Other Answers

How can I find my purpose in life?

Hello! Thank you for your question. You are not alone in coming to a point in your life when you feel uncertain of your direction or purpose. While this can be confusing and painful, it can also be an incredible opportunity to explore what is most meaningful to you. "Purpose" can be defined in a variety of ways, but as a starting point, there are two exercises I recommend. The first exercise invites you to reflect on and put words to your core values. We aren't often required to put these into words which sometimes leads us to make assumptions about what they are or to take them for granted. As Russ Harris puts it, our values represent how we want to approach our lives on an ongoing basis rather than what we want to achieve in life. Connecting with our values offers us ways to feel fulfilled and satisfied no matter what might be happening around us. As you consider what is most important to you, it may help to have a list of common values as a starting point (I like to use this one: https://www.actmindfully.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Values_Checklist_-_Russ_Harris.pdf). It may also help you to speak with other trusted people in your life to hear their perspectives, or if you hold a particular faith or set of spiritual beliefs, to consider how this influences your values. Aim to develop a list of five to ten values which seem to capture the most important things to you. Ask yourself what these values might tell you about your purpose and direction. The second exercise is to explore how well your values have been integrated into your life. Take some time to break your life down into different categories which represent where you would ideally like to direct your energy. Common categories include things like friendships, family relationships, physical health, mental health, spirituality, community connections, career development, and personal development. It may help to be even more specific about some of these; for example, "family relationships" as a category could be broken down into "parenting," "siblings," and "partner." It is important to include categories which you would like to be part of your life, even if they aren't part of it yet. For example, a person who would like to have more friends but does not yet feel they have any would want to include "friendship" as a category on their list. After you have identified these categories, write down a few thoughts about what each would be like in your ideal life. How would you think and feel? What would you be doing? What values would be reflected in each area? Take a moment to rank these categories by how important each would be in your ideal life. Then, rank each category based on how important it currently seems to be in your life and allow yourself to consider how closely your current approach to each area resembles your ideal. Chances are there will be some places where your ideal and current situations are quite similar, and some places where they are very different. Make some notes about these differences and how you feel about them. After completing these exercises, it may be helpful to consider what specific steps you could take to bring your current situation into greater alignment with your values and your vision of what you would like your life to be. It may feel less overwhelming to focus on one or two categories at a time and identify the smallest possible step forward in each. For example, a person who values connection and would like to see themselves becoming more involved in their local community might identify a first step of doing an internet search for nearby volunteering opportunities. A person who values nature and would like to become more active might identify a first step of going to stand outside for five minutes. Even the tiniest action is a place to begin. In addition to wondering about your purpose in life, it sounds like you are struggling with some feelings of regret about your past. It is easy to look back with shame if we think we are not where we are "supposed" to be or see ourselves as having fallen short. While these feelings are valid, I also encourage you to consider that what you have been through has shaped you into who you are, which is a necessary foundation for who you will become. These past events and choices have also led you to this place of questioning, which many people never reach. If you find that you are having difficulty resolving your feelings about the past or determining how best to move forward, counselling can offer non-judgmental support.  Thank you again for reaching out. I wish you good luck! Warmly, Kate
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

how can I heal properly

RE:how can I heal properlyIm going through a break up and it’s been super hard on me, I feel so unmotivated and broken because I was so attached to this person and i don’t know how to let go I want to be with them so badly and I don’t know how to tell them that because what if they don’t want to be with me there was so many red flags in our relationship but at the end of the day we always made it work and a part of me feels like this separation is my fault and u didn’t deserve this person but i miss them so much and i really do want to work on myself and hopefully come back to them in the future but i don’t even know where to startHello, I’m so happy that you have reached out for help.  Kudos to you for finding a brave and safe space to discuss your concerns and work towards healthy healing.  I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this and again, I commend you for taking the first step towards getting the help you need.  Posing the question hear is a start however the ideal thing would be to sign up to receive therapy so the therapist can explore more with you and help you work towards achieving your goals.  Going through a breakup is very similar to going through the grieving process when you lose a loved one.  There are 5 stages of grief and the key is not to allow yourself to be stuck in one stage for too long in order to allow yourself to properly heal.  Below I have posted the stages of grief.  The Kübler-Ross model of grief (the five stages of grief) describes five primary responses to loss. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Someone who is grieving may go through these stages in any order, and they may return to previous stages.Denial: "This can't be happening."Individuals may refuse to accept the fact that a loss has occurred. They may minimize or outright deny the situation. It is suggested that loved ones and professionals be forward and honest about losses to not prolong the denial stage.Anger: "Why is this happening to me?"When an individual realizes that a loss has occurred, they may become angry at themselves or others. They may argue that the situation is unfair and try to place blame.Bargaining: "I will do anything to change this."In bargaining, the individual may try to change or delay their loss. For example, they may try to convince a partner to return after a breakup, or search for unlikely cures in the case of a terminal illness.Depression: "What's the point of going on after this loss?"At the stage of depression the individual has come to recognize that a loss has occurred or will occur. The individual may isolate themselves and spend time crying and grieving. Depression is a precursor to acceptance because the individual has come to recognize their loss.Acceptance: "It's going to be okay."Finally, the individual will come to accept their loss. They understand the situation logically, and they have come to terms emotionally with the situation.What you have shared above is clear that you are going through an emotional rollercoaster.  So many feelings (guilt, depression, anxiety, etc.) which can leave one feeling lost and confused.  As mentioned earlier, I highly recommend that you connect sooner than later to start working on your healing and identify any other areas you would like to focus on during your sessions.  Best of luck to you.
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Does Better Help take insurance?

Hello, First I'd like to say that you're doing a really good thing for yourself, in recognizing that you need to seek mental health services. Even that can be a hurdle for some people, so not being able to afford it when you're ready to start, can be very frustrating.    As a therapist on Better Help, I do not deal with the financial aspects for clients, but I know that Better Help does not currently accept insurance. However, they do offer financial aid to those who need it. To find out if you are eligible for financial aid you can contact them at support@betterhelp.com. You can also talk to your current therapist about this, if you have one. That way, they could probably provide you with more resources that can help you to be able to afford therapy sessions.    In the event that financial aid with Better Help is not possible for you, there are other options that you can look into. If you had to seek a therapist in your area specifically, you could ask them if they have a sliding scale payment option. This allows them to decrease the fee of each session for you.   You can also check with your insurance company to see what therapists are In-Network. This would give you access to therapists who are more affordable for you as well. A lot of insurance providers allow you to seek therapy with a therapist out-of-network, but they will give reimbursements once you make a claim with them. So again, getting in contact with your insurance provider would be really helpful as well.   Also, you could also look into searching for non-profit and/or therapist training institutes that offer discounted rates for therapy sessions (such as student centers or community facilities).    And finally, if you really want to have therapy sessions on the Better Help platform, you could consider reducing the frequency of therapy sessions you have each month. This would be something you can set up in your account or by contacting support at support@betterhelp.com to obtain help from them about this.    Overall, you deserve to have access to quality mental health care and I wish you the best on your journey to finding affordable options for you.   All the best,
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I see improvement?

