Arthur Mitchell and Plutus Mystery #3 is available now.

Arthur Mitchell and Plutus Mystery #3 is available now.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Letters From The Dead

Arthur Mitchell discovers a letter from Abigail Morton Pettengrew to Inspector Detective Thaddeus Kincaid describing a kidnap and murder. Abigail and Detective Kincaid are both dead and now someone is out to end Arthur’s life.

Letters from the Dead is the third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

My latest book, Letters from the Dead, is now available.

Letters from the Dead is my fifth book, the third in the Arthur Mitchell and his Dog Plutus Mystery Series. Letters from the Dead is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.

Counselorssoapbox YouTube video channel continues to grow.

I started this video channel project largely for the students and counseling classes. I can tell the younger students prefer watching videos to reading the text. Creating videos this turned out to be a bit of a challenge for this digital immigrant. The current series of videos about drug use and abuse. Please feel free to check out the videos.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

FIVE David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Letters from the Dead. Arthur Mitchell discovers a letter from Abigail Morton Pettengrew to Inspector Detective Thaddeus Kincaid describing a kidnap and murder. Abigail and Detective Kincaid are both dead and now someone is out to end Arthur’s life.

Planned Accidents. Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus discover another mystery.

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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus discover another mystery.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Arthur Mitchell and his detective dog Plutus are enjoying their peaceful life when Arthur’s friends begin to die in mysterious accidents. Who is behind these accidents and will Arthur be the next to die? What is the meaning of the clues Plutus discovers?

Planned Accidents is the second Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

My latest book, Planned Accidents, is finally finished.

Planned Accidents is my fourth book, the second in the Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus mystery series. Planned Accidents, the Kindle edition, is now and the preorder phase. Its official release date is April 1, 2019. The paperback edition is currently available from Amazon.

I started this book last November as part of the NaNoWriMo contest. Planned Accidents was one of the “winners” of that adventure in 2018. I have spent the last three months editing and revising the book. Of course, life always seems to get in the way of being creative. So, there have been several starts and stops along the way. I think the reason I finally finished this book was I set a firm deadline for myself for it to be released by 1 April.

Counselorssoapbox YouTube video channel continues to grow.

I started this video channel project largely for the students and counseling classes. I can tell the younger students prefer watching videos to reading the text. Creating videos has turned out to be a bit of a challenge for this digital immigrant. The current series of videos are about drug use and abuse. Please feel free to check out the videos.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Planned Accidents. Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus discover another mystery.

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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Too busy writing to write anything?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do I describe what I’m doing with all my time?

I woke up the other morning and realized that I’ve been so busy working on various projects that I’ve not yet gotten around to the final revisions and the publishing of my third novel tentatively titled “Planned Accidents.”

I spent a lot of time creating content. I can’t be sure which of that content accurately qualifies under the heading of writing. What we mean by writing has changed so much during my lifetime I’m no longer sure when I’m writing and when I’m not.

What’s the difference between writer, author, content creator and so on.

As a self-published author, there’s a lot of tasks that need to be done. First, I get the idea, then the outline, and finally the slog through producing that first draft. First draft in hand there is the editing and revision, creation of covers, formatting the manuscript, and all the steps to uploading that manuscript to platforms, so it’s ready for purchase. If that was all I had to do, I don’t know what I would do with my spare time.

I tried compartmentalizing my thinking. When I’m in my creative persona, I’m the writer. The steps that involve the editing and publishing I think of as my author persona. The author part of me takes the creative output of my writer persona and makes it into a published book.

Am I really a writer if I spend all day doing things that are writing?

I feel a layer of guilt about even calling what I do writing. When I was younger writing meant using a stylus, a pen or pencil, and placing characters on a piece of paper which could be interpreted by others as the words I intended. Indeed, I am old enough to have primarily written using cursive rather than block letters.

As I have completed additional trips around the sun, I find this a less threatening metaphor than saying I have gotten older, my writing has involved considerably less writing. Over the last century, more or less, I think we came to accept that products created using a typewriter can be justifiably called writing. From typewriters it’s been a leap, sometimes a traumatic one, to producing that same final “written” product using a computer.

Is it writing if I dictate?

The last few years I’ve developed pains in my wrists when I try to type too much. Where I once took pride in “pounding the keys” the keys on my computer began to pound back. Recently I’ve taken to primarily dictating. While writing and dictating are both forms of storytelling, I’m wondering if we’re stretching the meaning of the word writing when I tell people I have written several books when I have in fact been dictating them?

