Steven Blakely, CCHt, Registered Psychotherapist

Urgent measures are required to address this crisis that affects virtually every member of society particularly our youth.  A headline in Nation on June 18, 2019, describes this crisis. “Suicide among teens and young adults reaches the highest level since 2000.”

Social Media addiction (SMA) is just as addictive as drugs and alcohol. The intrusive nature of Social Media into our lives and the psychological effect and dependency cannot be overstated.  It is mood-altering and offers immediate gratification while also offering the illusion of being closely connected when in fact it is isolating at an emotional level. As with any addictive relationship it takes more and more of the ‘drug’ to achieve the level needed to feel the euphoria until the cycle repeats requiring even more. I recently completed a day-long course titled “Overcome Social Media Addiction with Hypnosis” given by Don Mottin, CCH with Mottin and Johnson Institute of Hypnosis, who practices near Orlando, Florida and teaches workshops across the United States. As Don Mottin explained “According to the World Health Organization, in the year 2019, approximately 1.53 million people will die from suicide. The number related to social media is increasing every year.”  

As Don Mottin further explained, “Positive interactions on social media can trigger the same kind of chemical reaction (in the brain) that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs”. Recent research he cited during the workshop indicates that an average of 2.35 hours is spent accessing social media at work every day. According to Nielsen, “the average American spends more than 11 hours per day in front of a screen. … Even children from two to five years old are spending over 26 hours each week in front of a screen or a smartphone.”

There are other causes of suicide, including increased anxiety and stress related to the Climate Disruption caused by global warming and the daily reports of the political chaos at the highest levels of our government. Other causes of death besides suicide include the “Hundreds of people die each year by taking selfies in a dangerous place, even more are injured”.  Many people are injured or killed because of texting while driving or just walking across the street. 

Stress and anxiety are also the result of arguments within families and between couples over what is seen on social media and are occurring with increased frequency. This can tear apart relationships and friendships based on information purported to be true but often not verifiable.  All of this is creating more stress and alienation. I believe the material Don presented and his approach and techniques for solutions to the problem of SMA is something all of us can benefit from even if not certified as a hypnotherapist

One of the elements of countering SMA that can be most helpful is using the material in the context of determining what needs are being met by SMA that can be met in more healthy, productive ways particularly by using suggestions for change in behaviors and setting appropriate boundaries around time spent with social media.  Encouraging social interaction in groups and one-on-one activities, for instance, is a powerful counter to the subtle isolation that occurs with SMA. 

This is not just for hypnotherapists.  When you are in session with a client both of you are automatically engaged in a mutual light trance of highly focused attention with a strong intention and desire to accomplish a particular goal.  The techniques and the way you speak in that trance can be enhanced by studying this material and using it regardless of your modality, education, and training. You might like it so much that you could even consider adding hypnosis to your toolbox of therapeutic interventions and as a powerful enhancement to your current client sessions. 

I believe that because this issue of Social Media Addiction is so endemic and deleterious to our communities and families and individuals that it is incumbent on us as mental health professionals to reach out to our communities to inform them of our availability to help them cope with this insidious and widespread problem.

Thus, it is most important for us to inform ourselves of the extent and depth of the problem by reaching out to local church leaders, social system professionals, and the legal and law enforcement professionals to determine their understanding and knowledge of local issues arising out of SMA. Further, I would like to think we could arrange to have meetings like a ‘mental health town hall’ to inform them that we are working toward providing help and solutions.  I would like to think that the local social assistance agencies would also welcome an opportunity to participate.

Toward that end I am going to see if Don Mottin would be willing to come to Colorado to some of these meetings to discuss the breadth of the problem of SMA and to describe how hypnosis and therapy can help the victims of SMA to be able to meet their needs and at the same time decrease the hold SMA has over their lives. 

I welcome questions and comments about this article. In addition to being a Registered Psychotherapist with DORA,  I am a member of the National Guild of Hypnotherapists.  I am available through the CAP website to discuss this article and answer questions. 

You can reach Steven Blakely at:

Email: steven@transformations.net 
Phone: 303 913-8370

AVOIDING THE SCAMS KNOWINGLY  – A.S.K.

scam caller

You answer the phone with full belief that the voice on the other end of the line is someone who needs help. As mental health professionals that is your job, helping others so you listen with an open heart. Unfortunately, scam artists not only know that. They practice using your core principles against you. 

