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  • Help Therapy Newsletter - January 2023

    The Mental Health Connection Happy 2023! We look forward to working in partnership with you to help more people in need. Sometimes we are among these people. In an effort to help others, we may not make our own wellness a priority. It’s important to be mindful of our mental health and practice daily self-care. You can discover how you’re taking care of your mental health in This Month’s Tip below. The new year is filled with possibilities as well as change, like the multitude of new laws governing health care services in California this year and bills still in legislation. Welcome the new year and embrace the possibilities. As author Alex Morritt points out, “New Year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” Annette Conway, PsyD CEO Help Therapy January is Mental Wellness Month and National Mentoring Month Mental Wellness Month We usually are filled with festive cheer while celebrating the holidays. Yet, for many, these events are the predecessors of struggles about to come. The rates of seasonal depression, loneliness, and post-celebration blues are at an all-time high following New Year’s Eve. Mental wellness month is celebrated every January as a reminder to take better care of our mental health. We should all work to release stress, find more joy and improve our relationships. National Mentoring Month January is designated a time to celebrate the power of supportive and meaningful mentor relationships. With the start of a new year comes opportunities to share our knowledge and experiences to help others fulfill their dreams through being a mentor. Misconceptions About Pre-Surgical Evaluations An individual’s mental health has an impact on their physical health. For example, most patients have an emotional response to the idea of undergoing surgery. Fear, sadness, anxiety and depression are not uncommon. Yet the patient may not be aware of these emotions and the effect their mental state can have on them or on the outcome of the surgery. Many people think pre-surgical psychological assessments are done to disqualify them from surgery. Actually, these evaluations are an important part of the surgical process and help to ensure that individuals are able to not only undergo the surgery safely but also be prepared to do what’s necessary to recover effectively from the surgery. Mental health professionals should make sure to address these misconceptions with the patient in order to get the most accurate assessment. During the evaluation, patients can discuss their concerns and expectations and ask questions. Many individuals undergoing surgery will find their lifestyle will change significantly—temporarily or permanently. Knowing what will or may change and accepting these outcomes is very stressful. This is why it’s crucial for individuals to be honest and thorough about their current emotional state and mental health history. The patient and the mental health professional work together to ensure the individual is mentally, as well as physically, prepared for the surgery, is willing and able to follow the post-op instructions and will likely experience a positive outcome. The mental health professional helps identify the individual's strengths and any risk factors that may impede successful recovery. Then, the patient and mental health practitioner can work together on any areas that may benefit from additional support after the surgery. Some of these areas may include emotional and psychological reactions to the surgery, working with caregivers or following post-surgery instructions. Recovery support can be invaluable. Having someone supportive to confide in after the surgery can make a dramatic difference in recovery. Discussing any challenges the individual faces along the way and working out solutions can significantly improve post-surgery results—physically and psychologically. This Month’s Tip Tips to Strengthen Your Mental Health Since January is Mental Wellness Month, it’s fitting to look at ways to enhance our own mental wellness in the new year. Practice self-acceptance and self-care: Engage in meaningful activities that bring you joy. Seek calm and relaxing experiences. Read more here. Be mindful and grateful: Bring your attention to the present moment and what you are doing and thinking. If you happen to have a negative outlook, stop and be grateful for what you have. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you see things more positively and help you through challenges. Leave work at work: Whatever happened at work, take a deep breath and let it go (at least until you are back at work). Appreciate the positives in your day. Then turn your attention to home and focus on relaxing. Eat for health: Eat lots of veggies and other healthful foods. A nutritious diet can improve mental and physical health. Get quality sleep: Get 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep each night. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime and electronic devices a few hours before bedtime. Get moving: Find a few activities or exercises you enjoy and get your body moving for at least 30 minutes daily. Exercise can help lift your mood and lessen symptoms. Mental health professionals should also make sure to address these misconceptions with the patient in order to get the most accurate assessment. Ask for help when you need it: Reach out to family, friends, co-workers, or other resources who can support you. Talk with a mental health professional if you need a safe and non-judgmental person to help you work through your challenges. Burnout in Mental Health Professionals Burnout is an occupational condition that has physical and emotional consequences for an individual. But these consequences affect more than the particular individual. For psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, this condition can adversely affect their patients and their treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a brief addressing burnout in mental health professionals. It states in this publication that an estimated 50% of mental health care providers report feeling burnt out due to: High levels of stress Low salaries Perceived lack of career advancement opportunities Increased caseloads “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” - Rachel Naomi Remen To understand burnout as it relates to mental health professionals, we need to know how it’s defined and what causes it. [READ MORE] Events No Name-Calling Week January 11-21, 2023 See National Today for more information. National Fun at Work Day January 27, 2023 See National Today for more information. Partner with us! Are you a psychologist, LCSW or LMFT? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application. Do you have something to share?We’d love to hear about your successes and accomplishments! Have you: Written an article? Given a presentation? Have a client success story? Contact us at info@helptherapy.com.

