One of the biggest questions that I get asked about is whether therapists diagnose you or if they tell you that you have a particular mental health condition. Both of these thoughts are incorrect. In fact, there is no distinction made between a therapist diagnosing you or telling you that you have a mental health condition. Talking with a therapist is just like having a conversation. You tell them your story and they tell you theirs.
Diagnosing you is actually left up to your own preferences. Many therapists will use a standard diagnostic tool known as the MAST system or the Meta-View on Sexuality. This tool was created by Dr. Williamasca to help therapists recognize sexual problems in their patients. Through this diagnostic tool, therapists are able to determine whether or not someone has a mental health condition.
However, you are not required to take MAST. There are several other tools that can be used by your therapist in order to determine whether or not you have a disorder. Two of the more popular tools are called the EMO checklist and the CAPA checklist. The CAPA checklist and the EMO checklist are both created by the American Psychological Association and they can be very useful when discussing how do therapists diagnose you.
When discussing how do therapists diagnose you with a mental disorder, it is important to remember that some psychologists and social workers do not use these tools. For example, marriage and family therapy forms the basis of much of the mental health care provided by psychologists and social workers. Social workers are not always psychologists. As such, you will find that some social workers (SPs) do not accept clients who are complaining of sexual abuse, although some do.
Another thing to remember is that some mental health and psychologist and social worker psychologists may not be familiar with some of the newer tools that are used in cognitive behavioral therapy. For example, some of the newer methods of cognitive behavioral therapy are not mentioned by therapists who work in the field of clinical psychology. This is because the techniques used by many SPs are considered “new age” and some psychologists consider them to be “more cognitive”, even if they are not. If you want to receive treatment from a therapist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy, you may have to explain to your therapist what the technique is. For example, if your SP believes that you should not be allowed to smoke because smoking is a gateway into dangerous behavior, and then he tells you that you should try to stop smoking for a month, then you have to listen to your SP carefully because he or she will know that you were never told that it was a gateway or dangerous behavior to begin with! If your SP does not know that you can be helped with this new method, then you may not be able to stop smoking for your mental illness.
Unfortunately, not all SPs are like this. There are many psychotherapists and psychologist who believe that they can help their clients do just about anything, but many of these professional practices are not formally recognized by any of the major psychological associations in the United States, so they are not considered by these professionals to be part of their practice. Many of these psychologists have become so proficient at their craft that they open up their practices to people who have not been diagnosed with an official mental illness, or they refer their clients to other psychiatrists, or engage in what is called “cooperation therapy” where the therapist teaches their client to cope better with certain behavioral issues, or to take more responsibility for their own health. Some of these therapists do not believe in diagnosing their patients as having a disorder in the first place, and some of these therapists have become quite skilled at diagnosing disorders based on litmus tests that ask things like whether or not a patient is depressed, sad, or angry.
So what is SP therapy? According to some of my former clients who have received CBT, this style of psychological treatment is very similar to the methods used by psychiatrists, except that their goals are often much different. In order to receive “CBT” or “Cognition Based Therapy”, you will probably need to attend sessions with a psychologist twice a week for up to twelve weeks. During these sessions, the psychologist will teach you how to change your thoughts (through self-monitoring and observation) as well as how to control your emotions.
This “CBT” style of treatment may seem like an easy way out of dealing with some of life’s stressful situations, but it does not address the root of the problems that cause many people to suffer from mental health disorders. For this reason, many people find that “CBT” does not give them the kind of relief they need. Unfortunately, when psychologists use these methods to treat patients, they sometimes make patients worse off than they were before they entered the therapist’s office. Instead of learning how to help themselves, their therapists make them worse. If you are interested in receiving some additional information about the controversy surrounding psychologists who use “CBT” to treat their patients, I would be glad that you consider sharing this information with others.