Other Answers

What can I do to overcome my fear of chasing my dream career?

That is an excellent question! Let's start by discussing what fear of meeting our dreams can entail. Fear of success often does not mean a fear of succeeding but instead suggests underlying worries or concerns that contribute to the overall sensation of fear. Unfortunately, as humans, we often avoid things that we are frightened of. In this case, it sounds like it is difficult for you to return to your dream because of the fears you are experiencing. The first question that might be helpful to ask yourself is, "What exactly am I afraid of?" Sometimes it can be beneficial to make a list and break down each factor contributing to the fear into smaller parts. It is often easier to face fear when we are focused on overcoming individual, measurable goals. In this case, focusing on the big picture may create a greater sense of fear and, in turn, avoidance.    If we break down identifying and facing fear into steps, learning to name, observe, and describe the anxiety and the factors, worries, and thoughts contributing to the fear helps to begin to set measurable goals. You can start by journaling with the intent to explore your fear. For example, you might ask yourself, when was the first time I remember feeling this way? What are the details of that memory? Do I notice any similarities between this situation and what I am feeling now? What are some of the worries I am experiencing when I think about achieving my goal of working in TV?   Next, you would want to begin to notice the thoughts and emotions you experience when thinking about moving forward with a return to school to complete your goals. Focusing on the behaviors and thoughts that you unintentionally utilize to maintain the fear and noticing what some of those strategies might be can assist you in identifying behavior patterns within yourself that you may subconsciously engage in. This helps to remove some of the power away from the thoughts and back to where it belongs, in the motivation for change category.    The next step in the process is to face those fears by hierarchically ordering the worries from most significant to most minor and then considering ways that you can begin to face a minor fear first. The steps involved in facing fear are more complicated and often person-specific. I would recommend that these steps be taken with the assistance of a professional. In this case, it sounds like you were experiencing difficulties that were outside of your control. Coping with abortion can be a separate issue that you may benefit from speaking with a therapist about. My encouragement is always to seek professional assistance as there are often many layers involved in the individual problems or difficulties a person can face. Having an outside, objective viewpoint can be one of the most beneficial things!
Answered on 10/21/2021

How long till the counseling will make me better?

Hello! Thank you for your question. It sounds like you are really dealing with a lot right now and I'm glad you reached out. How long someone needs in order to benefit from therapy will vary based on factors such as their goals and the type of therapy they choose. Many people also want to consider their budget and how much time they can commit to therapy. Fortunately, counseling is flexible and can usually be adapted for each person's circumstances. I will outline a few points which may help with your next steps. Firstly, if you haven't already done so, I recommend making a list of what you want to address in therapy. This can be as specific or as broad as you like - there are no right or wrong answers. Some people want to focus on skills to manage a current situation or immediate problem. This type of issue might best be addressed with a solution-focused or brief therapy, which can target a specific issue in perhaps two to six sessions. If someone wants to address several problems or a single goal in more depth, they may be looking at three to six months to give themselves enough time to work through things. Other folks might be looking for more long-term support and may choose to continue in therapy for a year or more, depending on their needs and goals. When you are choosing a therapist, discussing your goals can help them to give you a realistic idea of what to expect. Secondly, I think it is helpful to consider your budget for therapy, including both time and money. This can help you to identify what format might work best for your needs. Many people are navigating busy schedules, which can make internet-based counseling like BetterHelp especially appealing. Others prefer to work with a therapist in person. Directories like those offered by Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) can provide information on counselors and counseling agencies in your area. People who have medical insurance may wish to speak with their provider about coverage and in-network referrals. Community mental health organizations may also be an option in your area. Both private therapists and community mental health organizations may offer sliding scale or low-cost services. Speaking with a potential counselor about your scheduling and budgeting needs can help them collaborate with you on a plan which will work for you. Thirdly, it can be helpful to consider what you want to find in a counselor. There may be particular traits or demographics which appeal to you - for example, some people feel more comfortable working with someone who shares their gender or their spiritual beliefs. Some people prefer a more laid-back approach, and others like to have more structure. Everyone has different tastes. On BetterHelp, each therapist has a profile page that will provide information about their background, experience, and approach. You can browse profiles here (https://www.betterhelp.com/therapists/) and request to work with a therapist who sounds like they might be a good fit for you. If you are choosing a counselor elsewhere, many offer consultations or phone calls before you schedule so that you can talk about what you are looking for and get a feel for their approach before you schedule. It is always okay to give a therapist feedback if something isn't working for you, and if you're not clicking with them after a few sessions, it's also okay to try working with someone new. Thank you again for your question. I hope that you continue to seek support and I wish you very good luck. Warmly, Kate
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I control my frustration and anger when I'm so tired and overwhelmed?

