Kerry Thomas, M.Ed., LPC

Compassionate partnership for a better life.


A Word on Insurance.

Posted on February 25, 2015 at 9:05 PM

When it comes to using our mental health benefits there are a few things that it might be important for us all to understand.


First of all, when we want our insurance companies to pay for a service, there must be a formal diagnosis in order for them to justify doing this. In other words, when you make an appointment to speak with a therapist about whatever is going on in your life that you need help with, be it a relationship or a death in the family, AND you want your insurance benefits to cover the visit, the therapist must first diagnose you will a mental health disorder.


The problem with this is that now you have a diagnosed mental health disorder on your permanent health record. This can be problematic for you in the future if you ever need to apply to another insurance company for a new policy, or in some cases, even when you go to apply for a  job.


I do not agree with this protocol at all. Most of the people walking around on the planet will go through periods in their lives when they don’t feel their best and need support. Just the way our brains are wired pretty much assures that there are going to be times when we find ourselves struggling with our own mood related issues or that of someone we love. And given the dynamic nature of life and the inherent challenges in navigating through the twists and turns along this journey, well, you get what I am saying. To feel not well at many points in your life is just human, not pathological.


The connection between the brain and the body is HUGE. When we spend time living in a place of fear or pain or just sheer “brain inspired negativity”, our internal systems respond. They respond by releasing chemicals and hormones that can be enormously detrimental to our overall health because they are toxic to our system. So the need for people to address whatever is keeping them from feeling their best is extremely important to their overall health. So I can certainly see how it would actually be smart for insurance companies to provide this service for their insureds.


But to suggest that when someone is struggling with an issue or a set of circumstances that is leaving them feeling puny and not their best, means that they are mentally ill is a bit of an overstatement to me. And then to have this struggle potentially translate to even more challenges down the road is adding insult to injury.


My policy is to take the least detrimental approach when it comes to a diagnosis. I don’t believe in labeling people as a rule in the first place. A lot can happen to a person when they hear a professional has labeled them as bi-polar. If they weren’t bi-polar in the first place, you can believe that telling them that they are will leave a mark on their psyche.


People are dynamic and how we feel at any given moment in no way defines who we are as people, but a diagnosis can earn us a label that can follow us around for years.

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