Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE)

LCA News and Information

Want to learn effective ways to improve relationships with children in your life?

We are wired to learn within relationships! In this three-hour interactive session, participants who have contact with young children will explore CARE: Child Adult Relationship Enhancement. CARE uses the three P principles (Praise, Paraphrase, and Point-Out Behavior) to connect children with adults in their lives. CARE teaches effective positive commands and strategies to redirect problematic behaviors. CARE includes an evidenced-based education component to increase understanding of behaviors associated with trauma .

Please join us for this valuable training!

10/28/2016 9:00 a.m.-Noon, Northwest MN Foundation- Bemidji

Thrive Professional Education Series #1 – Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE)
Presenter: Jessica Croatt Niemi, MSW, LICSW IMH-E(IV)

Only $25, CEUs are being applied for.

Register on Eventbrite!

Watch this video:

LCA welcomes Ellie Anderson, MSW, LICSW

LCA News and Information

Lake Country AssociatesEllie Anderson MSW LICSW welcomes Ellie Anderson, MSW, LISCW to it’s team of caring professionals. Ellie has been providing school-based, in-home and outpatient therapeutic services through Stellher Human Services for the past 14 years.  She looks forward to continuing her work with children, adolescents, adults and families.  Ellie’s specialties include working with trauma survivors, supporting parents, and providing therapy to people with anxiety, depression, disruptive behaviors, and adjustment issues.  Ellie starts with LCA on September 1st and is looking forward to continuing to serve the community out of our Park Rapids office.

 

Please join us in welcoming Ellie Anderson to the LCA team!

 

Read more about Ellie Anderson.

 

 

TXT4Life – Free, confidential crisis counseling.

LCA News and Information

What is TXT4Life?

TXT4Life confidentially connects texters with counselors who are trained to respond to problems and crisis situations free of charge, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Counselors help texters get to an emotionally and physically safe place then direct them to community resources that can provide longer-term support.

text for life logoA person’s response to emotional and mental health difficulties is as unique as the person him or herself. When a person is moving toward, or has reached the point of crisis, it is time to reach out for help from crisis resource such as TXT4Life.

TXT4Life is a suicide prevention resource available in many counties in Minnesota. The TXT4Life program uses texting as a way for those in crisis or contemplating suicide to anonymously reach out and ask for free and confidential help.

How does it work?

When individuals text the word “LIFE” to 61222, they are connected with a trained counselor who can help them by listening, providing tools and resources, and helping them get to a safe place, both emotionally and physically.

For more information, visit www.TXT4Life.org.

LCA is looking for a Part-Time Mental Health Practitioner

LCA News and Information

LCA’s Park Rapids office is seeking a qualified Mental Health Practitioner to provide services to adults with mental illness.  The Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) program serves adults in their home and community with the goal of helping them manage their mental illness, improve their lives, and avoid hospitalization.  Lake Country Associates is certified to provide ARMHS services in Hubbard, Becker, Cass and Wadena Counties.  The part-time Practitioner position is flexible and ideal for an experienced quasi-retired individual, as well as someone interested in working their way into a more full-time position helping others.peaceful stone

More Information

For more information about becoming a Mental Health Practitioner or about other jobs at LCA, click the following link:

https://lakecountryassociates.com/career-opportunities/

LCA Welcomes Jennifer Miller!

LCA News and Information

You may encounter a new, yet familiar face the next time you visit LCA offices.  Jennifer Miller has joined the LCA Team!  Jennifer has been the primary support staff at Mental Health Services of Bemidji, Inc. for the past seven years, supporting Kristi Lind-Wheatley in providing medication management services to Park Rapids and the surrounding communities.  With Kristi taking a position at Essentia in Bagley and closing her office in Park Rapids, Jennifer is joining LCA and will be providing office support to the Park Rapids and Bemidji offices.  Prior to working at Mental Health Services, Jennifer worked at Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center in Park Rapids, where several LCA staff members had the opportunity to get to know Jennifer and appreciate her kindness and competence.