Little birds Mama, Please know that my heart goes out to you at this time. It is amazing that in the midst of this you even had the energy to ask this question, however, I believe in this action you took... lies in part both your strength and a message from your inner guide.  The Beatles once famously said... "we get by with a little help from our friends".  Many cultures and the pace of life often lead us to believe we "should" be able to handle all things ...all the time... all on our own.  It is amazing that you are still standing and even able to reach out for this help via the question with all that has happen and is happening. Finding pockets of community wherever they may be, that can provide a little hlep, support, validation.  Community resources that may include a therapist either through a platform such as this, BetterHelp, or through local resources. A case manager that could provide a helping hand for gathering home-based resources for you and your little one for child care support, meal prep, house cleaning, conversation, and connection to break the isolation and feeling of aloneness you are probably having to endure. .  It is a strength in you also that you have an awareness ...that you are mindful of some of the behaviors occurring in which you are clear to yourself that they do not move you toward the sort of person you want to evolve toward for example the yelling, etc as a result of the stress directed at your little one.  You are also having to deal with anticipatory grief related to your father and his terminal cancer diagnosis as well as the grief and loss over your husband leaving. Finding a way to cultivate self-compassion for yourself during extraordinary times will be very important. Developing an inner part of yourself that can help cultivate kindness toward yourself rather than self-judgment. The same kind of care you would give to a close friend or loved one , we must cultivate that same caring for ourselves. All this along with the stress and anxiety related to your childbirth that you indicated.   In the midst of this my hope for you is that you can see that you may be "stuck" with all this but nit "broken" and that there is more right with you than wrong with you and no matter what your situation is... no matter how painful and or overwhelming it may seem... they are workable. Developing self-caring, self-compassion and self-kindness for yourself are very critical at this time.  It is also my hope and encouragement for you to seek help from a mental health professional to provide support. My door is open to you if I can be of help.  May you find stability and balance in your life May you have peace and happiness May you have ease during this extraordinary time Warm regards Dave
Answered on 10/21/2021

Hello, I am waiting to get matched with a counselor. I was originally matched with one, but he was l

Hello, Thank you for reaching out.  I am sorry to hear you have been waiting for a while to get matched to a therapist and just when you thought you were about to connect, you were advised otherwise.  I can imagine how frustrating that was for you, especially when it seems that you are highly motivated to get started working on a better you.  Unfortunately, you have reached out to the wrong place.  Please try contacting member services at this email address: contact@betterhelp.com.  Someone should be able to assist you promptly. Hopefully you will connect with a therapist soon.  In the meantime, I have provided you with some information below regarding what psychotherapy is.  Psychotherapy is a process that many believe is shrouded in mystery, but it doesn't have to be that way. Therapists are normal people who usually chose their profession because they care about other people, they're good listeners, and they want to help. What does a therapist actually do, and how can they help me? · Therapists act as a neutral party who can listen and try to understand without judgment. · Therapists help you learn about yourself by pointing out patterns and giving honest feedback. · Therapists teach specific techniques and strategies to deal with problems. · Therapists can refer you to additional resources in the community that might be helpful. · Therapists provide a safe place to learn and practice social skills. Types of Psychotherapy There are many approaches to psychotherapy, all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some situations call for a specific type of treatment, but sometimes it's just about preference. Here are a few of the most common approaches to psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common and well-supported treatment for many types of mental illness. The theory is based on the idea that a person's thoughts influence their feelings, which the individual can learn to control. Psychoanalysis The traditional image of a bushy-bearded psychotherapist with a couch and a notebook is based on early psychoanalysis. Although this form of treatment has become less popular, it can still be found. Psychoanalysis focuses on childhood experiences and unconscious drives. Motivational Interviewing Although typically used for the treatment of addictions, motivational interviewing is an intervention that can be used to help any person who wants to make changes in their life. When it comes to addiction, motivational interviewing has some of the best support. Person-Centered Therapy A person-centered therapist will focus on building a strong positive relationship with their client while providing an empathetic ear. The therapist will help their client find areas where their ideal self and actual self differ, and then encouraging change or acceptance. Individual Therapy: One client meets with one therapist for traditional talk therapy. Group Therapy: Clients meet in a group with a therapist leader. Clients usually share a similar problem. Family and Couples Therapy: Clients will meet as a couple or a family with a therapist. These therapists may have special training, but it is not always required.Who can provide psychotherapy? The answer to this question varies by region, but in most places psychotherapists must have at least a master's degree from an approved program. After receiving a degree, the therapist must practice for several years under the guidance of a supervisor before becoming licensed. Mental Health Counselors The label "mental health counselor" is usually applied to a person who has received a master's degree from an approved university and is licensed to provide psychotherapy. Titles vary by region, but they are usually denoted by acronyms such as LMHC or LPC. Psychologists The term "psychologist" typically refers to a person who has completed a doctoral degree in the field of psychology. They may or may not also be licensed as a psychotherapist. Psychologists often perform additional services such as psychological testing. Psychiatrists Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication for the treatment of mental illness. In some cases, psychiatrists also perform psychotherapy, but they generally refer their patients to other providers for these needs. Social Workers In most regions, licensed social workers possess a master's degree and training to provide psychotherapy and other services. Social workers have additional training in areas such as case management (linking clients with other agencies and programs). What are the limitations of psychotherapy? · Therapists should not tell you what to do or try to direct your life. Think of the proverb: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life." Therapists will help you learn to solve your own problems, rather than solving them for you. · Some mental illness cannot be managed by psychotherapy alone. If medication is recommended, it's probably important. · Benefiting from psychotherapy does require work on your part. Speaking to a therapist for an hour a week, and then pushing it out of your mind, probably won't do you any good. Complete homework, practice your skills, and legitimately try the recommendations you are given. · Therapists cannot be your friend after starting a therapeutic relationship. Therapists generally like their clients, and would love to get to know them better, but ethical rules prevent the formation of relationships outside of treatment. It isn't you, it's just that the therapist could lose their license! · Therapists cannot read your mind. If you hide information, or are dishonest, you're wasting your own time and money. Best wishes to you.
(LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

What is online therapy like?