  • Burnout in Mental Health Professionals

    Burnout is an occupational condition that has physical and emotional consequences for an individual. But these consequences affect more than the particular individual. For psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, this condition can adversely affect their patients and their treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a brief addressing burnout in mental health professionals. It states in this publication that an estimated 50% of mental health care providers report feeling burnt out due to: High levels of stress Low salaries Perceived lack of career advancement opportunities Increased caseloads “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” - Rachel Naomi Remen To understand burnout as it relates to mental health professionals, we need to know how it’s defined and what causes it. Burnout has 3 dimensions 1. Emotional Exhaustion Exposure to the emotional stress and trauma of others 2. Depersonalization or Cynicism A detached or dehumanized attitude towards clients, as they are seen as a source of stress and anxiety 3. Feelings of Inefficacy A decline in professional self-esteem and negative self-evaluation of their work performance Burnout also has 6 key drivers 1. Workload Unmanageable workload or time pressure 2. Control Lack of influence over work environment and resources 3. Reward Insufficient or inconsistent recognition 4. Community Lack of support among coworkers 5. Fairness Inequitable procedures or policies 6. Values Dissonance between personal and organizational values Mental health care providers often have little time for breaks between appointments and are unable to emotionally refuel after client sessions. This can lead to empathy fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Some signs and symptoms of burnout include: Changes in mood (such as lack of motivation, anger, anxiety, hopelessness and irritability) Lack of concentration and forgetfulness Problems sleeping Procrastination Physical changes (such as loss of appetite and headaches) Withdrawal from relationships and responsibilities If these symptoms seem familiar, it’s time for an intervention. Prevention is the focus if none or a few of these symptoms are present. Prevention and intervention First, know and respect your limitations as a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health practitioner. Next, practice self-care regularly. You need to be your best self to help others successfully. Finally, don’t let your ego get in the way of asking for help. Find social support and seek professional guidance from a fellow mental health professional. In terms of organizational intervention, research shows these actions have considerable promise for reducing mental health professionals' burnout. This requires identifying the areas that need improvement, creating a plan to address these areas and implementing the solutions. It’s important to note that some factors of burnout, such as workload, may seem to be about only caseload, but other aspects may be involved that stem from more extensive professional requirements, such as the paperwork necessary for insurance reimbursement. Mental health professionals are capable of assessing what needs to change in their work life. The challenge is to take their own advice gracefully. Help Therapy strives to support mental health professionals with their administrative burdens so they can focus on taking care of both their patients and themselves.

