Mark Myers – Myers Counseling Group

Offers comprehensive mental health and substance abuse services

Owning my private practice was not something I saw myself doing when I graduated from my Master’s Degree program. Most likely, I saw myself doing almost anything but that. My approach to therapy has always been active involvement in the process, regardless of whatever therapeutic setting I was working. It was at my first private practice setting I became familiar with a type of therapy that fit my personality. I work from a Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)approach. CBT allows me to be more active in clients’ journeys. I can help them identify thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their feelings. Clients are engaged and empowered to be active participants in their journey.

Before starting to work in a Private Practice, I worked in different settings. Included in this was Veterans Administration centers, Hospitals, and Agencies, to name a few. I always enjoyed working with the clientele but would often get frustrated in working with the administration. Circumstances led me to employment at a Private Practice. I enjoyed the experience and loved the independence. I moved into another practice and found that rewarding as well. However, after time, I became restless and realized I would be most happy calling my shots. My wife and I discussed the possibilities, and in August of1999, I leaped into starting my practice.

I started Myers Counseling Group, not just meeting individual and family needs, but the community needs as well. I have always felt that was important. That was a significant reason why I moved my practice from Gurnee to Crystal Lake, Illinois. In doing this, it allowed me the opportunity to be more involved in my community. I have started some neighborhood programs as well as volunteered as well in my area. My belief is not only essential to have a pulse in your living area but to society as well. I feel it is vital as a Social Worker to adapt to your surroundings.

Our current situation, with COVID-19, illustrates the need to adjust.

There are people in need of mental health and substance abuse services that cannot meet with a therapist. Those struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges have worked extremely hard to improve themselves. Included is abstaining from drugs or alcohol or working to stabilize their depressive symptoms. Cutting off their support systems affects the progress they have achieved. In addition to that challenge, typical methods of dealing with their stressors no longer available. These are the hurdles the stay at home most states are facing. Introducing telehealth services as an option would benefit individuals.

The origins of telehealth, technically, date back to radio shows, as far back as the 1920s. These radio shows would provide health tips from knowledgeable doctors. Currently, that term refers to online counseling. Behavior health is following the lead of telehealth. Previously unavailable services are available online now. Tele-behavioral health (teletherapy, online counseling, e-counseling, cyber counseling) consists of interactive therapy through audio and video from remote locations. There are several advantages to tele-behavioral health.

  • Conveyance of scheduling/easy access (not having to drive long distances or if someone lives in a rural area). Accessibility (especially in rural areas) is a massive benefit for those seeking mental health services.
  • Discretion (not running into someone you know in the waiting room)
  • Privacy
  • You are allowing someone access to a therapist who offers a particular area of expertise (substance abuse, eating disorder, for example).
  • The comfort in discussing concerns from the privacy of your home.
  • Continuity of care (ability to continue with a therapist in case of relocation or conduct sessions when transportation to therapist office is not possible).
  • Ability to address mental health issues (Agoraphobia) or physical limitations restrictions that would otherwise prevent services from being accessed.
  • More freedom in being able to choose a therapist you feel comfortable.

Tele behavioral health may not be for everyone.

Some individuals prefer in-person therapy or are intimidated by technology. Myers Counseling Group offers protocols for prospective tele behavioral clients to follow. For those who are comfortable in using tele behavioral health, here are some suggested guidelines:

  • Make sure your connection is secure, private, and interruption-free.
  • Ensure that your therapist is certified and experienced in tele behavioral counseling.
  • Please verify that your therapist can provide tele behavioral counseling in the State that you currently reside in. State laws vary. Your therapist needs to licensure in the State that sessions are taking place.
  • Confirm that your therapist has protocols established to provide tele behavioral counseling.
  • Establish that your insurance company allows for tele behavioral counseling. Not all insurance reimburses telehealth. I suggest that you work these details out before the first session. If your insurance does not cover it, some therapists will work out a self-pay fee.

The effectiveness of tele-behavioral therapy is well documented (source). It provides an efficient means for clients to access services that may not have possible for them in the past. Tele behavioral counseling is a rapidly expanding industry. Myers Counseling Group offers tele-behavioral counseling. It certainly can provide a viable means to address mental health concerns in an accessible and convenient way. Additional support in these times is beneficial in addressing mental health and substance abuse challenges.

BY – Mark Myers 

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