Post-Mardi Gras and ED Awareness

Based in New Orleans, we at TPN.Health have just experienced the city-wide end of Carnival season. If you live and work in the city limits, then you have undoubtedly been touched in some way by Mardi Gras, whether you wholeheartedly partook in the month-long festivities, staunchly avoided the hullabaloo, or fell somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Even if you tried to avoid the season entirely, you probably had to take a different route at some point due to road closures, heard the sounds from a parade, or encountered an over-zealous tourist.

Humans have been celebrating Mardi Gras since its origins as the Pagan Carnival of ancient Rome. Later, the arrival of Christianity changed the celebration’s intent to precede the forty-day Lenten season of fasting and penance. Mardi Gras, literally translating from French to “Fat Tuesday” in English, would serve as the last opportunity to eat richly and engage in debauchery before the long, somber days of self-deprivation leading up to Easter.

Among its many implications, Mardi Gras presents the opportunity for people, both visitors and locals to depart from ordinary life for a time. It is the invitation to experience a special connection to the city of New Orleans in a spirit of unbridled joy manifested as bright colors, music, dancing, parades, and food. In acknowledging the joy that Mardi Gras holds, it is equally as important to be aware of the  implications of the celebration and post-celebration for the health of both individuals and groups of people. 

Interacting with the Mardi Gras season on any level from abstaining to partaking can mean a variety of things for different people. On both the micro and macro levels, the events of the season can be weighted with experiences of loss, alienation, general anxiety, and stress among other things. Also, like other holidays of prolonged celebration, it is important to keep in mind the tie between the momentum of Mardi Gras, substance use, and the effects of this on individuals. 

With the passing of such a heavily implicated season as Mardi Gras, it is essential to stay aware and mindful of the weight it may hold for individuals. Specifically, Mardi Gras’ historical and cultural ties with the theme of over-indulgence followed by self-deprivation serves as an appropriate bridge into this week, February 24 – March 1, which is National Eating Disorders Awareness and Screening Week. This year’s theme is “Come as You Are: Hindsight 2020,” in which NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) is encouraging its community to reflect on steps taken toward self-acceptance and acceptance of others. 

Curious about eating disorders as a practitioner? Click here to read #NEDAwareness Week 2020 blog series. Need to refer out for eating disorder treatment? Create a TPN.Health profile and use the scopes of practice filter-search tool to find a clinician specializing in eating disorders.

TPN.Health Clinician Spotlight: Beau Laviolette, LCSW, LAC

“What got me into the field was someone else actually believing in me and seeing something I did not see in myself.”

Ten years ago, fresh from the Marine Corps, Beau Laviolette, LCSW, LAC, was contemplating the next phase of his life. Having had exposure to behavioral health as a person in long-term recovery, Beau knew he wanted to find some lasting way to pay it forward to the community that had helped him so significantly. Following encouragement from a friend, Beau decided to take the plunge into behavioral health as a career pathway.

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“I think a big part of it is just learning how to help people in a very healthy way–how to have the skills that I need to be able help people and be able to be the best version of myself in my sessions while I’m helping people.”

Over the past ten years, Beau’s orientation as a practitioner has shifted immensely as a result of attunement to his own experiences in practice. Within this shift has been a willingness to invest in continuing education opportunities and to find out, often by trial-and-error, what works and does not work with clients in a relational context. For instance, when Beau first started practicing, his initial internal question upon meeting a client used to be, “What’s wrong with you?” Now, his internal question is, “What happened?” Over time, Beau has seen the impact of paying attention to and shifting his own internal state as it relates to his interactions with clients and, specifically, practicing from a space of empathy.

In the way of continuing education, Beau emphasizes, “One of the best things that I could do to be a better therapist was learn as much as I can about trauma. I would say that has probably helped me the most [in] working with people, having more empathy for people, [and] having compassion.” Part of his understanding of trauma has been the adoption of IFS-Informed EMDR. Beau has found that the practice of this modality over the past year and a half has created a pathway to solutions for a set of clients who were having an especially difficult time. He notes also that observing the success of the modality with clients has alleviated the dissonance he was experiencing as a practitioner.

“I believe when we stop growing we start dying, and that is true for my profession.”

Creating a community that is supportive of growth has also contributed to Beau’s ongoing paradigm shift as a practitioner. He has found that actively surrounding himself with a community that has a growth-centered mindset has played a role in enabling him to learn how to be a more effective practitioner. Beau continues to find that seeking out colleagues who value growth processes help him not only in the context of his practice, but in building various facets of his professional life as a whole. 

Essential to Beau’s journey in the behavioral health field is his continued diversification into professional roles in addition to therapist, such as online teacher and public speaker, all of which have built upon one another to create his brand Therapy Teacher. Beau emphasizes that part of his health as a professional in the behavioral health field depends upon his ability to wear several hats and, in the process, accumulate resources that will support him in times of transition. 