Hello M, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question:   How can I see improvement? I can see that you have begun the process of trying to push past any negative thoughts and feelings and you maybe considering therapy.   I think the best way to answer your question is to share some information about an effective therapeutic intervention called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it is used at BetterHelp to address negative feelings that can get in the way of living a healthy and happier life. Characteristics of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy If your knowledge of psychptheray has mainly been provided by television, you may be under the impression that all talk therapy revolves around exploring the root causes of problems in order to resolve issues by making peace with the past. While this is certainly a valid and worthwhile approach to counselling, CBT's focus is almost completely on the present and future - changing the behaviour and feelings you have today. Perhaps because of this, a course of CBT therapy is often much shorter than is the case with other therapeutic modalities. If your problems seem to be too vast to deal with all at once, a CBT counselor will tend to show you ways in which you can break them down into smaller, more manageable parts. For instance, if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, he might ask how you feel before and during drinking, what situations lead up to such feelings, and what kind of things you're thinking about during this time. The emphasis is always on finding practical, applicable solutions to present-day problems rather than only gaining self-knowledge. Self-knowledge or self-awareness is important, however, as recognizing what patterns we have developed is an important step in the process. It's just that it's not always necessary to dive far back in our past to come up with current day strategies. Although many people prefer other forms of counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be very effective for those who want to change habits, treat severe conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as those simply striving for better mental health. It's a popular therapy for those that like concrete techniques and strategies that they can apply in their everyday life. While it is a form of talk therapy, CBT is very collaborative, as client and therapist work together to implement positive change.   Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type of therapy often used to treat anxiety disorders as well as depression. According to scientific research studies, CBT is as effective in the treatment of depression as antidepressants. The most optimal treatment plan is medication in conjunction with therapy. However, this is context dependent. If a person is living with anxiety and feels that they don't need medication, CBT is a great place for that individual to start. The focus of CBT is on helping you understand your thoughts and thought patterns. Our thoughts can actually impact our moods. With the coping techniques of CBT, you have the power to change your feelings as well as your behaviors. CBT teaches you about cognitive distortions. Often, we are unaware of these unhealthy patterns of thinking until we learn about how they impact our lives in a negative way, and at that point, we can change the way we think about things. Read further is see if you personally experience some of the following cognitive distortions: 1.    Filtering This means that you take the negative details and magnify them. Then you ignore the positive attributes of a situation. For example, a person could focus on one negative thing and ruminate on it. Then their perspective of the situation is distorted in a negative light. 2.    "Black and White" Thinking’ In this distortion, you see things as "black-or-white." There are no shades of gray or middle ground. Either you are perfect or you are a complete failure. There is no in-between, and we know that this is inaccurate in life. 3.    Overgeneralization This means that you are concluding something based on one thing that happened. Just because something occurs one time, it doesn't mean it will happen every subsequent time. This is an overgeneralization, and it can be destructive to your thinking. 4.    Jumping to Conclusions/Mind Reading You cannot know what another person is thinking. In this distortion, you are jumping to a conclusion, because of your emotional reaction to another person. It's better to ask that person how they feel rather than assume it. 5.    Catastrophizing This means that you imagine a terrible scenario where a horrible thing happens based upon a tiny detail. For example, if your friend doesn't call you back, you might assume that she hates you and no longer wants to be your friend or that she died. 6.    Personalization Personalization means that you believe that it is about you. An event occurs and you are convinced that it was because of you. Someone's negative response is because you did something wrong. In reality, there are a number of factors at play here and it's not necessarily all about you. 7.    Control Fallacies You see yourself as helpless and a victim of fate. There is nothing you can do to change your life because it is predetermined and hence you are doomed. This is inaccurate, and you do have the power to make decisions and advocate for yourself. 8.    Fallacy of Fairness Life isn't fair; we've heard this time and time again. However, lamenting about how you are being treated unfairly and there is a vast conspiracy against you is also an exaggeration. Balance in life can happen, and it’s important to recognize that.   9.    Blaming It's important to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. If you feel a certain way, it isn't because of someone else. They could have said something that hurt your feelings, but they didn't "make you feel that way." It's not productive to tell someone "You made me feel bad." What's more productive is to say, "I feel hurt when you say ___." Use your I-statements and you will avoid this distortion. 10.Should Statements Have you ever heard the saying "stop shoulding all over yourself"?When we say "I should do ___," it induces guilt and shame in us. There is no need to say, "I should be" or "I ought to" because there is no rule book for life. You are free to make your own decisions about what’s best for you. 11.Emotional Reasoning You feel a certain way; therefore, it must be the truth. Feelings are not the ultimate indicator of what is logically true. You could feel that someone is angry with you, but until you check in with them and ask, you won't know the truth. 12.Fallacy of Change We believe that we have the power to change other people if we cajole them enough. This isn't true. A person will change, if they want to, on their own time. 13.Labeling "I'm a failure," "I'm a bad friend," "I am stupid." These are all examples of labeling. It's unhelpful to call yourself names. You are a human being with a multitude of qualities, but you are not one thing. We all have flaws, but we are not exclusively identified by them. 14.Always Being Right Nobody is right all the time. In fact, there is no right and wrong in a given argument. There are subjectivity and different people's perspectives. You have your opinion and I have mine. We could be looking at the same shade of green and you think it's blue, while I insist that it's green. No one is right in this situation. It's a matter of opinion. 15.Heaven's Reward Fallacy We believe that if we do the right thing, we will be rewarded somehow in life. This couldn't be further from the truth. Bad things happen to good people and vice versa. There is no one keeping score, and we do the best that we can in our lives. Learning coping techniques associated with CBT, including cognitive distortions and thought records are extraordinarily helpful for people with anxiety and depression. CBT provides that level of insight into our thinking and has the capacity to better our lives. How BetterHelp Can Support You If you are still struggling with thought and behavioral issues you want to change, you might want to find a therapist who specializes in CBT. To make the therapy process easier for you, meeting with an online therapist is an option. This way, you can meet where it’s most comfortable for you and at a time that works best for you. There are many counselors at BetterHelp who can teach you valuable skills in recognizing your own cognitive distortions and how to change them.    I wish you luck with your next step. Best, Gaynor
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why do you have to pay for counseling ? I feel like that kind of help should be free.

  The question you pose has no straightforward answer, but certainly evokes an in-depth discussion and conversation. Normally it would take a series of answers and responses to weave our way toward an acceptable answer. By acceptable, I mean a solution that is satisfactory enough for you to not seek further questions and answers. Without having access to an ongoing back and forth conversation, I will attempt to supply an answer that can be sufficient enough you can stop seeking an answer and instead find a means to seek the help you need.      No doubt with the mood symptoms you describe, having some help is necessary. Besides this you are facing financial strain. That is probably your most pressing issue. Not knowing in which state you reside, it’s kind of difficult to tell what resources are available. No matter where you are located, it will take some time and lots of effort to get you hooked up to the resources you need to care for you. Some places offer temporary financial assistance until the regular resources kick. Besides medical and mental health issues, you may need assistance with housing, food and the like.     So, on the social level, the services you need are essentially provided for free. The only thing you need do is go put forth the effort to find you way through the maze of hurdles that stand before getting awarded free services. Why is this so, I can only guess. But it is the system that is in place, and must be negotiated. Some people even need engage an attorney to assist them through the process. The only bright light here that that once you get services awarded, they are often covered retroactively back to the time of application.      Your bigger question of “Why are not these services provided for free,” is on the geo-political level and cannot be satisfactorily answered here. Besides the means that social services have to provide free services, individual agencies and private therapists have varying answers to this question. Some do have resources to cover or partially cover services. Some professionals offer a certain amount of “pro bono” work to cover charity cases. Other agencies and individuals do not have these free service provisions. Their reasons are likely as varied as there are numbers. There are many considerations to cover here. Some are questions of value of service, others could be the level of the consumer's commitment to following treatment.      Mostly the answer to your question will vary depending upon the personal values of the person providing the answer. And another consideration concerns the level of distress being displayed before services are rendered. Most often it takes a hospitalization to garner the kind of attention you are seeking. There are probably two reasons for this. One is the lack of trained people providing service. Another is the intrusive and non respectful approach to offer treatment to someone who neither requesting not needing these services. It does require that the person wanting these services goes the humbling experience of asking for them.      As I stated at the onset, this is a difficult topic to provide a satisfactory answer. I hope this is well enough for you. In the meantime, I wish you the best of luck and courage to find the treatment that works best for you. Keep seeking.  
(LMHC, LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can i get free therapy?

