The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

Psych Week Antics: Discover Channel Takes Shot at Mental Health

The Discovery Channel has been airing "Psych Week," and it seems appropriate to compose a blog post on how this type of programming impacts viewers and professionals alike. As a therapist, I am the first to admit how drawn I am to such television programs. It is always interesting to see "real-life" stories and experiences that pertain to the mental health field. There's something intriguing and slightly off-putting how much the brain and our pysche controls the "who" and "what" of ourselves. I also wonder how this impacts current and future clients. So often we glean our medical knowledge from the information that we obtain through television, movies, books, news, and the internet. But that begs the question, how much is useful and how much is made-up?

If you have tuned into "Psych Week," you probably have caught shows on obscure psychological disorders, severe mental health disorders in children, extreme phobias, hoarding, and even sleep sex. Even the most seasoned of therapists and mental health professionals probably have some questions on these topics as do the least knowledgable of those in psychology. It could potentially push someone to learn more about specific issues about himself/herself. It could lead someone to the belief there is something wrong with himself/herself or someone he/she knows. That is why it is extremely important to take some of what we watch with a grain of salt.

As much as my interest is piqued, I do know that more information must be gathered than jumping to a conclusion of diagnosing someone. It is even clear in these shows that it takes some level of digging to get to the bottom of a psychologically oriented issue or disorder. That is why it is so important that whether you're a professional, are someone who is coping with a mental health concern or issue, or know someone who is, to have a true understanding of what options are out there for care.

The need for outpatient therapy or counseling and consulting a psychiatrist are imperative when trying to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Typically professionals with a license in counseling, social work, or psychology provide counseling and therapy services. Psychiatrists are MDs that prescribe medications and work in conjunction with outpatient therapists to treat patients.

There are different levels of care to also be aware of when looking into mental health treatment. For individuals who are feeling suicidal, homicidal, actively hallucinating, or having some significant impairment of functioning should be assessed at an inpatient level of care (hospital). These are usually facilities that provide 24/7 observation and care to assist in stabilizing a patient.

The next level of care is Partial Hospitalization. This treatment program is typically for patients discharging from inpatient or needing more intensive group, family therapy, and individual therapy than can be provided on an outpatient basis. Partial usually meets five days a week and the patient is able to sleep at home at nights and on weekends.

Intensive Outpatient is the lowest level of care before dropping down to your typical once a week appointment with a therapist. Usually patients discharging from Partial Hospitalization will transition into this level of care. It can also be provided to individuals who are needing some more intensive assistance, but who do not require the level of care of Partial. Sessions per week vary according to each program, but it is typical that Intensive Outpatient meets three times a week and is a much more abbreviated program than Partial.

You may have heard of Residential Treatment Centers (RTC). These are alternate levels of care for individuals needing longer term care and treatment than an inpatient hospitalization can provide. Typical stays range from one to three months but is very dependent on how much a patient or his/her family can afford and if health insurance will cover such a stay. In this day and age, insurance companies are less likely to authorize an RTC stay.

As you are a getting a handle on the different types of treatment options, you may also be wondering what types of therapies are out there. The beauty of this field is that there are many alternative approaches to therapy which include but are not limited to:

-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

-Emotion Focused Therapy

-Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

-Clinical Hypnosis

-Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

-Person-Centered Therapy


-Family Systems

-Brief/Solution Focused Therapy




-Dialectal Behavioral Therapy

The list goes on and on. I would highly recommend Googling or doing some research on what type of therapy might be helpful for you. It will also be wise to talk to a therapist to get an idea what he/she could do to help you and what type of approach he/she might suggest to treat you most effectively.

This is why it is extremely important to find your "right fit." I reinforce this with each of my new clients to ensure that we are both on the same page about the goals that the client needs to tackle and that we have a game plan to start reaching said goals. Half the battle is making sure that the client is comfortable with his/her therapist and that the therapist feels competent in being able to address the issues the client brings into session.

So, let "Psych Week" inspire you. Find out more so that you might get some answers for yourself or for a family member or friend. You may even find that this puts you towards a path of becoming a therapist or psychiatrist. Either way, the mind is an extremely awe-inspiring place, and it's good to know that there are people and treatments out there to make more sense of it.


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