Dr. Turecki’s clinical approach is based on certain fundamental principles, as follows.
A person can be different without being abnormal. Dr. Turecki has a broad view of normality. Problems exist on a spectrum ranging from mild to problematic to severe. Dr. Turecki’s cut-off point lies quite far out along that spectrum. Too many people are labeled as abnormal without sufficient evidence. A diagnosis of serious psychiatric disorder should be made only when all the criteria have been met.
The Use of Medication
Today’s psychiatric drugs can, in carefully selected cases, be very effective. However, powerful medications are sometimes dispensed too readily and in very high doses. Dr. Turecki certainly uses medication in his practice but tends to start with a low dose, raising it cautiously and monitoring carefully for effectiveness and side effects.
The Role of Therapy
Dr. Turecki’s therapeutic style is collaborative and problem-oriented, although deeper probing is sometimes necessary. Many well-functioning people get involved in self-defeating relationships or engage in self-destructive behaviors. In such instances, psychotherapy can be most helpful, even if it is combined with small doses of medication to provide symptom relief. In his therapy with adolescents and adults, Dr. Turecki always pays attention to their temperament (basic nature) and helps them to understand themselves at this level. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and its offshoots aim to change behavior and illogical thinking and to teach coping skills.
The Importance of Self-Image
Self-image is the single most important factor when deciding whether to recommend therapy. A chronically low opinion of oneself makes everything worse. While addressing obvious problems, Dr. Turecki focuses on the strengths of his patients because a feeling of success obviously enhances one’s self-esteem.
Underperformance Is Not Disorder
In today’s highly competitive school environment, children, adolescents and college students are pressured to perform at levels that may be too high for them. Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are often improperly used to improve performance. There is also a burgeoning black market in prescription drugs among teenagers and college students. They use stimulants to do better in school or to get “up” (a similar mechanism to cocaine), as well as other prescription drugs to self-medicate for anxiety or depression, or just to get high or mellow. Such drug abuse can result in addiction, unintended overdoses or even psychosis. Medications should never be used without careful monitoring by a physician.
Temperament refers to the nature of an individual, that aspect of the personality that is innate. While most evident in childhood, temperamental characteristics persist into adult life. Knowing the temperamental characteristics of your child allows you to truly accept her for the person she is, and to gear your expectations to her genuine capacities.
Goodness of Fit
This term refers to the level of compatibility between individuals. A good fit can improve any relationship, whether in a marriage or between a boss and his assistant or between a child and teacher. However, it is in the parent-child relationship and teacher-child relationships that goodness of fit is most important.