 

In addition to being a part of our support staff “Dream Team”, Jennifer will have the role of Care Coordinator and will be the primary contact for medical professionals from other agencies.  Our hope is that improving coordination with other professionals in the community will improve outcomes for the people we serve.

 

Please join us in offering a warm welcome to Jennifer Miller!

What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?

LCA News and Information

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an innovative, evidence-based program provided out of our Bemidji office.  The program is designed to help families with children 2 to 7 years old who exhibit behavior problems that are beyond what is considered normal for their developmental age.  PCIT can help children with behavior problems, attention problems, and attachment problems.  These children are often described as defiant, un-controllable, overactive, attention-seeking, and/or extremely impulsive.  PCIT teaches parents how to improve discipline techniques and at the same time enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship.

Jessica Croatt Niemi, MSSW LICSW, IMH-E(IV) provides Parent Child Interaction Therapy out of our Bemidji office.  Families who want to enhance their relationship and learn how to set clear and consistent limits have found PCIT helpful.

More Information

To learn more about PCIT, watch this 90 second video.

Referrals for PCIT

To make a referral for PCIT, call our Bemidji office at 218-444-2233.

Also, see our Brochures and Referral Forms

LCA welcomes Katherine Meyers!

LCA News and Information

LCA is proud to announce the addition of Katherine Meyers, MSSW, LGSW to our team of counseling professionals.  Katherine will be working out of the Bemidji office beginning on June 20th, coming to our Park Rapids office one day a week through this summer.  For the past year, Katherine has been providing mental health counseling to children Kindergarten and under in the Bemidji School District.  Prior to herKatM_small work in Bemidji, Katherine was in Wisconsin, working as a social worker and advocate for children, teens, women, and families.

In her position at Lake Country Associates, she will be providing the following services:

  • Developmental Diagnostic Assessments for children birth – 3 years
  • Diagnostic Assessments for children, teens and adults
  • Psychotherapy for children, teens, women and families with a range of needs including, but not limited to: school performance, social skills, anxiety (general and specific), depression, family conflict, and various traumas

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Katherine, call Lake Country Associates at 218-444-2233 (Bemidji) or 218-366-9229 (Park Rapids).

Know the Warning Signs of Mental Illness

LCA News and Information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has identified warning signs for someone with a mental illness.

Here’s what NAMI had to say about it:

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Warning Signs for Mental Illness in Adults

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

Warning Signs for Mental Illness in Children

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Where to Get Help

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step.

See more information on mental illness at: https://www.nami.org or call Lake Country Associates.  To make a referral for services, please call us at 218-366-9229 or complete a referral form.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

LCA News and Information

Data from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill about the prevalence and impact of Mental illness suggests it’s more common than people think.  May is mental health awareness month (for more information, see their website at NAMI.org):

Prevalence of Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—10 million, or 4.2%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.

Social Stats

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
  • Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.

 

See citations and more information at: https://www.nami.org

 

What is Psychotherapy?

LCA News and InformationMental Health Services

Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is when a person speaks with a trained therapist in a safe and confidential environment to explore and understand feelings and behaviors and gain coping skills.

During individual talk therapy sessions, the conversation is often led by the therapist and can touch on topics such as past or current problems, experiences, thoughts, feelings or relationships experienced by the person while the therapist helps make connections and provide insight.

Studies have found individual psychotherapy to be effective at improving symptoms in a wide array of mental illnesses, making it both a popular and versatile treatment. It can also be used for families, couples or groups. Best practice for treating many mental health conditions includes a combination of medication and therapy.

Popular Types of Psychotherapy

Therapists offer many different types of psychotherapy. Some people respond better to one type of therapy than another, so a psychotherapist will take things like the nature of the problem being treated and the person’s personality into account when determining which treatment will be most effective.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on exploring relationships among a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. During CBT a therapist will actively work with a person to uncover unhealthy patterns of thought and how they may be causing self-destructive behaviors and beliefs.

By addressing these patterns, the person and therapist can work together to develop constructive ways of thinking that will produce healthier behaviors and beliefs. For instance, CBT can help someone replace thoughts that lead to low self-esteem (“I can’t do anything right”) with positive expectations (“I can do this most of the time, based on my prior experiences”).

