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David G. Jensen, JD
former Staff Attorney
Do you know that as a CAMFT member you have unlimited, 24/7 access to EBSCOhost's Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection™? This Collection is a database of almost 600 journals devoted to the fields of psychology and the behavioral sciences. Access to the Collection allows you to search for peer reviewed information pertaining to your professional interests, whether clinically driven, personally-motivated, or research oriented.
The Collection's search capabilities are quite impressive. You can search from your home or office, or anywhere else you have Internet access. If your search does not yield results, the Collection has something called "Smart Text Searching," which automatically locates articles based on the key words you submitted. You can also limit a search to a range of years you determine. So, if you are looking only for articles appearing in journals within the last five years, you can customize that search accordingly. You can also download and print full-text articles, not summaries or abstracts of articles, but actual, full-text articles.
Most important, access to the Collection costs you nothing!
That's right! Access to the Collection costs you nothing. You are not charged a fee to access the Collection; nor are you charged a fee to download and print full-text articles. CAMFT has paid the subscription fee and provides you with access to the Collection as a benefit of your membership. So, if you are not familiar with the Collection, perhaps it is time to consider what it can do for you.
Accessing an Article from the Collection Can Help You Make Clinical Decisions
Suppose you get a voicemail message from Jim, a potential patient. Jim discloses that he is addicted to the Internet and his addiction is causing him problems at work and at home. He would like to discuss the situation with you because he heard you are a good therapist. Although intrigued by the call, you would like to have a better handle on Internet addiction before talking with Jim about his situation. You may also wonder whether cognitive behavioral therapy, your particular area of competence, has been helpful in treating such a problem. So, via the Collection, you can simply input the terms "internet," "addiction," and "treatment" and generate, in seconds, search results from those terms.
Using the terms "Internet," "addiction," and "treatment," I was able to locate the following article: "Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Internet Addicts: Treatment Outcomes and Implications" by Kimberly S. Young, PsyD.
In her article, Ms. Young summarizes the findings of a study suggesting that cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective tool for treating Internet addiction. This article is also a good reference for information from other articles and studies concerning the relatively new but complex problem of Internet addiction. Consequently, it seems that an article such as the one cited above could help psychotherapists sort through scope of practice and scope of competence issues.
So, what clinical issues are facing you? Do you want to know more about treating depression and adolescents, or treating depression and the elderly? Do you want to know more about how Emotion Focused Therapy fares with adult survivors of child abuse? What information would you like to know to better help your clients? The Collection can probably link you to this sort of information in seconds!
Accessing an Article from the Collection can Help You Demonstrate Compliance With the Standard of Care
Let us return to Jim and his problem of Internet addiction. Suppose after weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, Jim succumbs to his addiction once again. Unfortunately, this occurred while he was working and he was fired from his job for improper Internet usage. Let us then suppose that Jim blames you for his firing. His theory of the case is that you should not have used cognitive behavioral therapy to address his addiction, and if you would have used another intervention he would have been cured by now. It is all your fault, not his!
Although Jim's allegation raises issues somewhat germane to the standard of care, the fact that there is a scholarly article in a peer reviewed journal opining on the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating Internet addiction will help you and your lawyer immensely. This is the kind of information that demonstrates compliance with the standard of care, not deviations from it. This is the kind of information that can help demonstrate that someone has filed a frivolous or meritless claim. This is the kind of information that can get you out of lawsuits at the earliest possible stage. Aside from these reasons, accessing scholarly information from the Collection can help you hone in on and remain within the friendly confines of the standard of care.
Accessing an Article from the Collection can Help You Get Necessary Psychotherapy Authorized
Let us return once again to Jim and his Internet addiction, but let us change the facts a bit. Although Jim is an employee highly-valued by Stan, his employer, Stan is concerned about Jim and his addiction. Stan wants to help Jim overcome his addiction, but Jim is hesitant to use his insurance because of confidentiality issues. Consequently, Stan offers to pay for Jim's psychotherapy if you can provide him with some validation that psychotherapy will help Jim. Of course, you cannot guarantee that the therapy will work, largely because much depends on Jim's motivation to change, but the article by Ms. Young does give some empirical support for the proposition that the problem of Internet addiction can be addressed successfully by cognitive behavioral therapy. That may be enough to carry the day and persuade Stan to pay for Jim's therapy.
