hero assessment - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout Florida

Assessment and Crisis Intervention

assessment img 1 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaThe lying, stealing, and manipulating behaviors…

They’re driving a wedge through the family structure.

Unable to trust those who live in the home leaves no safe refuge. Even when the tides seem calm – “Are things are too good to be true?” Then, the ball drops.

Finding out that substance use has been occurring in the home – “I had no idea how I missed this.” Uncertainty and fear for the safety of loved ones cause sleepless nights – and a constant state of flux.

“This is unsustainable!”

To make matters worse, different family members feel very differently about managing the situation. Some want him out of the house, while others feel keeping him home is safer – “never mind the behaviors – he can die on the streets with ODs skyrocketing across the nation.”

Who’s right and who’s wrong? The tentacles of substance disorders and mental health crises put entire families at risk.

Take it from a desperate mother:

“Andrew, you have to help. I didn’t know who else to call. Our 12-year-old daughter went into her brother’s room, and his lips and fingers were blue. Thank goodness the paramedics resuscitated him. But… my daughter – she’s traumatized. My son almost died. How many times can we save him? What if she never checked the room?”

Uncommon? No… Calls like these are becoming more and more common.

Don’t roll the dice on the lives of loved ones. Act swiftly, get competent help.

assessment img 2 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaFinding the right help can be exhausting.

Comparing apples to apples! Not so much…

Google searches for treatment services turn up an overwhelming number of programs – all of which claim similar features – “90{2376a9a1d77ed0d85097746322a67b38f41dc737bdd5f1304165346eb6516a9b} success rate,” “evidence-based,” “individualized,” “we deal with the mental health, too,” and the list goes on… Navigating the industry can feel like “The Wild West.”

Vulnerable and unsuspecting families can waste valuable time and resources without results. The reality is, as much as the industry has been cleaned up, it’s still fraught with aggressive and predatory practices designed to extract as much money as possible from YOUR misery.

I’ve always kept my “why” in the forefront of my mind – “Why I do what I do” – regarding that, I promised myself to do what I can to place the “mission above the margin” – to be a person others can rely on to tell them the truth – disclose all angles to them.

Protecting the best interests of those I help is my number one priority. Nothing disturbs me more than aggressive operators frivolously draining the resources of the vulnerable. I don’t have an issue with an expensive program – as long as the services are necessary and delivered at the highest level of quality.

Working for myself allows that to happen. In navigating the treatment industry for residential and outpatient levels of care, I can be objective and upfront. I help my clients ask the right questions and advise them on what to look for regarding the credentials of the people working in programs (FYI, there’s a wide range, regardless of how prestigious/expensive or well known the program is). Who your loved one gets as their assigned counselor/therapist in a program is largely “luck of the draw” and based on who has an opening at the time of admission.

Like the education system – picking the school doesn’t mean picking the teacher.

assessment3 1 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaNo perfect remedy exists to ensure your loved one gets the most qualified person. However, some questions to consider when vetting a program include:

  • Accreditation of the program.
  • The structure of the organization – for-profit versus non-profit.
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Qualifications of staff (licensed or intern/community college certificate/bachelor’s vs. Master’s/Doctoral level – if fully licensed to provide mental health therapy – what year were they licensed?).
  • Does the program use a nurse practitioner or a psychiatrist for medication management?
  • Who runs their treatment groups – licensed professionals or paraprofessionals?

Some facilities rely heavily on certified substance use professionals who aren’t trained in mental health. It’s good to ask if clients will also have access to a mental health professional such as a psychologist for weekly sessions and the substance use specialist. If not, learn how much they charge to include this.

If trauma or severe mental health are in play, these questions become more relevant.

If treatment programs are necessary, I can’t guarantee any program will be perfect. However, I can be loyal to the client’s well-being and best interest and ensure that the family is apprised of any insight I have regarding how to read between the lines and translate what may otherwise sound like “jargon.” Moreover, I can help level the playing field by getting the family up-to-speed by understanding how the system works.

Treatment centers are large systems that depend on impeccable communication to ensure the best outcomes. Important details (relevant to your loved one) notoriously fall through the cracks. That said, there’s no question that families represented by a competent therapist are most likely to get the best care.

assessment img 4 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaDon’t get caught in the dysfunctional web.

