Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide


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Behavioral Medicine: A Social Worker's Guide by John S. Wodarski

And many people who fear the side effects of prescription medications seek CAM because they perceive it to be more natural and safe. In addition, immigration trends and the resulting cultural influences also may be contributing to the growth of CAM nationwide. An increasing number of immigrants and refugees to the United States are coming from non-European countries where practices such as folk medicine, acupuncture, and the use of herbal remedies are more common and enjoy wider acceptance. Behavioral health professionals around the country are integrating various CAM techniques into their work.

For example, clients at the New York-based Center for Motivation and Change begin each group session with a five-minute meditation period.

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Some clients enjoy these periods so much that they seek individual instruction in meditation and mindfulness, says David Lane, PsyD, a clinical director at the center, which specializes in treating addictions and other compulsive behaviors. Several academic institutions have established centers devoted to studying and promoting an integrative approach to physical and behavioral healthcare. Such settings give clients a way to access CAM services in an environment where they can responsibly try alternatives, says David Spiegel, MD, medical director of the California-based Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, which is part of Stanford University.

A plethora of studies has been conducted to test the effectiveness of CAM techniques for various addictions and mental health conditions. The results have been mixed, with some CAM practices showing more promise than others. And a meta-analysis by Liu, Shi, Epstein, Bao, and Lu of randomized trials analyzing the use of acupuncture to relieve opiate withdrawal symptoms concluded that acupuncture seemed to reduce the rate of withdrawal symptoms and the need for medications such as methadone.

However, a research trial conducted by Bearn, Swami, Stewart, Atnas, Giotto, and Gossop reported that acupuncture had no effect on withdrawal severity or craving on a group of patients with opiate dependence. There appear to be fewer success stories regarding the use of CAM to treat alcohol and nicotine dependence. And people using acupressure beads in a stop-smoking clinic in the United Kingdom did not think the beads were significantly more effective than nicotine replacement therapy or group behavior therapy Horowitz, However, several CAM practices have been shown to help alleviate depression.

Kava extract has reduced some cases of anxiety Woolhouse, , as has acupuncture Horowitz, Other studies have shown that Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture reduce the severity of the often-serious side effects associated with antipsychotic medications Horowitz, ; Woolhouse, The mixed research results should be a reminder to behavioral health professionals that they have a duty to critically analyze CAM techniques before incorporating them into their practice, Gordon says. Being excited by a particular technique does not justify ignoring research about its effectiveness, he says.

Many people come to Diablo after trying CAM techniques that have failed, especially debatable remedies being promoted to parents of children with autism. Some people are so desperate to find something that they are willing to try anything, no matter its cost or its proven effectiveness, Shryer says.


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Losing money is not the only risk clients face when using CAM practices. Many CAM practices are not as safe as clients perceive them to be. Although standards for licensing vary, a growing number of states are placing greater emphasis on communication skills, professional ethics, and sensitivity to issues of cultural diversity.

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Most states require a certain amount of supervised clinical experience for licensure of clinical social workers. Although not required in order to practice, many health care agencies require Medical Social Workers to be licensed, and most insurance providers require a Medical Social Worker to be licensed in order to reimburse for services. The National Association of Social Workers offers voluntary credentials. Credentials are particularly important for those in private practice; some health insurance providers require social workers to have them in order to be reimbursed for services.

What types of patients would benefit from the care of a Medical Social Worker? Many, if not all, patients could benefit from the care of a Medical Social Worker. In particular, individuals with chronic degenerative illnesses; the terminally ill; individuals with mental illness; transplant patients; homeless individuals; and individuals with multiple social, financial, emotional, or housing problems. How and when does a Medical Social Worker become involved in the care of a particular patient?

In many health care settings, the physician requests social work services. In some settings, all patients receive social work services.


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Professional organizations for Medical Social Workers: Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program J-1 visa Sponsoring physicians on J-1 Exchange Visitor visas and ensuring that Exchange Visitors and their host institutions meet the federal requirements for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program. GEMx — Global educational exchange in medicine and the health professions Providing participating institutions with an on-line system to promote and provide information on their elective exchange programs in medicine and the health professions.

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Click here for a detailed description of what you can use each service to do. Policies and Procedures Regarding Irregular Behavior.

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Expand All Collapse All. Find other organizations and experts. Resource Alternative Careers in Health Care: Evidence-based quick lessons are summaries of common conditions which include information on causes and risk factors; contraindications and precautions; assessment and care plans; desired outcomes and outcome measures; best practices; and prevention. Evidence-based care sheets are summaries of the best and most current clinical data applicable to specific diseases and conditions. All evidence is evaluated according to a 7-step evidence-based methodology to ensure the best and most current evidence is presented.

Clinical assessment tools are designed for assessing a client through devices used for measuring a given phenomenon e. These can include interviewing, research tools, a questionnaire, or a set of guidelines for observation. Continuing education modules are designed to help social workers and mental health professionals satisfy their CE credits online.

Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide
Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide Behavioral Medicine: A Social Workers Guide

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