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Public Shout Out (AKA Booyah)


Guest Rachan

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There's been a bit of chatter lately about all of the icky things that can happen on this site.

But there really are some wonderful people here.

You kind of have to be here & get to know the personalities to understand.

When I speak to my girlfriends about some of the people here, they give me the same look people gave Jimmy Stewart in the movie "Harvey" when he spoke of his Giant invisible Rabbit friend.....They don't get it.

I wanted to give a big public "Thank You!" to our very own Angelina,who saved my old heine from having to enter a seedy neighborhood.

My daughter is in the "gifted" program (La Te Da) at school.She is in middle school & this is her last year.

She was required to write a Thesis paper. She choose mental health. Specifically, depression & addictions.

When I received the paper stating the requirements,& one of hers was visiting a crisis center, I thought "Oh Nooooooooo!"

I pm'd John & asked him if he would be willing to be interviewed by my daughter,as an expert in that field. He wasted no time in getting back to me (He demanded a ridiculous amount of money, but I eventually weaseled his price down by offering some old questionable photos of myself laugh ) (just kidding)

Actually, he very graciously said it would be no problem & took the time out of his saturday to answer my daughters questions.

It was VERY interesting (& a little bit scary) reading.

She even went so far to ask what was the most memorable case he has ever treated.He supplied her with two stories. One a little strange (the kids loved it) & one very heartbreaking. (which as a parent, made me cry)

As a result....my daughter was the only one to receive a perfect score.. smile (This was district wide...involving four schools)

More importantly, I didn't have to run the risk of being carjacked in some slum.

So a big public shout out for all of the help of our own Professor Booyah!!!

You Rock!!!

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If he wouldnt mind, I wouldn't...

It was 14 questions (Written by a 13 yr old!) Some are simple,but he explains things very very well,without being too clinical...

It was informative,yet still held the other kids interest.

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What a great guy John is! Hey Rach if you can, post it. Sounds like interesting info. When I was in clinicals for our mental health rotation we had to spend weeks on certain floors of a mental health facility it was actually a home for the mentally ill. One of the most interesting rotations I ever had, interesting people ,and alot of distinct behaviors, truly fascinating at times. Congrats to your daughter on her perfect paper! cool

Monica

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I pm'd John & asked him if he would be willing to be interviewed by my daughter,as an expert in that field. He wasted no time in getting back to me (He demanded a ridiculous amount of money, but I eventually weaseled his price down by offering some old questionable photos of myself laugh ) (just kidding)

a picture is worth a thousand...............................words. haha

Well so far ..Friday does NOT suck! king

Thank you so very much. I am quite humbled by all of the above postings. Tracy's daughter Rachel is a lovely, beautiful, intelligent young lady (Kudos to Tracy and her husband). Rachel's questions were very well constructed. I TOTALLY enjoyed the experience. I wanted to delicately present the answers in a manner that reflected the depth and severity of the issues without overwhelming 8th grader sensibilities....but these kids know quite a bit nowadays (Geesh I sound like an old fart LOL).

Anyway, thanks Rachel, Tracy and everyone for putting a little extra "Boo" in my "Yah" today!

JG

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If he wouldnt mind, I wouldn't...

It was 14 questions (Written by a 13 yr old!) Some are simple,but he explains things very very well,without being too clinical...

It was informative,yet still held the other kids interest.

No problem.....I properly adhered to HIPAA confidentiality regulations in answering Rachel's questions.

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Hey Kim!! smile

A couple of people had mentioned that they would be interested in seeing what John had to say.....So here it is.

Remember, my daughter is pretty darn bright,but is still only 13, so John kept it on a level to hold her interest.