The core principles of CBT are identifying negative or false beliefs and testing or restructuring them. Oftentimes someone being treated with CBT will have homework in between sessions where they practice replacing negative thoughts with with more realistic thoughts based on prior experiences or record their negative thoughts in a journal.

Studies of CBT have shown it to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Individuals who undergo CBT show changes in brain activity, suggesting that this therapy actually improves your brain functioning as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has a considerable amount of scientific data supporting its use and many mental health care professionals have training in CBT, making it both effective and accessible. More are needed to meet the public health demand, however.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over time, DBT has been adapted to treat people with multiple different mental illnesses, but most people who are treated with DBT have BPD as a primary diagnosis.

DBT is heavily based on CBT with one big exception: it emphasizes validation, or accepting uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and behaviors instead of struggling with them. By having an individual come to terms with the troubling thoughts, emotions or behaviors that they struggle with, change no longer appears impossible and they can work with their therapist to create a gradual plan for recovery.

The therapist’s role in DBT is to help the person find a balance between acceptance and change. They also help the person develop new skills, like coping methods and mindfulness practices, so that the person has the power to improve unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Similar to CBT, individuals undergoing DBT are usually instructed to practice these new methods of thinking and behaving as homework between sessions. Improving coping strategies is an essential aspect of successful DBT treatment.

Studies have shown DBT to be effective at producing significant and long-lasting improvement for people experiencing a mental illness. It helps decrease the frequency and severity of dangerous behaviors, uses positive reinforcement to motivate change, emphasizes the individual’s strengths and helps translate the things learned in therapy to the person’s everyday life.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is used to treat PTSD. A number of studies have shown it can reduce the emotional distress resulting from traumatic memories.

EMDR replaces negative emotional reactions to difficult memories with less-charged or positive reactions or beliefs. Performing a series of back and forth, repetitive eye movements for 20-30 seconds can help individuals change these emotional reactions.

Therapists refer to this protocol as “dual stimulation.” During the therapy, an individual stimulates the brain with back and forth eye movements (or specific sequences of tapping or musical tones). Simultaneously, the individual stimulates memories by recalling a traumatic event. There is controversy about EMDR—and whether the benefit is from the exposure inherent in the treatment or if movement is an essential aspect of the treatment.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is most frequently used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and phobias. During treatment, a person works with a therapist to identify the triggers of their anxiety and learn techniques to avoid performing rituals or becoming anxious when they are exposed to them. The person then confronts whatever triggers them in a controlled environment where they can safely practice implementing these strategies.

There are two methods of exposure therapy. One presents a large amount of the triggering stimulus all at once (“flooding”) and the other presents small amounts first and escalates over time (“desensitization”). Both help the person learn how to cope with what triggers their anxiety so they can apply it to their everyday life.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships a person has with others, with a goal of improving the person’s interpersonal skills. In this form of psychotherapy, the therapist helps people evaluate their social interactions and recognize negative patterns, like social isolation or aggression, and ultimately helps them learn strategies for understanding and interacting positively with others.

Interpersonal therapy is most often used to treat depression, but may be recommended with other mental health conditions.

Mentalization-based Therapy

Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) can bring long-term improvement to people with BPD, according to randomized clinical trials. MBT is a kind of psychotherapy that engages and exercises the important skill called mentalizing.

Mentalizing refers to the intuitive process that gives us a sense of self. When people consciously perceive and understand their own inner feelings and thoughts, it’s mentalizing. People also use mentalizing to perceive the behavior of others and to speculate about their feelings and thoughts. Mentalizing thus plays an essential role in helping us connect with other people.

BPD often causes feelings described as “emptiness” or “an unstable self-image.” Relationships with others tend to be unstable as well. MBT addresses this emptiness or instability by teaching skills in mentalizing. The theory behind MBT is that people with BPD have a weak ability to mentalize about their own selves, leading to weak feelings of self, over-attachment to others, and difficulty empathizing with the inner lives of other people.

