Watch Your Language!


Written by: Shae Chisman, MFT-I

If you didn’t know already, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! Its time to think about ways we can prevent suicide and how we can fight the stigma surrounding depression and suicide. We can create the cultural change needed to improve conversations about mental health and suicide prevention – simply by changing the language we use in discussing these matters. Words are powerful.

Committed Suicide vs. Completed Suicide vs. Died by Suicide

When we use the language “committed”, we are typically describing immoral behavior (i.e. Someone commits murder, rape, burglary, & other crimes).

While we definitely do not condone suicide – the person who dies by suicide is not committing a crime. Rather, this act is almost always a result of mental illness, extreme stress, and/or trauma.

Discussing suicide in this way perpetuates the stigma that prevents so many from seeking help. Let’s agree that these individuals deserve compassion – rather than condemnation.

 Some have suggested the use of “completed suicide” instead of “committed suicide” in efforts to be more politically correct. Unfortunately, using the word “completed” does not accurately describe the act either. When we have completed something, this indicates success – it feels like an accomplishment. Alternatively, if someone’s suicide is described as “incomplete” – it indicates a failure.

We do not want to assign connotations such as good or bad to suicide – and definitely not when “completing suicide” is mildly suggested as good through the language and vice versa.

How do we talk about suicide?

To avoid these judgements – “died by suicide” can be used. It may come across as dry and insensitive. The alternative is that we are using language that can propagate stigma and discourage people who might otherwise be asking for help.

With so many lives at stake – the least we can do is practice using different vernacular when discussing suicide. We urge you to try.

Also, if you know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are people who can help. Hope is here.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 74147

Georgia Crisis & Access Line: 1-800-715-4225

Georgia HOPE offers in-home and online therapy for a multitude of presenting problems including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression & other Mood Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Relationship Troubles
  • Substance Use
  • Eating Disorders
  • And more!

Find the Right Fit in Therapy


Written by: Shae Chisman, MFT-I

No, I’m not talking about skinny jeans. I’m talking about your therapist. Although finding the “right” therapist can be just as frustrating as finding that perfect pair of pants. No “sucking it in” should be necessary when finding someone to courageously share your shadow moments with. Feeling safe, accepted by, and challenged by your therapist are all essential to overcoming whatever ails you.

Those of us who have participated in some sort of mental health counseling know how important it is to actually like your therapist. Research shows that the client-therapist relationship is known to be one of the most important factors for contributing to client change (Blow and Sprenkle, 2001). So, if you find yourself feeling judged, unsupported, and disliked by your therapist – chances are you may not have a successful outcome in therapy.


Here are 7 signs that your therapist is right for you:

  1. Your therapist is warm, welcoming, and portrays what we call unconditional positive regard. This means that they should be accepting of who you are and what you bring to the therapy room.
  2. You feel safe being completely honest with them – no matter how shameful the truth may be. Therapists see and hear it all. Your story is unique and essential to your journey – and therapists are trained to handle your truth without judgement.
  3. You feel challenged. I know we just described a therapist who seems coddling and nurturing – but part of nurturance involves confrontation. Many of us have conditioned negative emotional responses to confrontation and part of your therapy journey must involve looking at yourself with clarity. Therapists are here to be a mirror to show how maladaptive patterns have prevented you from being your best self.
  4. All emotions are welcome. Laughter. Shouting. Sobbing. Your therapist should be capable of handling your emotions – as well as their own. In your most vulnerable moments, your therapist should remain supportive and open to whatever comes up. It can be messy – but that’s part of healing.
  5. They collaborate with you regarding your own treatment. YOU ARE THE EXPERT ON YOUR OWN LIFE. Therefore, you should be involved in creating your own long-term and short-term goals for treatment. If you have a therapist who has created therapy goals without your consultation – and they do not align with what you want out of therapy – RUN!
  6. They empower you to make decisions on your own. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about therapy – that therapists should be advice-givers. While at times, making referrals and resource suggestions are completely necessary – your therapist should not be telling you what to do with your life. They should be helping remind you that you have the capability to overcome your problems.
  7. There is an expectation that at some point in the near future, you won’t need therapy anymore. In the same vein as #6 – you should be empowered by your therapist to make change and eventually thrive with use of a natural support system. A good therapist does not want you to be reliant on them. We want to help you get un-stuck – not need us eternally. In the beginning stages of therapy – conversations regarding what it would look like to not need therapy anymore should take place. That way, you both have a picture of what needs to take place to get you back on track.


Bottom line : you should be happy with your therapist and if not – you have the power to let them know what you need out of therapy. And if they cannot give that to you – find another therapist.


Georgia HOPE offers in-home and online therapy (with AMAZING therapists) for a multitude of presenting problems including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression & other Mood Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Relationship Troubles
  • Substance Use
  • Eating Disorders
  • And more!


10 Signs You May Need A Therapist

You’ve hit the wall. A tragedy has occurred. Nothing is going right.

“Pick the kids up from school. Keep it together for them.”

You vent to your spouse. They take your pain personally and feel defeated in helping relieve it. Now you feel guilty for burdening them.

