Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Hello and welcome to my website! My name is Megan Loving and I've been a counselor in various community settings over the past 8 years. In that time, I have worked in school settings, in-home, and out of an office. While I was in graduate school, I couldn't wait to get out and help people change their lives for the better. The reality of the state of community mental health treatment is not as ideal as I'd hoped. While working as an individual counselor, I learned very quickly that some of my clients could be fairly unmotivated to do therapy (court-ordered for one reason or another, coming out of the hospital only desiring medication, not seeing the value in therapy, believing collective messages from society about culture and/or gender regarding not sharing emotions with others, etc.). The hardest part about being a therapist in a community mental health setting is the lack of control over your time and activities.
Time is truly of the essence when working with clients and attempting every possible intervention until something sticks. While I was in a position as an individual therapist, I experienced a brief time period where I had a little more control over my schedule. I could see people weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly at their request. This lasted about 6 months before my supervisors came in and needed several therapists to take on substance abuse groups for court-ordered clients at a new location. These groups were set to consume 9 hours of my week which would take away 9 appointment slots reserved for individual clients EVERY WEEK.
Doing these groups pushed my schedule out to where I could only see my clients every 2 months. Within the groups, clients wanted to see a therapist individually to work on some of their own personal issues while participating in the group. All of the therapists in our agency were stretched too thin. Everyone's schedule became overloaded with groups and way-too-high caseloads for what we were trying to take on. I attempted, as did every other therapist there to speak with our supervisors about the lack of effectiveness we were having. We tried advocating for the best possible situation for our clients and for us. The response we got left us feeling brushed off and burnt out. My needs weren't being met and neither were my clients. I was providing therapy as a band-aid for the clients I did have because we didn't have time to dive deeply into their issues and maintain regular appointments. This situation drove up the amount of clients in crisis.
This experience and others in community mental health has driven me to open a private practice for several reasons. I can control my own time, do individual therapy, and see my clients as often as my client chooses (especially if they are self-pay, otherwise insurance will have some say in the number of sessions per year). I can also provide sessions outside of the typical 9-5 work day and on Saturdays because of my unique situation. I can get closer to that "ideal" that appears unattainable in a community setting because of the limitations dictated by others. If you've been disappointed by the mental health care provided to you over the years and self-pay is an option for you, please give me a call. I can't wait to help you along in your journey to better mental health.