Get help. It may save a ton of heartache – at a time when problems are already too much to bear, extra complications should be avoided at all costs.

When families are in crisis – mental health issues, suicidal threats, self-injury, sexual acting out, substance use, legal charges – I can work with you to address the issues, one by one.

I will do everything in my power to gather as much information as possible. This happens through talking to family members, medical professionals, relevant attorneys, and of course, the individual(s) suffering. This allows for a comprehensive “bird’s eye” view of the situation.

Following this, we can all sit down in person or zoom/conference call to discuss clinical recommendations and put a plan in place.

I will make myself available to the best of my ability to provide coaching and support along the way. This includes coordinating with programs, transporting the client there – or assisting with arranging transportation, advocacy on behalf of the client/family through written assessments and opinions for legal proceedings. The bottom line is I will walk by your side and figure everything out with you in the most compassionate and supportive manner possible.

assessment img 5 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaHere’s what it looks like…

Circumstances tend to be unpredictable in these situations. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to work in person, on the phone, zoom, etc. I have a comfortable office in Boca Raton, which is a great venue for assessments and meetings if the situation permits.

In cases where the loved one is compliant and willing to participate freely, an assessment tends to be an excellent place to start.

Suppose the loved one is unwilling and rejecting help. In that case, it’s likely best to start with a plan to stabilize the situation first; i.e., communicating boundaries and/or getting them into a treatment program right away. I can assist by meeting with the individual and the family together, or just the individual – depending on the circumstances of the case. All decisions will be made in collaboration with the family/and relevant people to the situation.

Formal assessments with the suffering person can be useful. However, not always necessary right away. Usually, these are recommended for willing and compliant individuals – especially since they are amenable to sign a release of information permitting me to disclose what happened during the assessment.

If they won’t sign the release, I can support the family without the formal assessment but act as more of a consultant or emotional support person.

It becomes necessary to utilize legal measures to help get your loved one help in more desperate situations.

The legal tools…

Substance misuse issues: The “Marchman Act” involves petitioning the court to require treatment – and the courts can mandate multiple months of care and extend the order if needed.

Mental health: Florida’s “Baker Act” allows clients to be held for 72 hours of psychiatric observation.

Some tidbits around formal assessments:

They are one-on-one meetings with the one who needs help, typically lasting about an hour and a half. The goal is to get a history and timeline – how things got where they are, significant events, how others are impacted, goals of the client. What, if any, attempts at solving this have already been made? Review of medical history, school, family dynamics, determining the level of willingness to accept help, and more.

After completing the meeting, I make myself available to the family – to discuss how things went (as long as the client agrees to sign a release of information) – I’m happy to think out loud. However, after a few days, I typically have more insight (enough time to process the information and formally document the assessment). Timelines around assessments are subject to change. Therefore, please always ask any questions around the timeframes throughout the case, and I will make every effort to communicate projected completion times (for formal documents).

assessment img 6 - Waters Counseling - Therapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Families, and Couples In-Person in Boca Raton and Online throughout FloridaPlease keep in mind that crises tend to unfold rapidly.

Therefore, plans on addressing the situation may need to change unexpectedly.

Intervening on crises is not typically a one-day event – it requires several days, or even weeks – working with the suffering person to communicate as effectively as possible what the concerns are and how the family intends to help them.

I’ll offer you some recommendations based on the assessment. Examples can include inpatient or outpatient treatment, individual therapy, case management, etc. But don’t worry about all that. I will keep the family members involved in the person’s care well-informed and educated throughout the process.

We’ll then put those recommendations into action. Contacting providers, psychiatrists, specialists, treatment programs – to name a few.

After a plan is agreed upon, I can support the family in executing the process and provide support along the way. At times, families require support with setting boundaries or changing how they react in certain situations. Other times, family members may need support and a compassionate ear to talk through their feelings. Whatever the family needs to put itself back together again is what I will work to accomplish with you.

Get the help you deserve.

I know that emotions run high when a loved one is unwell. That’s totally natural, and I’m here to help.

As a seasoned therapist with lots of experience in crisis management and recovery, I’m ready to step up and help get things moving in the right direction.

If your family is in crisis, take this first step toward ending the chaos. Don’t let it get worse.

You’re strong enough to do this! Give me a call for your free consultation: (561) 717-3227.