Be Well is a first of its kind, professional group designed to create a community among multidisciplinary health and wellness professionals. Our members range from hospitals to solo practitioners working together to create a community of excellence in health and wellness!
Today we are going to highlight one of our current Be Well Members, Carla Weatherford, of Solace Counseling. Carla is a TMS Coordinator at Solace Counseling. Solace Counseling focuses on Addiction Treatment and Mental Health and has two locations in Dallas and in Plano. Today Carla is going to be discussing her experience as a TMS Coordinator:
1-What is TMS?
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is used for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.
2-Tell us a little more about the TMS Experience.
TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. The stimulation works to improve symptoms of depression such as, anxiety, non-suicidal self-harm, fatigue, lack of motivation, insomnia, and lack of energy. TMS also improves appetite and eating habits.
TMS involves placing an electromagnetic coil on the head that generates magnetic pulses to create electrical currents in the brain. These electrical currents target the specific area of the brain that controls mood and depression. (This is the same technology as an MRI.)
Treatment requires stimulation 5 days per week for six weeks and 3 weeks of 2 treatments per week called tapering for a total of 36 treatments. Each treatment lasts about 37 minutes and no recovery time is required. Patients can immediately return to work or their daily routine.
3-What made you want to become a TMS coordinator?
After hearing how so many people suffer in silence, I have a strong desire to help those who have not benefited from help with traditional treatments. I wanted to bring joy and a quality of life to those who are unable to experience these without outside help. I want others to be able to experience the joy of living.
4- What is the biggest misconception about TMS?
I really haven’t encountered any misconceptions. If there is one, I would say people confusing TMS with ECT
5- Can you give us one success story you witnessed (without patient name/ personal information)
“I went to Solace Counseling seeking treatment for depression and anxiety via TMS Therapy that has overwhelmed me since I was a teenager. Now in my 50’s, I’ve been on several different medications in addition to talk therapy for over 10 years with only limited relief; at times, none at all. I contacted another facility in Dallas that offered TMS treatment. I was told I needed to be evaluated by their psychiatrist who was not covered by my insurance. After less than 30 minutes and being interrupted 3 times by his cell phone, he gave me a different diagnosis than my own psychiatrist who I had been seeing for over 10 years and I was, therefore, not a candidate for TMS Therapy and therefore, my insurance would not pay for it. Suicide, once again, became a better answer for my defective brain. Not wanting to give up, my husband researched other avenues for treatment while I cried and silently felt angry at myself for being a burden. We later found out this was a scam to get more out-of-pocket money.
In his research, my husband found Solace Counseling. He begged me to meet with the TMS Treatment Coordinator, Carla Weatherford, at their Dallas location just to hear what she had to say. She explained how TMS Therapy could help me and answered our questions about how Solace was different from the other facility. There was never any pressure to sign up and we left with a book written by a lady who went through TMS Therapy before it was approved by insurance companies as well as other helpful information.
I found out that this was going to be much more affordable than I was originally told. In addition, my insurance would pay for a larger portion than what I had been told previously and that Solace would treat me based on my own psychiatrist’s recommendation. After meeting Dr. Patel, getting my psychiatrist’s approval of him, the facility, and TMS, and speaking with Carla, I was cautiously optimistic.
Carla was with me at each session, monitoring my progress and adjusting as needed. She patiently answered all my questions and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. Other than some slight discomfort at first, I never experienced any pain or anything that made me want to jump up out of the chair and run screaming for the door. I slowly began to feel better and one day I was surprised to see that everything looked brighter and more colorful outside. Still cautious, I thought it was just the same old me having a “good” day. But day by day it continued. When I did have a couple of overwhelming life experiences that caused me to once again melt in a puddle of tears, I became concerned that the treatment wasn’t working. I discussed this with Carla who then asked me a few questions and helped me realize that this was normal. “Normal” people experience sadness, frustration, exhaustion, and anger. The difference now for me was that the puddle of tears that threatened to suck me in for weeks or months was now just something that lasted for a day or two or, even better, an hour or two. I was now able to pull myself out of that emotional state and carry on like a “normal” person.
I have nothing but good to say about my experience at Solace with Carla, Dr. Patel, and TMS Therapy. Carla took care of all the insurance and financial issues, setting us up on a comfortable payment plan for our portion. Even the receptionists, Jennifer and Marina, made me feel welcome every day when I arrived; at times rushed because I didn’t want to get out of bed that day. They never made a negative comment about my disheveled appearance; instead surprising me with something positive and upbeat.
As a result of TMS Therapy I’ve been able to reduce some meds and hopefully, in time I’ll be able to reduce more. I’m sleeping better than ever, have more energy, and more of an ability to see others outside of myself. Before TMS I was consumed with how I was going to fake it through my day or my life so I didn’t continue to inconvenience or let down those who loved me. It was a struggle trying to cover up my mental health issues so others wouldn’t notice. I was in a constant downward spiral towards my goal of ending my life prematurely.
I highly recommend TMS Therapy at Solace Counseling for anyone whose life has been disrupted by ongoing major depression and high anxiety. These insidious and invisible mental disorders negatively impact on your work, relationships, focus, memory, and your desire to do anything other than sleep. More importantly, they can lead to thoughts of suicide or, as it was in my case, actually planning how to go about it.
I could say I’m happy to have my life back, but the reality is, TMS has given me a life I never had. And I’m grateful to my husband for not giving up and to Carla Weatherford at Solace Counseling for taking the time to talk with me. They both gave me the push I needed to keep trying.” -Actual Patient Review
6- If you could explain TMS to someone who has never heard of it how would you describe the treatment?
TMS is a great option when medications and/or psychotherapy do not control the depression. TMS is noninvasive and non-systemic. TMS is completely different from treatments that require surgery or implanting electrodes under the skin, such as vagus nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation. Unlike electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation does not result in seizures or require the use of anesthesia and no hospitalization.
If you would like to learn more about TMS Treatment or Solace counseling you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website www.solacecounseling.com.