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1. Announcements - Katrina
2. Article: How To Pick A Great Counselor
3. Inspiring Quote
4. Professional Services
5. Pass It Along



ANNOUNCEMENTS - Help Yourself & Help Katrina Victims

Feel doubly good about reaching out for help. You know you've been pondering lending yourself an extra hand in working towards your goals. You may have also asked, "What's the best way I can help with this bewildering disaster in Hurricane Katrina?" Well now, you can do both and feel good about helping the victims of the Hurricane Katrina natural disaster, as well as help yourself.

For the next 60 days I will donate 20% of all online service purchases to Luscious' Pantry. Luscious' whole life has been given to serving the poor. He runs The Lord's Pantry here in Indianapolis. My 6yo daughter, Sarah, says "Luscious is my grandpa!" He's a towering teddy bear of a man, always dressed in bibs and serving. His local vocation to serve the poor has always been more than he could really handle, but being the kind of man he is, he's begun a collection center now for Katrina victims. Your money will go directly for food and personal care items for those who are hungry, such as mothers who have no diapers for their infants or

If you'd rather donate a cash amount and don't feel you are currently in need of my services you can go to www.paypal.com and pay directly to my email address at turo-shields@sbcglobal.net. 100% of these donations will go to The Lord's Pantry for Katrina Victims. In the section for a "note" please write "Katrina Relief"

If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to call me at 317-865-1674.



I've been providing therapy services for over 17 years now, and online since 1998. A majority of my online clients have never sought professional help before. I find this interesting and I want to help today with an article on the nuts & bolts for making an excellent therapist choice.


My wife, also a veteran therapist, and I were driving up to the north side of Indianapolis last evening for a meeting with several of our colleagues. She was discussing a session about one of her clients from last week and came to tears about the pain and struggle of this particular client. It touched me how painful her client's situation was for her and she described how honored she was to be chosen by this woman to be a guide along this troubled part of her journey.

This is the kind of therapist you want to be with! Someone with great compassion, along with the ability to inspire and be your champion for hope in a better future.

How do you check for compassion? Get to know the person. Most people are reticent to ask questions of therapists. If you were going to share your most intimate and vulnerable needs with someone, isn't it important to have a sense of who that person is?

I am always impressed by the potential client who's heard my name from a friend, their doctor or found me on the internet and calls or emails me asking if I have a few minutes to answer questions as they discern who they want to work with.

If you're searching online take into consideration all the information you can find on the person. Do they have a photo? How do they look? Do they have articles? If so, what does the article say about the therapist's heart? Even though the net can seem like a cold communication medium, everything we do communicates who we are. Even a website can communicate volumes about a person. Does the therapist offer a way to communicate so you can send questions? Do they offer an ezine. Sign up and get a sense of their heart through their articles and how they write.


Notice that I put CARING first. Without it, rapport and trust can be quite challenging. However, you certainly want to know that your potential therapist is a competent one.

What is the training and areas of expertise the therapist offers? Beware the therapist who says they can do it all! I know many awesome therapists but we all have our limitations, and chosen areas of expertise and training. The exception, like in my case, is that I have a team of therapists to draw from and together we really do cover most of the spectrum. There are several areas where I always refer to my colleagues.

What kind of credentials are respected in the therapy field? Most states in the USA license professional therapists as psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors and addictions therapists. One of most common areas of confusion is between the titles, psychologist, psychotherapist and psychiatrist.

Allow me to differentiate for you. A psychotherapist is a general title used for any of the above licensed professionals. A Psychologist is trained in psychotherapy and now in two states can prescribe medications after extra course work is completed. But, for the most part, a Psychologist is a therapist. A Psychiatrist is an M.D., trained in the evaluation of mental health disorders and the use of medication for such. Many people mistakenly assume that psychiatrists are trained to facilitate psychotherapy. I've had a few doctors take me to task on this one, but it's very important to say that DOCTORS ARE NOT THERAPISTS, so don't expect them to be and be cautious if a psychiatrist says they can do therapy with you. Ask them what their therapy training consisted of outside of their medical training.


A quality therapist is willing to put their need for you to like them on the back burner and say tough things to you when it's in your highest interest.

Four weeks ago I sat down to complete a two hour interview with a couple who'd been married for 31 years. When my secretary spoke to them on the phone they said they were coming for marriage counseling.

I sat with both of them individually and then brought them together to wrap up and share what I had learned about them. I told them I was unable to offer them marital therapy because it was evident that they had each given up on their marriage 10 years prior. I explained that they each, in so many words, had made it clear to me that their marriage was dead. These were two wonderful people. It was incredibly sad for me to give them this feedback. They knew I was spot on and we left the session, all three of us, very somber.

I scheduled a follow up session just to process the information I gave them. I explained that even though both had spoken clearly about their level of hopelessness and of their unwillingness to budge on their positions, that I do believe in miracles and one never knows what sitting directly on top of truth will do. It was two weeks after our initial session. They called and cancelled and I thought that they must have gone forward with a decision to divorce.

To my surprise they called and came in a week later. They explained that what I said to them in the initial intake was absolutely true, however neither of them had ever sat with the FINALITY of what that truth meant. They said they were in shock for a day, but then it spurred a certain level of panic, which, in turn, got them talking and they hadn't really sat and had a heart-to-heart for years. They came in willing to fight for their right to be in marital therapy and asked if I would reconsider.

Ahhh... I love miracles, but I have to be honest when I tell you -- I am a nut about marriage. I'm totally in love with the sacrament of marriage, so when I gave them the bad news, I almost felt a surgeon coming out of a critical surgery with bad news for those in the waiting room. I even talked later that evening with my wife about these wonderful people and how difficult it was to tell them the truth about where they had allowed their marriage to deteroriate.

So, I say all that to say that you want a therapist who will shoot straight with you. Be wary of the other side of courageous though -- Brutality Therapy. Playing Six-Gun Sam as a therapist is as unhelpful or more so than being unwilling to say the obvious truths.

Be choosy. Find the right fit for exactly your needs. There are many other things I could say about right fit as you look for a potential therapist, but if you cover the above three you'll be far ahead of the game.



"He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own."

~~ Confucius



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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Written by Dave Turo-Shields, CEC, LCSW, ACSW
President, CounselingPros.com, Kenosis Counseling, Inc.
(c) Copyright 2005 CounselingPros.com, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana USA 46217