The Power of a Diagnosis

Elizabeth Spencer

The first session that you see see a client can change that person’s life.  As therapists, we are on the front line providing diagnosis and treatment.  When we know what the problem is and what to do about it we are powerful clinicians.

This story about James shows how the wrong diagnosis and treatment wasted years of his life.  Then he had a therapist who was a hero — someone who recognized his OCD, and gave him not only the diagnosis but a book to read.  James says about that book, “I read the first few pages and a huge smile spread across my face. Tears of relief came, and the weight of the past year and a half began to dissipate.” He learned that the harm thoughts he had were common and treatable.

It can be scary as a therapist to recognize we have this responsibility.  We have so much to learn while we also have clients and lives of our own.  For us, as well as for our clients, there is a world of information.  We need to know what resources to access to get the most from our continuing education money and time, as well as how to get the most information from that continuing education to help our clients.  Nothing is more frustrating for me than going to a continuing education seminar and getting nothing I can use in my practice.  I wasted my time, spent my money, and since I’m in private practice lost income because I wasn’t seeing clients.

James turned his life around with that diagnosis. Are you ready when someone like him walks in your door?  If not, take a minute and think of one thing you could do this week to update your diagnostic toolbox.  Now — like with our clients, this is the key  — make yourself accountable about that step.  Put it in your schedule, send yourself an email reminder, or use a low-tech method and put a post-it on your computer.This post is sponsored by nOCD.  Dowload this mobile tool for free.

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