Hello,  Thank you for reaching out and asking this question! I know starting therapy can be daunting and I think it can be helpful to ask questions before hand to help ease anxiety.    Online therapy is very flexible. Some clients have weekly sessions, which can be over video, phone or live chat. Other clients only message with their therapist, which could range from multiple times a day to a few times or week or even less. Once you are assigned to a therapist, you could ask the therapist how they typically operate and see if that fits with what you'd like to do. You will be able to see the therapist's schedule and can assess whether or not their schedule matches with yours.  Every therapist is different in terms of how they structure live sessions, but you can also advocate for yourself. Some clients want to vent, some clients want to be asked questions, some clients want homework and accountability. Try to think about what you're looking for and possibly writing down things you'd like to talk about prior to sessions.    Session length can vary. The maximum daily limit for live sessions is 45 minutes but sessions can be shorter as well. I believe that there are different plans that you can sign up for, depending on how frequently you want to have live sessions. Some plans include one session a week, while the maintenance plan includes one session a month. If you have questions about this you could reach out to customer support at support@betterhelp.com if you have questions about the pricing and the plans. Financial assistance is available as well.    Therapists will typically check in with clients to ensure that their needs are being met by the current communication level, but you can also advocate for yourself if you want more or less communication. It is important to find a good fit with your new therapist so don't be afraid to say something if you don't feel like your needs are being met or don't like the way things are going. You are also able to switch to a new therapist if you feel like you don't have a good fit.    Overall, the flexibility of online counseling is one of the biggest benefits. I hope that this answers your questions and that you're able to connect with a supportive therapist. I wish you all the best!!   Take good care of yourself, Mary
Answered on 10/21/2021

Is it normal to feel ups and downs rapidly, and thinking of quitting everything?

Normal is a relative term and so to that I would what in the past has been usual for you during challenging times? You mentioned that in the past you tended to have a solution focused mindset where now challenges seem to linger more on your mind and cause doubt and insecurity. What changed in you from then to now? For some clients it’s the “rollercoaster” of life where there seems to be challenge after challenge with little down time and seemingly little progress towards a goal or outcome. Do you find yourself feeling tired about having to come up with a “finite” solution? If so, maybe you are too focused on the problem side of things and the inconveniences and discomforts they bring. If they are not immediately pressing issues as are usually not, then how about just stepping back and giving yourself space and time from whatever the issues are. In some ways this is where the cycling of ups and downs may be coming from, focusing on the issues attempting to have a solution only to realize it may not work or that another issue awaits you. It can be a very emotionally exhausting position to be in which is the reason you need an opportunity to breath, organize your thoughts and emotions and formulate a path towards emotional relief. Sometimes there isn’t much we can do about a situation and accepting our “reach” is powerful as it reduces any helplessness that may be experienced. Knowing your limitations is a strength and what comes after that is connecting into your “resourcefulness” in order to consider possible means and ways to address an issue. Maybe you are not person best equipped for this or that, but do you know someone who is? Can they help? If they can guess what, you have just extended your reach and can now influence an issue via other means. The sense of “giving up” can be take as feedback. In other words, using the moment or situation to tell you what it needs rather than you are doing all the thinking and effort. Sometimes the feedback is: take time and space to re-ground yourself and try differently. You have experiences in the past that show you are capable so use the moment to your advantage
(MS, LMHC, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

I want to know and understand why do I do the things that I do

Good afternoon and thank you for your question! I will provide you with a brief explanation of the therapy process.  A Brief Overview Of Therapy Before reviewing the various benefits of therapy, having a general understanding of the practice is a good idea. In a nutshell, therapy is a form of treatment that involves meeting and working with a specialist to solve various issues. The issues in question could involve personal feelings, traumatic events, relationship struggles, the death of a loved one, daily stressors, or something else entirely. Therapy can help with any number of problems or even just navigating life's ups and downs. When working with a therapist, it's important to find one that you feel comfortable trusting and confiding in. Your therapist should focus their time and energy on you during sessions, and help you achieve whatever goals and desired outcomes you want to address. The treatment process and improvements which come from therapy can take different amounts of time depending on your situation. The Benefits Of Therapy There are a variety of benefits associated with therapy. Each one will come in handy at different stages or periods of the process. When it's all said and done, therapy is about self-betterment and self-improvement. If these are processes that you value, then you will certainly appreciate the following benefits. Achievement Of Goals Throughout the process of therapy, your therapist is going to work with you and help you set certain goals which will be beneficial to you. Your therapist will also assist you on your journey of reaching and fulfilling these goals. This is a very impactful part of therapy which sets the precedent for what life will be like after your work with your therapist is complete. The ability to set goals and achieve them matters, not just in therapy, but in everyday life as well. You will find that achieving goals will also contribute to your self-esteem. When you set a goal and accomplish it, you're reinforcing to yourself that you're capable. This increases confidence and makes you likelier to branch out and challenge yourself more often. This plays a pivotal role in living your best life and making the most of the opportunities which present themselves to you. Hopefully, this explanation of therapy is helpful in this process. Having a conversation with a clinician could be the first step towards understanding what is occurring, in terms of your mental health. In addition, you can clarify any concerns connected to your  behaviors to possibly seek options. I advise you to consult with a professional who can properly have a conversation with you and offer their clinical impression of your presentation.  Good luck in your process!
Answered on 10/21/2021

Possible to get a diagnosis?

