According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): “Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, daily functioning and ability to relate to others. Mental illness doesn’t develop because of a person’s character or intelligence. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, a mental illness is a disorder of the brain that can make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. (Emphasis supplied.) No one is to blame—not the person and not the family.

“Currently, there are no blood tests or tissue samples that can definitively diagnose mental illnesses. Diagnoses are based on clinical observations of behavior in the person and reports from those close to the person. Symptoms vary from one person to another, and each person responds differently, which complicates getting an accurate diagnosis. The most common mental illness diagnoses include depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, but there are many others. Regardless of the diagnosis, symptoms can be similar and can overlap, especially in times of crisis.”  (NAMI, “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis”, 2018, Page 3 – Accessed from Navigating-A-Mental-Health-Crisis (

In recognition of mental illness being a disorder of the brain,  New Dawns  Counseling utilizes an integrated medical model to treat its clients.  The model starts with each client being provided a “medical status” examination, which includes (a) a physical health Evaluation and Management assessment of a new patient, denoted by CPT 99205; and (b) a psychiatric diagnostic assessment (including ASAM criteria) denoted by CPT 90791.  Based on the foregoing, a plan of care is developed for each client based on their individualized needs.  The plan of care – individualized to the needs of the client – includes individual and group counseling, medication therapy, recreation therapy, vocational counseling, and music therapy. 


(Videos in the public domain from YouTube. This provider is not affiliated with New Dawns Counseling.)

How Stress Hurts Your Body

The Science of Trauma

Healing the Nervous System from Trauma