I think the concept of writing has crept ever larger.

Today a lot of people read written material by having the computer convert the words into sounds they can listen to. Some writers turn their products into audio “books.” I understand we shifted from calling things manuscripts when scribes had to hand copy them, to calling them books when that Gutenberg invention allowed for mass production. There’s a part of me that feels guilty about calling something a book knowing that people will be listening to an artificial intelligence convert electronic images into speech. Many people today read a book without either a physical book or the need to use their eyes to look at the item they are “reading.”

Are making videos other forms of writing?

One “little” project I’ve been working on over the last month has turned out to be not so little. Many of my students and more than one of my colleagues has emailed me asking if I had seen a particular video. Notice I no longer call those messages which arrive on my computer as something they have written to me. Emailing letters has substantially replaced writing letters.

I have spent a good part of January creating a YouTube video channel and producing videos for that channel. I noticed that readership of the counselorssoapbox.com blog had suffered as students, went to researching things on YouTube. The net result of this cultural shift is my new video channel with the shockingly creative name Counselorssoapbox.

So far, those videos have been limited to video presentations of the material I covered in the classes I teach on substance abuse counseling. Where we will go from here remains to be seen. What I’m not sure about is calling all that video production time “writing.”

I do know that creating the script from which a movie is made qualifies as writing and has a special name “scriptwriting.”

Maybe the title writer will go the same way as the title scribe.

I’m told that initially writing was created more for high counting then for creative endeavors. When someone had to keep track of 17 camels, 52 sheep, and 114 goats, it is a lot easier to come up with one symbol for each type of animal. And look how useful it is to have numbers rather than to have to repeat that word goat 114 separate times.

While I’m not a linguist, I’m inclined to believe that the occupation “scribe” ultimately gave us the word scribble. I’ve noticed people inventing a lot of new words to try to describe this process of creating which no longer fits neatly into a particular category. Watch for the words – creative’s, author entrepreneur or contraction of that, and several more expressions designed to cover how “writing” is being transformed by new technologies.

Eventually, writing had to expand to include words to describe a lot more than naming farm products. As a result, scribing became writing. What remains to be seen is how much longer I can call all these things I’m doing writing.

Are Audiobooks, podcasts, and videos forms of writing?

Some people are calling themselves videographers. I’ve even seen some people describing themselves simply as “YouTuber’s, or should that be You-Tubers?” I used to know what a tuber was, but I’m not sure any more.

Presumably, audiobooks began as a written manuscript which one or more people convert so that it can be listened to rather than read. If I listen to a book can I say I have read it? The line between writing and speaking becomes fuzzier when we talk about podcasts, which frequently start as an oral conversation, but may eventually end up as a written transcript.

My videos certainly start with a written outline before their produced though I’m not sure I can call that outline writing in the same creative sense in which I use the word writing when I am referring to either my blog posts are my books. Maybe some of you can help me with figuring out which of these creative endeavors I have been doing qualifies is getting around to doing my “writing.”

Thanks for reading my ruminations and if you have any suggestions for why I’ve been so busy writing things that I haven’t finished writing my book, please leave a comment.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

(Book four – Planned Accidents, will be released shortly.)

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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

My promiscuous relationship with punctuation.

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

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Periodically I get in trouble with the punctuation police.

If you’re one of those people who has memorized the entire Code of Federal Regulations section on proper punctuation, you probably have little sympathy for my proclivity for loose relationships with punctuation.

I will plead guilty to abusing commas and neglecting my hyphens, but with an explanation.

I came from a home filled with dysfunctional punctuation.

I grew up without a good role model for punctuation. What I know about her I learned on the streets from certain undesirable types who use punctuation purely for oral communication. I learned early, that people who came from proper punctuation homes followed a certain code. But when you learn your punctuation for use in ordinary conversation, you’re likely to ignore some of the punctuation etiquettes.

Someone who is effective as a public speaker inserts frequent pauses for dramatic effect. The resulting (pregnant pause) often is in no way related to (pause) the proper use of Miss Comma. If you’re used to the looser variety of commas, you would prefer that they spoke plainly, telling you what they mean rather than hiding behind a fan of proper punctuation rules.

Why has Miss Comma fallen out of fashion?