Good question!  The counselors on BetterHelp are qualified to diagnose, but cannot do so on the BetterHelp platform.  That information is written into the policies clients read and sign when they become BetterHelp members.  Counselors also agree to it when they are hired.  It would be best to find an in-person counselor who feels qualified to diagnose autism.  It might involve some screenings or assessments, too.  The assessments might be paper/pencil questionnaires or might be computerized to provide a score for the counselor.  Autism is a fairly complicated diagnosis, which would be difficult to do on telemental health.  If you had testing for autism or other school records that might support the autism diagnosis, then you could contact your school to get copies of those records.  Those would be helpful to your counselor.  You could also wait until you see the counselor and sign a release, so the records could be sent directly to them. If you have insurance, you could check with them to see who they recommend.  It would likely save you money if you stayed within their network of approved providers.  Usually, a person's insurance card has a phone number or email address to contact the company.  If you work for an employer that has a Human Resources department, they could help you contact the insurance company.  If your insurance card only has a website address, then usually there is a "Contact Us" section on the website so you could ask what to do next to get an assessment. Sometimes people report that they have taken a test they found on the internet and it indicated they had a particular diagnosis.  Typically, internet tests have very little reliability.  There are a few that have been made available and free to the public.  But, most tests/assessments/screenings have a lot of research to back them up, which is expensive, so they have to charge a fee for clinicians to use them.  Most of the time, those devices are only sold to counselors to ensure they are administered, scored, and interpreted correctly. Hopefully, this answer does not make it sound too difficult.  It's just a step-by-step process that may take some time.  Good luck in your endeavor.    
(M.S.)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I control my anger issues?

Hello! Thank you for reaching out I'm certainly so glad that you did. I definitely hear that you have been through many traumatic experiences and are yet to heal your feelings related to these experiences. It sounds as though in your responses to people you are expressing  anger and responding to your trauma over and over again. In terms of trauma responses, they can range from person to person and they often do. A response to prior trauma which  isn't resolved can look like any of the following: having active flashbacks or intrusive thoughts, sleeping too much or sleeping too little, eating too much or eating too little, crying without understanding why, feeling that it is very difficult to bond with people or build trust, feeling helpless in regards to present day  situations.Of course, there are more. This is just a brief overview. Often times, people who are survivors of trauma, can find themselves in what are called reenactments. This is where people step into a role of either victim, persecutor or rescuer. And they see the other person in the dialogue as being in a different role. This could be a perceived reenactment or in reality it could be a mirror of what happened in the past. Reenactments can happen in all kinds of relationships whether they are personal or professional. The way to end the reenactment is to remind yourself that you are no longer in a reenactment. Literally, this can be saying  to yourself, "stop and pause. I recognize that this is a reenactment. I also realize that I can change the script".  Changing of the script could be many things: it could be: reminding yourself, I am an adult now. Asking yourself what choices do I have? Reminding yourself that you are safe. Next, thinking about physical safety, emotional safety, and moral safety. Using a technique to ground yourself to the present moment. This is mindfulness. This is a concept that has money different ways to practice and increase it. I do encourage you to seek out weekly therapy. This would give yourself a possibility to talk more in depth about these issues and give yourself the care that you deserve. II do encourage you to seek out weekly therapy. This would give yourself the possibility to talk more in depth about these issues and give yourself the care that you deserve. I certainly wish you the best on your journey. 
(LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Please i smoked last two months and up till now it still feels like my brain shrinks i feel certain

My answer is written on the assumption that this is a legal substance where you are that you are smoking.  May not be but just writing from that perspective.  Thanks for the question as I think that many times when people smoke, the chemical perspective of ingesting a substance is not thought out.  Nicotine and Marijuana are substances that people go to in order to "calm" nerves in social situations.  When you look up the chemical properties of both of these, the chemical response in the brain creates exactly the symptoms that you are experiencing as it is not a chemical that our bodies naturally produce.  So I am just going to affirm that the symptoms you are experiencing are real and align with smoking nicotine and marijuana. So now what?  Anytime you have a physical reaction, medical care is the direction to go and all therapists will recommend this for you.  Before you start trying home remedies and asking friends, I would encourage you to contact your local health department or health program.  These programs, globally as far as I know, have smoking cessation programs that are funded for you to get help at no charge with what you are describing.  What may have started as occasional use, has now created real health reactions and I would encourage you to reach out today. Public health is a no-judgment zone and is the best course if you do not have a medical home with a doctor who knows you or you don't want to reach out.  They can help you immediately with next steps as well as prescribe some medications as part of their programs to help you. Using substances for whatever reason is usually about something, even if experimentation.  These are chemicals, whether legal or not, and our bodies have a detox cycle that is real and must be recognized as a sign that your body and brain are not tolerating what you are choosing to ingest. I hope that you hear these words as a plan of action that you can take immediately that will connect you to resources in your community.  BetterHelp professionals can certainly support you as well to help you be accountable to next steps that you need to take as well as help to address any underlying things happening in your life so that you can be on a path to wellness.  Let us know how we can support you - Dawn Rochelle, MSW, LCSW
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Depersonalization

