- British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)
- Goa Psychiatric Society (India)
- American Psychological Association (USA)
- Association for Spirituality & Psychotherapy (USA)
1. What is Counselling and Psychotherapy ?
Counselling & Psychotherapy involves verbal and non verbal communication in treating psychological conditions and enhancing emotional well being. There are no other forms of medical treatments involved like medicines or scanning. Psychotherapy is also very different from hypnotherapy.
* It is also referred to as talking therapies as it involves verbal communication between the psychologist and the client. Nevertheless some forms of psychotherapies involve non verbal communication for instance play, drama and unconscious communication.
* On some occasions Interactions between a psychologist and a client in the sessions has a certain method or structure to it. The client gathers skills and tools. Client and therapist work together to achieve certain goals.
* Sometimes therapy is a process through which clients gain better insight into themselves, their past and eventually learn how to cope with their issues.
* In the therapy sessions clients often discuss and explore their feelings and difficulties . It is a space where they can feel inspired, valued, accepted and heard.
* The therapist will harmonise being a professional and a person in the course of therapy. The therapeutic attachment that develops between the client and therapist many a times facilitates the client to resolve various issues in their life.
* One need not seek counselling & psychotherapy only if there is a psychological condition. It can help any individual seeking to understand themselves better and enhance their emotional well being.
2. How can Counselling and Psychotherapy help me?
Counselling and Psychotherapy help in resolving everyday pressures, emotional difficulties and also a range of psychological conditions. Counselling helps the clients to resolve presenting problems and is very solution focussed. Psychotherapy is long term and is more intensive. It considers various elements such as individuals past, thought processes and attachments. It aims to help Individuals become aware of their unconscious unhealthy patterns so that they can make better choices in life. In short, different insights, tools and studies are shared with the clients to help them to cope with their pain.
Counselling and Psychotherapy not only focuses on disorders or what went wrong in an individuals life, it also focuses on individuals strengths. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people seek therapy for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or low self confidence.
These forms of support can help persons with mild psychological conditions, severe mental health issues and well functioning individuals. A trained Psychologist/Therapist will be in a position to apply the right blend of techniques to help an individual. Since all individuals are special the treatments have to be formulated considering their uniqueness.
3. What is the difference between Counselling & Psychotherapy ?
Both Counselling and Psychotherapy aim to understand the psychological, emotional and social issues of the client. However they are some differences between them. For instance counselling is short term and it addresses specific problems. Psychotherapy is long term and it considers the underlying issues. Whether one prefers Counselling or Psychotherapy depends on the individuals problems and the duration of time they can give to the treatment. Therefore a client and therapist will have to decide considering these factors.
4. What is life coaching ?
Life coaching is for individuals who believe they are well functioning , having no psychological conditions and would like to reach a place in life they want to. It helps individuals to establish goals and motivates them to work towards it. Just like the sports coaches who push athletes to greatness in sports, life and wellness coaches encourage clients to find success. It supports and encourages people to help them fulfil their potential and make the most of their lives. Life coaching helps clients to identify their positive traits and facilitate clients to build them. Therefore it can also help you to be happier and structure your life better. Life coaching involves empowering people in their professional
and personal lives.
Life coaching is not psychotherapy but it is more effective when it is offered by a psychologist. It allows you to access dimensions of psychotherapy to help you achieve your goals.
5. How can a combination of counselling , Psychotherapy and life coaching help?
A combination of counselling , psychotherapy and life coaching has proven to be popular in the current times. It is a flexible and a powerful way in enabling individuals to live life more fully.
6. Who is a Counselling Psychologist, Psychotherapist & a Psycho social rehabilitation therapist?
A Counselling Psychologist has high levels of competency and deep levels of personal awareness to help clients in their over all well being throughout their life span. Depending upon their training a counselling psychologist will choose different areas of specialisations to work with . You can know about the issues I can help you with in the treatments section. Counselling psychologists not only offer treatment for individuals with psychological problems but they also help people to overcome everyday stress. Thus they also focus on how to enhance emotional well being besides treating disorders.