(Every time I addressed him as "Mr. Graham" to her, I nearly peed myself! laugh )

Hi Rachel thanks for asking some very intelligent questions. I'm sure your parents are very proud of you and your accomplishments. I also want to apologize in advance because I don't bother spell-checking or proof-reading...so brace yourself for some extemporaneous answers improperly spelled. smile

1. Why did you choose to be a psychotherapist?

I had taken some psychology courses during undergrad and seemed to have a proclivity towards it. However, after grad school, I decided to work in NYC and London in the Finance field. After 7 years..I burned out (too many hours..too crazy a lifestyle) and segued into Human Resources. I enjoyed working with people to help them solve life's problems. I love empowering people.....I continued my education while working in Human Resources and two years later, left to form an outpatient treatment firm with my own personal therapist. That was in 1991. I became a licensed therapist in 1996.

2. What mental disorders do you specialize in?

We run the gamut from anxiety, panic disorders, to depression, borderline personality, etc.... My area of expertise would be in addictive illness (alcohol, substance, eating disorders, etc)

3. Do you treat many teenagers?

Although my personal caseload does not consist of many teenagers currently, I supervise other therapists who exclusively work with teenagers. 40% of our clients throughout our four locations are teenagers....most coming to us due to alcohol, substance, ADD, ADHD, depression and the like.

4. Can depression lead to addiction?

AB-SO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY!! When a person has depressed feelings, be it behavioral or due to a chemical imbalance, a classic outlet for the individual suffering from depression is to "self-medicate". We deal quite a bit, especially in the teenage population, with something called "cognitive distortions". Do you know of anyone who is smart, good-lookin' really has everything going well yet seems sad, down on herself, lethargic, etc...... Well one can say that they might have cognitive distortions (what we call "stinking-thinking"). They only see the negative about themselves not the positive. This could be a self-esteem-based issue. Well very often they can turn towards alcohol or substance to "feel' better or fit in with the rest of the crowd. Unless they talk or work-out the basis for their depression, no amount of self-prescribed substance will alleviate their feelings of low self-worth. More substance is used as time goes on and the body (especially the brain and neurotransmitters or brain chemicals) gets all out of balance. So now you have a behavioral addiction along with a physical dependence.

5. What are the warning signs of depression/addiction?

Interestingly enough, my partner John Kelly, wrote a book a few years back called "Warning Signs - A Parent's Guide to Addiction". The signs of depression are classically.....social isolation, anhedonia (lack of pleasure from things), poor hygiene, lethargy, loss of appetite, hypersomnia, poor concentration, low self-esteem etc. The signs of addiction include built-up tolerance of a substance which leads to greater amounts used to achieve desired effect, continued use of the substance while knowing its negative health impact, inability to stop use despite verbalized desire to do so, withdrawals or anxiety/depression when not using, interference with school, work, family or other social responsibilities...and so on.

6. Are people more prone to addictive behavior because of genetics or enviroment?

This is a BRILLIANT question...and I can argue both sides. I'll wimp out and say "it's a combination of the two" because genetics leads to brain chemical imbalances which is often present in those looking to self-medicate HOWEVER environment plays a HUGE role because of family attitudes towards alcohol, nicoteine, cannabis and other recreational drugs.

7. Do you treat all addictions in a similar manner?

Not really! When we do an initial evaluation, we look into the history of the addiction, family history, family situation, underlying psychological components (depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, etc), possible legal or school problems the individual might have..and so on. Based upon that person's particular situation, we draw up a treatment plan and modality (could be cognitive-behavioral, psychanalysis, family, etc). Treatment plans can consist of individual (one on one) therapy, group therapy or family counseling. Ultimately, the trick is to figure out which modality is best for that particular individual and proceed from there. Also some addictions require medically-supervised detox prior to any real mental health therapy. So there are times when we need to get a person to a hospital or rehab before we can do anything else to help them.

8. Do you include family members in the treatment process?

Very often we do because addictive illness impacts the whole family. We also need to assess the family structure/hierarchy...to ensure that the adults act like adults and that the children do not run the household. Often times too, the family dynamic feeds into the addiction and is a reason why some people start to use substance.