In MBT, a therapist encourages a person with BPD to practice mentalizing, particularly about the current relationship with the therapist. Since people with BPD may grow attached to therapists quickly, MBT takes this attachment into account. By becoming aware of attachment feelings in a safe therapeutic context, a person with BPD can increase their ability to mentalize and learn increased empathy.

Compared to other forms of psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, MBT is less structured and should typically be long-term. The technique can be carried out by non-specialist mental health practitioners in individual and group settings.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

The goal of psychodynamic therapy is to recognize negative patterns of behavior and feeling that are rooted in past experiences and resolve them. This type of therapy often uses open-ended questions and free association so that people have the opportunity to discuss whatever is on their minds. The therapist then works with the person to sift through these thoughts and identify unconscious patterns of negative behavior or feelings and how they have been caused or influenced by past experiences and unresolved feelings. By bringing these associations to the person’s attention they can learn to overcome the unhelpful behaviors and feelings which they caused.

Psychodynamic therapy is often useful for treating depression, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, and other mental illnesses.

Therapy Pets

Spending time with domestic animals can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain for many people. Hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities sometimes make use of this effect by offering therapy animals. Trained therapy pets accompanied by a handler can offer structured animal-assisted therapy or simply visit people to provide comfort.

Dogs are the most popular animals to work as therapy pets, though other animals can succeed as well if they are docile and respond to training. Hospitals make use of therapy pets particularly for patients with cancer, heart disease and mental health conditions. The pets that are certified to visit medical facilities meet a high standard of training and are healthy and vaccinated.

For people with a mental health condition, research has shown that time with pets reduces anxiety levels more than other recreational activities. Pets also provide a non-judgmental form of interaction that can motivate and encourage people, especially children. Veterans with PTSD have also found therapy pets helpful.

A session with a therapy pet and its handler may focus on specific goals such as learning a skill through human-animal interaction. Alternatively, simply spending time holding a therapy pet can have benefits such as lower anxiety levels.

Though more research is necessary to establish why animal therapy is effective, one theory is that humans evolved to be highly aware of our natural environment, including the animals around us. The sight of a calm animal reassures us that the environment is safe, thus reducing anxiety and increasing our own feelings of calm.

Therapy animals are not the same as service animals, who receive a higher level of training and learn specific tasks for assisting one person on a long-term basis. Service animals are considered working animals, not pets. They have shown some promise in helping people with mental health conditions, particularly PTSD and panic disorders.

Reducing Stigma

LCA News and Information
NAMI suggests three easy steps to reducing stigma and becoming “Stigma Free”.

Step 1

Educate Yourself and Others

Everyone knows a little about mental health issues but knowing the facts about mental illness can help you educate others and reject stigmatizing stereotypes. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Understanding mental health isn’t only about being able to identify symptoms and having a name for these conditions but dispelling many false ideas about mental health conditions as well.

Step 2

See the Person and Not the Illness

1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition and each of them has their own story, path and journey that says more about them than their diagnosis. Whether you live with mental illness or are a friend, family member, caregiver or medical professional getting to know a person and treating them with kindness and empathy means far more than just knowing what they are going through.

Step 3

Take Action on Mental Health Issues

Our mental health care systems have been in crisis for far too long and often keep treatment and recovery out of the hands of many who need it. We can take action now as we push for better legislation and policies to improve lives for everyone. By lending your support you can show that this cause important to you and desperately needed for millions of Americans.

See more at: https://www.nami.org

Client Comments

“I have a great therapist. I appreciate her assistance!”

Office Hours

Park Rapids Office

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
    8:00 to 5:00
  • Wednesday
    8:00 to 7:00
  • Friday
    8:00 to 1:00

Bemidji Office

  • Monday – Friday
    8:00 to 5:00

Both LCA offices may be closed over the noon hour. 

Important Numbers

Park Rapids Office Phone:
218-366-9229

Bemidji Office Phone:
218-444-2233

LCA Fax Number (both offices):

218-237-2520

24-Hour Crisis Line:
800-422-0045

Resources

LCA Brochure 5.14.18

Community Resource List 5.9.18

All Forms and Downloads