Unfortunately, most brain illnesses in the United States are treated incorrectly. Most are difficult to detect. There are three steps to treating brain illnesses: Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
A doctorate level psychologist is used to evaluate our clients. In addition to a Mental Status Examination, there are a variety of psychometric tests which are used, including the MMPI-II, Millon, and the Weschler IQ test. Other tests may also be used. Psychometric tests are used to accurately detect brain illnesses and to rule out faking. These tests provide the treatment team with the most accurate diagnosis possible.
A psychologist cannot prescribe medication, but may refer a client to a psychiatrist if medication may be needed.
UPDATE: We are now augmenting the above diagnostic methods with SPECT Brain Imaging by Amen Clinics, Inc.
Diagnosis of brain illnesses is often done ‘on the fly’ in the United States without psychometric testing. We believe that this is a fundamental error: Would you let a doctor operate on your heart without running any tests? Of course not.
A complete client evaluation is necessary for a valid diagnosis, and that an accurate diagnosis is needed to ensure that the treatment meets the client’s needs. No one should be prescribed brain medicine they do not need, go to ineffective counseling, nor go without medication they need.
An accurate diagnosis is the best way to make sure someone gets the right type of treatment which has the greatest likelihood of success.
There are two basic types of treatment for brain illnesses: Talk therapy (psychology) and medical treatments (psychiatry). As mentioned earlier, a psychologist cannot prescribe medication. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication.
In many cases, we have found that treatment has been attempted without proper evaluation and diagnosis. This can cause clients and their families a lot of pain because it frequently results in a misdiagnosis and a treatment routine that doesn’t work. One of two things has happened: A person will a) ‘go to a counselor’ or talk with a religious leader (talk therapy) without a proper evaluation and diagnosis, or b) they will go to a family doctor, describe their symptoms and get a prescription for medication – again without a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
If someone has a brain illness, talk therapy may be helpful but usually will not be sufficient by itself. Most brain illnesses are treatable with medication, but Americans are often resistant to medication for these types of illnesses for social reasons – especially men. Think of it as trying to treat diabetes with wishful thinking. However, wishful thinking alone will not work: This is why your loved one can’t just ‘buckle down’ or ‘become more disciplined’ and solve their problems.
Likewise, medication should only be used when it is truly needed, and determining the correct medication is critically important. Yet many Americans go to a family doctor, describe some symptoms, and walk out with a prescription in less than five minutes. In effect, our medical system encourages people to have chemical operations performed on their brains without a single test.
In our One Stop Therapy program, we believe that our clients deserve the best legal and medical care available. We use specialists is law, psychology and psychiatry rather than general practitioners. We believe that a customized treatment program is the best way to ensure success with the legal proceedings against our clients and the best way to ensure success in treating the problem behavior that led them to our office in the first place. Most cases can be successfully handled by using a combination of medication, talk therapy and legal assistance. To use our previous example, a specialist can determine the correct medical treatment for the diabetic patient, and a diabetes support group can encourage the patient to learn the emotional skills needed to successfully treat the illness. Since brain illnesses have a symptom of behavior, we add the component of legal treatment to the equation.
Our goal is to create an effective solution where our client never needs to use a Florida criminal defense lawyer to defend a new criminal charge.