There are many stories in the real world evidencing the need for psychotherapy services. There are also times when people and entities, such as government programs or managed care organizations, have to be persuaded to pay for such services. The "medical necessity" of the treatment has to be justified. Perhaps some peer reviewed, scholarly information regarding clinical trials and studies could help you persuade an insurance company, a judge, or a government agency that psychotherapy services are medically necessary? A presentation bolstered by scholarship of this sort is going to be much more persuasive and credible than one made without such evidence.
Accessing an Article from the Collection May Help You Identify Niche Areas for Your Practice
Suppose you get a call from a husband and he tells you that he and his wife together own and operate a swimming pool supply business, and the overlap of duties, responsibilities, and demands between home and work are "killing" the business and "ruining" the marriage. They never have time for one another, and what time they do have is spent arguing over how much chlorine to have on stock for the next three months. All energy, spontaneity, and creativity is channeled into meeting the demands of the business; it is all work, work, work. Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it is off to work they go!
From your involvement with PTA, youth soccer, or Little League, you realize there are many sets of parents in this predicament. Instead of a pool supply business, it could be a joint law practice, a joint accounting practice, or a joint chiropractic practice. But, these feelings of conflict and despair are reverberating throughout the suburbs. So, you ask yourself: "What does the literature say about couples who work together?" "What can be done to help these couples manage this situation?"
Via the Collection, I was able to locate the following article: "Family Business-Owning Couples: An EFT View Into Their Unique Conflict Culture" by Sharon M. Danes and Erin A. Morgan.
In their article, Danes and Morgan outline five recurring areas of conflict between spouses who co-own businesses. These areas of conflict are:
Danes and Morgan also argue that emotion focused therapy can be used to help couples resolve these sorts of conflicts, and they dramatize how such a therapeutic process could play out by using a case study.
So, based on this article by Danes and Morgan, you may see a new way of marketing your skills as a therapist in your community. In addition to your traditional "90806" type of psychotherapy patient, perhaps there is room in your practice for some work counseling couples who co-own businesses? Maybe they do not need psychotherapy; maybe they just need to learn to communicate more openly and more honestly. Perhaps with your imagination and awareness of what is going on in your community, you can use the Collection to help you identify other niche areas of practice? For instance, what about the psychotherapeutic aspects of managing money, i.e., budgeting and spending? It seems like many couples would benefit from this type of counseling.
Accessing an Article from the Collection Can Help You Meet Your Continuing Education Requirement
Under BBS laws and regulations, you are allowed to earn up to half of your continuing education units via self-study, and the Collection can help you fulfill this requirement in one of two ways.
You can search for your own articles via the Collection. Keep in mind that these articles can be derived from subjects you are interested in as a therapist. So, you can use articles acquired for your clinical work, a paper you are working on, or a presentation you make to help meet your continuing education requirement.
If you do not want to search for your own articles, you can also select an article from a "Library of Articles" CAMFT has compiled for you. In fact, the two articles mentioned in this article are currently available in the "Library." For more information on using the Collection to help meet your continuing education requirement, please visit the "EBSCOhost" link in the Member's Only section of CAMFT's website.
Especially for Trainees and Post-Grad Students
Whether you are working on a Master's or Doctorate, access to the Collection may help speed your research. Russell Collins, a current member of the Santa Barbara Chapter's Board of Directors, has found EBSCO very helpful to him as he pursues a Doctorate in Psychology. He reports greater access to full-text articles, not just abstracts of articles, as being particularly beneficial. He also told CAMFT that the access to EBSCO he gets through CAMFT is superior to the access to EBSCO he gets through the college he is attending. So, EBSCO may actually help you with your homework!
Adding It All Up
So, all things considered, whether you are a licensee, an intern, a trainee, or a postgrad student, some pretty good reasons for making EBSCO Host and its Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection™ part of your professional life. CAMFT has paid the freight; you just need to use it!
David Jensen, JD, is a former CAMFT staff attorney.