Published March 1, 2017 in the nOCD Newsletter:
This week we had the opportunity to ask Jacqueline McLean (MSW, LICSW), Founder of NFL Speaks, a few questions! Her support is helping us make nOCD better. Here is what she had to share:
|Why did you start a non-profit organization to assist retired NFL players?
|The idea for NFL Speaks started with an NFL player that I had worked with to address issues of anxiety and depression. These disorders that he experienced I thought made him eligible for various benefits and pension programs offered by the NFL. However, he was having great difficulty completing the documentation required. Today NFL Speaks, a pro bono service, utilizes second-year graduate students to provide navigation, advocacy and assessment consultation to retired NFL players who identify themselves as having a health or behavioral health issue. Many of these older retired players are unable to cover the medical or other expenses needed for the treatment of the effects of their football-related injuries. At times they are faced with insurmountable costs but have only limited resources. This service helps them navigate all of the possible options available to them.
|What motivated you
to start your
mental health care practice?
|I’m a career changer and was a business professional who was greatly impacted by a close family member who had a mental health issue. This experience gave me the ability to both observe and be involved with services from the behavioral health industry in an intimate way. What struck me is that most institutions and providers were not consumer-oriented and tended to not engage the family nor value their observations and input. With my business training I set a goal to create a forward-thinking private practice enterprise that provides clients the ability to address clinical issues that have been preventing or limiting their achievement in their lives and/or careers.
Our organization, Your Care on Demand, has become known for a practical approach to creating new possibilities for clients since we try to keep the perfect balance of good business sense and knowledge of what helps people function at their best. We have honed an ability to help individuals by providing the support and skills they need and by executing highly developed clinical plans.
What treatment do you specialize in?
|I was originally trained to be a generalist; my training was eclectic, although much of the coursework in the graduate program I completed had great emphasis and focus on cognitive behavioral interventions. My original post-graduate training was in the area of dual diagnosis, and at that time it meant looking at the co-morbidity between addiction and depressive and anxiety disorders. However, that original training I did 25 years ago led me into the areas of eating disorders as well as specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Your Care on Demand specializes in home- and community-based behavioral health services to individuals, families and employers. Our specialty practice includes addiction, eating, mood and anxiety disorders. We provide advocacy, navigation and case management services to individuals and families so they have few barriers to accessing the behavioral health industry. Our mission statement is committed to a practice advocating for sustainable treatment and after-care options, and we also create and implement highly specialized individual treatment plans.
In today's society, why do you think there is a shortage in OCD specialists?
|In many areas there is a shortage of qualified OCD therapists, which means individuals must venture outside of their communities to obtain treatment. This could mean traveling several hours to therapy sessions or checking into intensive in-patient or out-patient OCD programs. The IOCDF keeps a list of therapists who identify themselves as having advanced training in the area of OCD.
My understanding of why there is a labor shortage within the mental health industry as well as a lack of clinicians that specialize in the treatment of OCD relates to how the professions are organized and reimbursed around the health care insurance industry. Many people obtain their behavioral health care through their health insurance, and health insurance companies focus on generalized, as opposed to specialized, care. So there is little or no incentive for clinicians to pursue advanced specialized training such as what thorough treatment of OCD requires.
Policy and research professionals have thought that one way to get the insurance industry to encourage specialty training is to attach it to a monetary reward, meaning providers would receive an increase in reimbursement upon
completion of post-graduate training. Some behavioral health companies have begun pilot programs in which providers are rewarded once they have completed some type of certification in a given area.
|If you could give one piece of advice to mental health clinicians who don't treat OCD, what would you say?
|Unfortunately not every therapist who claims to treat OCD is aware of exposure and ritual prevention. Clinicians have been trained to provide reassurance to clients as needed, and certainly a small amount of reassurance is appropriate at times. However, compulsive demands for reassurance are an OCD ritual that must be stopped if the client is to make progress. Therefore the therapist should explain to the client that requests for reassurance will not be needed. Furthermore, friends and family should not be used as a source of reassurance by the client. It has been my experience that therapists may unwittingly spend whole sessions providing reassurance to an OCD client. Instead, therapists must teach their clients that reassurance-seeking should be avoided at all costs.
|If you could give one piece of advice to someone training to become a therapist, what would you say?
|That’s actually an appropriate question for me since I’ve been in social work education since 1995, both as an adjunct professor and a field placement supervisor. I emphasize to students that I’m supervising that their graduate training is really a foundation, and much of the advanced clinical training that is required today to treat complex disorders such as OCD will involve post-graduate training, and that they should see this as an investment, not only in themselves, but in their work. Often the coursework in graduate school provides more of an overview, but not in-depth coverage of or approaches to, treatment of disorders that require extensive clinical training.
|What excites you about the future of mental health care?
|As I indicated earlier, many clients today do not have adequate resources in their community. Therefore they either go without treatment, or they have to travel over an hour to access specialized care. Technology has opened a new frontier in behavioral health. This technology provides for psycho-education to augment clinical treatment. Mobile devices such as cell phones, smart phones and tablets are giving consumers new ways to access help and increase understanding of their disorders. In addition, this technology will enable clinicians to monitor a client’s progress, particularly in real time. I’m excited about the huge range of opportunities that has opened up the area of app development, including the nOCD application.
THE BOSTON MARATHON HEALING FAMILIES PROJECT
The Boston Marathon Healing Families project launched on April 16, 2013 by Jacqueline McLean, a Massachusetts clinical social worker who is a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She states she did this for two reasons. First of all, McLean states that there is a shortage of therapists in the United States, particularly those who are trained in, and knowledgeable of, cognitive behavioral therapy, and secondly, she wanted to be able to help people who might become entangled in bureaucratic systems in their attempts to obtain help. Besides, she is a life-long runner and someone who has attended many Boston marathons, and she felt that something has to be done to help the survivors and witnesses of the Boston marathon bombing.
We are pleased to announce that the Boston Marathon Healing Families project has already helped more than 20 survivors, witnesses and family members of the April 15 th bombing. Co-founder Jacqueline McLean is a graduate of Emmanuel College. She lived in Boston as an undergraduate and trained at McLean Hospital, a Harvard affiliate, while she was a graduate student. She returned to Boston University for post-graduate training. McLean says “When you go to college in Boston, Boston becomes your second home.”
McLean is originally from Worcester and is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy. She has had a private clinical practice in the city of Worcester since 1999 and has been providing field education for many of the local colleges and universities since 1995, giving supervision and field education to clinical social work students, overseeing both bachelor-level and masters-level students.
Assisting Ms McLean is Jack Blanchflower, a fellow Emmanuel graduate, who is coordinating both the baccalaureate and masters-level students. The goal of the project is to connect those who identify themselves as needing assistance with practitioners who agree to provide them with clinical services pro bono within a week of their contacting us.
In addition, information and referral services will be provided as well as an ongoing support group. Please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BostonMarathonHealingFamiliesand this is how you can contact us: 508-579-1575 and [email protected]