Hello dyl,  About getting free therapy, as far as I know, that may not be possible. However, you may get a discounted rate, based on your income, and current situation. You can explore this with the BetterHelp staff. You have stated that you have Bipolar D/O with psychosomatic syndrome, which makes me wonder, if you have been diagnosed and treated with medications and therapy in the past, or you and your friends are guessing. Manic episodes are usually a symptom of Bipolar D/O but can be due to other diagnoses as well. Similarly, panic attacks could be due to a Panic Disorder, or another diagnosis. Haphephobia is usually due to traumatic past experiences. And therefore, a lot will have to be explored in your case, to make sure what your diagnoses are, and then the therapist can formulate a treatment plan and goals for you. The duration and intensity of your various symptoms and the triggers bringing them on, any substance abuse issues, along with any prior treatment will be assessed in the initial stages, while you express and vent your issues.  The treatment of such symptoms, in my opinion, will need a prescription of medications from a psychiatrist, in conjunction with the therapeutic techniques. Then some of the therapy approaches which may be beneficial in your recovery, and will help you are, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Resolution Therapy, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Meditation, And Imagery Techniques. In case of past trauma, it will be explored and memory of such incidents will be retrieved in a safe environment, and with powerful healing suggestions, you will be helped to process your feelings, learn techniques to make needed contacts with the people involved, and resolve those traumas. You will also learn to maintain normal emotions in the face of triggers. Resilience to such triggers and additional life stressors/issues will be very important to learn. CBT will help you think rationally and realistically, by disputing your cognitive distortions, which are commonly used by people. This will diffuse your unnecessary negative emotions, and help you manage them, as you would be thinking rationally, and will learn to problem-solve and resolve such issues. You can then use mindfulness, relaxation, meditation, and imagery/visualization techniques to manage your anxiety/panic attacks, and manic episodes. You will also learn that not all touching is bad, and that the good touch is essential to living and thriving as a normal, loving human being in this world. The haphephobia could be a result of past physical and sexual abuse, but you can recover and heal from it. So you will have to work with your therapist, and your motivation and efforts will determine your recovery and success in this process. About your suicidal tendencies or behaviors, that people are noticing, takes precedence over everything else, and will be explored. And you will be helped to be cognizant of, what triggers such thoughts and behaviors, that are obvious to other people. And how to diffuse such thoughts, and replace them with a positive outlook on life. I hope this is helpful in moving forward with your determination to get therapeutic help and live a happy and fulfilling rest of your life. Anila A Malik,Ph.D,LPC,NCC. Therapist, BetterHelp.
(Ph.D)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I learn to trust people (allow myself to build connections with others, esp. emotion) again?

Hello OzeanGalaxis and thank you for reaching out with regards to wanting to learn to trust again. Certainly feeling or believing that individuals cannot be trusted, which likely comes as a result of some sort of abusive, traumatic, or hurtful experience, can cause significant distress and have significant negative impacts on one’s life in many areas, such as the one’s you mentioned experiencing (i.e. reexperiencing the negative event through memories or flashbacks, being emotionally distant, and lacking enjoyment in interactions with others). Trust is a very fragile thing, and a lot of people have "trust issues" that stem from their experiences in the past, typically childhood, in which trust was broken and thus the difficulty in regaining trust bleeds into multiple areas of life and creates an overshadowing difficulty with trusting anyone or anything, and thus the lack of trust exists along that continuum. Trusting others in a sense requires one to be vulnerable to that other individual or thing, and if one has been hurt in the past or had their trust broken or damaged, it is evident that they, as you report, would be afraid of intimacy, another very vulnerable state of being. This is a psychological way in which your psyche is protecting itself from future and/or additional hurt. There are many resources available to help you in this journey of recovering from the broken trust, the hurt, and the fear that you have been and are experiencing. I think a GREAT resource for you would be the work of Brene Brown. You can google her and or watch many of her specials/TED talks. Here are some links/resources:    -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0 -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HX7pxiwzSzQ    She speaks a lot in some of her research on Trust and Vulnerability, and specifically the Anatomy of trust and what factors make up trust, for us to be able to identify and see these factors in others to be able to decide if we can and want to trust them or not. They make up the Acronym BRAVING:    Boundaries | You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.    Reliability | You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.    Accountability | You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.    Vault | You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidence is kept and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.   Integrity | You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.   Nonjudgment | I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.   Generosity | You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.    When you write of a fear of intimacy, I would dare to take that one step further and say that you may be experiencing a fear of Vulnerability. The vulnerability here does not mean being weak or submissive. On the contrary, it implies the courage to be yourself. It involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Although we may try to run from vulnerability, it is an inevitable part of social relationships. Even outside of romance, vulnerability is something we encounter frequently—calling someone and asking them out on a date, asking a friend for help, taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work, confronting a family member about their behavior, or sitting by the bedside of a friend with a terminal illness. Opportunities for vulnerability present themselves every day. The question is whether we will take them. Why do we fear vulnerability? We are afraid that if someone finds out who we really are, they will reject us. While we may try to appear perfect, strong, or intelligent in order to connect with others, in reality, pretense often has the opposite effect. Research by Paula Niedenthal shows that we resonate too deeply with one another not to perceive inauthenticity. We even register inauthenticity in our bodies. A study by James Gross shows that when we are inauthentic and try to hide our feelings, others respond physiologically (via a rise in blood pressure). This physiological response may explain our discomfort around inauthentic or “fake” people. On the other hand, when people stick to the truth (including avoiding even "little white lies"), not only does their well-being increase, but their relationships improve, the research suggests. Another study indicates that verbally expressing our feelings exactly as they are may help us overcome emotions faster. When we allow ourselves to be completely open and vulnerable, we benefit, our relationships improve, and we may even become more attractive. We tend to feel an intrinsic comfort in the presence of authenticity. Moreover, someone who is real and vulnerable gives us space and permission to be the same. Yes, vulnerability can lead to hurt. but is it worth walking through fear and vulnerability to experience social connection? For those who have been down that road, the answer is a resounding "Absolutely." As Brown says: "Show me a man who can listen to a woman and not try to fix her problem but rather just listen to her and be there for her, show me a woman who can sit with a man who shares this vulnerability and still love him the way he is, and I'll show you a man and woman who are courageous and have done their work. It's about intention—'Can this be the safest place that we have: with each other, you can be afraid with me and I can be afraid with you.’"   Learning to trust someone with your mind and heart in spite of a mountain of trust issues is the accomplishment of a lifetime. And its an emotionally demanding process. You'll probably need a trusted partner to help you. Letting go, regardless, requires one thing above all: Taking the risk of being hurt. The process looks something like this: 1. Be willing to risk the pain of learning to trust. 2. Find a trust partner (a therapist or coach can work if they understand trust issues). 3. Learn how trust works (how it is earned and how to extend it). 3. Take emotional risks with your trust partner. 4. Confront your trust prejudice, suspicions, fears and painful feelings around trust as you take calculated risks. 5. Learn from the process, rinse and repeat until you can consciously trust and know-how to extend trust well.   I hope you found my response helpful and that you find the resources I provided somewhat comforting and provide some insights for you in regards to the change you wish to experience. Should you wish to continue to discuss these matters and work further on them in individual therapy, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. Until then, I wish you all the best.
(LMHC, MCAP, TIRF)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need help ASAP

Hi, thank you for reaching out. BetterHelp is a platform that offers accommodating rates that are cheaper than most mental health services there are in place; such as community agencies, clinics, or private practices. The beauty of using this platform is that you can seek out therapy in the comfort of your own home in a relaxed setting. Everything is done virtually and you have the flexibility in the method you want to communicate (messaging, phone, or video sessions), the length of the session, and how often you would like to meet. Additionally, another service that is offered through the platform is 'Groupinars',  where you can sign up for educational forums in the area you are interested in learning such as coping with anxiety. BetterHelp can offer discounted rates depending on the type of services you are seeking (couples therapy etc.) It is worth doing your research if you are looking for something specific by reading each therapist profile as the areas of specialty (anxiety, depression, etc.)  and modalities (trauma therapy, couples counseling, etc.) is described in detail. Additionally, with the pandemic going on, BetterHelp is aware of the increasing demands of people seeking out therapy and will try to accommodate the current situation. Better Help works with people in all types of financial situations to ensure they have access to affordable, quality therapy. Better Help works with each individual person to find a price that is affordable and within that person's budget. Better Help is truly focused on making sure that everyone has access to high-quality therapy, despite any financial stressors a person may be experiencing. Better Help's Client Success Team doesn't just talk the talk, they actually follow through on their promises, too. I've had several clients who have experienced financial hardship during their Better Help subscription, many to the point of strongly considering canceling their subscription. The vast majority of my clients who have reached out to Better Help to discuss payment difficulties have been able to reach a financial agreement that allows them to continue therapy at a discounted price. These clients have said that it's really easy to talk to and work with Better Help's client success team. Better Help truly is really great at making therapy affordable for everyone, especially people facing difficult financial strains. It's one of the many perks of the platform! If you would like more specific information on what kind of an arrangement can be made, including pricing specific to your situation, please feel free to reach out to the Better Help team directly. I apologize that I cannot give you exact numbers or specific prices, but the team handles all financial questions and will work directly with you to come up with a plan. You can send an email to contact@betterhelp.com to get more specific information. They're really great at responding to questions, and they promptly respond to all questions they receive either the same day or the next business day. I completely understand that financial concerns are a huge barrier to people seeking therapy as it is expensive. I would encourage you to reach out to contact@betterhelp.com directly to have all of your questions answered!There are also many variables to take into consideration when seeking out services. If you are a student you can look at what your school or local area you moved to has to offer. Usually, on-campus or virtual rates can be cheaper vs looking into an agency or private practice. I suggest you look into the health services department as they offer counseling services. If they don't offer it, they can guide you towards where you can seek out assistance. Some of the challenges that are worth exploring online that are common in students include experiencing anxiety, depression, and managing life transitions. Another area to explore is also looking at the local therapist in your area that offers sliding scale fees. For example, regardless of having insurance, you can get reduced fees ‘sliding scale’ according to what you can afford. This can vary between therapists so you will have to directly inquire with them. Ultimately whatever decision you make, it is well worth it to invest in your mental health to live a happier lifestyle.  
(M.Ed, LPC, CSC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I make myself happy ?

