Imagine you have a panic attack.
You’ve had them before, but never like this.
You’ve through about seeing a doctor about this kind of thing in the past, but you never went through with it.
This time, you decide, you need help.
You swallow your insecurity, make an appointment, and have a friend or spouse take you to the doctor’s office.
You’re expecting that the doctor will give you a prescription. Just a few of those little yellow pills, the kind you saw on TV the night before.
Yes, you know there are some side-effects you might have to deal with, but at this point, all you want is something to make you feel a little better.
You arrive at the doctor’s office and the nurse takes you back to one of the rooms.
The nurse takes your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature, then tells you to sit tight. Someone will be in to see you soon.
A few minutes later, you hear a soft knock at the door. But instead of the doctor, it’s the office’s counseling care coordinator.
She explains that she’s here to ask you a few questions about how your’e feeling, and how high or low your emotional temperature is running.
At first, you feel a little uneasy about talking to her. This isn’t a counseling office, is it? You really just came to get a prescription.
But in spite of your initial fears, you find you like this “counseling care coordinator.” She puts you at ease with her calm manner and the respectful way she asks you her questions.
She recognizes that you’re feeling anxious, and she provides you with a few activities you can take home with you that might be helpful. She even takes a few minutes to practice them with you right there in the office.
To your surprise, the exercises help. You’re feeling more relaxed.
The care coordinator tells you about a counselor the doctor’s office has on staff in this very office. She’s apparently very skilled at helping people with anxiety.
“Would you like to come back tomorrow to meet with her?” the coordinator asks. “She can teach you even more about how to manage your anxiety.”
You’re intrigued by the idea. You had assumed a prescription was all they could really do for you here. But maybe there’s more to it. It would be nice to talk with someone about what’s been happening. What harm could come from a meeting with a counselor?
The next day, you arrive at the same clinic, where you are warmly greeted by the care coordinator.
She puts you right at ease, just as she had the day before. She even walks you in to meet the counselor, which helps calm your already frayed nerves.
Now you’re in the care of a skilled therapist who’s ready to get you all the way through your anxiety in only a few sessions.
Sound like a pipe dream?
If we at Heart-Centered Counseling have a say in it, this will likely be your future. We’re working closely with doctor’s groups to integrate physical and mental health care in just this way.
We’re proposing models just like this one in Northern Colorado, and we’re hoping to test run these models in some of the clinics in and around Fort Collins.
Who knows? Maybe the next time you go to your doctor’s office feeling anxious, it might be you in the story above.
Want to talk with someone about an issue you’ve been struggling with? Give us a call at (970) 310-3406, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and emails are held strictly confidential, and—if needed—we can get you in to see someone within a day or two.