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Choosing a Mental Health Professional

 September, 2014

Quote of the month

 "You'll have bad times, 

but it'll 

always wake you up to 

the good 

stuff you weren't 

paying attention to."


Said by Robin William's 
Sean Maguire, 
in the movie 
Good Will Hunting (1997).  
May he rest 
in peace.

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My Services
Pre-Marital Counseling
Certified Prepare/Enrich Program Facilitator
Marital Counseling
Infidelity Issues
Self-Esteem Support
Problem-Solving Support
Renew Marital Excitement
Family counseling

Divorce Support
Collaborative Law Communications Facilitator
Redefining Life Purpose
Grief/Loss Support

Family Counseling


I welcome the opportunity to help you work through current issues and to look at your future with a sense of hope and purpose.


Masters Degree - Applied Psychology from Seton Hall University


Post-Masters Degree-Marriage and Family Therapy from Seton Hall University


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist


Private Practice 

since 2008


Married 25 years


Mother of 2 young adult daughters 


Passionate about 

what I do




I hope you have enjoyed your summer and have created many wonderful memories to reflect upon for years to come.


For this month's newsletter I wanted to address some thoughts regarding choosing a mental health provider.  Do I choose someone from my insurance provider's list? A referral from a friend?  A referral from my doctor or my church?  While these are all good resources, here are some additional factors to consider when choosing someone to help you with your mental or behavioral health needs, whether or not you have received their name from another source first. 


I was deeply saddened by the recent passing of the comedian and actor, Robin Williams, and thought this article might just be able to reach one person who is considering asking for help but afraid to pursue the process. If you know of someone who is hurting, please approach them and offer to help or forward this newsletter to them.  If you, yourself are suffering, do not suffer in silence. 

Stay well and remember there is always a choice regarding what you do with your life.

As always, please pass along this information to anyone you feel may benefit from its content. 



Maryellen Dabal, MA, LMFT

Southlake Counseling & Neurofeedback Center

420 North Carroll Ave Suite 140

Southlake, TX 76092




Missed previous newsletters??

Go to www.dabalmft.com.  Click on the newsletters link at the bottom of the home page. Enjoy.....


From The Positive Perspective.......


First thing to look for is the individual's specialty. 

Identify if their specialty fits your needs.  If you want marital counseling, be sure your therapist specializes in that.  Be sure the individual is trained to work with more than one person in a room if you are considering marital or family counseling.  Not all counselors in this field are trained in this way. It is a very different dynamic working one on one with someone, vs being outnumbered in a room working with a couple or family.  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT's), for example, are trained to work with more than one person in a room.

Second thing to consider is the person's license. You can review several state or national websites to be sure the individual has a current license including going to the Texas Department of State Health Services to search various license types, such as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC's) or, Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW's) or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT's).  You can also search the Texas State Board of Examiners for Psychologists.  There are many other resources; these are just a few that apply to Texas.

Third, always read the provider's website regarding their background, life experience and how they run their therapy sessions. Be sure to check their pricing structure and insurance offerings, if any.  Every provider runs their practice a little differently.  Learn about this person.  Does their website help you to feel connected to them?  Do you feel you have a good idea who they are and what they can provide for you as well as what they expect from you in counseling? In order for this process to work, you need to feel comfortable with the clinician you choose because you are revealing many innermost thoughts and desires to them.

Fourth, be aware that some therapists may have an additional letter attached to their licensure, like LMFT-A or LPC-I. These designations indicate someone in training that has not yet reached full licensure.  These clinicians may not have the years of experience behind them, but they do usually have the latest knowledge, having just graduated with a master's degree in their specialty.  These individuals may be more willing to offer a sliding scale or work with you on price, as they need to accomplish a certain number of clinical hours before they can be fully licensed.  Again, check their background, where they went to school and if they are being supervised.  Asking these questions of the clinician will only make you appear knowledgeable and you should be respected for it.

Fifth, look for involvement of the professional. There are some national organizations, such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, to name a few, who are reputable organizations that most professionals have an association with.  Individuals will usually belong to the ones that correspond to their licensure. While this does not guarantee expertise, it is another step which shows the clinician wants to stay up to date in their field.

Last but not least, be sure you connect with the therapist. If after a session or two, you are not feeling comfortable with their style or structure of the session.....tell them.  We work with honesty and what our clients give us.  I have never claimed to be the best therapist for everyone, and if my client is not comfortable with the way our sessions are going, my concern is they get the help they need, whether that be with me or with someone else who is qualified. 

In conclusion, I am very happy to say that I see the stigma of seeking counseling lessening every year; especially with the current generation of teenagers and young adults.  When we are physically hurt, we go to the doctor, right?  When we are psychologically hurting, we need to seek assistance as well.

I wish you all well in your pursuits of happiness and if I can be of assistance in any way, please let me know.  As always, thank you for looking at the issue of seeking behavioral assistance ....From The Positive Perspective.


Stay well.


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I welcome feedback regarding the newsletter or questions about my practice.  I can be reached at maryellen@dabalmft.com.  I cannot, however, give advice through email. For more information on my practice please visit my website: www.dabalmft.com

I wish you well...