 

Recently, I learned that some therapists have been duped by scammers. It is certainly understandable because mental health professionals are eager to help. That is why they are in business. However, when someone tells you they don’t have money, you have a variety of options. You can offer a sliding scale or direct them to a church or non-profit agency. Some CAP members consistently offer services to the poor by working for low rates at non-profits. Some work for donations through churches. Another way to provide mental health services to those in need is to volunteer at agencies or prisons. 

 

As mental health professionals, we want to serve not to be scammed. A key tool we all use is questions. When your heartstrings are being pulled, stop, breathe and ask questions of yourself.  When a potential or current client wants you to pay for services, remember to ask yourself, “In a client-therapist relationship, who pays who for services?” Or you might ask yourself questions such as: “Why do I want to pay for xyz for this person?” “How does paying for their costs benefit our relationship?”  

 

Also, questions can help you discover a scammer and sometimes send the scam artist on his or her way. The caller attempting to bait me was not even calling for services. The man identified himself as being with the Social Security Administration and that because my Social Security number had been used inappropriately and I was going to have to pay fees. Before he told me how much I owed, I asked him where he worked. Speaking quickly and with what sounded like an Indian accent,  he gave me some title that included the term ‘officer’. I said to him in a calm voice, “So sorry, you did not understand my question. What is the address of the building where you work? I used to live in Washington, D.C.” He hung up on me. 

 

Another caller identified themselves with some state government agency and told me I was going to be arrested if I didn’t give them a bunch of information to clear up the matter.  I listened and then stated I certainly hoped they knew that impersonation of a government official, not to mention threatening someone, was a felony. During the silent pause, I asked, “Do you know the people engaged in such activities are the ones that go to prison?” As they attempted to challenge me, I kept asking for things such as their supervisor’s name and other items that I could verify. They hung up on me. 

The next call you get from someone asking for money, your bank account # or other personal information, set your emotions aside and ask a few questions. If real, you will learn valuable information that will enable you to assist a potential client. If a scam, you might be lucky enough that they will hang up on you.  

 

  –  Carol O’Dowd

 

Mold is a silent, hidden problem lurking in 50% of our homes and workspaces. It is stated up to 28% of the U.S. population or 80 million people are profoundly affected by mold toxins with symptoms that are both physical and psychiatric.

Now we are learning mold can affect everyone to some degree when chronically exposed—yet we have no idea of the number of those affected. That’s because those suffering, without the classic symptoms of a mold allergy, are chronically misdiagnosed by the medical community. They do not test positive for any typical medical tests, leaving them feeling even more confused and depressed.

Cherry, a resident in Denver, suffered for many years. When she had tested negative for a mold allergy, her doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Her symptoms included, developing sleep apnea, inflammation issues, weight gain, fatigue, and immune issues.

Finally, after getting a diagnosis of CIRS from a functional medicine Doctor,  she received special testing and it showed high levels of mold toxicity in her system.

Cherry moved out of her home of 15 years (built in the 1910’s) into an apartment (built in the 1930’s) but it tested even higher for mold.  The landlord gave her the option of a newer apartment (built in the 1980’s) and this one tested higher than the first two! “The age of the house has nothing to do with it” Cherry stated. However, landlord liability can be loose in being required to remedy the issue and she doesn’t want to go through moving again until she can figure out her environmental needs. She has decided to purchase an air purification system costing $1000 that can move with her. At this point there is not enough proof for the medical and housing/building communities that mold is really that big of a problem to start legislating responsibility.

Residential home and building construction methods drastically changed in 1970. New innovations and technologies made it possible to build virtually with paper, also know as drywall, sheet rock and particle board cabinetry. All buildings are susceptible to water damage but many of the homes in Colorado’s building boom were after 1970s. With age and poor material, there’s an increased possibility of a leaky roof, flooded basement and plumbing problems. That leads to one major issue: Once water touches cellulose material, harmful mold can grow unseen. Occupants get sick and have no idea why.

Many people have all heard about fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic inflammatory response syndrome, auto immune disorder and Alzheimer’s. However, did you know mold (also known as biotin illness) could be the possible culprit of these conditions?

Or, could these conditions be the symptoms of mold illness?

“Millions of people are suffering from chronic illnesses that, unbeknownst to them, are the result of exposure to environmental toxins and infectious agents such as mold and Borrelia, which causes Lyme disease,” writes Dr. Neil Nathan in his book, Toxic. Dr. Nathan continues in the book, “Because the symptoms of these illnesses are so varied and unusual, many of these individuals have sought medical care only to be dismissed, as if what they are experiencing is ‘in their head.’ Many (if not most) have tried to tough it out and continue to function without hope of improvement. Unfortunately, their illnesses are very real.”

