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Secure video counseling comes to Kenmare...

A Lutheran Social Services plan to bring behavioral health counseling to rural North Dakota came to fruition in Kenmare last week.

3/30/17 (Thu)

Therapist interaction... Licensed clinical therapist Glenda Trochmann answers interview questions with The Kenmare News through interactive video from her Fargo office. It's the same method she uses whi8le counseling clients in the Kenmare office of Lutheran Social Services in the Wheels & Meals  building at 221 Central Ave. 

Editor’s note: In this article about video counseling coming to rural North Dakota, The Kenmare News sat down with Glenda Trochmann, a licensed clinical therapist via secure video link from her Fargo office to the rural office in Kenmare. This pilot program to bring behavioral health therapy to rural North Dakota is unique to Kenmare and to North Dakota right now and is expected to catch on as people become aware of the service.

By Marvin Baker

A Lutheran Social Services plan to bring behavioral health counseling to rural North Dakota came to fruition in Kenmare last week.

Two licensed therapists, one in Grand Forks and one in Fargo, meet with their clients through secure, interactive video in an office in the Wheels & Meals building at 221 Central Ave.

It’s called Abound Counseling which looks at a number of mental health issues that are often difficult to tackle in rural areas.

It’s a unique way to bring this service to a remote part of North Dakota, and according to associated development officer Bryan Quigley in the Kenmare office, it saves time and money and is more efficient because people no longer have to drive to Minot or Bismarck to see their therapist.

One of the therapists is Glenda Trochmann, who joined LSS about a month ago after a VA career in the telehealth department in the Fargo hospital.

Trochmann has been a social worker for 23 years. She specializes in work with grief, loss and adjustment issues related to chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

She meets with her clients from her Fargo office on Thursdays. She is in her office all day Thursday, but added she will set time aside for her Kenmare clients.

Trochmann also has experience working with adults and adolescents who experience depression, anxiety, trauma and adjustment disorder.

She has also led groups dealing with infant loss and suicide.

Roger Johnson is the counselor in Grand Forks. He has been a social work practitioner, supervisor, trainer and teacher for 40 years. He has been teaching in the University of North Dakota social work department the past five years.

Johnson has received specialized training in cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, and has expertise in therapy for depression, anxiety, adjustment issues, personality disorders, grief and family relationship problems.

Johnson will meet with his Kenmare clients on Wednesdays from noon to 6:30 p.m.

With her telehealth background at the VA, Trochmann believes secure video counseling will work to the client’s advantage, much like the VA’s telehealth is working for veterans in isolated areas.

“It works well for some and it’s a bit awkward for others getting used to the technology,” Trochmann said via the video link from her Fargo office. “We need to get people in the rural area to get comfortable with  asking for this service.”

How it works is simple. The client sits in a comfortable chair with a TV monitor in front of them. Trochmann or Johnson are sitting in their office at the other end.

The link is turned on and the therapist appears on the screen. They exchange greetings with one another and begin the counseling session.

Trochmann said the video link might be a very good option in mental health counseling because it brings the service to a rural community that wouldn’t otherwise have it.

“Anyone qualified should be able to access this,” Trochmann said. “I just started with Abound this month and I’m excited to get started. It’s a very good mission.”

She says she often uses physical resources to assist her clients which can’t be exchanged through the TV link. In that case, LSS will have the necessary information needed.

“We don’t lose any of the options by using telehealth,” she said. “People just have to identify their need whether it’s depression, anxiety or grief.”

The first visit, or consult, which can be overwhelming to some people,  according to Trochmann, is very comprehensive with paperwork filled out. She said the important thing is that the client bring a presenting problem.

After that therapist and client work together to get the client’s life to look more like they want it to be.

“I had a daughter and mother who weren’t able to communicate,” Trochmann said. “We’re always working toward the goal of functioning like they want.”

She’s done a lot of grief therapy and says when a family loses a loved one, it’s not the whole family receiving counseling, it’s each individual member of that family.

“Everyone grieves differently, so we do it one on one,” she said. “Grief is a normal process of life, but it’s not an easy process and so we help people through it.”

She said there is sometimes peer pressure to “get over it,” months after a family member is lost. Trochmann explains we never get over it. The plan is to move through it.

Trochmann said she meets wonderful people through her job and she is looking forward to spending some time with rural clients in the Kenmare region.

In addition, she said Quigley has been wonderful to talk to and work with and has been a great help in getting the video conferencing site established and operating.

“I’m excited for this interview,” Trochmann said. “How do you make people aware of this and here we are talking about it. We want people to know how to access this program.”

For additional information on the Abound program, video counseling, or to set up an appointment, Quigley may be reached at 701-240-4505... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!