I find it disconcerting, when reading aloud the text of the speech that someone gave, to encounter Miss Commas smiling face in places where the speaker would never have permitted her while eschewing to allow that same Miss Comma to continue to maintain her ongoing relationship with that person’s speech. I realize that proper punctuation is all the rage these days. I prefer my punctuation to be plain speaking, saying what she means and meaning what she says rather than hiding behind her cousins, dashes, colons, and semicolons.

No matter how much the dictates of fashion might change, my taste seems unchangeably fixed. Despite the current proclivity towards severely underweight women, I continue to prefer women with a little meat on their bones. Likewise, despite frequent opportunities to date some of these newer punctuation marks, I would rather spend my sentences was several commas than to engage in a dalliance with even a single frivolous dash.

I trust you will forgive an old man for this philosophical digression.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. (Non-Fiction) 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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The pain of revision.

By David Joel Miller, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

After the writing comes the revision.

Cover for planned accidents book

Planned Accidents cover

As some of you are aware, I spent the month of November participating in the NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) contest. This event is the fourth time I have attempted this and the third time I have succeeded in completing a first draft of a novel in one month.

Participating in the contest has taught me a great deal about writing a novel. What I’m struggling with now, even more than writing a novel, is the process of revision, trying to turn that first rough draft into something worth publishing. I would like to share with you some of the challenges I’m experiencing in revision, but first a little background.

Casino Robbery started the Arthur Mitchell mysteries series.

Planned Accidents is the second in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series. Arthur’s adventures began in the book Casino Robbery. After the financial crisis in 2008 Arthur Mitchell, accountant, gave up working at Fantastic Finance to take what he thought would be a safe and stable job working as an accountant for a Las Vegas casino. Arthur was trying to avoid anything risky. What Arthur hadn’t expected was to be in the middle of taking his fiancée to lunch when the casino was robbed. During the robbery, the criminals shot Arthur and killed his fiancée.

Because of the robbery, Arthur developed a severe case of PTSD. Unable to return to work Arthur opened a small thrift and collectible store on a rural Highway between Las Vegas and Utah. Unfortunately for Arthur, it turned out that as being shot wasn’t accidental, someone had wanted him dead, and he was pulled into investigating the robbery. Arthur became both an amateur and an accidental sleuth.

Planning Accidents turned into Planned Accidents.

Arthur has settled into running his thrift store, thinking the danger is behind him, when someone begins contacting the former employees at Fantastic Finance demanding money. First one and then another of Arthur’s former colleagues dies in mysterious accidents. At least that’s what the police think they are. Arthur’s not so sure any of this is accidental.

I started this novel with the working title Planning Accidents. What I found, as I wrote was that talking too much about planning the accidents took the focus off my hero Arthur and started me writing more about the people who could be planning these accidents. To shift the focus back on to Arthur and how he is drawn into investigating these supposed accidents, I’ve decided to change the title to Planned Accidents.

My first draft ended up with a lot of loose threads.

As I began my revision in January, I discovered I had included a lot of events that had nothing to do with Planned Accidents. Several times in the first draft I had Arthur buy some limited-edition lithographs. When Arthur inspects the lithographs, he discovers he has two copies of the same piece of art both with the same serial number. Somebody has been counterfeiting works of art and selling them directly to collectors. Once Arthur purchases the art from those collectors, the fraud becomes apparent.

Of course, the counterfeiters don’t want to be caught, and they make life extremely dangerous for Arthur Mitchell, as in they try to kill him. Once I realized this whole subplot had nothing to do with the Planned Accidents I pulled out the discovery of the duplicate lithographs and left that for Arthur to encounter in mystery number three or maybe even number four.

What do I do with the letters from the dead person?

One of the lots Arthur buys at an estate sale includes a bunch of letters an elderly lady had written to a police detective which were returned to her unopened. The author of the letters wrote to the detective describing a murder she had witnessed. Again, I discovered I had another crime for Arthur to investigate but trying to send him in that direction while he is trying to avoid being killed by someone who is planning his accidental death just mucked up the plot a little much. I pulled out all the material about the discovery of the letters from the witness, and I’ll save that for another Arthur Mitchell mystery. Once I get Planned Accidents finished, I think I want to start on this mystery, currently with the working title of “Letters from the Dead.” I think once we start opening the letters we will find the elderly lady witnessed more than one shocking crime.

Does this book need another page of description?