Because it’s not on the medical community’s radar, the medical community doesn’t generally test for mycotoxins sensitivity or bio-toxin buildup. This illness is not an allergy, it is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system gone haywire.

Genetics have been shown to be a known factor for sensitivity. People can get tested for the HLA-DR gene, and researchers have found that those with the gene can have challenges removing and recovering from toxins. Cherry carries this gene. 

“A common concern for those who are trying to understand cognitive problems in moldy patients is to answer how is it that inflammation in the body is inflammation in the brain,” according to NeuroQuant links mold Illness to structural change in brain

NeuroQuant continues, “The blood brain barrier, as it is called, results from additional “tight junction features” between cells that line blood vessels. These tight junctions are loosened by particular inflammatory processes including TGF beta-1 and IL-1B. These two compounds are well shown to be significantly elevated in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndromes acquired following exposure to the interior environment of water-damaged buildings

“Mold toxins are lipophilic, meaning their molecular structure consists of fatty acid molecules. For this reason, mold toxins migrate to and deposit in the brain because the brain is the ‘fattiest’ organ, consisting of 60% fat.”

Once the mold enters the brain the swelling caused starts to destroy neurons, receptors and hormone production. One study showed that 93 out of 100 fibromyalgia patients tested positive for mold sensitivity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705282/

If you suspect a client might be suffering from mold sensitivity or bio-toxin illness, here are some common complaints to be aware of: chronic fatigue, memory issues, mood swings, skin issues, gut issues, increased sensitivity to chemicals, muscle cramps and aches, headaches, mental focus, disorientation, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and of course, fibromyalgia, CFS,  CIRS and sleep apnea. The very first line of defense is to have one’s environment tested and remediated if needed.

Erik Hansen, of Green Home Solutions in Denver, states,https://www.greenhomesolutions.com/centennial-co/  “It is a good idea for people to be mindful of any unwanted moisture or humidity inside of their homes.  Very small amounts of moisture can lead to large mold problems. Any unwanted moisture, whether it from interior plumbing leaks or exterior precipitation, that comes into contact with building materials, can cause mold start growing within 24-48 hours. Without a moisture source, toxic mold will not be able to colonize.” 

If the environment tests positive, www.survivingmold.com has a wealth of information on testing, diagnosis, treatment and remediation solutions. Dr. Nathan’s book, Toxic is a great resource for mold illness and other environmental toxins that affects us.

The good news is that once the diagnosis is made, this is a very treatable condition. The treatment must be done carefully and slowly as it can shock the system as the body detoxifies and symptoms can worsen through the process, as the mold toxins are mobilized. Cherry is feeling better with treatment, but understands that this will be a lifelong battle to find and maintain a mold free home.

People are exposed to even more mold toxins in our environment, toxins that we ingest; citric acid, magnesium citrate and zinc citrate. Today’s citrates are grown on mold for mass production because it is much cheaper to use than natural citrates that come from acidic fruit. This mass-produced citrate is now used in so much of our food, medication and supplements and vaccines. It’s almost impossible to avoid. Do folks with mold allergies and sensitivities know this?

    

Dear Friend,
When I think about who we need in the legislature, it’s someone with a passion for justice. Someone who understands that our collective crises of mass incarceration, addiction and mental health are connected.
That’s why it is important to me to reelect Representative Leslie Herod. Can you support her campaign before our end-of-September deadline on Monday?
We cannot solve these problems without thinking about how they interact, which is exactly what Rep. Herod did with her bill to expand Special Connections, a program to provide addiction treatment to high-risk pregnant women.
Her bill will help keep families together by: 
1) Allowing new moms to take advantage of Special Connections up to one year post-partum when they are at increased risk of overdose,
2) Expanding access to childcare in behavioral treatment facilities to keep moms with their kids, and
3) Protecting women from prosecution if they disclose substance use during their treatment.
This measure adds to the robust package of bills already passed by Rep. Herod including drug possession defelonization, bail reform, and other criminal justice measures. 
Colorado needs strategic solutions to solve our complex problems.   Support Rep. Herod before our Monday deadline with a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more today.
Sincerely,
Andrew Fish
Chief of Staff 
P.S. We’re celebrating Leslie’s birthday on October 10th, and you know what that means. It is time to dance! RSVP today!

