Why counselorssoapbox by David Joel Miller

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Counselorssoapbox.com

Who is this David Joel Miller and why is he writing a blog called counselorssoapbox?

Counselorssoapbox is a blog about recovery, wellness and having a happy life. Yes, you guessed it, I am David Joel Miller and I write this blog. It occurs to me though that I have not explained why I write this blog and why I called it counselorssoapbox.

Someone is snickering under their breath the words “for the money” If you were thinking that then you would be more delusional than I was when I started writing this blog. Not delusional in the psychiatric sense, but delusional in that I had no idea how much work writing a blog on a regular basis would be. As for this blog making money, I definitely will not be quitting my day job, or my night job for that matter, anytime soon.

My first exposure to all things psychological was, like many of you, a few classes in psychology. It was the sixties after all. I have since learned that psychology, the kind we study in high school or most colleges is only a distant relative of counseling and recovery. Clinical Psychology, that takes 6 years of college for a Ph.D. and then you can start looking for the answers to why life is the way it is.

My first exposure to counseling and therapy was as a client. I discovered school counselors could tell me what classes to take if I wanted to make the big bucks but none of them seemed to know how to be happy along the way. Eventually, I ended up seeing some therapists. I discovered that there were helpful therapists and unhelpful therapists.

Becoming a therapist was not in my original plan. I took the classes and became a Drug and alcohol counselor. Along the way, I learned a few things. One was that there was a lot of wisdom in those 12 step programs. The other was that my AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) clients all had families. If I wanted to be helpful to those families, especially the children and the significant others, then I needed more training.

Next stop was the classes in how to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. Originally here in California, this was called a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor. Marriage in this context means any two or more people who have a close, primary, usually sexual, relationship.

Over the years of trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be when I grow up, I discovered that having a job or at least a purpose in life was an immense part of being happy. The answer to the who and what question I am still working on, but at least now I know something about the how of being happy.

To help people with their job issues and substance use issues took me in the direction of Professional Clinician Counseling and today I have that license also. From there I drifted, more like jumped, into teaching and supervising other counselors and therapists. So now you know a little bit about me. More is on my “about me” page.

But I still haven’t told you “Why a blog named counselorssoapbox?”

Throughout my process of becoming a professional in this field I kept thinking about those times I had sat on the other side of the desk and what I had experienced. I decided I did not ever want to forget what it was like to be on the client side of the room.

In graduate school, they explained a lot of stuff to us but honestly, I did not feel like some of these professionals I had seen had explained things to me in the way they were supposed to be explained. I asked about confidentiality and never seemed to get a straight answer.

Therapists were often good listeners but if they knew the answers to the “how to have a happy life question” they wanted me to suffer through the process of finding them myself and they flat resisted giving me any answers to these questions.

Counselorssoapbox started off as a way for me to express my opinions about what worked and what didn’t in the therapy world. I wanted to demystify the therapy process and explain what I had learned. Those times I got a reader question and didn’t have the answer took me back to reading the research and looking for more ideas. Writing a blog meant I needed to keep reading, studying and living wellness and recovery. So I just took it one post at a time.

What quickly happened was you readers prodded me in a few directions. Counselorssoapbox received a lot of questions about the safety of counseling, confidentiality and what gets reported. I was surprised at the number of search terms that involved counselors having sex with clients. So I put up a link to the publication “Professional Counseling Never Includes Sex.”  That post and the link keep getting hits so there remains an interest in this topic.

There has also been some interest in particular diagnoses and their treatment. While I can’t do therapy by blog post I have tried to provide general information on mental health and illness. All sorts of how to have a happy, productive, successful life posts find their way onto the blog also. Whatever tips on having the best life possible I come across I try to share.

There you have it. The answers to the questions who is this David Joel Miller and why a blog called counselorssoapbox.

What’s next? I continue to work on some books, both fiction and nonfiction and I write more blog posts looking for all the things that seem worthy of sharing with you. So if there are questions or comments related to the fields of substance use disorders, mental health, and wellness or living a happy life, send them along. I will do my best to answer questions or send you to someone who can. Comments and information from you or others gets shared here also.

If you read this far an extra thanks. Talk with you again soon.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Useful information about Alcohol Use and Abuse

Looking for information about Alcohol Use and Abuse?

Liquor

Alcoholic beverages.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Ever hear of the Alcoholism Awareness Council? I hadn’t. Recently I found this site, or more precisely they found me. Looks like a good source for information on alcohol use, alcohol use disorders and what we used to refer to as alcohol abuse and dependence. They publish information, both statistics, and the latest research, in the field of alcohol use and abuse. Lots of links on this site to other sources, both researchers and government publications.

So if you are researching the state of alcohol use in America or working on a paper for a substance use class this site might be helpful.

Oh yes – sure, you can read counselorssoapbox.com also. I will do my best to keep you posted on the latest information in the fields of substance use disorders, mental health, and co-occurring disorders. But when you are not here at counselorssoapbox.com reading this blog, you might also want to check out the resources at Alcoholism Awareness Council           http://www.alcohol.org/

If you do check out the Alcoholism Awareness Council, please let me know what you think.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Top 10 Mental Health Blog posts of 2013

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Counselorssoapbox.com

Here are the most read mental health blog posts from 2013, at least the most read posts here on counselorssoapbox.com

With over 700 posts now available here on counselorssoapbox.com, a few continue to be read and reread each and every day.