The to-do list keeps getting longer and your energy is already depleted.

Ah, sweet coffee…”

You call your friend. All she does is compare your suffering to hers – like it’s a competition. Now you feel invalidated.

“I’ll just have one more glass of wine…”

You decide to just veg out and watch some Netflix. Instead, painful memories and intrusive negative thoughts begin to creep in. Now your mind is more frightening and confusing as the last season of Stranger Things.


Sound familiar? Many of us are walking around with unsurmountable suffering that no one can see.

  • Childhood trauma.
  • Broken families.
  • Crippling debt.
  • Workplace drama.  

We try our best to hide this from the world. But instead, our pain begins to manifest into emotional outbursts, strained relationships, physical illness, etc. How do we begin to heal? How can we change the never-ending cycle of chaos?

Therapy is the first line of treatment in getting un-stuck. Whether you are going through a major life transition, feeling down, having relationship trouble, experiencing anxiety, or problematic usage of substances – therapy can help.

A survey released in May of 2004, “Therapy in America 2004,” and co-sponsored by Psychology Today magazine and PacifiCare Behavioral Health, found that an estimated 59 million people have received mental health treatment in the past two years, and that 80 percent of them have found it effective.

So, here are some signs that you should consider therapy…


  1. Your eating and sleeping habits have changed. Either you’re getting too much or not enough of either. Either can be detrimental.
  2. You no longer enjoy the things that you used to. Maybe you aren’t so zen in yoga class anymore and start skipping them. Or Sunday tee-time just isn’t giving you the joy it did before.
  3. Your emotions are turned up to 12! Find yourself crying in the bathroom at work (more than usual)? Or instead of just murmuring curse words at the driver who cut you off, you actually try to start a fight with them.
  4. Social situations are a no go. You don’t want your friends to stop inviting you to get-togethers, but every RSVP is left unchecked.
  5. Unhealthy habits are becoming problematic. We automatically think of drinking and drug use when this comes up. But this could also involve excessive shopping, excessive dieting, risky behaviors, etc.
  6. Your relationships aren’t being nurtured. Arguments with your spouse. Snapping at your children. Ignoring your friend’s phone calls and texts.
  7. Something horrible happened. You’ve experienced a trauma that has shaken you to your core. Trauma isn’t just for combat soldiers. A car accident, affair, loss of a loved one, or anything you feel is traumatic – is trauma.
  8. You’re unsure of who you are. Understanding ourselves better can help us break maladaptive patterns of behavior or allow us to give ourselves more grace.
  9. Your support network is diminished or nonexistent. Everyone needs someone to talk to and process with. Therapy is a great place to receive the validation and support that you deserve.
  10. Nothing else has helped. You’ve tried exercising. You’ve tried meditation. You even tried reading that crazy self-help book your Aunt recommended. But, nothing seems to give you relief.

If any or all of these are ringing a bell, then you should consider finding a therapist.

Georgia HOPE offers in-home and online therapy for a multitude of presenting problems including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression & other Mood Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Relationship Troubles
  • Substance Use
  • Eating Disorders
  • And more!

How Online Therapy Sessions Have Changed in Recent Years

Change in online therapy

Websites offering in-depth information and advice related to medical conditions are not a new concept. Where there is a medical condition, there is a website with information that can be a great resource as people seek to learn more about for what ails them. Websites dedicated to mental health are no exception. In recent years sites offering online therapy sessions have evolved quite a bit.

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, e-counseling or cyber-counseling, has grown from a predominate email and forum-based style of communication to being able to receive real-time care simply by logging onto your laptop, PC or mobile device. While, for the sake of convenience, many people still enjoy a text-based style of online therapy sessions, the progression of technology now allows for therapists to offer HIPPA compliant, real-time video and audio-based therapy sessions.

For some patients, this can offer many advantages including the convenience of meeting from the comfort of their own home or office.  There can also be considerable financial savings as web-based therapy sessions are typically less expensive than meeting at a therapist’s office.

Another aspect of online therapy that has changed is how and where patients are logging on. Gone are the days where you are limited to reading a forum or entering a chat room from your home PC. As of 2016 internet usage on mobile devices surpassed desktop-based internet browsing. That means that more and more people are using the internet in ways and in locations that were previously not accessible.  Therapy sessions online can now be held in real time using your mobile device. Quite simply, that means that as long as you can access the web via Wi-Fi or your mobile network, you can now meet with your therapist through video or audio chats through secure, HIPPA compliant providers.

For many people, the idea of addressing their mental health can be overwhelming at times. The option of online therapy presents an opportunity to reach a larger number of people who may not be as open to the idea of treatment by going through the traditional channels. Advancements in web technology have brought us to a point where meetings and conversations can be had virtually anytime and anyplace, which allows patients to select an environment that is familiar and comfortable to them.

According to a 2016 study the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. The advancement of web-based treatment options has opened the doors to reach more people who can benefit from therapy like never before. Patients and therapists can select a system for communication that works best for them, which can ultimately lead to better treatment results.

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