    

Our end-of-September fundraising deadline is this Monday night. 

    

This event is FREE to attend, though donations are appreciated
When: October 10th, 2019
Time: 6-9pm
Where: Prodigy Coffee House
3801 E. 47th Ave.
Denver, CO 80205
Join our growing host committee here!

 

Professional Development Opportunities

CAP was formed in 1989 to protect the right of psychotherapists to practice psychotherapy. In 2019, the Board of Directors reconfirmed the goals set for CAP in 2012. The goals were to provide education, networking and legislative representation as a way to support the professional development of our members. CAP offers these activities as ways to enhance the professional development of psychotherapists.

EDUCATION/TRAINING

CAP is committed to providing support to psychotherapists seeking to continue their competency as psychotherapists. We do this by hosting regular monthly meetings where we highlight a speaker on a specific modality or psychotherapeutic practice. At these talks, CAP helps link its members to schools, institutes, academic institutions as well as educational programs offered throughout the year by recognized thought leaders in psychotherapy. CAP is committed to supporting members with increasing their skills and knowledge.

Three CAP Advisory Board members who strongly encourage continuing education as a way to maintain professional standards have founded schools that provide education, certification, training, and supervision.

Schools

The Boulder Psychotherapy Institute (BPI), founded by Dr. Betty Cannon, has been training therapists and graduate students in Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP) and Gestalt Therapy since 1989. Applied Existential PsychotherapyTM (AEP) is an experiential psychodynamic approach that has been developed and taught at the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute over the past twenty-three years. AEP interlaces the insights of existential philosophy and contemporary psychoanalysis with techniques drawn from Gestalt therapy and other experiential approaches. It is a dynamic here-and-now therapy that also takes into account how the past impacts the present. BPI provides training and certification in AEP as well as group therapy and other techniques.

The Colorado School for Family Therapy (CSFT), founded in 1995 by Dr. Reo Leslie, Jr., is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Private Occupation School Board. The School provides an advanced learning experience and direct clinical practice with families, couples and individuals. The CSFT offers the opportunity to earn post-graduate certifications and credentials in a wide array of clinical specializations, including but not limited to:  Addictions Counseling (CAC), Play Therapy, Eating Disorders Treatment, Clinical Sex Therapy, and Trauma and Abuse Psychotherapy.

America’s Academy of Coaching, Counseling, and Hypnotherapy, founded by Dr. Carol Ann Watson, provides life coaching training, hypnotherapy training, and continuing education for mental health professionals.

 

We encourage CAP members to attend the school that offers training, classes, and certifications or degrees that supports their practice.  To learn about CAP members who offer supervision go the Find A Therapist section of the website. Also, feel free to contact any CAP Board member or attend a CAP networking event to collect information on resources for training offered to psychotherapists in Colorado. 

Supervision

Professional supervision is a paid service that is available through these schools and from individuals practitioners listed in the Member Directory.

Legal Advice

Keep Your Practice Legally Current: Because the laws can be complex, we are extremely grateful for posting a provided by CAP Advisory Board member Jim Carr, Attorney-at-Law. We are honored to have Jim as our advisor.  He brings to the Board his prior experience as a former Assistant Attorney General serving the Mental Health Boards of Colorado. Check out the CAP Blog page to get the latest advice on how to keep your practice in compliance with the Mental Health Practice Act.

Networking

CAP is focused on building a community of mental health professionals who support one another.  Each of our education events includes time for networking.  CAP members and visitors exchange cards, share information about their practices and make referrals. We look forward to seeing you at any of our education or networking events.  A popular networking event is the end of year social hosted at BPI. Watch the CAP Calendar and join us.

Legislative Representation

Core to CAP’s mission is representing psychotherapists at legislative events. For a full description of how we do this, go to our Legislative Page.

 

Legal Considerations For Registered Psychotherapists

We wish to thank James Carr, Esq. for his decades’ long devotion to helping Colorado Registered Psychotherapists and Colorado Association of Psychotherapists with legal advice and wise counsel. This page is dedicated to Jim’s tips. Please visit  Carr Law Colorado for Jim’s contact information and more details about Jim’s law practice. 