  • Help Therapy Newsletter - December 2022

    The Mental Health Connection We want to express our sincere appreciation for your support and for making 2022 a success. Anything is possible when we work together. Let’s keep this in mind as we plan for the coming year. May the holiday season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter. Happy Holidays, Annette Conway, PsyD CEO Help Therapy December is National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month We see the holidays as anything but stress-free. Our “to-do” list explodes, time moves faster, and family obligations and traditions loom. While completely “stress-free” may not be attainable, we can enjoy this festive season more by managing our expectations and stress. If some of the old holiday traditions aren’t making you happy and causing stress, it’s time to try something different. The key is to take some control over the holidays instead of letting them control you. Don’t do something just because you always do, like sending holiday cards to every acquaintance, long-lost friend and out-of-touch family member, baking seven varieties of cookies for your neighbors, spending the entire day planning and preparing a holiday meal, inviting your in-laws to stay at your house the week before Christmas, etc. If you’re not enjoying the activity, ask yourself how important it is to the overall holiday, then spend less time on it, schedule another time after the holidays, find an alternative or give it up altogether. You do have a choice. 4 Easy Self-Esteem Boosting Activities People with high self-esteem are happier, more confident, and generally feel good about themselves. We sometimes can’t help but compare ourselves to others and the “ideal.” This leaves us open to self-criticism and decreased self-esteem. We can find ways to nurture our self-esteem. Below are three activities that can help. Build a list of Positive Qualities When feeling down or disappointed in ourselves, it’s often difficult to think positive thoughts about ourselves. It’s helpful to have a list of our positive qualities to lift our mood. Start by writing down your positive characteristics on small pieces of paper (bonus points if you use a variety of colors preferred). Fold each piece and put them in a decorative container. Before bed, first thing in the morning and anytime you need a boost of confidence, select one or more pieces of paper and appreciate the quality you possess. Text 3 Awesome People When was the last time you told someone how awesome they are and how much you appreciate them? Boosting someone else's confidence can, in turn, boost our own. Acknowledge others We all like to feel seen. When we are acknowledged, it gives us a feeling of acceptance and inclusion. Next time you see a stranger, give them a smile and a nod of acknowledgment instead of just walking past. We get the added benefit of the mood boost smiling gives us, too. Show Kindness The holiday season is a special time of year when we feel more compassion for others—both those we know and those we don’t. Being kind to others reflects kindness back to ourselves. It helps increase our feelings of self-worth and brings a sense of joy and connection with others. Here are some ideas to get you started: Send a card to a friend you’ve lost contact with and express your desire to keep in touch. Buy a meal for a homeless person you pass on the street. Use your skills to offer free professional services to a nonprofit. Bake holiday treats for your neighbors. Get together with friends, coworkers, or family to clean up a local park or beach. Compliment a stranger. Foster a pet. Offer to take a photo of a couple struggling to take a selfie. Offer a person behind you in line to go before you. Tell a family member you love them. Help a child with homework or a project. Say “thank you.” We all have the power to enhance our self-worth. You don’t need to change who you are, but you may need help believing and remembering how amazing you are. Practice makes perfect. The Brain Energy Theory of Mental Illness Many factors can play a role in mental illness. Genetics, stress, trauma, and substance abuse are often identified as the source or contributing factors to mental health conditions. But some researchers are looking deeper and searching for a root cause of mental illness. Researchers are discovering it may be all about mitochondria and their effect on metabolism. The Powerhouse of Energy Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria are crucial for energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The mitochondria in our cells regulate or influence: Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA Hormones, such as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone Gene expression Inflammation Enhancing mitochondrial functioning may be an effective way of treating mental illness, solely or in conjunction with other therapies. Several studies have found a relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression. Impairments in energy production are found in these disorders. A better knowledge of mitochondrial physiology and pathophysiology might allow for developing new effective therapies to treat these specific mitochondrial impairments. This could be especially beneficial for treatment-resistant patients. In line with this theory, Christopher M. Palmer, M.D., in his recent book, Brain Energy, maintains that all mental health disorders are metabolic disorders of the brain. [READ MORE] Get Kids Away from their Electronic Devices this Holiday Season There’s more to life than video games, movies and social media. When children are on holiday break, persuading them to put down their phones and tablets can be challenging. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages to do alone, with a friend or as a family. The trick is to find a few your kids will be more interested in than their iPhones. Holiday shows and festivals offer festive entertainment for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor seasonal and year-round activities can be discovered or re-discovered. Arts and crafts supply stores, like Michaels, offer DIY kits for boys and girls of all ages. Here are a few activities to keep your kids focused on something other than their electronic devices. Holiday festivals Holiday parades Holiday light displays Ice skating Indoor or outdoor Zoos Aquariums Museums Amusement Parks Sports Arts and crafts kits Painting or drawing Knitting or sewing Model Building Jewelry making Puzzles and games Board games Card games Jigsaw puzzles Painting projects Bedroom walls Furniture Shelves Picture frames Baking cookies or making snacks There’s no shortage of activities for kids to do on their holiday break. The trick is to find a few your kids will be more interested in than their iPhones. Easy No-Bake Holiday Treats Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberry Santas From: MOMables.com Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Pecan Pie Bites From: MOMables.com Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Events World Aids Day December 1, 2022 See Worlds Aids Day for more information. International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3, 2022 See United Nations for more information. Human Rights Day December 10, 2022 See United Nations for more information. Partner with us! Are you a psychologist, LCSW or LMFT? We’re always looking for exceptional mental healthcare providers. Visit helptherapy.com for more information and fill out the quick and easy application. Do you have something to share?We’d love to hear about your successes and accomplishments! Have you: Written an article? Given a presentation? Have a client success story? Contact us at info@helptherapy.com.