In the revision process, I struggle to decide whether I have written too much description or when there are insufficient details. I read a lot of other fiction, particularly in the amateur sleuth category. Occasionally I’m impressed by some extraordinarily brilliant description which produces a vivid image in my brain. More often though, when I reach long passages of description, I find myself speeding up, skimming over the description.

I am starting to feel like description, at least in an amateur sleuth mystery, is like spices in a stew. A little bit of spice, especially chili powder, can enhance the dish. But I don’t want my novel to resemble my stew, the time I accidentally dumped in a whole jar of chili powder.

I have an idea. If any of you readers would like to read draft two of “Planned Accidents” sign up for my mailing list or use the contact form and when it’s ready, I’ll send you an advanced reviewer copy of “Planned Accidents” and you can tell me if I’ve included too much or too little description. Of course, other feedback would be helpful also.

Does that dog ever do anything?

Something else I have been fixing as I’m working on draft number two is sorting out the role of Arthur’s dog Plutus. Plutus was important in the Casino Robbery book because he had belonged to Arthur’s fiancé’s Janet. In this mystery number two, Plutus kept turning up in various chapters but not doing much. As I revised, it became plain that Plutus unquestionably has a part to play in this story. Since Plutus helped Arthur solve the first mystery, I think I should put him to work helping to solve mystery number two and beyond.

There are some early thoughts about my revision project. I’ll share more with you in the future.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three 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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Why do indie authors give books away free?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why do self-published authors have free books?

Almost every day I received two separate emails promoting available e-books. Some of these books are available for a reduced price, and others are available free. Well-known authors and the established publishers may run a temporary price promotion, but they rarely, if ever, offer their books for free. Why do so many self-published, indie authors, myself included, offer their books for free?

Self-published authors want to attract new readers.

Well-known authors already have a ready-made audience for their books. Avid readers are waiting for the next release. Lesser-known authors must work harder. And when you’re a brand-new author, such as myself, finding readers for what you write takes a lot of effort. One way authors, even established authors, attract new readers is to offer their book free.

Offering a book for free is a marketing decision. Authors may offer one book free for limited time, or they may have one title in their series that is permanently free. What indie authors collectively shouldn’t be doing is giving away so much free stuff that it’s hard to charge enough to support their writing.

Indie authors need to find “their readers.”

A substantial number of readers have very specific preferences for the kind of books they read. If you like action adventure, you’re not likely to read cozy mysteries or romance. New authors need to put themselves out there so that the readers who might potentially become their fans get exposed to one of their books.

Even authors who have built a group of regular readers need to continue to search for the readers who might be interested in the type of book they write. There are pros and cons to getting “typecast” for an author. Once an author is identified with a particular genre, you’re likely to disappoint their readers if they write something in another style. For an author whose name is closely tied to one category, they are more likely to have a ready-made audience for each subsequent book they write.

Authors need book reviews.

Book reviews help people decide if this is a book they would like to read. There are two types of reviewers. Professional reviewers are likely to receive a lot of books in the competition between authors for their reviews can be fierce. Professional reviews are displayed on the book’s page towards the top with the editorial content.

Reviews from readers and their “star” rating are a form of social proof. If you are writing literary fiction, having a famous book reviewer say good things about your book will help sales. For most genres having a substantial number of readers who have reviewed the book can boost the sales. Even a few negative reviews can help the reader decide whether this book is for them, particularly if the reviewer gives reasons why their review was low. One way to get more reviews is to offer many free copies during the initial book launch.

Free gets a new book noticed.

There are millions of books available right now. Each day that goes by hundreds of thousands maybe millions more get published. When people go looking for a book the search engines will display the book they think that person would want first. The popular book that is selling lots of copies will appear on page 1: the indie authors new book, the one no one is bought a copy of yet maybe ranked 67,000, and it may appear on page 3,350. Offering that book temporarily for free can bring it up in the rankings and get it noticed. Some may booksellers, by the way, separate the free books from the pay books. But even getting seen on the free book page can get an author better known.

Free promotions get the spotlight back on your book.

Once a book has been on the market for a while sales slowdown and the rankings drop. Running a free book promotion is one way to get that book back in the spotlight and arrange for people who hadn’t seen it before to notice it. Free book promotions need to be used carefully otherwise the only time the author “sells” their book is when it’s free. Some platforms limit the author’s ability to offer a book for free. This is one incentive for authors to list their book exclusively on Amazon. Books that are exclusive to Amazon can be offered free for a certain number of days during each listing period.

Perma-free Books interests readers in the series.