MANDATORY DISCLOSURE TIPS

During registration with the state, DORA requires submission of your Mandatory Statement. During your registration process and prior to submission, DORA lists the items to include, as well as required text that can be copy/pasted into your mandatory statement. You personalize your statement and then submit it to DORA to be included in their database. The submission process is guided and a fairly streamlined step of the registration process with the state.
Since the mental health professions now have a 7 year statute of limitations for complaints filed against them with DORA, based on the fact that we are required to keep records for 7 years and can dispose of them after that, it would make sense to include that fact on your mandatory statement, if you’d like to. 
CAP offers workshops for creating/personalizing your Mandatory Statement. Please contact President@ColoradoPsychotherapists.com for more details.

Check back regularly for updates to the mandatory disclosure recommendations.

Continue reading “Legal Tips for Registered Psychotherapists from Jim Carr, Attorney”

  • Mobile first: 80% of therapy clients seek counselors on their mobile phone. Get to the point quickly.
  • Specialize unless you want to compete on price.
  • Speak from the client’s perspective, solve their problems, not yours.
  • Show some personality, be you!

Your Business Directory Listing Is Your Calling Card

Marketing your therapy business can be a challenge. Fortunately, CAP provides a great marketing opportunity to get your brand in front of thousands of potential clients via our Therapist Business Directory. To be effective, your listing needs to be complete and written to reflect your personality and professionalism.

 

 


  1. Profile pictures are particularly important to establish a connection with prospective clients. We recommend a friendly, professional-quality head-shot. 
  2. Your business description helps a client see the benefits of your service, how you uniquely solve their problems. Avoid trying to be all things to all people. What makes your service unique? Who is your ideal client? Match your tone and voice to your ideal client profile. Include the keywords your clients use when searching for information about their problems. 
  3. Include a call to action. What action do you want the user to take? Help them take the next step. If you want them to call for an appointment, say so.
  4. Is your profile current? Online users have short attention spans and demand instant results. An outdated profile raises questions in the user’s mind and the opportunity is lost. 
  5. Insurance is important for many people seeking mental health services. If you take insurance, say so. 
  6. Credentialling increases confidence for some clients. Take the time to list your degrees, state licenses, certifications, and additional training to show clients your qualifications and interests.

 

 

Professional Liability Insurance Resources

We’ve Something For Everyone


 

Members: If you need professional liability insurance, CAP recommends two liability insurance agencies depending on your qualifications.

  • If you have a college degree in a mental health field, we suggest contacting CPH & Associates and American Professional Agency (APA.) Note: APA insures only those with a degree in mental health or behavioral health.
  • If you do not have a degree or your degree is not in a mental health field, we recommend contacting CPH & Associates and tell them you are a Colorado Registered Psychotherapists or Coach.

 

Recommended agencies

American Professional Agency Insurance, Inc.

APA, Inc. is one of the largest professional liability insurance providers in the United States. As a Program Administrator with approximately 100,000 policyholders, APA, Inc. ranks in the top 100 brokerages in the country. Though, we are a large agency, when you place a call to APA, Inc. you will talk directly with an underwriter who understands the coverage needs of your profession.

CPH & Associates

CPH & Associates has been providing professional liability (also known as “malpractice” or “errors and omissions”) insurance to mental and allied health professionals and life/health coaches for over 15 years.

As a Registered Psychotherapist in Colorado, the occupation you would want to select in the application from the occupation drop down would be “Counselor.” Questions? Visit our website at https://www.cphins.com/colorado-association-of-psychotherapists/, email info@cphins.com or call 312-987-9823.

 

Plan Your Content

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If you’re considering adding a blog to your site, you’ll want to have a plan beforehand. Planning your blog will help your subject matter remain consistent over time. It’ll also help you determine whether or not there’s enough material to maintain a steady stream of posts.

One pitfall many new bloggers run into is starting a blog that isn’t posted to frequently enough. A shortage of recent posts can give your visitors a bad impression of your business. One may think “I wonder if they’re still in business” or “they may want to hire a writer.”

A blog, like any other customer facing aspect of your business, communicates your brand. If it isn’t maintained and given proper attention, people will notice. Post regularly and keep your content fresh. Give your audience a reason to visit often.

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Categories and Tags

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If you write about a variety of subjects, categories can help your readers find the posts that are most relevant to them. For instance, if you run a consulting business, you may want some of your posts to reflect work you’ve done with previous clients, while having other posts act as informational resources. In this particular case, you can set up 2 categories: one labeled Projects and another labeled Resources. You’d then place your posts in their respective categories.

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