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  • Susan Valoff LCSW

    Make an Appointment or Referral Specialties Depression Anxiety, Grief & Loss, Bereavement, Individual Therapy, Aging, Geriatric, Chronic Pain, Chronic Illness, Developmental Disabilities, Intellectual Disability, Family Caregiving, Caregiver Stress, Caregiver Support, Seniors Susan Valoff provides supportive, compassionate counseling for adults and older adults navigating life transitions; living with mental or physical illness; coping with caregiving stressors; and/or dealing with the challenges of aging. She listens without judgment and helps clients identify a path forward. Susan's professional experience has included hospital social work, geriatric care management, and supporting individuals and families coping with dementia and other chronic conditions. Susan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM), and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), and has received training from SAGECare on meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ older adults. A graduate of the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work (MSW) and Brown University (BA), Susan has the knowledge and experience to assist each client on their journey to greater health, contentment, and connection. Team Page Continue Susan Valoff, LCSW Continue

  • Become a Provider | Help Therapy

    COVID-19 Update : HELP Therapy is here to help you! We are continuing to serve our clients while keeping the health and well-being of all at the highest priority. Can't make it in person? Visit with your therapist online or over the phone. Why work with Help Therapy Requirements What Providers are Saying Insurance Types Your Independent Practice, Made Easy We take care of the overhead, so you can take care of your patients. Apply Today Why work with Help Therapy? Apply Today Requirements To become a Help Therapy Provider Partner, all therapists are required to possess the following: ● Licensed LCSW, Psychologist, or LMFT in California ● Individual NPI number ● Individual professional malpractice liability insurance policy ● Paneled with at least one insurance carrier ​ Note: Providers are not Help Therapy employees, but are contracted with Help Therapy. Your Practice is your own. Apply Today Already Credentialed? Enjoy expedited credentialing opportunities! Apply today to learn more What Providers are Saying Help Therapy is an amazing resource for connecting people to a therapist locally for In-Person or Telehealth sessions Insurance Types © 2021 Help Therapy 3636 Fourth Avenue, Suite 302 San Diego, CA 92103 (United States)

  • Become a Provider | Help Therapy

    COVID-19 Update : HELP Therapy is here to help you! We are continuing to serve our clients while keeping the health and well-being of all at the highest priority. Can't make it in person? Visit with your therapist online or over the phone. Why work with Help Therapy Requirements What Providers are Saying Insurance Types Connecting You To Patients We take care of you, so you can take care of your patients. Apply Today Why work with Help Therapy? Apply Today Already Credentialed with Medicare? Apply today and you may be eligible to receive: ​ $500 signing bonus after your first completed SCS Psychological Evaluation Complimentary video training for how to do SCS Psychological Evaluations Complimentary packet of assessment materials (you don't have to purchase your own guides or assessments!) Expediting onboarding process - get started within 5 business days Requirements To perform Psychological Evaluations Clearances, all therapists are required to possess the following: ● Licensed Psychologist ● Individual professional malpractice liability insurance policy ● Individual NPI number ​ Note: Providers are not Help Therapy employees, but are contracted with Help Therapy. Your Practice is your own. Apply Today Already Credentialed? Enjoy expedited credentialing opportunities! Apply today to learn more What Providers are Saying Help Therapy is an amazing resource for connecting people to a therapist locally for In-Person or Telehealth sessions Insurance Types © 2021 Help Therapy 3636 Fourth Avenue, Suite 302 San Diego, CA 92103 (United States)

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