Building a public presence, specifically online, centered around education in the behavioral health field for Beau has been a uniquely challenging and successful process. He has sought the consultation of professionals outside the behavioral health industry and spent hours learning skills such as video editing and website design. Foundational to the micro-successes within the project, Beau finds, is the experience of a multitude of failures. He notes that a willingness to step out of his comfort zone in the way of time and resource expenditure has been invaluable in getting the project off the ground and moving it forward. 

“Where I am in my life and business I’m probably experiencing more freedom than I have in years of my whole career.”

In the long term, Beau expresses his desire to structure avenues that allow him to share what he has built with other therapists, such offering tangible services for building an online-presence, like video editing, or other opportunities for consultation. It is his hope to use TPN.Health as a tool not only to support his private practice but to create opportunities for diversification by sharing his original content on the platform and connecting with like-minded professionals in the field. 

Do you value diversification as a behavioral health professional? Perhaps you already play roles such as teacher or content-creator in addition to practitioner. Perhaps you’d like to start! Not only is TPN.Health a platform for supporting the referral process but a platform for supporting you as a professional in the behavioral health field. Connect to other members in TPN.Health to create opportunities for professional growth and share resources in our newsfeed.

The Referral Network

The Building Blocks for a Referral Network: TPN.Health Endorsement

When you endorse another TPN.Health member, you’re saying, “I have worked with this provider and know that they are providing a quality of care that is worthy of a referral.” The feature allows you to endorse a provider for a specific specialization and write a note if you have more to say about the provider. In a future iteration of the endorsement, you will be able to endorse not only for specializations but for focus issues and modalities as well.

If you endorse another member, it is noted on their clinical profile. For example, Jessica Gibson Kendrick, LPC, has received an endorsement from Dr. Patrick Bordnick, and this is visible to any TPN.Health member who finds Jessica Kendrick’s profile.

The Referral Network

Since TPN.Health launched in August of 2019, we have received invaluable input from our community that is enabling us to build a more efficient platform. We have discovered that behind the referral process are accessible referral networks consisting of living relationships among providers. From a conversation between TPN.Health member Tanya Stuart, LCSW-BACS, LAC, CCS and TPN.Health CEO, Trevor Colhoun, it was clear that there was a need for a more efficient way to build and track those relationships. And, perhaps, TPN.Health could provide the solution.

Over years in practice, Tanya has been tracking her relationships with the providers she trusts in an excel spreadsheet. She keeps the sheet updated with current information on the providers and uses it to make referrals and field calls from other providers. In this way, Tanya has created her own referral process by painstakingly recording her network’s data as it evolves. Likewise, she is the point-person for others who need access to the data. When Tanya approached Trevor with this information, he proposed that TPN.Health could build in a feature that would alleviate the grunt-work and headache of this process.

The solution: referral networks. In a nutshell, referral networks are an aggregate of all the providers you endorse made visible to your network in a list on your TPN.Health clinical profile. How it works: All the providers on Tanya’s analog list individually create their own TPN.Health clinical profiles. Tanya’s only work then is to endorse them for their specializations in TPN.Health. After she endorses them, their profiles appear in a list visible on Tanya’s clinical profile. In this way, the pool serves as a visible representation of the analog relationships that Tanya has worked to build and track for so long. No more fielding calls or hunting for updates on providers’ information. 

The launch of the referral network as a TPN.Health feature is especially exciting because it is a key feature in building out not only your personal network in TPN.Health but the network as a whole. A provider, such as Tanya, who already has an expansive analog referral network can bring their network into the digital space of TPN.Health. Simply by utilizing the endorsement feature in TPN.Health, a provider is enabled to track their referral network and make it available to other providers with a click of a button. In a similar way, a provider who perhaps is new to the field and does not have a large analog network, can create the foundation for their referral processes with access to the expansive referral networks of more experienced providers. Trevor Colhoun comments that the endorsement pool’s capacity to build and track connections within TPN.Health is directly serving our mission to bring the trusted providers across the expanse of the field under one accessible umbrella. 

The essence of the referral network is that it serves as another layer supporting providers’ navigation of behavioral health field processes through TPN.Health. We’re excited to keep building these layers into the platform! Stay tuned.

Endorsement Pool FAQs:

      1. Where is my referral network? 

Your referral network is found on your profile under “Sent” Clinician Endorsements. 

The endorsement pool can also be found underneath Referral Stats on your Profile Overview tab.

      2. Who can see my referral network? 

Your referral network lives on your clinical profile, so you will always be able to see it. TPN.Health members with whom you are connected can also see it. 

**Note** In a future iteration, members that want access to your referral network will need to be connected to you, and you will have the option to grant them access to view your pool. We know that you have worked to build these relationships and want to give you as much agency as possible in your choices when sharing this information with other providers.

     3. Can I search within another providers referral network? 

Once you are connected to the provider, you will be able use a filter-search, similar to the standard clinician filter-search, within that provider’s endorsement pool. This feature is coming soon.

Click here to begin building a trusted referral network in TPN.Health!