Battling Holiday Blues with Dr. Diedra Hayman, Ph.D.

Well passengers once again the good Doctor, Dr.Diedra Hayman, Ph.D. is back with us here on the LifeTrain.

Dr. Hayman’s goal is to provide a relevant and user-friendly venue for discovering ways to move forward with your life.

This week I continue to ask the Doc for advice on battling the holiday blues:

Chuckie: Why do you think that domestic violence realizes such an increase during the Holidays?  Is this in any way related to depression?

Dr. Dee: domestic violence is not always related to depression. It can be, but its actually seen as a separate issue. Many things can trigger men, and sometimes women, to resort to violence, but often around the holidays, control over how money is spent or how family and friends access the couple can trigger an episode of violence.

Chuckie: Any suggestions for mitigating this circumstance?

Dr. Dee: Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to make use of shelters and other agencies designed to help them escape, and perpetrators also can take advantage of mental health services aimed at that population. Some shelters take women along with their children, and some can even make arrangements for a victim’s pets. Pets are often used as a means of threatening a victim into staying. Its often difficult to get both victims and perpetrators to seek help, but it is available.

Chuckie: What criteria should one use when seeking a therapist?

Dr.Dee: therapists generally have a theory or two that they tend to favor. Find out what it is, and whether that fits with your own style. If you want unconditional support and your therapist is a behaviorist, you may not get what you’re looking for! Also ask about licensing and credentials. Anyone can call themselves a therapist. But you need to know the state has said they meet a minimum educational standard. Find out through the state licensing board for their profession whether they have any complaints against them, or whether their license has been suspended. These actions help protect you as a consumer, but few people will actually do this. Interview the therapist as you would a babysitter. If you aren’t comfortable, if the chemistry isn’t right, move on.

Chuckie: What should one expect to achieve in Her/His first session

Dr. Dee: the first session is usually a chance to get some history of your situation or symptoms, and to establish some rapport. Depending on the setting, it may be filled with paperwork, including setting goals and determining how you’ll know when treatment is finished. Some first sessions may be focused on allowing you to “tell your story”, which is what a lot of people want to jump right into from the word “go”. Sometimes the therapist will slow you down so you don’t tell too much too fast. People don’t realize that can leave them feeling very vulnerable sometimes. It should be a comfortable appointment where the limits of confidentiality are discussed, as well as having a framework for the therapy, defined.

Chuckie: well what are the limits of confidentiality? I thought i could tell a therapist anything and they’d have to keep it confidential.

Dr. Dee: in general that is true. However, there are certain circumstances that require the therapist to break that confidentiality: if you tell me you’re going to kill yourself, i have to not only tell, but do whatever i can to keep you safe. That may mean getting responsible family involved, it may mean hospitalization for a few days. If you tell me you’re going to kill someone else, i have to not only tell the intended victim, but the police and my boss. If you tell me you are abusing a child physically or sexually, or yiu are under age or an elderly person, i have to call that in to child or adult protective services. If the court orders me, i have to break confidence. And of course third party payors like insurance companies and medicaid have a right to access records. If the court sent you for services or you are a minor and your parent sent you, they have a right to access your records.
Chuckie: As promised, we limit our “Ask the Doc” session to just a few questions each week.  So in closing any additional words of wisdom for battling the Holiday Blues?

Dr. Dee: sure! Its usually very helpful to direct your energy toward helping someone less fortunate. Anything that shifts the focus away from yourself to others, has a tendency to lift the spirits. Also, exercise in the fresh air, even the cold air, is a mood elevator.

Chuckie:  Well, our time has come to an end.  Thanks Doc for joining us here on the LifeTrain.  Love ya gurl!

Dr.Dee:  Love you too!  See ya next week.  Oh, and hey passengers, all Aboard, The LifeTrain…LOL!