The Appointments Made - Now What?

Your Primary Care Physician has set your appointment with a Mental Health
Professional, but what can you expect?

  • The Interview

During the interview, your appearance (posture, mood, body movements, and dress) will
be assessed.  You will be asked to describe your symptoms, be as detailed as possible,  
You may also be asked questions that assess your thought processes, such as your
awareness of reality, logical thinking, perceptions, and potential for suicide.

  •  Physical Exam

You will be asked questions about your past medical history and the medications you
currently take.  The doctor may also evaluate your nervous system by testing your
reflexes, balance, and senses.

  •  Tests

You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire.  Specific disorders such as depression
may use the Hamilton Rating Scale, The Beck Depression Inventory, or the Geriatric
Depression Scale.  Your general levels of functioning may be assessed by the Mini
Mental Status Examination.  Most questionnaires take only 20 to 30 minutes to complete,
and can be answered quickly, often in a "yes" or "no" format.

  •  How Long Does it Take?

The time it takes for a mental health assessment varies, depending on the reason for
the assessment.  An interview with written or verbal tests may last 30 to 60 minutes or
longer depending on the number of tests and resources used.

Remember to relax, be as detailed as possible (keep a journal for several weeks), share
your concerns with your health care professional.


Bruce Hackworth PhD is now offering Biofeedback therapy at our NorthStar Center offices..

Biofeedback is a term for learning to control functions of your body that normally occur
involuntarily.  Learning to measure these functions may help an individual improve his or
her health condition, particularly in the areas of stress reduction, chronic pain,
hypertension and migraine headaches.  

Emotions are known to have an effect on your physical health.  Stress, anger, fear, and
anxiety can become physical symptoms such as hypertension, ulcers, migraine headaches,
or muscle spasms. Biofeedback helps an individual take control and reduces the physical
symptoms by controlling their reaction to emotional stress.

Biofeedback equipment is used to help you monitor the body process that you usually are
not aware of, such as skin temperature, muscle tension, and brain wave activity.  In
Biofeedback therapy you learn to recognize these processes and find a thought process
that controls the body process. You train your body to “mind”.  Through training the
participant learns to identify these processes and use the methods to control them even
without the aid of the Biofeedback program.

A Biofeedback therapy session normally lasts from 30-60 minutes.  The learned techniques
must be practiced on a daily basis at first to maximize their effectiveness. We have portable
home devices which can be offered to help with your ongoing training.

You will need to consult with your personal physician before starting Biofeedback therapy.  
While Biofeedback is a safe technique, it may interfere with some medications such as
insulin.  A referral from your primary care physician is also necessary for some commercial

Please call if you have questions about this form of therapy, we will be happy to answer
any questions you may have before you start.  We can also consult with your personal
physician and contact your insurance carrier before you start.

NorthStar Center main phone: 269-982-7844

Mental and Behavioral Health Web Sites for more information on issues:  (Depression Issues) (National Mental Health Association) Disorders) (National Fatherhood Initiative)

Who Gets Depression?

Depression afflicts approximately 17 million Americans, from children to the elderly, in all
walks of life. It reportedly afflicts twice as many women as men (although some observers
speculate that this could be because fewer men admit they need treatment).

Among those prone to depression are people:

With close relatives who have had depression
Who have had depression before
With low self-esteem or self-loathing
With chronic medical disorders, including thyroid disease, diabetes, and high blood
Who take certain medications, including oral contraceptives, steroids, and some
medications for high blood pressure
With a loved one who is seriously ill
Who are alcoholic or drug-abusing
Who are withdrawing from alcohol or drug addiction
Who are going through stressful or traumatic life events
NorthStar Center
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