Hello.  I'm happy that you have decided to reach out.  Have you ever experienced any depersonalization in the past?  Was there anything in particular that may have actived the depersonalization that you can think of?  Many people have reported experiencing depersonalization and derealization due to the state of the world as a result of COVID.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be effective in helping individuals work through depersonalization.  I've had success in the past with people that I've worked with when we combined CBT concepts with different thought-stopping techniques to help combat the thoughts and emotions associated with the derealization. Each person experiences derealization differently.  I believe in order for someone to truly assist you with what you're currently facing, they'd need more information about how this looks specifically for you. They'd also need to know if you may have experienced any trauma around or leading up to the time of the derealization beginning.  Is this something that you have experienced in the past?  If so, how long did it last and how were you able to combat it?   You mentioned that you have lost passion for things that you use to enjoy. Have you attempted to engage in different activities to see there are new things that you may find to be interesting or entertaining? Maybe develop a list of things that you'd considered engaging in previously, but didn't take the steps towards engaging in them.  I think that we have to start with trying to implement some things that are outside of the norm for you in order to help with gaining a different perspective on the world around you.   This is not my area of expertise, but I've helped others in the past after gathering sufficient information about their individual situation and then putting into practice some of the things that I mentioned. I'm confident that you'll find some success when you are able to get plugged in with a provider. I hope that this answer has been beneficial for you and I wish you well in your journey to improve your mental health.
Answered on 10/21/2021

Am I "the chosen one" or simply schizophrenic?

Having thoughts and seeing things in different ways than others is not unrealistic or delusional. People tend to use those words a lot when they don't understand how certain things work, or they are afraid to even try new things. You stated that you built principles and a new personality to support your way of thinking. When you want to achieve the goals you have set for your life, oftentimes that means setting standards (principles) and bettering yourself (a new personality) in order to accomplish those goals.  Let me help you understand schizophrenia a little more. Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality, which causes significant distress for the individual, their family members, and friends. If left untreated, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be persistent and disabling. I'm not sure how old you are, but for males, the onset of symptoms usually starts in the late teens to early twenties. Schizophrenia sometimes runs in families. However, it is important to know that just because someone in a family has schizophrenia, it does not mean that other members of the family will have it as well.  People with schizophrenia do have unrealistic thoughts, but they are driven by hallucinations (seeing and/or hearing things that other people can not), delusions (a belief that is clearly false and not based in reality, i.e. The sky is orange.), and  extremely disorganized thinking, with speech that is often hard to follow and includes meaningless words that can not be understoood. All of these symptoms interfere with a person's daily functioning. Also, it should be noted that there is no way to prevent schizophrenia, but sticking with a good treatment plan can help manage the symptoms.  Now that you have learned a little more about schizophrenia, I want to encourage you to think about your situation a little more in detail. If you still believe you may be schizophrenic, you should make an appointment to see a local Psychiatrist who can properly diagnose you and provide you with the care you may need.
Answered on 10/21/2021

How would you help someone who is questioning who they thought they were their entire life?

Questioning who we are can be very scary, right? Who we are builds the basis for our personality, our confidence, and how we interact with the world, so when that comes under question, it can have such an enormous impact on so many parts of our life. This is not an uncommon question, by the way; there are other people that are struggling with this as well. So when someone comes to me with this type of question, it always helps to first start exploring what that person knows to be true about themselves. Because when we start with what we know is true, that helps us have a good base to then start exploring both what might be true, as well as what isn't true. For example, maybe someone knows that they are a very good friend - this is true for them. Then we can start exploring what might be true (i.e. do they also consider themselves to be a good family member) and what isn't true (i.e. maybe they weren't as good of a partner as they would have prefered to be in the past). Once we know these catagories and boundaries, we can see what is helpful and true to us and our way of being, and what isn't helpful and what is false. Then we can begin to strengthen those areas that are helpful, as well as minimize or shift those areas that aren't helpful. This helps us be more present with ourselves, as well as in our relationships. Wanting to change is a great thing to bring to therapy. As we learn more about ourselves, we not only learn how to change the things that we can, but we also can learn how to face the things that are scary, too. The things that we may not like about ourselves, or the reactions that we have, or the feelings that we seem to be stuck in - these things are also a part of us, and when we're able to look at them we can decide if these things are helpful or not, and if they are true or not. When we can face all the parts of ourselves, and we don't have to push things down or hide them, it helps us be fully present.
Answered on 10/21/2021

Why can’t I trust that I deserve what I have?

