Attorneys reach out for counseling with a wide range of presenting concerns. More often than not, these concerns are not clearly articulable but rather have produced a general sense, over time, that has manifested in cognitive, physiological, and/or relational challenges. In beginning the therapeutic journey, it is important to initially work to clarify and more clearly define presenting concerns so that we can operationalize the therapeutic approach.
- Cognitive Challenges
When initially presenting for treatment, the first step is assessment to identify particular challenges usually in the functional domains of cognitive processing and physiological functioning. While at first glance, most attorneys understandably possess a high degree of confidence in their intellectual functioning, the initial assessment is geared towards eliciting cognitive distortions that may, in subtle ways, undermine the attorneys relationship to reality. At their route, these cognitive distortions may relate to entrenched dualistic thinking that is so prevalent in law practice. In gravitating so heavily to polarized notions of reality in law practice, the attorney may overtime have come to confuse these polarized notions with unfolding reality that seldom conforms to such polarized notions.
- Physiological Manifestations
While neither psychologists nor psychotherapists are licensed to practice medicine, it is essential at the commencement of treatment that an assessment is made to rule out certain physiological causes that may be causing or exacerbating current psychological or emotional challenges. In order to facilitate therapy, the psychologist or psychotherapist may potentially refer the patient for a medical evaluation. The goal of addressing underlying physiological challenges in the context of therapy is to ensure that the patient is at a baseline of functioning that will be conducive to psycho therapeutic practices.
- Medical History
Similar to what was immediately stated above, the psychologist or psychotherapist will likely inquire as to the medical history of the patient including current medications being used.