Why Would An Ordinary Mom Go To A Psychologist? - Kimberly Thompson

 

     Most of the time I like to focus on what moms do in everyday life. But I do think it’s worth spending a little time talking about what I, the Mommy Mentor, do in everyday life. And, how what I do intersects with what you do.

     A lot of people have the impression that only “crazy” people use the services of a clinical psychologist. They may not have a good idea of what crazy looks like, but they know it’s not them. I don’t use the word crazy, but I get it. If a clinical psychologist only works with crazy people, then plainly a psychologist is not for you, an ordinary mom.

     Except that’s not really what I do. While a small percentage of my clients may have major mental illness, a much larger percentage are struggling with issues that are mild or moderate. They go to work, take care of their kids, and pay their bills. They show up to their appointments on time and are nicely dressed.  What makes my clients different from the average Jane on the street is that they have made the decision to take charge of the difficulties in their lives, and to take care of themselves and their own emotional health.

     Taking care of your relationship and emotional health is similar to taking care of your physical health. You don’t have to wait until you have a life-threatening illness to go to your physician. In fact, your quality of life is better if you get regular check-ups and are willing to seek medical treatment for minor issues.  You can try home remedies at first, but when nothing is working to resolve your pain or discomfort, you know it’s time to make a medical appointment. The same goes for your relationship and emotional health – when you become aware that you are in some kind of long-lasting emotional pain, and nothing you have tried has worked, it is time to seek out some professional guidance.

     I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology (two master’s degrees too, BTW), and have extensive training and experience treating both children and adults. I worked at a state hospital for awhile, and that was probably when I saw the most severe impairments — people who had to be on medications long-term for things like hallucinations, delusions, or street-drug-induced dementias. At the other end of the spectrum are people who just need an outside perspective on a pressing problem; they only need to see me in the office once or twice and they are fine.  Most people that I work with fall somewhere in the middle — not impaired enough to need hospitalization, but needing more than a session or two to resolve their pain.

There are three broad services that I provide: psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and consultation.

           ⍟ Assessment ranges from a simple interview to get to know you and to guide my treatment plan, to a full-on battery of tests that takes several hours to complete (most of those tests will be questionnaires — no blood draws or needles involved in my work). Full test batteries are often because a third party has requested them — for example, I might do developmental assessment of a child for the parent, or because a school program requires it.

            ⍟ Psychotherapy usually consists of hour-long sessions scheduled once a week. I begin a course of psychotherapy after completing an assessment using an interview and sometimes a set of “screening” questions.  I use what I learn in the assessment to put together a treatment plan. I do not prescribe medications.  Rather, psychotherapy consists of two major components: 1) giving the client a safe space to discuss and process her thoughts, feelings, and personal history without being judged; and, 2) collaborating with the client  on what actionable changes she is going to experiment with in the next week.  The goal is for the client to become “unstuck” from the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that perpetuate the pain and dysfunction in her life.

            ⍟ I work with medical providers, and that is where consultation comes in. The way people behave, and the choices they make, impacts their medical health as well as their emotional and interpersonal health.  So, my clients depend upon their physicians for medical treatment, and I consult with those physicians so that we are providing coordinated care.  Sometimes I may find that a client’s medical issues are driving her emotional turmoil — and that is a vital piece of information for a client to have.  She will still need that weekly supportive session to help her get through this tough season of life — but it almost always helps to know that her feelings are a result of her medical condition. Other times, I find that a client’s emotional issues are impacting her medical condition. That is especially true when it comes to adhering to a treatment regimen. I can help with that too.

            In the fall of 2016, I will begin offering personalized mommy mentoring packages. Mentoring is distinct from therapy, in that mentoring clients are not in some particular distress. Rather, mentoring clients want to reach bigger and better goals for themselves. The mentoring I will offer is a hybrid of life coaching and parent coaching. I think I hybrid model is perfect for mothers who want to set and achieve parenting goals, but also want to set and achieve other types of goals. Mommy mentoring aims at keeping the big picture of your life in focus.  The relationship I have with my mentoring clients will be different as well — I won’t be functioning as “the doctor” so much, and instead will come alongside in an equal partnership. Honestly I am really excited about using my hard-earned skills to help young women move to greater and greater heights of success.

            Whether you are in some sort of distress, or whether you just want some help in achieving bigger and better things, I can help. Give me a call when you are ready.

ABOUT ME

     I am Dr. Kimberly Thompson, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Lubbock, Texas. I work with mothers and their children to help them heal, grow, and live their most vibrant lives. My particular expertise is pregnant and postpartum women, and moms of “littles.” My book, Perfect Mothers Get Depressed, is available on Amazon and from Praeclarus Press. If you live within driving distance of Lubbock, you can work with me face-to-face; if you live anywhere else in the state of Texas, you can work with me via online therapy. Send me a message if you need more information, or call my office at (806) 224-0200 if you’re ready to book an appointment.