Hello Caroline! I am so glad that you reached out. First off, it sounds like some of the initial things that you could address and begin to change would be your core beliefs or internal messages about yourself. It also sounds like talking through some of your experiences would help you. It sounds as though you have a lot of negative self judgment. I hear you cutting down your natural skill set. You certainly have skills that are valuable. One of the things that counseling can help you to increase our your coping skills. For instance, I hear that when things go differently than you would expect, you lose interest and stop participating. One of the things that may help you to begin to build your self-confidence, would be to practice what is called breath meditation. This involves picking a thought such as: I am enough, I am worthy, I am good, or I am valuable. These are just some examples. If you were to choose I am valuable; you would breathe in through your nose on about a count of  four , thinking "I am". You would then exhale through your mouth on a count  of for thinking "valuable". You can repeat this four times.  Next, you could begin to think about positive affirmations. This is for example, thinking about your own positive attributes. This may include, I am genuine, I am loyal, I am helpful, I am kind, I am intelligent, or I am thoughtful. You can certainly build your own list. As you build your list, it could help you to look through it and think about examples of times that you have been helpful to another person or a loyal to a friend. You could even write as much as you want to about these memories. I definitely encourage you to work one on one with a therapist for even a short period. You deserve to give yourself the possibility to dig deeper into these feelings and to develop what is helpful for you in the present. I certainly wish you the best in your own  journey.
(LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

What can I do to help myself get out of a mental rut?

Dear Stuck In a Mental Rut: First of all, we all get stuck in ruts from time to time. I have been in them myself and sometimes its tough to get out of them. The first step in getting out of them is acknowledging that your in one. Congrats on the first step to getting out of this rut!! Once we acknowledge what we are going through, then we can start getting unstuck. Not every rut is the same, they are all different. I hope the tips below will get you started to getting unstuck. One of the first things that I like to do is making an assessment of how I am feeling. Are you sleeping well? Are you eating well? Drinking enough water, getting enough exercise? Assess this area in your life and then look ways to treat yourself physically better. Taking care of yourself in this way allows for you to have more energy to start taking care of the other things in your life. Also, its about taking care of yourself first so you can be better for your husband and the rest of your family. If your a writer, I would recommend to start writing the first thing in the morning when you get up. These are called morning pages and they are free writes so that you can start to mentally process the day ahead of you. This might be a good time for you to get everything out of your mind and focus on whats important to you in your life. Next, I would look at what makes you happy. Look at recent experiences in your life that brought you joy and pleasure in your life. I would challenge you to write a list of at least 5-10 things that make you happy so that you can go back to them and use them as a reminder of what you like to do. Hopefully on this list includes things that you can do with your husband and things you can do as a family. Concentrate on doing those things that bring you joy and pleasure in your life. The next thing I would recommend is to look at your own routine. Are you doing the same old - same old everyday? If you are, it's time to change up your routine! Look for ways to add new things into your life - new experiences. Talk to people that you connect with more, have some fun, try something new. Do something new and if you don't know where to start, just do something! For some people being stuck in a rut means that you feel like you have lost purpose. Find something to make plans for, something to look forward to. Be okay giving yourself small rewards after you have achieved some goals that you want to accomplish. Have no expectations. On days where you can’t seem to maintain focus or be productive, shift focus to what I can do to make the next day as good as possible. Set your to do list, put things in their place, and make it as easy as possible to get going on the right track. No expectations and no judgments at all. Just keep moving forward. It will take time to get out of a rut so just keep working on making small/tiny changes a day - they will add for you!!! All the best.    
(LCSW-C)
Answered on 10/21/2021

If i go through with my transition, my wife will leave me, but I’ll never be truly happy if i don’t.

Hi, Kaylee! Thanks for reaching out to us here at Better Help. My name is Stacey Shine and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I read over your information and question and am hopeful I can help you out! First, I wonder if you have ever thought of counseling to process all of this? This may help you really sort through how you are feeling, how to discuss things with your spouse and family while also having someone to speak to about life in general. Counseling is a great first step so you can speak with someone who is a neutral third party. You can also speak with someone that has had experience working with others who are in a similar situation. I promise you are not alone!  Next, if may be helpful to just educate yourself. Go speak with a specialist who does hormone treatment and deals with transitions daily. Go with an open mind just seeking education. Speaking with a doctor does not mean you are taking any steps that you cannot take back. You are just being educated so that you can make a more educated decision but also so you can answer any questions that maybe your spouse may have as well. I think in these types of scenarios education is a huge key factor. I think starting with some therapy will allow you to really sort through how you are feeling and approach the situation with a clear mind. There are also online support groups that may be helpful to you and help you hear the stories of others who are also struggling with this type of decision. Support groups can be a huge help and are readily accessible through online platforms especially after COVID. There may be some local groups as well.  I hope this was helpful and you feel more confident towards going forward. We offer online therapy services at Better Help and you never have to leave your house! I would encourage you to sign up with us and let us walk beside you on this journey. It can be one that can feel isolated at times. 
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How can I best get help with my situation? See below in the situation description.

