there was no evidence to show that anyone tried to enter through the window, and most likely it is not possible without leaving traces or footprints. Your case was dismissed for lack of evidence and because you refused the entire security process. However, you were offered the necessary reports, so that if you wished, you could file a report with the police. Nevertheless, the manager did change your room and give you a free upgrade in order to make you feel safer, even thought there was no evidence. We regret the situation, however, we will always keep our arms open to welcome you back and pamper you.
5) To Bethany G, who left one star with her review, ‘WORKERS ARE THEIVES,’ in which she accused staff of stealing:
Thank you for taking the time to share with us your experience. We have taken all your feedback on board and this will be used constructively to perfect our future guests’ experience. We would like to comment that at no time were your belongings stolen, when you reported it, our staff found your belongings in the suitcase in front of you and after a day, you called the hotel to report that you forgot a hairdryer, when in fact there was nothing in the room. However, we appreciate your sincere feedback and it will be channeled to the relevant departments for follow-up.
6) To Charles, who commented on front desk staff and being given a hard time for not wearing a mask and was “kicked out” of the line while waiting to make dinner reservations by a rude staff person:
Thank you for sharing your kind review. We are really glad that you had enjoyed your stay with us, moreover, that you had enjoyed our food quality of our restaurants the attentive services that our staff offered you. I am sorry that you perceive her services as rude. Currently, all over the [world] we are facing a new COVID spread, and the reservation area is a very close environment where a lot of people gather in order to make reservations, as you known we have a policy at the hotel that in close areas and restaurants it is necessary to wear a facemask not only for our guest, for our staff as well. Nevertheless, checking our cameras, it is shown that you were kindly asked to wear a facemask, you said some unpleasant words and leave, at all time you were kindly a polite treated. We understand that waiting is not the best of the experiences, however, we are in a high season. I am sorry if that was an inconvenience. We hope you can visit us again, to pamper you even more.
7) To Aleksey, who commented on there being no amenities for kids, bad food, and disrespectful staff, and won’t be back:
Thank you for sharing your valuable review. We are really glad that you had enjoyed the good quality of our restaurants and bartenders, as well as the good services that our waiters offer you. I am sorry that you didn’t enjoy our Chianti restaurant, normally we have wonderful comments about it. Our is a family hotel, however we do not have a kids club, you can verify the information on the web. I am sorry that you perceive that our staff weren’t trained properly. As our report inform, you bring ya babysitter; for someone to enter the hotel, being a guest must register, if you are not a guest, you must pay a daypass, at the moment we do not have daypass due to high occupancy, so you were offered the rate of the extra person, you inform that was quite expensive, and we made an exception to give you the rate of the daypass, it was still not to your liking. We have to remember that this is high season and unfortunately no one enters the hotel without paying. I am sorry that this was an inconvenience. We hope you will give us the opportunity to serve you again, to offer you a better experience. Warmest regards.
8) To Dianko, who left one star due to the hotel having lots of stairs, and when his wife fell on the stairs and he reported it, no one showed up:
Thank you for take the time to share your valuable review. We hope that you were able to enjoy most of the good services that we have to offer. I am deeply sorry to read that your wife fell on the stairs close to your room on the 1st floor. Indeed, you report it, and in our records our front agent offer you assistance and first aid assistance from our security department in order to check your wife’s elbows and knees. However, you refuse the attention because you had dinner at Umami. She may assume that everything was fine. I apologize for the inconvenience. Nevertheless, we hope you can give us the opportunity to welcome you again in order to give you an even better experience and create better memories.
9) To Tracie, who commented on having issues with her room and there being invasive seaweed:
Thank you for sharing your kind review. We are really glad to read that you had a good stay in general, specially that you had enjoyed the quality of our breakfast. I am sorry if you had issues with your room, we always recommend informing front desk, so they can assist you and give you a proper solution. Unfortunately, we do not have any information regarding these issues. Unfortunately we cannot control the seaweed, we only can clean our beach area, however due to the hot season, the seaweed appears. Your comments are really important to us because it helps us to improve our services. We hope you can visit us again and offer you a better experience.
10) To Reico, who commented on the front desk staff being rude, having to ask them 5 times to fix the AC in the room until they were finally moved to a new room:
Thank you for sharing your valuable review. We are glad that you had enjoyed your comfortable room and the view, as well as the attentive service that our staff offered you. As our system reports shows, you were originally in a Deluxe Room. Our front agent sent several times a maintenance agent, regarding an issue with the thermostat of your room. Our technician were able to fix it, leaving the standard temperature of 21 °C, however, it seems it was not cold enough for you. Our front agent gift you a free upgrade to a Junior suite, that has an ocean view, in order to give you a better solution. I am sorry if you perceive a lack on their service. We hope you can visit us again to pamper you again.