Hello Movic,   Thank you for reaching out with your question on The BetterHelp Platform:   How can I make myself happy ? I will share some information and self-help tools you can implement as soon as today if you are ready!  I would also recommend you consider reaching out to a mental health counsellor for support and guidance with some effective coping strategies. Pits of despair can be endless cycles because environment fuels mindset and mindset affects interaction with the environment. A majority of Americans either have suffered from depression or know someone who has. But depression is not an inherent aspect of the human condition. In many other cultures, cases of depression are few and far between. The fact of the matter is that there are evidenced-based methods for avoiding depression and learning how to feel happy. The million-dollar question: How can you be happy through the ups and downs of life? Here are several ways: Mix up your routine A feeling of apathy and unhappiness may spring from living life on repeat. If you don't mix up your routine a bit, you may feel stuck in a haze of days-having trouble distinguishing one day from another. Sure, you may have an inflexible job or school commitments, but if you really want to know how to live a happy life, you must take advantage of your unscheduled time. Happiness is found in the balance of comfort and newness. For instance, having daily hygiene, work, exercise, and eating routines can help you maintain a sense of comfort by grounding you in your body and in your surroundings. But meeting new people, trying different activities, and cultivating an open mindset add spice to life and encourage you to continue growing and developing-a key aspect of happiness. Celebrate success, no matter how small If you wonder how to find happiness, you may want to pay special attention to the way you talk to yourself. Negative self-talk can be a huge contributor to feelings of depression. Often, individuals talk to themselves in a hostile, critical manner that they would never direct toward a friend. Learn how to be happy with yourself by being your own best friend. Just as a friend would recognize and celebrate your successes, you must do this for yourself. The human tendency is to focus on failures more so than successes, or criticism over praise, but doing this is a surefire path to depression. No matter how small the success, it is worth celebrating. Connect with Nature If concrete and skyscrapers comprise your idea of nature, you may be missing a key ingredient of happiness: natural beauty. All cultures throughout history have not only developed a connection with nature but have viewed themselves as a part of nature. Rediscover nature to learn how to be happy in life. Although Western society is hectic and bustling, nature is patient and calm. An old adage teaches: "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Learning to slow down and appreciate surroundings can contribute to feelings of lasting happiness. Mindfulness Communing with nature is an effective way to achieve happiness because it facilitates mindfulness or connection with the present moment. Instead of ruminating about the past or worrying about the future-two common features of depression and anxiety-a mindful person fully engages in the present. It is difficult to achieve happiness without being fully aware of the present. You can begin to cultivate mindfulness through meditation, which simply involves sitting in a relaxed position and focusing on the breath and bodily sensations. You can also eat mindfully, savoring every flavor of every bite instead of rushing through meals. In fact, you can do anything and everything mindfully! Gratitude Journal A human tendency is to focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have. Unfortunately, this creates feelings of dissatisfaction and even jealousy. But turning your focus from what you don't have to what you do have, will engender feelings of contentment and gratitude. People who regularly write in a gratitude journal tend to be less depressed. To start this practice on your own, you don't need to buy a fancy notebook; you simply need a pen and paper. Before bed is a great time to journal because thinking about what you are grateful for may help you sleep better. Simply start by listing five to ten things you appreciated during the day, and eventually, you will be listing fifty to one hundred things each day! Religion or Belief in Higher Power Many religions teach that the way to lasting joy is through a belief in and reliance upon a higher power. If you feel alone in your struggle, and that you are struggling for no reason because there is no real plan or purpose for your life, you are likely unhappy. A belief in a higher power goes hand-in-hand with the belief that you are not alone and your life has a purpose. Purpose and companionship are necessary for happiness. Through religion, you can learn how to be happy, or at least less sad. Help Others If you are unhappy, chances are that you are focused on yourself. People who are outwardly focused tend to be happier. By volunteering at a homeless shelter or underprivileged school, you may begin to understand that you are not alone in your struggle; everyone struggles and needs help at some point. You can learn how to be happy with yourself by providing the help that someone else needs. Who knows? You might even form connections with people who will one day help you. Or your own problems might shrink in comparison to others' problems. Develop Real Connections with Others If you are unhappy, you may choose to isolate yourself from others to avoid dragging others down. But this is a mistake. It is precisely when you are unhappy that it is important to be open and honest with other people about your feelings. Developing a trustworthy support system contributes to happiness. Everyone needs a confidant. People are often hesitant to share difficult times but eager to share vacation pictures or college acceptances. If you are open and honest about your difficult times, others will feel that they can turn to you in times of need. Targeted Social Media Usage Many researchers believe that social media usage makes people lonely because it reduces the number of daily face-to-face interactions. Connecting with others through a screen is not the same as sitting down with a friend at a coffee shop. When it comes to social media, the unhappiest people are the ones who passively scroll through other peoples' status updates and pictures without commenting or making status updates themselves. The happiest, least depressed people are the ones who actively comment and message others and use social media simply as a way to keep in touch with people. Social media will never take the place of face-to-face interaction when it comes to happiness. Self-Care If you wonder how to get happy, you may need to practice healthy self-care habits. Developing a healthy self-care routine may involve meditation, relaxation, nutritious meals, massage, etc. Becoming a happy, self-actualized, fulfilled person who can be of help to others first requires self-care. If you spend little to no time each day taking care of yourself (beyond basic hygiene), depression may envelop you. Develop Independence Healthy relationships are crucial to happiness, but without self-confidence and independence, healthy relationships will not form. Unhealthy attachment styles, in which one partner is completely dependent while the other is dominant, can be very damaging-especially in a marriage relationship. If you wonder how to have a happy marriage, consider that both partners need to have independence and self-confidence. If you are single or divorced, you may wonder how to be happy alone. The first thing to realize is being alone is not the same as being lonely. In fact, many people enjoy personal solitude and find that they can think deeply and accomplish much when they are alone. You can learn how to be happy single by going to a coffee shop or restaurant alone and fully appreciating the empowerment, freedom, and time to yourself. Consider Life Changes If you are unhappy in your job or marriage, consider what you can do to make things better. Do not simply submit to a negative environment, thinking that you have no other options. Life is too short to be unhappy, so if you are unable to make changes within your work or home environment, it might be time to move on. Online Counselor Learning how to get happy is an important skill to have, especially with rates of depression on the rise. An online counselor can help you determine the best way forward, considering your particular situation and goals. It often takes the advice and wisdom of an objective observer in order to accomplish the daunting but rewarding goal of lasting happiness. There is hope and there is help available for you! I wish you much luck with your next step to reaching happiness and heath. In Kindness, Gaynor 
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I can't afford therapy. Please help me. I'm in serious need of help🙏