9. What is the long term success rate of the kind of treatment you provide?

Since addiction is a lifelong chronic illness, and underlying psychological issues pop up throughout a person's life, it is difficult to quantify a percentage. An alcoholic can stop drinking, but he remains an alcoholic. If he doesn't address his depression or feelings of low self-worth, is he really healed? He's "healed" from drinking alcohol, but he remains unhealthy. Relapse is also a reality even after years of sobriety. But our normal initial treatment period lasts 16 weeks. I'd say 80% of our clients do well aftyer that period, however they don't follow up with us again unless a problem arises.

10. What is the worst case you personally have ever treated working as a psychotherapist?

Two come to mind.....one was when I was an intern and I think the guy was just messing with me. He said he liked to smoke crack while hunting and would sexually desecrate the bodies of the deer that he shot. My supervisor took over THAT case. YUCK!!!!!

The other case, which is dear to me, involved an Eastern Indian kid. His parents, both doctors had an arranged marriage in India and settled in New Jersey. The kid was born here in the US and he did whatever he could to be "American". There was a complete clash of cultures. He was a "hip-hop" wannabee and his parents clearly were not. LOL. He became addicted to oxycontin (opiate-based prescription medication)...he got into treatment with us, we evaluated him and informed the family that he needed inpatient rehab ASAP. His parents were going away for a few days and cdecided to go against our medical advice and leave their son at home while they left town. The son, probably about 16 at the time couldn't get anymore oxycontin so he drove to Newark, NJ to score some heroin with friends.....he overdosed and died that weekend. To this day I know he could have been saved if only his parents, who were doctors, took our advice seriously.

11. How long have you worked as a psychotherapist?

I've been licensed for 15 years, but worked as an EAP (Employee Assistance Professional) for five years before that.

12. Do you enjoy your area of therapy?

I sure do.....I get to answer cool questions! LOL

13. If you could give advice to someone who has a loved one suffering from depression or addictions, what would be the first step you would encourage the person to take?

The key there is "loved one". Addiction is like any other illness. We need not judge the person but need to relate to them honestly and emotionally. When we base our communication on love, respect and caring I feel the addict will respond. I would have the person talk to the person suffering from depression or addiction non-confrontationally first. I would leave my personal bias at the door and relate to the person heart to heart. Phrases like "I care about you" or "You seem unhappy" are excellent ways to start the person talking without making them defensive. If the level of depression or addiction is such that the person is a danger to himself or others...then expediency is paramount. Get the person safe....and deal with the treatment process later.

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Smashing interview from a 13 year old! John also should do a TV or radio shrink show! He could reach more people.

John, how important/effective do you think all these drugs for depression/disorders are that doctors prescibe?

You seem to not be a fan of those...

I'm a behavioralist Tony...so I'm quite biased. That being said...there is a place for psychotropics....but that's what the MDs are for.

Actually, there are also anti-anxiety meds that, along with proper "talk therapy" have saved many a marriage.....including my own.

But yes I'm somewhat biased!

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Smashing interview from a 13 year old! John also should do a TV or radio shrink show! He could reach more people.

John, how important/effective do you think all these drugs for depression/disorders are that doctors prescibe?

You seem to not be a fan of those...

My Partner, John Kelly actually has a new show on Discovery. He has done a ton of criminal profiling over the past twenty years....with an interest in serial killers. (what a hobby...right?.....My hobbies are fantasy football and fighting). His show is "Dark Minds"...where he and this douchey criminal writer open up cold murder cases and utilize the input of a serial killer serving multiple life sentences (named "13"). By the way...I'd LOVE to see the Japanese translation for the idiomatic "douchey" reference. haha Gruesome show...not my cup of tea....but it's cool seeing him bloviat about his profiling.

Wednesday Nights at 10PM EST on Discovery ID!

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After I went thru 5 years of TOTAL heartache.....Losing my mother, Father...my sister to suicide & believe it or not, the WORST being my closest friend to cancer....she held my hand thru all of the others ....

My doctor put me on wellbutrin. I believe it saved my life.

I am in NO WAY any shape or form weak. Sometimes being strong is when you know when to say...."I need help"

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