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Behavioral Health Learning Center FAQs

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Life is a challenge. For everyone. 

As we journey through life, we find ways to cope with those challenges. We learn how to deal with life – from our families, friends, communities, and work places. Sometimes what used to work does not fit the current situation, or the obstacle seems too great to overcome.
Although many go through life for months, even years, free of difficulty, everyone, at some point, is likely to be part of a crisis (physical, mental, or emotional, or all three). Often, our family and friends are enough to help us through; when it isn't, sitting down with a professional can ease the burden.

How do I know if I need a professional?

You know you need a professional when your usual way of doing things no longer works. You may notice a disruption in your steady state: too much or too little sleep, too much or too little eating, isolation, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, irritability, using alcohol or drugs, and thinking of hurting yourself or someone else. When you experience any of those for a few weeks, or when they interfere with your life (home, work, social), it is time to reach out to a professional.

How do I know what kind of behavioral health professional I should contact?

When you are referred, or self-refer, to one of the clinics at WRNMMC, the person accepting the referral will have a good sense of where to get you started; for example, your symptoms may suggest seeing a psychotherapist first, or perhaps a psychiatrist.

  • Psychiatrist: a physician (M.D.) who has been through medical school and is board certified in psychiatry; can prescribe psychiatric medications (such as antidepressants).
  • Social worker: has a master's degree in social work (M.S.W.) and, in order to practice psychotherapy, is licensed to practice (L.C.S.W.C., or L.I.C.S.W., or L.C.S.W.).
  • Psychologist: has a doctorate in psychology (Ph.D.) and can practice psychotherapy; psychologists have further training in administering testing.

The three professions have similar training in child development, family dynamics, relationship matters, diagnosis, and treatment. Regardless of which you initially contact, seasoned professionals will steer you in the right direction if they think you might be better served with a different profession or expertise. 

What's the difference between individual and group psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy (sometimes called "one-on-one") is where most people start therapy. It is a private setting where a person may bring up difficult or emotional issues. Group psychotherapy includes one or two psychotherapists with three or more (up to about nine) patients. The group setting allows patients to interact with another and, under the guidance of the therapist(s), explore relationship patterns. Your individual therapist may refer you to a group if it seems a good fit, or if you request to join a group. Feel free to discuss the possibility with your therapist. 

Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.