Suicide shouldn’t be politicized, but…

I don’t ordinarily like to bring my political views into this blog, but there are some examples (like the Florida law that makes it illegal for a doctor to ask if there are guns in a house with young children) that seem to cross from politics into ethical dilemmas. This blog post on Mother Jones’ website, about the disturbing trend of teen suicides in Minnesota – taking place a climate of bullying and intolerance of homosexuality, and politically-pressured silence on the part of school officials – has serious implications for mental health professionals.Continue Reading Suicide shouldn’t be politicized, but…

Successful faculty panel presentation at Adler School

I was asked to be a part of an Adler School of Professional Psychology Student Government event that took place yesterday and today at the school. Six faculty members were asked to talk about a case (taken from the DSM-IV Casebook) using six different theoretical viewpoints. The theories presented were cognitive-behavioral therapy, trauma-focused therapy, Adlerian theory, Theodore Millon’s bio-psycho-social theory, psychodynamic theory, and family systems theory. The fictitious case used was called  “A Child is Crying,” and it described a 15-year old girl who had been the target of abuse, and who became depressed, withdrawn, and said she was hearing the voice of a child crying.

I was honored to be asked to present the Adlerian viewpoint – after all, it is the Adler School, and there were three other Adlerian faculty members in the audience. I talked about what could be inferred about the girl’s views of life, herself, and other people, and the possible meaning and purpose of her behaviors. Looking at the same case from six different viewpoints was a great opportunity for us to help students to learn more about the skill of case conceptualization, which is the basis for treatment planning. Hopefully, the students thought so too, and found the presentation valuable. It was a very enjoyable experience for me.

A Contentious Issue in Counselor Training

Last summer, my sister (who directs a university counseling center) sent me a link to a story in the online journal, Inside Higher Education . The story was about a lawsuit brought by a student at Eastern Michigan University, Julea Ward, who was dismissed from the Master’s degree in counseling program after she refused to provide counseling to a gay client at her practicum site. Her stated reason for doing so was that providing counseling to this client would have violated her religious beliefs that homosexual behavior is immoral. The university maintained that American Counseling Association ethical standards and state counselor licensing regulations prohibit a counselor from attempting to impose his or her own values on clients, and from discriminating against clients on the basis of sexual orientation. Continue Reading A Contentious Issue in Counselor Training

Spotlight on Service: DuPage Community Clinic

DuPage County, Illinois is often thought of as an affluent segment of the Chicago metropolitan area; and it might not be obvious that there are many county residents who need health care, yet do not have health insurance. Immigration, relocation of city residents, and the growth of the service economy that resulted from the real estate boom of the mid 2000’s, have all combined to result in a larger number of middle to lower income residents in the county, many of whom lack healthcare coverage.

The DuPage Community Clinic is a vital resource for these residents, and for the county. Leveraging the skills and efforts of many volunteers and trainees in healthcare fields, the clinic provides free healthcare to any resident without health insurance. This includes acute and primary medical care, dental services, and behavioral health services, serving 5,000 DuPage County residents last year.

Several of my students from Adler School of Professional Psychology (as well as students from a number of other counseling and psychology graduate training programs) have served as volunteer trainees and interns at the clinic,  providing psychological and counseling services. Linda Pfeifer, who now serves as the clinic’s volunteer coordinator, has been a colleague of mine in the Northern Illinois Chapter of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, and we are both currently board members of that organization.

You can help the clinic by exploring volunteer opportunities and by considering a donation to this worthwhile organization. If you are a healthcare professional, your volunteer services are needed and would be appreciated. Volunteers with the ability to speak any of the numerous languages spoken in DuPage County are especially needed. Please see the clinic’s web page for current volunteer needs.

If you are in a position to make a donation to this organization – one that provides an important service to your neighbors and your community – a contribution in any amount to assist the DuPage Community Clinic would provide valuable help.