Hello Shanshan, I am sorry to hear you are going through a difficult time with your health at the moment and you are struggling to find the help that fits you. So, I am glad you reached out for some support on the Better Help platform.   I will share some information and some tips on some things you might want to try on your own while you decide about seeking some further guidance with your situation.   Dissociation most often develops as a way for people to deal with trauma but there are several reasons people might dissociate aside from PTSD. Dissociation doesn't just happen after a traumatic event. Non-trauma-related panic attacks with dissociation. So why, exactly, does it happen in the first place, and is there any way to stop it from happening? I will share some  tips for how to navigate a dissociative episode. What's happening in someone's brain when they dissociate? You've probably heard of the "fight-or-flight" response before—you know, when you're under extreme stress and your heart rate increases, you start breathing faster, and your body releases a burst of adrenaline. Well, dissociation is a step beyond that - If the [fight-or-flight] attempt fails, the person can’t get away, or the aggressor is a loved one, then the body tries to preserve itself by shutting down, expending as little energy as possible.  It can be the last-ditch emergency response system of the body in which the brain prepares the body for injury. Researcher have explained this phenomenon from an evolutionary perspective. While fight-or-flight prepares us to flee from danger, this shut-down "fright" state essentially allows us to play dead—it's harder (if impossible) to move or speak, our emotions are numbed, and our body's resources are conserved for impending shock. Psychiatric/medical studies have shown almost every area of the brain has a decrease in activation during dissociation. Psychiatrist’s work around dissociation has shown abnormal activity in the temporal lobes, in particular—the ones associated with speech and hearing—and in the limbic system, which controls emotion and memory.  It also is researched that there is also a chemical component to dissociation. The body releases its own opioids and cannabinoids which reduce perceptions of physical and emotional pain and produce calm and a sense of detachment from what is happening," she notes. Dissociation can happen during a traumatic event, but it can also continue to recur afterwards. For those who have developed PTSD and related disorders, their brain remains on high alert for potential danger.   The brain responds to things that are even slightly emotionally or physically threatening as though it were a life-or-death situation and reacts accordingly.  And, as I previously mentioned, this can also happen independently of a specific trauma. (More on that in a sec.) What does dissociation feel like? While dissociation can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, it doesn't look the same from person to person. As people have different brain patterns, their symptoms can vary from periods of spaciness, to panic, to rage outbursts.  For some can also enter a trance state and have no awareness at all of what's happening around them. That said, there are a few distinct categories of dissociation that mental health experts recognize.  Depersonalization is a form of dissociation where you feel like you're outside of yourself and you don't have conscious control of your identity.  Derealization is another form, which is feeling like things aren't real in some way. Many people with PTSD have flashbacks to the traumatic event they experienced during dissociative episodes.  Those intrusive flashbacks are like a daydream you can't stop having, and you're unaware of what's going on now. In other cases, a person experiencing dissociation can feel like they're someone else entirely. For some who were abused as kids, they might get triggered and experience themselves as a small child in how they are reacting and feeling. The person knows that they are an adult but has a very strong feeling of being a child.   The most extreme form of this phenomenon is dissociative identity disorder which used to be called multiple personality disorder.  In this experience, the person’s self-states have identities and response patterns and have developed a sense of individual autonomy.  These different parts may not know about or remember what other parts do when they come out.  What triggers dissociation? Just like there are lots of different forms of dissociation, there are a ton of things that could kick off an episode if you're prone to them.  Stressful situations, a lack of sleep, low blood sugar, and an emotional memory that reminds one of the initial traumas are common triggers. The prospect of being alone can also lead to dissociation in some people. One of the primary ways that we as social beings handle threat is to seek social support.  So, someone who has survived an armed robbery might dissociate when faced with their partner going on a trip for work and leaving them alone, because it feels unsafe, and unsafe is interpreted by their brain as life or death. But for other people dissociation can happen without a clear cause.  There isn’t necessarily a trigger at all, and that’s the problem. It's rare, but anyone can experience it, whether it is linked to a specific trauma. Is there anything you can do to stop dissociation in its tracks? Experts agree that there are lots of things you can do to reduce the severity of dissociative episodes and even eradicate them altogether. The first step, no matter what the cause of your dissociation, is to seek health from a mental health professional From a prevention perspective, getting into good therapy to address and work through the trauma is often essential.  Once the traumas have been fully ‘digested,’ the likelihood of dissociation greatly decreases and may resolve.  Your therapist may also recommend medication like antidepressants to help manage mental health issues often associated with dissociation.  Therapy and medication are also the usual course of treatment for people with dissociative disorders.  In the longer-term activities that require rhythm and engagement, like dancing or singing, can also be helpful for trauma survivors, as they help connect you with your body and other people.   Some Tips: Experts agree that it's also important to have an arsenal of grounding techniques at hand, which can be helpful when you feel a dissociative episode coming on. Taking advantage of every sense you have and rooting your mind in something very concrete can be helpful. So, for example, starting at 100 and counting back in your mind or out loud by threes. Holding something cold, like an ice cube, or smelling something like peppermint oil can help derail or shrink a dissociative episode.  Listening to upbeat music or eating something can also help change your state quickly, for others the go-to techniques involves The Rubber Band Snap - snapping an elastic band on your wrist, you pull up the elastic band and let it go.  Another focus technique is is count all the green things you can see.  What you don't want to do is to just avoid whatever triggers your dissociative episodes. Basically, what that does is reinforce [dissociation] as a coping mechanism.  You are more likely to help it dissipate if you are able to recreate those triggers in a therapeutic setting. If you learn to manage the symptoms, you become desensitized to the trigger. A therapist can help to route yourself in the present. I absolutely get that it can be more difficult to seek and accept help when you 'are in the trade' but for many of us it is proven to be most valuable.  Consider this acknowledging and accepting help can assist you in becoming more empathetic towards your clients' emotional suffering. Therapists sometimes need therapy, too, and it is my opinion there should be no shame or stigma in that.    No matter how much dissociation affects your life, just know help is available.  I am sure you know - Recovery is possible.   I wish you much luck in your journey and I hope you are able to find the help you are looking for Shanshan!   Kind Regards, Gaynor     
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

I need assistance in establishing whether my son and I are on autism spectrum.