Tesha you brave brave woman, thank you for reaching out.    It sounds like you're going through a lot, with family, friends and studies. That's so so overwhelming and I'm so sorry you're going through this.    So! What can I do to help. I'll map out some resources that might be available near you. Also, I'll give you some general 'advice', that might help you get through this.    --- Many churches have some sort of mental health program, so it might be worth while, if you're affiliated with one, to check what they have available.    If you have medicaid, you're eligible for mental health, so it might be worth checking availability.    Many educational centers have access for their students to counseling of some form. Starting from high school and many other higher education systems.    If it gets too much, you can also go to a mental health inpatient clinic, and they'll see you for a nominal fee.    -- Now, how to survive until one of those things pan out?  The best way to deal with toxic people is to detach as much as you can from interacting with them. Now these are your parents, so you can't really not ever speak to them again. But! As much as you can, reduce interactions. See them as little as possible, and avoid conversations that might let them expose their toxicity. If they're worse at night, avoid them; this isn't a long term solution, but it will get you over the next couple of days/weeks until you start therapy.    With regards to no friends, I'd love to hear so much more about that. No friends at all? No close friends? Do others think that you are their friend? When did the no friends start?  So forth.  Making friends is very hard to some, but always doable. Maybe start with a small conversation with someone next to you, or start with a homework assignment that you'll do together. Things like that. It's a skill that you can  master, one awkward and challenging interaction at a time. There are a lot of resources online that could help you, a lot of them are really valuable.    If there's anything else I could do, please let me know. You're very brave for seeking help and for striving for growth. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can I interact with someone who has withdrawn completely due to depression and anxiety?

What a challenge, and you're so brave and such a wonderful friend.    The big challenge here, is that there is very little you could do from that far away. However, you're doing the most. Research  has shown that suicide goes down drastically, if the person feels not alone in the world. So reaching out, even via text, is a big deal in that it shows them even without direct contact, that they aren't alone.    But aside from doing that, which you're doing, that's it. His or her life is in his or her hands, and that's something that we need to come to terms with.    If there's someone you could activate for now that lives closer, that would be great, but make sure it's someone already in their circle.    If however you feel that your friend is in immediate risk - another legitimate thing to do is to call 911 and to dispatch local police to your friend, to make sure they're safe.    -- The idea of a loved one committing suicide is a very scary and big idea. And if your friend was seeing a therapist or had a safety plan in place, we would all feel much calmer moving forward. You however, are truly doing all you can, and he's lucky to have you. Keep on reaching out on a regular basis. Even if they don't answer, it will allow them to see that they aren't alone and are loved. Sometimes that's really all that they need in order to keep themselves safe until they could work on feeling better in the long run.    In the meantime, I'd also activate your support system. And make sure you're talking to loved ones and to friends, because having a friend who is in such pain and with such a challenge is a very hard, and you also need a hug, and people in your corner. So make sure you're also doing things that are calming, that are kind to yourself and that make sure that you're your best possible self when you reach out to your friend who is suffering.    He's lucky to have you. I'm grateful. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to deal with self sabotage and self doubt caused by bad choices made in the past?

Thank you for reaching out, growth and working towards growth is always so impressive.    If I'm hearing you correctly, you want to learn how to make better decisions so that you don't have to suffer the burden of past mistakes.    This a worthy goal, considering our lives are a collection of the consequences of what we have decided in the past. But before even moving forward, please always keep like... 27% of your brain free, to work on accepting the fact that mistakes happen. They happen to everyone, and they aren't avoidable. They SHOULDN'T be avoidable, since that's how we learn for next time.    Which I guess brings us to the best 'tip' I have. Start keeping track of your life, and of the mistakes that you're making, and see what patterns arise.    Do you always decide to eat a cake and a pie after midnight?  Do you always date blondes even though that never works out?  Do you always pick the biggest sandwich and then feel sick for the rest of the day?    Once you've mapped out the decisions and consequences you want to work on, start by building a plan.  For example,  I always go back to dating Bob.  What about him do you love? How could you get what you love in different ways? When you want to call him, are there other loved ones you could call so that you don't fall down that decision again?   Or "I always eat too much pie" When do you eat too much pie in the day? Could you eat something else? Could you find a partner that would want to help you or you can call when you want to eat the pie?   The idea is to use your mistakes and to learn from it as much as possible moving forward. And always moving forward there will be more mistakes, we just hope that they'll be a tad bit different, so that we could learn new things for the next time.    Learning from your mistakes is a life long process and it's very very worthy one. So don't be scared or afraid of it, it's the best way to grow. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I get out of a constant dark place of guilt and shame ? I am struggling to forgive myself

You're so brave. And I'm so sorry it took me a few days to reach out to you. You're so brave.    You wrote about a lot of trauma, and how that trauma is still affecting your decisions, and as such you feel that it's affecting your relationship with god. You want to know how to forgive yourself, like god has already.    I'd like to offer a bit of a different perspective. I think that gods forgiveness isn't like we experience it on earth. Here, someone slaps me across the face, and I have to get over all of my ego to not slap him bag, and have to do a lot of hard work in order to 'forgive him'. But god doesn't have an ego, and he doesn't have to work hard in order to forgive us.    What I think (In my tiny humble humble opinion), god just sees everything. He sees what led to our decisions, he sees what led to our ache. He sees us completely. He sees all the parts of us. He doesn't bother so much with how tall I am, or my weight - he sees the soul he put on this earth for it's earthly mission.    I was trying to think of an analogy, but there isn't really a good one. It's sorta like your mother forgiving you for not liking pees. There's nothing to forgive.    You're on a journey to overcome your past and the mollestations. It's a journey. You're loved.  A part of that journey, is to build up your relationship with men from something not healthy, to something more balanced that brings you true joy. God sees that. He sees the journey, and he respects and loves you for it.    You have nothing to be forgiven for. You have been through toils that most of us can't even comprehend. You're striving to find growth, god, happiness, balance and so forth. That's... you're amazing. You're powerful - and most of all - you're you.    And god made you. Which means that you're perfect.    If I could give you homework, I'd go over the bible, and find all the stories of so so many people who have been on journeys that have taken them to dark places. God is always there. And always allows the journey to happen.  And as far as thinking about suicide, please don't. Find a find, find a counselor, build a plan to keep you safe. The world needs you to be you in it. Stay safe. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why do I cry over things that happened years ago?

Hello, thank you so much for this question. I'm sure it's very difficult to think about the stressful and traumatic event that happened years ago, and that you feel the same as you did while the event was happening. It's very likely that you have not worked through your feelings related to that time and that event. You may be experiencing what is called unresolved trauma. Sometimes our minds can't even acknowledge or make sense of what is happening at the time of a stressful or traumatic event. Our mind often wants to protect itself, which it can do in a number of ways. One of the ways is to suppress your feelings, or push them down. When you suppress your feelings, you don't have to deal with the negative or unpleasant feelings you were experiencing. You can repress hurtful memories for years. The downside is that those feelings can resurface years later, causing us just as much stress as they did in the first place. I believe this is what you are currently experiencing. In order to feel like you've processed through that event and your feelings related to that event, it is necessary to allow yourself to feel those emotions. While it will likely be difficult, allowing yourself to feel those emotions will be very therapeutic, and much more helpful than allowing yourself to push the feelings away. All of this can be done with the help of a therapist or a counselor. You don't need to go through this alone! Therapists or counselors can guide you through the process. During the process of working through the trauma, you will really want to get an understanding of your thoughts and feelings about the event, and explore how that past event has continued to affect you now. Did it stay with you? Many individuals who have experienced trauma, specifically trauma during childhood, may not always be aware of this, but unresolved trauma can manifest itself in many ways. These include through mental health issues, physical health issues, issues with confidence, issues with trust, the fear of being judged, the need to be a people pleaser, and so much more. 
(LMHC, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I reconcile with my past of mental illness?