Authors who write ongoing series, one with a recurring protagonist, frequently set their first book permanently free or offer it at a low price to encourage new readers to try the series. If you like the characters and the author’s writing style, most readers are willing to buy subsequent books about that same character at the regular price.

Being a new indie author, I continue to experiment with ways to market my books. I think all my books are reasonably priced, but occasionally I offer one of those books free for a period. I run those free promotions on different books and often move the free deal from platform to platform. If you want to hear about new books and promotional prices including free book deals sign up for my mailing list for watch the blog for announcements.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three 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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What if talk therapy isn’t working?

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

Therapist

Therapist.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What should you do if counseling doesn’t seem to be helping?

Some people come to counseling for a couple of sessions and then drop out saying that counseling doesn’t work for them.

Other people come for therapy over a very long period, and while they feel counseling is helping them, other people don’t see any change. How do you evaluate the progress you’re making in therapy?

If you don’t feel you’re getting the results, you would like to see in therapy your progress, or lack of progress should be the primary topic you talk about with your therapist. Here are some questions to ask yourself and some of the factors that impact the effectiveness of therapy.

Is your problem acute or chronic?

Some problems are acute. Something has happened, and you can tell your counselor what happened and when. Treatment for acute problems can be very brief. You decide you need to change something in your life, or you may need to accept the change which has happened. What you may need is an empathetic person you can tell about what happened you.

The problem some more chronic you’ve always been common anxiety, or you don’t ever remember being happy. Treatment for these problems is like treatment for a chronic medical problem. Managing long-term mental health problems can be like managing high blood pressure or type II diabetes.

The professional may be able to help you initially, but a significant part of the process will be your learning life skills to manage your problem over the long term.

How long have you been in therapy?

When you’re in pain, whether it’s emotional or physical, you want it to stop. Go to the doctor he can give you pain meds, or he can look for an underlying cause and treat that issue. If you have gone to therapy for a while but aren’t feeling better discuss with your counselor how long treating your condition should take. Many people have unrealistic expectations for talk therapy.

Treating emotional problems is a process. How long this process will take depends on your specific diagnosis and your personal characteristics.

How good is your relationship with your therapist?

Most of talk therapy is done through conversation. The best predictor of success in treatment is the relationship you have with your counselor. If you feel uncomfortable discussing certain things with that therapist those unsaid things could be holding back your progress. Ask yourself if the problem is your difficulty in talking about what you need to deal with or in your lack of trust of the counselor. Not every counselor is a good fit for every client. If you have been working together for a long time and don’t see progress, you may need to try working with a different therapist.

Are there some problems you’ve avoided discussing?

The issues you don’t deal with are the ones likely to be keeping you sick. Sometimes people go to counseling and talk about the surface day-to-day events. Every time you go you feel a little better. But if you never get down to the real core of your issues, each session is like a Band-Aid placed on a deep wound.

Therapy can involve treating deep emotional pain. Looking at your core issues can be uncomfortable. The process can be like peeling an onion. You go as deep as you can and then you cry little. When you have process that material fully you go a little deeper. Over time you can heal all these deep wounds.

Are you working on your problem between sessions?

Your problems are with you between sessions. Talk therapy can be very instrumental in healing past wounds are in clarifying values and goals. For things to change in your life, you need to start making changes. For every one-hour a week of therapy, there will be 167 other hours when you’re not in therapy.

If your counselor is teaching new skills in session, you need to practice those skills outside of the therapy hour. The students who learn most in school not only attend class but also do homework outside of class. You can’t become a great musician by taking a weekly lesson. You need to practice your music between lessons. As you learn new emotional skills, you need to practice those skills between therapy sessions.

You’ll make more progress if you have clear therapy goals.

When reason people don’t make good progress in the therapy is fuzzy goals. Think about your goals for treatment. Discuss these goals with your counselor and make sure the counselor is working towards the same goals.

Consider adding medication to talk therapy.

Medication has not been shown to cure any mental or emotional illness, but medication can be very effective at managing symptoms so that you’re able to work on the causes. I’ve had lots of clients tell me they don’t want to take medication because they don’t want to become dependent on drugs. Unfortunately, many of those same clients are using alcohol, marijuana, gambling, or sexual addictions as ways to manage their problem. Newer psychiatric medications are much safer than the medicines that were available in the past. Discuss medication with your medical doctor and your mental health provider. Medication and therapy together are often more effective than either separately.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three 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.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

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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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.