11) To Saif, who left a poor rating because he did not enjoy anything at the hotel and commented that the beach was bad, and the manager was rude and had a horrible attitude:
Thank you very much for sharing your valuable comment. I am very sorry that you did not enjoy your stay. Normally, we have excellent feedback regarding the beauty of our beach, during the warm season the sea produce a lot of seaweed; we cleaned it every day. Nevertheless, we cannot control its growth. You booked a Deluxe room for 2 adults and 1 child; however, you arrived at the hotel with 6 people. We supported you by checking to see if you had another reservation, unfortunately, you only booked that room. Our manager gave you a special rate for the second Deluxe room, despite the high occupancy. Since you came with minors and for your convenience, you were given 2 free upgrades to a Junior Suite with ocean view for both rooms, in order to keep the 2 rooms together. Thus saving you $120 USD per day per room. I regret if you perceived this as a bad attitude from our management, however, at all times you were treated with respect and given the best options from the goodwill of our management. Unfortunately, we cannot give rooms for free. Even less if it is not the hotel’s responsibility.
12) To Lidia, who left one star in her review titled, ‘Horrible customer service,’ because they didn’t give her a king suite and instead put her in a 3-bathroom, 2-bedroom suite:
Thank you for taking the time to share with us your experience. We have taken all your feedback on board and this will be used constructively to perfect our future guests’ experience. We know that our colleague Estela from reception offered you a room with a single bathroom, a king size bed and a room for yourself but, unfortunately, you did not want to change your room. Our staff was attentive to all your needs and we regret that it was not enough. We hope you give us the chance to demonstrate you that our main goal is to create good experiences.
So, after reading, what do you think? Is the snark intentional, a little passive aggressive even… or not?
Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading the guest experience manager’s responses as much as I did!
When Trust Falls Apart: A Look at Addiction, Family, and Healing
Families will often come to me, astounded by how their addicted loved one can look them right in the eye and calmly lie that he/she is not drunk or high, when it’s evident that he/she is. This type of interaction feels so very personal to the family.
In a healthy brain, one that is unencumbered by the highjacking of addiction…they likely wouldn’t. That’s why it’s so confusing and painful. Many families will report that the dishonesty about drug and alcohol use causes more wounds to the relationship than the use itself!
However, with education about how addiction works, we can come to understand how the bizarre nature of this disease can actually be fairly predictable – and why our loved one has deviated in this way from values we hold dear (and maybe they once did too).
Getting High to Survive
As addiction progresses, the addicted person becomes more and more captive to the demands of the disease. Because the disease greatly impacts the “survival circuitry” in the brain, the perceived need for the drink/drug becomes a profound compulsion.
The logic that an addicted person would follow is similar to that of a starving man who easily justifies the theft of a loaf of bread, “I gotta do what I gotta do. I’ll deal with the consequences later.”
Stuck in the Middle
I often envision an addicted person in a tragic tug-o-war. On one team is the Disease, fierce and manipulating them into submission. On the other team are Societal Expectations: the shared belief structure of right vs. wrong, laws, and norms.
The notion of a healthy family structure falls under the umbrella of this second team, holding expectations of mutual respect, consideration, honesty, and the like.
While most addicted people never fully abandon these values in their heart of hearts, the pull of the disease tugs progressively stronger until the person is being yanked between others’ expectations and their own compulsions.
At this point, it can feel to the addicted person that the most adaptive solution is… lie like your life depends on it.
In other words, the addicted person attempts to keep society/family satisfied (or at least at bay) while keeping the disease satisfied by continuing to feed it.
It’s Not Because They Don’t Love You
As personal as the dishonesty can feel, this was never about love. I have come to consider dishonesty as an actual symptom of substance use disorder. It’s an adaptation the addicted person makes to continue surviving in “normal life” in spite of the profound changes that have occurred in their brain.
To be clear, I do not share the above explanation as a justification of hurtful behavior. I share it as a clinician who happens not to have a personal history of addiction.
In my early years as a provider for the substance-misusing population, I too, struggled with the bewilderment, and at times admittedly hurt feelings, when my addicted clients would lie to me about their recent use. After all, I was there to help them, right? Why would they lie to ME?
I’ve come to truly understand however, that dishonesty serves as an odd… but reliable ally that shields the addicted person from their shame, consequences, and need to explain their actions.
While a growing body of neuro-scientific understanding continues to shed light on the “WHY?” many of my clients would admit that on a personal level, they truly don’t understand why they do what they do.
That powerful allegiance between the addicted person and their drug/drink seems only to be broken when they themselves come to understand that this intimate affair they’ve had with their substance has become a nightmarish relationship with a toxic abuser, the kind of abuser that controls their life and takes everything else they love away.
At that point, we hope they can finally reconsider their allegiances.
Recovery: Not Just for Substance Users
When a loved one enters recovery from addiction, it often takes the family a very long time to trust again. Understandably there is skepticism and disillusionment. After all, if a person has looked us in the eye and lied so calmly to us during active addiction, what is our barometer for honesty now?
The notion that “time takes time” is a reality that a recovering person must humbly accept. The addiction caused great damage, and that will take time to heal.
But as the family nurses its wounds, they must also understand that trust-building is a two way street. We must accept that our loved one lied to us because they didn’t trust us to understand the tug-o-war in which they were trapped.