Hello Fern, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: How do I reconcile with my past of mental illness? I very much appreciate you sharing the details of your story with me. I see you have gone through a great deal in your life and I see you have made much positive progress in your life.  I think I can best answer your phone ideation by sharing information about a concept known as 'Radical Acceptance'. Individuals with mental health issues, concerns, and disorders very often all suffer from one common thing: a skewed sense of their own identity. Having a clear idea of who you are, what you want, and what you are about is invaluable in navigating the world in safety, confidence, and strength. Losing this pivotal aspect of being human can lead to a cascade of other issues. Fortunately, there is a way to combat this type of loss of yourself, and it starts with radical acceptance. What Is Radical Acceptance? Radical Acceptance is a practice developed by Marsha Linehan. Used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), this particular practice was created based on the notion that reality must be accepted, rather than fought against, and that fighting and railing against a situation is a greater cause of suffering than the situation itself. Radical acceptance, as its name suggests, means exactly that: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. Far from condoning or embracing what you are and what you are going through, natural acceptance advocates simply accepting yourself and your circumstances in order to better move through and past them. Radical acceptance is helpful for all manner of ailments, including various mental health maladies and concerns. This is because fighting against something often makes it worse; in one study  people were told to think of white bears, then expressly forbidden from doing so a few minutes later. The study’s participants found it virtually impossible to stop thinking of white bears. Once the directive changed to allow students to think of bears the urge to do so actually went away. Accepting yourself, your situation, and your mental health status can actually help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with each of these things. What Causes Suffering? This question is not one that is readily answered; the exact cause of suffering is not widely agreed-upon nor is it determined by any single governing party. What has become an increasingly common thread, though, is the notion that attachment (or fixation) is a significant cause of suffering, separate from any specific religious ideology or philosophical leaning. Suffering is a result of an attachment to an idea, a previous situation, or a determination of what should happen, what you should be, or what your life should be. To acknowledge and accept the entirety of your life and yourself is to remove yourself from the possibility of experiencing this type of suffering. When Radical Acceptance Is Used Radical acceptance is used in situations that are beyond our control. Radical acceptance should not be engaged in situations that require a change, such as an abusive relationship or a dangerous work situation. Instead, radical acceptance is applied to things that occur without us being able to have a hand in them. Radical acceptance can be applied to a devastating breakup, a sudden, sharp turn in your life plans, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job. Each of these scenarios could prompt an unending response of fury, denial, pain, and fighting – or each of them can be accepted as a new reality and moved on from. Ultimately, the goal of radical acceptance is progression and growth in the place of stagnation and clinging to the past. Radical Acceptance Components    Rather than being a thought or idea, radical acceptance actually contains within it several components that must be put into practice; it is all well and good to say to yourself “I accept myself just as I am,” but unless you live in a way that espouses that belief, the belief is useless to you and everyone else. To practice radical acceptance, you must: Accept yourself and your life for what they are – not for what you want them to be Realize and acknowledge what you can and cannot control Survey yourself and your life without judgment or condemnation Acknowledge the facts of yourself and your situation Accept reality Practice mindfulness and live in the present moment Part of refusing to accept reality is living in the future or the past, rather than living in the present moment. radical acceptance is a subset of living mindfully and requires you to leave behind any fantasies you might have about your past or your future and to root yourself firmly in your life as it actually is, without any judgment, anger, or denial. This type of practice is not an easy one to adopt, and often it requires some help. You can read books, consult with a specialist, or see a therapist in order to develop the tools required to effectively use radical acceptance in your life. Each of these options, though, will largely depend on you; ultimately, you must be willing to consistently practice and adopt the tenets of radical acceptance, or the treatment will not be effective or useful. Whether you read about radical acceptance and begin practicing at home, learn about it in group sessions, or work one-on-one with a mental health professional, what you get out of radical acceptance as a practice is wholly up to you and cannot be forced or influenced by anyone outside of yourself. The Roots of Radical Acceptance Despite functioning as a recognized mental health treatment, radical Acceptance, does have some roots in Buddhism and the Buddhist lifestyle. One of the basic notions of this world religion is that attachment is the root of suffering and that the lack of attachment means, in many ways, the lack of suffering. After all, it can be argued, if you are not attached to loved ones, why would you suffer greatly when those loved ones are gone? If you are not attached to money and a certain standard of living, why suffer when that same money has gone? If you are not attached to your identity as a fixed, definitive thing, you need not suffer when aspects of your personality or identity are ripped away. This functions as the basis of radical acceptance; accepting yourself and your life is a form of practicing non-attachment, and it gives you the freedom to live your life from moment to moment, rather than perpetually scrambling to recreate a moment in time, or forcing your life to fall into line with the plan you’d previously set forth. Identifying Sources of Suffering and Working On Your Own (h2) When you begin a radical acceptance practice, one of the first things to do is think about what is causing you the greatest amount of pain. You might identify trauma as a root of your issues, a breakup, or some other unpleasant event in your life. You might find that your need for radical acceptance comes after your life not taking the turns you’d expected or hoped. Whatever the case may be, determining the source of your suffering is an important part of this work; once you can pinpoint the things that are causing you pain, you can begin working on applying radical acceptance to them. This work can be done on your own. Using journaling and self-reflection, you can identify the more problematic parts of your past and can begin applying the principles of radical acceptance.  As you progress, you can continue writing and checking in with yourself, in order to make sure you are consistently applying the tenets of this treatment and actively working toward healing. When BetterHelp Can Help If you reach a place in your own journey of radical acceptance where you feel you have grown stagnant or stuck, you may reach out to a mental health professional for additional help and guidance in your journey. Someone who is trained in this type of therapy can help you identify any weak points in your radical acceptance practice and can provide insight into and training for a fully-fleshed-out radical acceptance practice that covers the vast majority of your current ills, ailments, and mental health concerns. BetterHelp is an online therapy provider that offers a wide range of therapy backgrounds, specialties, and interests. If you are ready to tackle a well of grief with radical acceptance help is available. BetterHelp therapists are available to work with their clients in a more relaxed setting - from the comfort of your own home. Online therapy can be enormously useful for people who struggle to work with the standard scheduling habits of traditional therapy offices and can offer a more personable experience than the usual clinical settings.   I wish you much luck! In Kindness, Gaynor   
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I am currently unemployed and have no income.id love to join unfortunately money is an issue

Hi there, I am glad that you reached out. With Betterhelp, any financial questions must be directed to  Betterhelp support directly. Clinicians are independent contractors and do not bill clients directly. Therefore, I encourage you to message Betterhelp support directly with all billing-related questions: Follow this link here: https://www.betterhelp.com/contact/  BetterHelp can offer discounted rates depending on the type of services you are seeking (couples therapy etc.) It is worth doing your research if you are looking for something specific by reading each therapist profile as the areas of specialty (anxiety, depression etc.)  and modalities (trauma therapy, couples counseling etc.) is described in detail. Additionally, with the pandemic going on, BetterHelp is aware of the increasing demands of people seeking out therapy and will try to accommodate to the current situation. Additionally another service on Betterhelp that is offered through the platform is 'Groupinars',  where you can sign up for educational forums in the area your interested in learning such as coping with anxiety, if this something you believe could provide additional support for you at this time. I encourage you to  explore this in the meantime.  Also, Betterhelp has a discount for qualifying participants. Check this link out for extra support, if you think you qualify: Follow this link here: https://www.betterhelp.com/covid19support/ Outside of Betterhelp, I encourage you to explore your community for mental health services, such as crisis help hotlines, non-profit agencies(YMCA), and local schools. There are also many variables to take into consideration when seeking out services. If you are a student you can look at what your school or local area you moved to has to offer. Usually on-campus or virtual rates can be cheaper vs looking into an agency or private practice. I suggest you look into the health services department as they offer counseling services. If they don't offer it, they can guide you towards where you can seek out assistance. Some of the challenges that are worth exploring online that are common in students include experiencing anxiety, depression and managing life transitions. Best of luck. And keep reaching for help during this time. Sincerely, Siobhan Cassidy, LCSW Clinical Social Worker
Answered on 01/21/2022

Does better help take insurance?

