The longer you live, the more trips around the sun. The more trips around the sun, the more opportunities for trying new things, taking risks, and entering what I am calling The Bonus Round.
In 2016, we certainly saw a long march of artists and entertainers give their final curtain calls. This is really no different than other years — death is a natural occurrence! — but what shocked me more is how relatively young age of some of those artists. George Michael was only 53; Carrie Fischer, a mere 60 years old.
So at the beginning of 2017, I’m seeking something not quite akin to New Year’s resolutions. It’s more like New Year’s shake ups, an announcement of doing things a bit differently in order to experience more.
We are about to climb into our cars, board planes, or open our homes to family members and friends to celebrate an American tradition: coming together at the Thanksgiving Day meal, tossing around the ball for a friendly game of flag football, and figuring out how on earth we were ever comfortable sleeping on those tiny, double-sized twin beds.
This year has another special feature to integrate. How do we integrate or avoid arguing with people over conflicting views about the the new presidential administration and proposed changes? And what, if anything, does this have to do with your mental and emotional health?
You tell me. I mean, literally: you all have been telling me over the last two weeks. People are reporting that they are thinking about this challenge. People are asking me what to consider as they make plans to spend time with family, friends, and community members, as its citizens discuss their views of the future under a new president and administration.
And some are already changing plans, based on what is happening in their homes and friend’s home, with some of that decision having nothing to do with the election. They have long-standing conflict that has been lingering for years.
If you live in a large city, it’s likely you have already had your first experience with telemedicine.
Suppose on Day Seven of a nasty cold or flu, you decide it’s time to see your doctor. You call up your medical practitioner’s office and request an appointment. In smaller stand-alone practices, you would speak to a receptionist or scheduler, and you would be offered an appointment with your doctor based on his/her availability. In larger multiple-practitioner offices, you might be offered the option of seeing a different doctor other than your primary doctor if you wished to be seen sooner. Yet by phone, you’ve been triaged and placed into the schedule.
Most medical centers began using telephonic triage nurses to help patients get effective medical care in a timely manner, and also keep those who actually did not need to see their doctor from spreading colds and flus to others in a waiting room. Seattle is no exception, and I had the opportunity to work as a Telephonic Triage Nurse in 2011 and 2012. I am happy to report that I learned a lot about the effectiveness of telemedicine during that time!
Telemedicine, particularly in behavioral health settings, is an exciting option for those seeking counseling therapy. Yet perhaps you wonder, as I do, why more people aren’t using it more. Less than two percent of the inquires I receive from potential clients include a request for telemental counseling services (that is, sessions provided over an Internet connection using a HIPAA compatible video conferencing platform, or services provided over the phone).
Until last month, that is. I received an unprecedented number of inquiries about access to counseling sessions either by phone or by video conferencing. And I actually think this is very good news. Read on to find out why.