A law passed in 2008 known as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act (or Mental Health Parity Law) requires insurance coverage of mental health, behavioral health, and substance-use disorders to be comparable to physical health coverage. Despite these changes, people often remain unaware of the mental health services that may already be covered by their existing insurance.
If you are interested in learning more about your Mental Health Benefits, it is a good idea to contact the Behavioral Health or general Customer Service number on your insurance card, even before your first appointment. The following questions will help you gather useful information about your plan and covered Mental Health Benefits:
Click here to learn more about mental health coverage under the Mental Health Parity Law in this guide published by the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Ryan Howes, founder of National Psychotherapy Day (9.25.15), and his team released a video series last week entitled Moments of Meaning, featuring therapists speaking from the heart about the transformations that take place between therapist and patient in psychotherapy. The whole series is well done and provides an insightful and moving glimpse into real therapy sessions (all stories are shared with the permission of individual patients, and altering identifying information). If you have ever wondered about the benefits, process, or new perspectives that psychotherapy might offer, take a look at this Moments of Meaning video featuring licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. John Dilley, as he shares his experience of entering psychotherapy as a patient himself.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's groundbreaking work with terminally ill patients asked important questions about the lived-experience of those who are coping with dying. From this work was born the 5-stage model of coping with dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This research, published in Kubler-Ross's 1969 book On Death and Dying, was intended as a description of patients' experiences of coping with dying. Eventually, however, this theory was taken up by professionals and the public as a prescription for how people cope with the death of another, that is, as a model of the grieving process. Even today, some health professionals, mental health professionals, chaplains, and other well-meaning folk, often explain to those who are grieving that these are the 5 stages they should expect to go through and the order in which they should go through them. Some even become frustrated with someone who is grieving for “doing it wrong.”
The truth is that as human beings we grieve as uniquely as we love. Any one of us may experience one of the “stages” that Kubler-Ross described, but perhaps not all, and certainly not in a neatly prescribed order. You may be aware of your own grieving experiences in which other thoughts or feelings (such as feeling numb or cut off from the world around you) are more prominent, at least for a time. There is no one way to grieve a loss, just as there is no one way to build relationships and memories.
A recent article by Tessie Mastorakos featured on Psychology Today speaks to the unique experiences of parents who are coping with the loss of a child, and helps to challenge the old stage model with emerging research. Click here to read the full text of Mastorakos's article.
About the Author
Clinical psychologist Dr. Kristy Novinski contributes insights, book and film reviews, discussions of pop culture, and exploration of news and research in the field of psychology.