The Cost of Professional Counseling

The Cost of Counseling

Many people in our society forgo the cost of counseling in a effort to save time and money.  Can you put a cost on your mental and physical health?  Can you place a cost of the emotional well being of your children?  Can you place a cost on your marriage?  Most of these things cannot be broken down to a monetary amount.  Let’s take a quick look at the cost to most people when they a deal with a serious issue which needs the assistance a professional counselor.

Let’s suppose you’re suffering from anxiety and depression.  Often times a resulting symptom of anxiety (worry) and depression is insomnia.  Insomnia leads to decreased productivity at work because you’re too exhausted to function well.  You’re not doing your best at work as a result of numerous nights of poor sleep, which can cost you that promotion that you had your eye on.  Insomnia leads to multiple health problems which then leads you to your doctor’s office, then not only are you missing work that day or part of the day but you’re also paying for the office copay.  Then you pay the prescription copay for the medication that is often prescribed by primary care physicians to treat insomnia and depression.   I’m not even going to go into possible side effects of various prescription sleep medications and antidepressants, that’s another blog post.  Let’s briefly look at how the manage health care companies want you to treat your anxiety and depression.

The American Psychology Association quoted Psychiatrist Jay M. Pomerantz, MD who knows first hand the pressure to prescribe medications.  He stated:

The behavioral health management companies that now dominate the field have a good reason to prefer medication to psychotherapy:  They don’t have to pay for patients’ pills.
Managed-care companies typically “carve out” the mental health portion of patients’ medical care, assigning that responsibility to specialized behavioral health companies.  These companies, however, cover only the cost of providing patients with access to mental health providers and facilities.  Responsibility for paying prescription drug costs lies with the original managed-care companies.  Since behavioral health companies must squeeze psychotherapy costs out of tight budgets, it’s not surprising that they favor general practitioners over psychotherapists and psychopharmacological solutions over psychotherapeutic ones.  By doing so, they shift costs back to the managed-care companies themselves.
Even more importantly, behavioral health carve-outs typically have a short-term perspective when they consider their bottom lines.  While medication gets doled out over long stretches of time, psychotherapy is typically provided in short but intensive periods. Because health plans’ budgets focus on expenses in a given year, medication has an obvious short-term advantage no matter what the eventual long-term cost.
Just do the math, pharmacotherapists may keep depressed patients on expensive antidepressants for the rest of their lives.  If you can get with four months of psychotherapy the same benefits you get from a year and a half to two years of continuous medication, you begin to break even after about a year’s time even though it’s more expensive upfront to provide psychotherapy.  If the benefits extend over a half-decade or decade, your savings really start piling up.  But managed-care folks don’t think that way.”
To read this full article go to: http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan00/pr2.aspx

So does professional counseling really work?

The CEO of The American Psychology Association, Dr. Norman B. Anderson stated

“the American Psychological Association studied the peer-reviewed literature examining the effectiveness of psychotherapy.  The research showed that psychotherapy is indeed effective, that it helps reduce the overall need for health services and that it produces long-term health improvements.  Psychotherapy can teach people coping skills they can continue to use throughout their lives.
Yet, the use of psychotherapy to treat mental and behavioral health issues decreased over the last decade, while the use of drugs to address such problems has increased, according to government and insurance industry data.  For some problems, such as anxiety and mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy alone is often the best first treatment option.”
To read this full article go to: http://www.apa.org/research/action/this-is-psychology/psychotherapy.aspx

Let’s look at the cost of counseling versus other negative things that can happen in your life.  You can Google these figures for yourself, these costs are averages across the nation although I attempted to find average cost in Texas when those figures were available.

COST STATISTICS
Problem Low Cost Average Cost High Cost Emotional Cost
Divorce $1,500 $15,000 $40,000+ High
Drinking &

Driving

$2,000 $4,000 $24,000+ High
Cost of child not completing high school unknown  $13,706 in state expenditures

 

Costs our nation about $260,000 in lost wages, taxes, and productivity per drop out. High
Individual Counseling $900

(8 sessions,

2 assessments)

$1,740

(16 sessions,

2 assessments)

$3,420

(32 sessions,

2 assessments)

Healing

When you take a serious look at what various alternatives to counseling can cost you counseling can begin to look cheap in comparison!  Think of the emotional pay off when you can finally have a fulfilling relationship with your spouse or an estranged parent.  Or have better communication with your teenager who has shut you out of their life and you see a dark future looming in front of them. Professional counselors want to assist you in becoming the best version of you based upon your goals, not ours.  We don’t want to throw another pill at you, or give you some nice little saying to stick on your Facebook wall.  We want to go on a journey with you to improve your relationship with others and with yourself!