In case you missed any of these Mental Health or Substance Abuse posts the links are below. There are also a whole parcel of other posts, some of them very specialized. You might want to look through the library of past posts or try the search feature to look for things that are of interest to you.

Many of the posts over the last year were inspired by questions that you readers sent in and the comments you left at the end of posts. Keep those comments and questions coming. It helps me to know what you would like me to talk about next.

Every question or comment deserves a reply and please know that I wish I could get back to you all right away but this schedule, having to work and trying to write does not always allow me to post responses as quickly as I would like. Just know that I really want to tell you things that are accurate and that means some time researching things and thinking about them before I post that reply.

The work on the book I have been writing is accelerating and I hope to have more to tell you on that topic in the near future.

Without further delay – the top Mental Health posts on counselorssoapbox.com for 2013 are:

1. How much should you tell a therapist?  

2. Levels or types of Borderline Personality Disorder 

3. Do therapists have to report a crime? 

4. Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts   

5. Which border is Borderline Intellectual Functioning on? 

6. Are you Hyperthymic?

7. Hyperthymia, Hyperthymic Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

8. Is nicotine a stimulant or a depressant?  

9. Why can’t we forget the painful past?

10. 6 ways to recover from Complex Trauma or Complex PTSD

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

CALPCC board meeting – Professional Clinical Counseling

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Just returned from the CALPCC board meeting. http://calpcc.org/

CALPCC stands for California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. It is an honor and privilege to be able to hang out with a group of people who are so concerned about the future of the Counseling profession.

The things we talked about will affect those who work in the field and those who receive services from Professional Counselors everywhere. I try to balance posts on the counselorssoapbox.com blog between things that are of interest to clients, people in recovery from whatever challenge you have, and those who consider themselves professionals. Some people fit into multiple categories.

Today a quick summary and then in the future I plan to write some posts about things I learned and thoughts I have had as a result of this meeting. Today just the highlights of my thoughts, and while I can’t speak on behalf of the organization or the board, as always I have plenty of thoughts of my own.

CALPCC’s primary mission is to further the profession of Clinical Counseling here in California. Many of our board members are very active at the National level and beyond.

I see a difference between the processes of counseling, therapy, and coaching. My students know that while I am licensed as both a Marriage and Family Therapist and a Professional Clinical Counselor I see those functions as two different things and describe myself as a counselor first and a therapist second.

One size does not fit all

There are some disturbing trends in mental health treatment these days.

The first step for most clients is to get them on meds. If they need them that is all well and good, but sometimes the meds cause harm.  In this era of “there is a pill for everything,” it is hard to convince those who pay that clients might benefit more from some counseling than from a meds only approach.

Meds can only do so much, to help a person to have a life worth living; they may need some help learning new skills, like living without drugs or setting and accomplishing goals.

It is estimated that California will need an additional 5,000 mental health clinicians by the year 2019. Many of those clinicians will be working with the poor, the unemployed and the addicted.

Professional Clinical Counselors are uniquely qualified to fill that need. They are trained in 13 separate “core areas.” Including career counseling – getting a job, addiction counseling, and many have extra training in working with non-verbal clients or those whose primary learning styles is a mode other than words.

As more Clinical counselors get their license some are asking about the prospects of going into private practice. I am working on a power point and a longer article on the topic of counselors in private practice. That old Business Administration degree keeps calling to me. If that topic interests you, send me an email or other communication and I will put you on a list to get the link or the article when it is finished. The same goes if you are interested in the book that is in progress.

If you are interested in the role of Professional Clinical Counselors consider visiting the CALPCC website. (Links to CALPCC.org or counselorssoapbox.com are always appreciated.)

If you are a student, trainee or intern, consider becoming a member. The Unlicensed rate is a paltry $30 and includes some perks like accesses to the member’s only page, info on job opportunities and a discount on your liability insurance. That discount alone will pay for the membership or come real close.

CALPCC is a small but growing group. Most of the work is done by the members and volunteers, not paid professional staff. So when you join, consider volunteering to help and serving on a committee. Member input and participation in CALPCC is welcomed.

At this time the job openings for LPCC’s and PCCI interns are thin. CALPCC is working on getting more government and insurance positions open to LPCC’s. I believe that as more people know the things that LPCC’s can do the more job openings there will be. (Yes Mental Health Directors and other employers, LPCC’s are trained to and may see children.)

I know there are some behemoth counseling organizations who advocate for all mental health professionals, but if you are or plan to become a Clinical Counselor or another professional counselor then you owe it to yourself to join a group that advocates for Professional Clinical Counselors, particularly if you live here in California.

As you might guess I am a bit tired from the long drive and the writing schedule for the counselorssoapbox.com blog is behind schedule. It is a long drive from Fresno California to almost anywhere. If you find any typos that did not get corrected in the proofing, be kind, please.

Please – please, leave a comment or question. Those responses help me know if the things I am writing are useful and what other topics you would like to see posts about.