Hello! I am happy that you are seeking for therapy using the better help platform. It is my understanding that, BetterHelp uses a subscription based model with prices ranging from $60-$90 per week depending on your preferences and location. For more information on pricing please visit the following link: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/can-i-afford-to-see-a-counselor-how-much-does-therapy-cost/   Financial aid may also be available. You will just have to complete a short survey about your monthly income and employment status to determine your eligability. It would be best to contact the BetterHelp customer service to get more information regarding finacial aid and how to qualify.    Online therapy can be a great option for many people if you live in a rural area and have limited access to mental health services. It also allows you to recieve therapy from anywhere that is convienent for you such as your home, lunch break at work or even when you are traveling. You essentially have a therapist availabile at your finger tips 24 hours a day, seven days per week.    One of the benefits of BetterHelp is that your subscription would include:  1. Unlimited text messaging with your therapist. Which means that you can write to them any time of day or night if something comes up. You may not get a response at that exact moment but they will get back to you in a reasonable time.  2. Unlimited audio messaging. Meaning that you can also send video or audio messages back and forth with your therapist.  3. Live video, phone or chat sesssions with your therapist* amount alloted per week may vary depending on subscription.    Many insurance providers are now covering the cost of online therapy just as they would have covered face to face visits in the past. I would contact your insurance provider to learn more about what they are willing to cover based on your policy to see what is available to you. You may even be able to get reimbursed for services offered by BetterHelp depending on your policy. I would say that your best option at this moment is to reach out to your insurance first and see what is covered under your policy and what your options are from them and how to proceed moving foward with mental health services. 
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need help overcoming fear and anxiety

Hello and thank you for your question.I could only imagine this was an awful experience and the way it continues to affect you makes it worse. I will attempt to answer the question the best I can based on the information you provided. Ultimately, I do not know all the details so I apologize if some things do not seem applicable. One of the first steps to consider taking is finding some therapy options. Specifically, I would recommend finding a therapist with some experience in addressing trauma. One of the things to consider is how your recent assault can develop into a more serious mental illness such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is related to experiencing a threatening event such as being assaulted. An individual can begin to experience symptoms such as fear and anxiety. Also, they can begin to experience an intense emotional reaction to situations or other things that remind them of what happened to them. Some people will decide to just avoid the situations that cause them fear and anxiety. However, this will only increase your symptoms and stress. Thus, avoiding going to work will likely increase your symptoms. I strongly recommend to continue to attempt to return to work even if it must be in small steps. I am not sure what field you work in but I typically recommend that patients reach out their employer and ask for some assistance or accommodation. If your employer is still giving you  hard time then you can meet with a counselor and ask if they would be willing to write a letter to your employer. Now, there are multiple therapies that can be used to address your symptoms. You should know that what you are experiencing can be treated and very effectively. I have used cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy in the past and these methods have shown to be effective with patients. Since I can’t really do therapy through this format, I will give you can idea of two skills to practice. First, learn how to identify painful thoughts and replace them with more balanced, helpful alternatives. Instructions: Use this example to start to monitor any anxiety or worry-related thoughts you have for a period of one week and to come up with alternative ways to view these situations. Example: Thought: “I am a bad person. Things will keep going wrong for me.” Emotions: Guilt and Fear Intensity level: 10/10 Alternative: “I have had some difficult things happen to me. I didn’t deserve them. Other people tell me I am a good person. Maybe they are seeing something I don’t right now.” Emotion: Relief Intensity level: 4/10Next skill is developing grounding exercise when you do experience intense emotion. I attached 5,4,3,2,1 technique which a common technique I use with patients who are struggling to manage their emotions in the moment. This worksheet will be a good guide for you to get started. 5-4-3-2-1 Technique Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you will purposefully take in the details of your surroundings using each of your senses. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out, such as distant sounds, or the texture of an ordinary object.What are 5 things you can see? Look for small details such as a pattern on the ceiling, the way light reflects off a surface, or an object you never noticed. What are 4 things you can feel? Notice the sensation of clothing on your body, the sun on your skin, or the feeling of the chair you are sitting in. Pick up an object and examine its weight, texture, and other physical qualities. What are 3 things you can hear? Pay special attention to the sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, distant traffic, or trees blowing in the wind. What are 2 things you can smell? Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an air freshener or freshly mowed grass. You may also look around for something that has a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle. What is 1 thing you can taste? Carry gum, candy, or small snacks for this step. Pop one in your mouth and focus your attention closely on the flavors. Ultimately, it is highly recommended that you seek therapy services to really address some of your concerns.
(MA, LPC, Doctoral, Candidate)
Answered on 01/21/2022

If I feel like I have borderline personality disorder what do I do ?

  Overview: Borderline personality disorder is an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with a borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days. Signs and Symptoms: People with a borderline personality disorder may experience mood swings and display uncertainty about how they see themselves and their role in the world. As a result, their interests and values can change quickly. People with a borderline personality disorder also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. Their opinions of other people can also change quickly. An individual who is seen as a friend one day may be considered an enemy or traitor the next. These shifting feelings can lead to intense and unstable relationships. Other signs or symptoms may include: Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships or cutting off communication with someone in anticipation of being abandoned. A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation). Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self. Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating. Please note: If these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder—not borderline personality disorder, Self-harming behavior, such as cutting, Recurring thoughts of suicidal behaviors or threats, Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days, Chronic feelings of emptiness, Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger, Difficulty trusting, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions, Feelings of dissociation, such as feeling cut off from oneself, seeing oneself from outside one’s body, or feelings of unreality. Not everyone with borderline personality disorder experiences every symptom. Some individuals experience only a few symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms can be triggered by seemingly ordinary events. For example, people with borderline personality disorder may become angry and distressed over minor separations from people to whom they feel close, such as traveling on business trips. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and their illness. Risk Factors: The cause of borderline personality disorder is not yet clear, but research suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk for developing borderline personality disorder. Family History. People who have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling with the disorder may be at higher risk of developing borderline personality disorder. Brain Factors. Studies show that people with borderline personality disorder can have structural and functional changes in the brain especially in the areas that control impulses and emotional regulation. But is it not clear whether these changes are risk factors for the disorder, or caused by the disorder. Environmental, Cultural, and Social Factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder report experiencing traumatic life events, such as abuse, abandonment, or adversity during childhood. Others may have been exposed to unstable, invalidating relationships, and hostile conflicts. Although these factors may increase a person’s risk, it does not mean that the person will develop borderline personality disorder. Likewise, there may be people without these risk factors who will develop borderline personality disorder in their lifetime. Treatments and Therapies: Borderline personality disorder has historically been viewed as difficult to treat. But, with newer, evidence-based treatment, many people with the disorder experience fewer or less severe symptoms, and an improved quality of life. It is important that people with borderline personality disorder receive evidence-based, specialized treatment from an appropriately trained provider. Other types of treatment, or treatment provided by a doctor or therapist who is not appropriately trained, may not benefit the person. Many factors affect the length of time it takes for symptoms to improve once treatment begins, so it is important for people with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones to be patient and to receive appropriate support during treatment. Tests and Diagnosis A licensed mental health professional—such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker—experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders can diagnose borderline personality disorder by: Completing a thorough interview, including a discussion about symptoms, performing a careful and thorough medical exam, which can help rule out other possible causes of symptoms, Asking about family medical histories, including any history of mental illness. Borderline personality disorder often occurs with other mental illnesses. Co-occurring disorders can make it harder to diagnose and treat borderline personality disorder, especially if symptoms of other illnesses overlap with the symptoms of borderline personality disorder. For example, a person with borderline personality disorder may be more likely to also experience symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, or eating disorders. The treatments described on this page are just some of the options that may be available to a person with borderline personality disorder. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is the first-line treatment for people with borderline personality disorder. A therapist can provide one-on-one treatment between the therapist and patient, or treatment in a group setting. Therapist-led group sessions may help teach people with borderline personality disorder how to interact with others and how to effectively express themselves. It is important that people in therapy get along with, and trust their therapist. The very nature of borderline personality disorder can make it difficult for people with the disorder to maintain a comfortable and trusting bond with their therapist. Two examples of psychotherapies used to treat borderline personality disorder include: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This type of therapy was developed for individuals with a borderline personality disorder. DBT uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance or being aware of and attentive to the current situation and emotional state. DBT also teaches skills that can help: Control intense emotions, Reduce self-destructive behaviors, Improve relationships, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help people with borderline personality disorder identify and change core beliefs and behaviors that underlie inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others, and problems interacting with others. CBT may help reduce a range of mood and anxiety symptoms and reduce the number of suicidal or self-harming behaviors. Medications: Because the benefits are unclear, medications are not typically used as the primary treatment for borderline personality disorder. However, in some cases, a psychiatrist may recommend medications to treat specific symptoms such as: mood swings, depression, other co-occurring mental disorders. Treatment with medications may require care from more than one medical professional.
(M.Ed, LPC, CSC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Do I have an Asperger? And if I have then what should i do