                                                                                        couples-counseling-happy-outcome-16170697

Stop Trying to Change Your Man

Stop Trying to Change Your Man

I was listening to a video devotional about Decoding the Silent Man’s Language.  At the end of the devotional, the speaker said, “The only time a woman can change a man is when he is wearing diapers”.  This comment tickled me but there is some truth to it!  Of course, I’m not saying that your man or my man or whoever’s man may not need to make some changes, but I do agree we (women) are not going to make him change.  Now there is a difference between a man who needs to tweak some things and a man who you just have no business being with in the first place.  Leave that man alone!  But if you have a good man who may only have some rough edges, I am encouraging myself, my friends, my family, and you to stop complaining and nagging your man to make changes.  Put a pause on discouraging him (taking courage out of your man) and increase your words of encouragement (putting courage in).  So Ladies, let’s stop trying to change our man. Let God, his mentor, prayer, accountability partner, time, and emotional and spiritual growth develop so that the changes he needs to make become clear to him, and he earnestly seeks to make those changes for you and him.

Money Talk

money talkEven though communication, or lack of, is one of the biggest culprits for divorce; finances/money have to be in the top 105. When someone has been taking care of themselves and budgeting for themselves for a period of time, it sometimes can be difficult when one becomes two and that has to be one. You can no longer make financial decisions for yourself. Everything has to be a team efforts or the finances are bound to suffer. Everyone is not good at money management and this is rarely one of the conversations one has while dating. This can especially become hard when children are involved. Children, though they bring unspeakable joy, do not come check. Know a budget that became effective for two must be fully effective for three or more. Very few people are happy/pleasant people when they are broke. This is where teamwork and communication as to play a part. Many times when money becomes an issues arguments ensue. Arguments, without the proper techniques could easily lead to communication breakdowns. Ultimately as we all know a lack of communication in any relationship can lead to its demise. It is important that finances become a part of the dating conversation as well as in the marriage. We live in a world where everything is so fast aced it is easy to get yourself into a financial bind. You don’t want to end up with the perfect mate…who is in bankruptcy. We leave in a world where social security is about depleted and currency value has decreased. It is very important to stay on top0 of credit scores and finances. Coupes should help each other and balance each other in all aspects of the relationship…this includes finances.

Pro Bono and Family!!!

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Baking and cake decorating is my relaxation therapy as well as a hobby I have become pretty good at. I enjoy baking when I want to do it. I do have some repeat paying customers. They seem to be pleased and I do go out of my way to accommodate them. I do wonder if my gift is a Blessing or a curse at times…usually when I’m dealing with family members.  For some reason a lot of my family members feel that when it comes to me and baking….pro bono is the only way.   Normally, when I am doing cakes etc… for kids in my family I do not charge unless the parent decided to do a last minute request! I do request that family members who are constantly in need of goods pay for the ingredients….yeah, they agree to do so and then I do not receive a dime….. although they do receive the cake etc…. I have noticed that the request are becoming more frequent, the details more difficult….yet the funds are remaining the same. I recently had a request that entailed a lot of detail….which is very time consuming. This person would have easily had to pay over $150.00 for this service….but I am out of time and money. I think my family is abusing the pro bono privilege.  My question is, should I continue to provide this service pro bono to family members…even when we have agreed on other arrangements or should I start charging them a fee for all services? I’m not getting the relaxation out of it….sigh!!!

 

Healthy Competition!!!

My husband and I were both very active in sports of some sort during high school and college. We are firm believers that healthy competition is good for you.   We encourage our kids to do their very best and if it is something they want to excel at….give 150%. Being competitive helps set the bar and can be a gauge for your progression.  The down…. side it can be damaging if abused. Both of our kids are active in sports. Our son plays tennis for his school and via the USTA. Our daughter does gymnastics via USGA.  I have noticed that my style of encouragement and motivation is a bit different from my husbands. His style also seems to vary from child to child. For example, my son could play a match and win but not quite play up to his full potential……my conversation would point out the things he did well and what he could do better the next match.  My husband goes straight for the jugular…..no sugar coating. His thought process…….our son already knows what he did well….he needs to work on the errors.   When it comes to our daughter…my husband and I seem to share the same method.

What do you think?

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Did you recently lose a job or a loved one?  Are you experiencing difficulties along your pathway to recovery?  Whatever you are experiencing at this current moment, you are not alone.  Yes, the choices that are made, whether you invoked them or they presented themselves to you, God is with you.  There is a reason why you are experiencing this choice.  Many of us may ask God “why me”?  Instead, ask yourself what can I do for Him with what’s been presented.

To mask your emotions with distractions (alcohol, drugs, work, sex, etc) would be a disservice to Him.  We are human, we all experience a range of emotions.  Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  What that means is simply this: Feel your feelings… allow yourself to be humble and acknowledge that you are human.  As humans, we need to break down at times to build ourselves up.  Use God to assist you during these times.  He will never leave you.

When we actually feel our emotions, we are then available to listen to our inner hearts and what God has presented to us: a gift.  He gives us strength to overcome, keep us moving forward and to follow what He truly wants us to do.

Listen.