The only way to become a trusted ally is to begin listening and trying to understand. In this, we also hopefully set the stage for them to eventually hear and understand our pain as well.
About the Author:Karen Perlmutter, LISW-CP, has worked as a therapist in clinic, hospital, and private practice settings for 15 years. She specializes in the treatment of substance abuse and mental illness, with a particular interest in supporting the entire family system through the complex journey of addiction. She has developed an evidence-based course for families coping with a loved one’s addiction. Karen also aims to share education, support and hope with the community through a variety of speaking forums which have included universities, treatment programs, support groups, National Public Radio, professional development events, and an upcoming Tedx Charleston talk.
Times are tough for therapists. Providing mental healthcare these days is challenging. Therapists find themselves in the midst of many perfect storms. Global changes, social unrest, tremendous upheaval, and trauma in the lives of their clients can mirror the struggles in their own lives, potentially leading to burnout.
Being a therapist is a beautiful, noble, and worthwhile undertaking. It is our life’s work. Yet often it is a slog. Clients may report a bit of progress, but then things fall apart. Our efforts to get through to them come up short. We can become lost and hopeless ourselves, watching people we have grown to care about continue to suffer and struggle.
In these situations, compassion fatigue and burnout can become a real risk. When we are worn down and exhausted, it can be difficult to give to our clients. The work that once inspired us can become draining to the point that it impacts our own wellbeing. When we feel burnt out, we need to find inspiration and reconnect to what it means to be a therapist.
Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Inspiration for the Weary Therapist: 4 Steps to Avoid Burnout
Here are 4 accessible steps for therapists to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue during challenging times:
1. Practice Real Self-Care
Self-care is vital for therapists. We learn from very early on in our training that we need to take care of ourselves to care for others. Yet what does self-care look like when you are at a level of weariness and burnout?
When we are in a lot of pain, our output to input ratio changes. If we are guilty of giving too much to our clients and not receiving enough from our lives, then we need to change the way we think about healing so that we do not give more than we take in. We must be okay with simply being present with our clients. We do not need to move mountains or do the work for them. As a therapist, you have to care for yourself too. We must strive for a healthy work-life balance to feel whole and avoid burnout.
Practicing self-care and attention, even in session, can help avoid burnout. Have a coffee in session. Sip it slowly. Take in the light that’s streaming through the window. Our clients need us to be present and alive when we’re meeting with them.
2. Practice Presence
What do you need to be present in session even in the face of others’ pain? Will always having food or tea with you help? Do you need different cushions on your chair? How about comfy clothes? A fan in the heat of summer? You may need a whole little apothecary on the table next to you to symbolize that you are present and caring for yourself while you care for your client.
Contrary to what we may have been taught, we do not need to hide our pain from our clients. We can let them know what we are going through. Clients benefit from having a full human being with them who is giving, receiving, experiencing joys, struggling, and even suffering themselves. Giving yourself permission to be a full person that is comfortable in the therapy room allows you to be truly present.
We need not clear everything out of our mind, be totally empty, and have no distractions in order to be present. I have seen new therapists who won’t remove their gaze from the client in session. That is too rigid. Instead, to avoid burnout, it helps to stay relaxed and open. We don’t need to override being human to be present in session.
3. Receive Care
Giving and receiving are connected. To effectively give to our clients and avoid burnout, we need to be adept at receiving. Receiving a breath, receiving a hug, receiving food, receiving sunlight, receiving sleep, and receiving company with people are all simple ways of taking in life so that we have more to give. Excessive giving can be a defense against receiving, as it can sometimes feel vulnerable to receive. To be impactful at giving to our clients, and to understand the control and power we have as therapists, we need to work on our ability to receive, and remove any barriers to taking in life.
For instance, how do you receive gifts from clients when they give you a present to express their gratitude? We are supposed to give to our clients, but the tables turn when they give to us. It is important for us to be open in those moments and receive the gratitude being offered. Instead of saying, “Oh, thank you very much,” and then putting the gift away, we might instead make a show of it, and ceremonially receive what they bring. Being fed by them in some way might help us be even more effective at feeding them overall and help to avoid burnout.
4. Embrace Your Humanity
Therapists are human too. When we are in pain, we need to be able to embrace our humanity and care for ourselves. To be effective at managing our clients’ pain, we must respond to our own suffering with warmth and self-compassion. Otherwise, we cannot practice real, deep compassion for others. When you give others a break for being a certain way, but won’t let yourself be that same way, it is not real compassion. It is unnecessarily beating yourself up, thinking that you need to be strong to help.
It is human to be weak. I have been surprised when I start hinting to clients that I don’t have it all together, they respond more effectively to treatment. When we are vulnerable with clients, we are sharing with them what it is to be human – that we are not always doing well. We acknowledge that the human experience is varied, that we are not ideal, but instead very human.
To avoid burnout, may the person you are be the same as the therapist that you are. May who you are in the therapy room be the same as who you are outside the office. You will feel way more at ease. Let your clients see you. They want to be seen and they want to be able to see you. Remember that your ability to see others only goes as far as your ability to be seen.