Hello, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: Do I have an Asperger? And if I have then what should i do? I will share some information with you about the signs of Asperger's syndrome.  In order to get a full diagnosis of your symptoms you will need to reach out to your medical provider as your initial step.  You will need to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist to comeplete a full evaluation. In reflecting with what you share could determine a number of diagnosis known in the field of psychology and pyschiatry and without a full evaluation.   Symptoms Revealing the Asperger’s Syndrome   Asperger’s syndrome is considered a neurobiological condition. It falls on the autism spectrum, though at the higher functioning level of this spectrum. It is estimated that approximately 1 in every 500 people have this condition, and it affects people of all ages. Those who have Asperger’s syndrome tend to be extremely intelligent. For example, they can recall information after only reading or hearing about it one time. However, despite their extreme intelligence, those who have Asperger’s syndrome do experience significant issues that can impact their daily lives and their ability to relate to others in a “normal” manner. While the symptoms of this condition do vary from person to person, often, these symptoms can make several aspects of their lives. Given how common Asperger’s is, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms. The earlier intervention begins, the better the outcome. Here’s a look at some common signs of Asperger’s syndrome. 1. An inability to pick up on social cues   During infancy and toddlerhood, people do not have the ability to read, understand, and react to social cues. However, as children develop, they should naturally start to develop the ability to pick up on cues from others. For someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, this may be extremely difficult to do. For example, a child with this condition may not have an understanding of personal space, or they may not be able to understand when someone else is expressing signs of sadness or anger. Because of this common symptom of Asperger’s syndrome, people who have this condition often find it difficult to make and retain personal relationships. This could lead to difficulties in making friends or even connecting with co-workers. As such, someone with this condition might feel “left out” or that they are “different” from their peers, which could lead to additional problems. 2. A tendency to perseverate   Children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome often have a tendency to get “trapped” on their thoughts. When that happens, they lose the ability to focus on anything else and become completely fixated on whatever it is they are talking about. As such, it is not unusual for a person with Asperger’s syndrome to talk incessantly about whatever it is they are fixated on. × This is known as perseverating. Someone who perseverates tends to say the same thing repeatedly, or act in a repetitive manner. He or she may say the same thing or repeat the same action to the point where it no longer makes sense and isn’t willing to stop it. For example, someone with Asperger’s syndrome may like lizards and may get so excited when they see one that they will not stop talking about them, reciting everything they know about the animals. 3. Failure to make eye contact   While someone who has Asperger’s syndrome may be exceptionally smart and may have a tendency to speak excessively (particularly about the same topic), he or she may not be able to make eye contact. That’s because people with Asperger’s often have difficulty with non-verbal communication, which is exactly what eye contact is considered.   × Though someone with this disorder may be able to express how he or she is feeling – happy, sad, angry, etc – he or she may not be able to make eye contact with whomever it is that they are sharing their feelings with. The inability to make eye contact can also make other symptoms of Asperger’s more challenging, such as having difficulties with understanding social cues. If you notice that your child or that an adult in your life avoids making eye contact, it could be a sign of Asperger’s syndrome. 4. Doesn’t show empathy Empathy refers to the ability of someone to see the world from the point-of-view of others. Furthermore, it involves being about to actually picture how someone else is feeling and then caring about how that person is feeling. In order to be empathetic, a person needs to have a variety of skills. × While someone with Asperger’s syndrome might be able to see that someone else is hurting or in pain and might actually care that someone else is having those feelings, he or she may not know how to properly respond to what they see and understand someone else is experiencing in a proper manner. People with Asperger’s might want to respond to the way others are feeling, but they may not know how to do so. As such, people who have this disorder are often viewed as not having empathy, which can make them seem uncaring. 5. Speaks in a very formal manner Those who have Asperger’s syndrome often tend to speak in a very formal manner. While this might be acceptable in a setting where formal speech would apply, in casual settings, such as conversations with classmates in the lunchroom, this type of speaking can seem awkward and abnormal. × The reason why people with Asperger’s syndrome have a tendency to speak in a formal manner is that they are highly intelligent, and as such, they may have a firm understanding of more formal words that others simply aren’t familiar with or that just don’t sound normal when used in an everyday conversation. For instance, instead of using the word “and”, a teenager who has Asperger’s syndrome may use the words “moreover” or “furthermore” while they are speaking. While these words are certainly proper, other people might think that they sound strange, odd, or “weird”. 6. Uses a monotonous speaking voice A lot of people who have Asperger’s syndrome speak in a monotone voice. Instead of inflecting or changing the tone or pitch of the voice, a person with this disorder might speak in a flat voice and won’t change the variation of his or her voice. As such, someone with Asperger’s syndrome might sound as if he or she speaks in a robotic manner. × As such, it can become boring to listen to someone who has Asperger’s talk, especially if he or she is perseverating. This type of speech, coupled with the use of formal language, could make it even more difficult for someone with this condition to make and maintain personal relationships, as other people might have a difficult time relating to them. Not everyone who speaks in a monotone voice has Asperger’s syndrome, as some people simply speak in this manner. 7. Difficulty breaking from routines Most people develop some type of routine and are pretty set in their ways. However, should the need to change the routine arise, the “average” person can be flexible and is willing to bend their routine. For people with Asperger’s syndrome, breaking from routine is not only difficult, it can be nearly impossible. × For instance, if a child with this disorder is accustomed to having eggs for breakfast prepared in a particular pan and served at a specific time find that the pan was dirty or that there aren’t any eggs in the house and they have to have something else for breakfast, he or she could very well become severely agitated. That agitation could become so intense that the child could end up throwing a tantrum. In order to avoid challenges, parents should try to prepare their children for any changes that may occur. 8. Severe temper tantrums Temper tantrums are a normal part of childhood. Even teenagers and adults can have temper tantrums from time to time. For individuals who have Asperger’s syndrome, tantrums are often a common occurrence. They can happen for a number of reasons; for example, as mentioned above, a change in routine could set a tantrum in motion, or experiencing something that they find displeasing. These temper tantrums can range in severity, depending on the degree to which the person is affected. × In some cases, they can be intense and include yelling, thrashing, throwing, or even the infliction of injuries on others or oneself. The reasons these tantrums occur is similar to why toddlers have tantrums; people with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty monitoring and controlling their emotions. As such, they may find it difficult to contain their frustration when something doesn’t go according to plan or as they see fit. 9. Intense focus on one thing  People with Asperger’s syndrome can become fixated with specific topics that interest them. Their fixation can become so intense that they aren’t interested in anything else and are only interested in discussing the things that interest them (which could lead to perseverating.) × For example, a child with this neurobiological disorder might be fascinated by cars and have no interest in anything else. He or she may only want to play with cars, talk about cars, read about cars, or could even become overly enthralled upon seeing a particular car that he or she finds interesting. This fixation on only a few specific things can further compound other issues that are often associated with Asperger’s, such as the inability to maintain relationships, perseverating, and even temper tantrums. The reason people with this disorder become fixated is unknown, but it is one of the hallmark symptoms of Asperger’s. 10. Would rather be alone A lot of people who have Asperger’s syndrome are loners. They would rather spend their time by themselves than with other people. For instance, a grownup who has this condition might avoid going out to social functions, or a child with this disorder may not show any interest in playing with other children and making friends. × Moreover, a person affected by this disorder may find it very hard to open up to or even converse with people that they are not comfortable with and do not fully trust. As such, they might seem to be reclusive in nature or may choose to remain silent when being in situations with other people is necessary. This can make other challenges associated with Asperger’s even more difficult, such as making eye contact and developing relationships. As with many symptoms associated with this disorder, the reason for this symptom is unknown, yet very common. 11. Inappropriate social responses If you notice that you seem to respond completely inappropriately to certain situations, it could be a sign that he or she has Asperger’s syndrome. It’s not uncommon for people to be absorbed with their own emotions and feelings; however, the “average” person tends to know how to put their own wants, feelings, needs and interests aside when it’s necessary.   I wish you much luck with your next step with what you are experiencing in your life.   In Kindness, Gaynor             
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022