In this area of the site, you can find answers to non-legal questions about the human side of lawyering. Answers are written by licensed clinicians with the purpose of providing information, and are not a substitute for a clinical evaluation.
We do not post responses to questions that seem to be frivolous or unrelated to our mission, or that don’t seem to be from Massachusetts lawyers, law students, judges (or family members). We have no way to check back with you, because of the mechanism that keeps this anonymous.
or click any of the topics in the above list to access a wealth of information accumulated in years of archived Q&A columns.
CURRENT QUESTION(S) OF THE WEEK
[A reminder to those who have sent questions about how to function as a lawyer, such as the proper way of setting up a contingency fee arrangement — this is not the function of LCL — we would suggest instead trying our sister program, masslomap.org.]
LAW SCHOOL OBSTACLES, 2 YEARS INTO RECOVERY
I have an addiction to opioids since I was 18 (now 27) and clean since age 25. I entered law school at age 21 while continuing to use opioids. Due to my addiction I was unable to complete my studies and as my disease progressed I began to miss classes until the school dismissed me. The Dean informed me that I had ‘no shot at getting back in’ due to my brain disease. Please advise as I only have three classes left.
We checked with LCL clinician Barbara Bowe, LICSW, who has dealt most with law student issues. She reports, “These things are always complicated,” and that any response we would post would raise further questions, so she suggests, assuming that you are a Massachusetts law student, that you give her a call here at LCL. Certainly, we have met a range of people who were able, in recovery, to find ways to proceed from law school to bar admission and careers.
NEWCOMER TO THERAPY: HOW TO START; GROUP VS INDIVIDUAL
I tend to be a private person and I have never gone to therapy. However, I am coming to the realization that I need help. What’s the best first step? I don’t know if I would be comfortable saying anything in a group support group setting.
In general, people are most comfortable beginning with an individual initial session (may be called consultation, evaluation, or assessment). Once the issues are identified individually, the client/patient and the interviewing clinician can discuss a plan for further help. Although group settings have much to offer that is different from individual therapy, someone who is new to therapy will often prefer to begin with a referral for individual work.
There are also various and different kinds of groups. Some, for example, are peer support groups, such as 12-step groups or the recovery-related LCL Support Groups that we offer. Because those are run by members rather than professionals, they usually follow a distinct structure; they offer a strong sense of “these people understand what I’m going through, and we’re all in it together.” Among professionally conducted groups, some are didactic, something like classes, providing information or teaching therapeutic skills, while others are more interactive, in which the therapist’s primary role may be to help participants observe patterns in how they interact with others. There are many other permutations for those who choose to enter a therapy or support group.
If you are a Massachusetts lawyer, judge, or law student (or family member of same), feel free to contact LCL to schedule an initial evaluation to review your needs and the potential kinds of referrals we can make.