Thank-you for reaching out to better help for assistance. It sounds like you would like to know if you and your son are on the autism spectrum.   You stated that you feel you have Aspergers syndrome and you see the same traits in your son.  I would suggest you go to a mental health center or medical facility to get yourself and your son tested for autism spectrum. I can provide symptoms of these but you would need to go in person and be tested to be sure and get diagnosed. Some of the symptoms and signs of the autism spectrum would be a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition.  There are often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD vary significantly.  ASD begins prior to age three and can last throughout a person's life. Symptoms can improve over time. A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger's syndrome. These conditions are now all called austism spectrum disorder. Updated criteria for diagnosing ASD include problems with social communication and interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. For people with ASD, these behaviors can make life quite challenging. Social communication symptoms include:  avoids or does not keep eye contact, does not meet certain social interaction milestones as child.  Examples of restricted or repetitive behaviors would be: lines toys up or other objects and gets upset when order is changed. Repeats words and phrases over and over again. Plays with toys the same way all the time. Gets upset by minor changes, has obsessive interests, must follow certain routines. Other symptoms could be delayed language skills, delayed motor movement skills, hyperactive, epilepsy or seizure disorder, unusual eating, and sleeping, unusual mood, anxiety and stress and a lack of fear. Learn the signs of ACT Early has developed free material to help parents and others work together to monitor a childs behavior and progress.  I would talk with your medical doctor and see if you can take a screening for autism spectrum. The doctor should be able to help you with this. I hope this helped some and look forward to hearing from you. 
(LPC, NCC, MS)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Can my insurance help with the price of my sessions

Hi there!  My name is Beverly Furstenberg and I am a licensed clinical social worker with BetterHelp. I am happy to answer this question for you! The good news is that BetterHelp believes in making access to counseling affordable. If you email contact@betterhelp.com they can work with you on the pricing and may even be able to offer some sort of discount. They generally respond within 1-2 business days. There may be other options for you too. For instance, if your employer offers a EAP (employee assistance program), you may be able to have a limited number of free sessions. Employers who offer EAP are usually contracted through specific counselors or counseling agencies. On average, EAP will cover 5-10 sessions. For more information about this, contact your HR representative.  If the EAP is not an option for you, you may look in your local area for a community mental health agency. Community mental health agencies offer a variety of services, ranging from counseling, to case management, to psychiatric services and even group therapy. They may have a sliding scale available, which will depend on your income. Many do accept insurances, including state funded insurance (Medicaid). There are many different counselors and therapists that work in the community mental health setting and specialize in addresssing many different types of conditions and issues.  You can also see if there are any counselors in your area that provide counseling services who also do a sliding scale. Like I mentioned, the sliding scale will be based off your income, so the price range varies. You can contact them directly through phone or email in most cases. Another option, possibly, is if you live near any colleges that have a graduate program for counseling/psychology. The graduate level students need to obtain a specific amount of clinical hours in order to get their degree. Some universities will have a counseling center to help the graduate students get their hours while serving the community at a discounted price. Sometimes people hear the word "graduate student" and think of someone very young and/or inexperienced, but there are many people who have worked in the field for a long time and decide to go back to college to further their education and obtain additional credentials, so don't let that deter you. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you get the help you need and are searching for. Hope this helps! Beverly
(LCSW, ACSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Are there any payment options?

  I found a response from a colleague  on Better Help. I hope this helps you. Also you please feel free to email the information help desk. "Great question!  The cost of counseling can be an investment that can feel cost prohibited. Like any investment it is important to consider the value of the investment. The ability to have healing, better well-being, a chance at recovery, and better functioning that are provided with access to counseling is priceless. The ability to protect our mental heath is not only essential to reaching our full potential, but is something that everyone should have the opportunity to engage in.  Sometimes changing your mindset around where you put your value and your investments can make counseling feel more affordable. Often times the idea of investing in ourselves may seem hard, but the pay offs of doing so can be so rewarding! Othertimes income truely is a concern and choosing between meeting your basic needs and paying for mental health care should not be a barrier. Everyone needs and deserves access to affordable mental health care. Betterhealth does offer financial aid for subscribers that are low income or experiencing fincanical challenges to make getting this needed support more affordable. You can apply for financial aid from your individual settings to explore how this might make access to counseling more affordable on this platform.  Outside of betterhelp, many communites have free walk-in mental health clinics to meet this need. These clinics typically offer a few counselling sessions with no charge. Although it is not a long-term option, it can be starting place for many people needing this support. Many of these clinics have expanded to telehealth options during the pandemic so they are able to reach more communities.  I would also encouarge you to look into any employment sponsored mental health resources that might be available to you. The pandemic has opened up many new resources for employee assistance options to seeking mental health support that were not previously  available. These may include options for trainings, counseling, or even other resources  to fill gaps for individual needs. Whatever option you consider to make counseling more affordable, I hope that you are able to get the mental health support you are needing at this time because you are worth the investment. "
(MACC, LCPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021