What is a therapeutic consultant?
We empower mental health decision making for families and individuals facing issues due to serious mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar and personality disorders, schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder as well as substance abuse. We advocate for integrative, holistic solutions to the challenges of mental illness.
We also work with families overwhelmed by the challenges of long term planning; these are often older parents concerned with the quality of life of their adult child. The spectrum of adulthood spans from the age of 18 into elder years. We work with adults of all ages. Contact us today to discuss your needs and our services.
WHAT IT IS LIKE TO WORK WITH US
We begin our relationship with you by gaining an understanding of your situation and level of need. Once we understand your situation, we 'connect the dots' between the care you have received and the care options available that may benefit you in your recovery.
When you partner with Virgil Stucker and Associates, you access our vast and detailed knowledge of individual practitioners, psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment programs, therapeutic communities, specialty mental health programs, and addiction or dual-diagnosis programs all over the country.
We are here to be your trusted guides, supported by decades of experience spent helping families just like yours.
THE RIGHT OPTIONS AT THE RIGHT TIME
After working with hundreds of families over several decades, Virgil Stucker has ‘connected the dots’ into a comprehensive, logical continuum of care. This framework for understanding helps each family find their place within the mental health landscape.
ASSESSING COMPLEXITY OF THE MENTAL ILLNESS
You may have a loved one who has a serious mood or thought disorder and who may have been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons more than once. Your loved one may also have addiction issues.
Common diagnoses may include bipolar, anxiety or depressive disorder, or schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. A history of trauma, being ‘on the spectrum’, an eating disorder, or OCD or various personality disorders may also be present.
If your loved one has had multiple brief hospitalizations (average stay is 7.2 days), often the diagnoses are multiple and may be mixed up; they may have also been prescribed several medications. For them and for you, a sense of calm and clarity may feel elusive. We begin our work with you by assessing the level of complexity facing your loved one.
Your family may also face legal, financial, and familial/social challenges.
Dysregulated behaviors may have led to incarceration. Persistent dysfunction combined with expensive quick-fix care options may have drained your finances. Your family may be emotionally stressed because of the excessive attention required by the "sick" family member.
Friction can occur because of the conflicted understandings your family members may have about care choices available to them. Social stigma creates social isolation, compounding other issues. Tension and anxiety may be pervasive in your home.
Additionally, given that your family member in need is legally an adult of 18 years old or more, the regulations associated with HIPAA have very likely impeded needed two-way communication between you and any mental health professionals.
If any of this feels familiar, you are not alone.
STARTING THE DIALOGUE
Taking the following steps helps our team match the needs of your family with the appropriate entry point into the continuum of care:
Gain historical understanding: We collect and review all relevant psychiatric records, psycho-social, employment, and educational summaries, neuro-psychological evaluations and hospital or care discharge summaries. We also obtain an historical narrative from the family.
Learn about current diagnoses from treating/assessing professionals: We will generally seek permission to speak with your family member’s treating psychologist, psychiatrist, and/or social worker.
Assess current psychiatric status: We ask, what are the active symptoms and problematic behaviors, including relevant social, educational, work, financial and legal issues? We will ask for a current risk assessment from your family member’s treatment team, if possible.
Define next steps: We ask, what interventions have worked and what do the person’s treating/assessing professionals believe will be helpful? What hope do they have for the family member’s progress?
Speak with and/or meet with your family member: This helps us gain additional information as well as build a therapeutic alliance with your family member. In this conversation, we learn more about their challenges and grasp what their hopes and dreams are.
Recovery is hard work. Our discussions and questionnaires help your family and us assess your family member’s readiness to do the hard work of recovery. This process also helps us assess the level and kind of support that they will need.
All of this begins with a complimentary intake phone call. Please call or email us any time, seven days a week.
We look forward to speaking with you!
- Virgil Stucker and Stephanie Stucker-McMahon