A Psychotherapist is a psychologist who has had further specialist training in psychotherapy. There are several approaches to psychotherapy and I have been fortunate to be trained in some of the approaches which have proven to heal various problems faced by human beings. You can read about the various forms of therapies I apply in my approach section.
A Psychosocial rehabilitation therapist is a professional who is trained to treat individuals with severe mental health issues and helps them to reintegrate back into the community.
7. What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist ?
Both are mental health professionals. However a Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialised in psychiatry. He /she can diagnose mental health conditions and also prescribe medications for it. Psychiatrists do offer Counselling or Psychotherapy if they have received training for it.
A Psychologist or a Psychotherapist has been trained in the field of Psychology. Depending upon a psychologists training they are equipped to offer counselling and psychotherapies for various issues. A psychologist or a psychotherapist cannot prescribe drugs or diagnose. Although they can suggest a diagnosis which can he confirmed only by the Psychiatrist.
8. What happens in the first session ?
* In the initial session the psychologist and the client would discuss the therapy policies.The client can give an outline of their concerns. The psychologist will listen to you in a non judgemental manner and help the client to feel secure enough to open up.
* Furthermore in the initial sessions the client and the psychologist can gain clarity in terms of why the client needs therapy. Whether it is to achieve certain goals like anger management, coping with a break up, overcoming anxiety etc, trauma or just humane support.
* Your psychologist will ask you a series of questions about your childhood , about your symptoms, your attachments, the difficulties your are experiencing etc, to understand you as a person and to formulate a treatment plan that is suitable for you. These questions are purely therapeutic in nature and not in a social context.
* We will start with an initial four sessions period. At the end of this we will evaluate the situation and decide whether we should go for long term therapy. Alternatively a referral can be offered.
9. What will happen in the Counselling and Psychotherapy sessions ?
* During the counselling or therapy sessions, you will be encouraged to express your feelings and emotions openly in an empathetic , professional and confidential environment. Your psychologist will share various analysis and suggestions based on scientific research with you. You will also be given certain techniques or skills to help you cope with your issues.
* It will be a unique and special experience wherein your therapist will reach out to you as a professional and also as a person. Unlike a doctor helping a patient to recover from his ailment, in counselling or therapy client and therapist together work through the clients issues.
* Sometimes after a few sessions if the client or therapist feel they are not able to work with each other. Then the therapist will offer a referral in the clients best interest.
If you and your psychologist feel you have resolved your issues then both of you can end therapy. However just like you visit your doctor for regular physical check ups it is suggested you come in for periodic mental health check ups or booster sessions as well.
* A therapeutic relationship forms a healthy attachment/bond between a client and a psychologist, therefore a client and a psychologist can always maintain the connection keeping in mind the ethical boundaries.
10. How long do the counselling and psychotherapy sessions last and how many sessions will I require ?
* The counselling or Psychotherapy sessions are for 1 hour each. For better results once a week sessions are suggested. But that can be adjusted as per your convenience and recovery. It could be twice a month as well.
* When you take treatment for any physical ailment you would take the medications prescribed by your doctor for a certain period. Likewise you will need a certain number of sessions to overcome your issues.
* Duration for Psychotherapy depends upon many factors such as clients issues, personality, and their motivation. In some cases clients problems are specific so they might require few sessions. In certain cases such as personality disorders, Psychotherapy can go on for a year.
* On the other hand some individuals require ongoing support to help them in their everyday functioning. This is something you and your therapist can decide in the course of therapy
11. How is talking to a Psychologist in therapy or counselling different from talking to family and friends ?
Family members, friends and partners can be great resources for support. Having close interpersonal relationships is essential and it cannot be underestimated. However discussing your problems in therapy with a psychologist is a different experience. Here are some points on why “talking” to a psychologist is different from talking to significant others.
* A Psychologist has professional training in the way human mind works.
* The suggestions a psychologist gives during psychotherapy are developed over decades of research.
* Therapy is not just talking and listening. Interactions with a therapist will help you acquire insight into yourself and it will enable you to see why you behave the way you do. You will also develop certain skills to manage your stress or your psychological condition.
* A psychologist / Therapist won’t judge you and your interactions with her will be confidential unless there are any risk factors.
* It is the unique combination of offering help not only as a professional but also as a person and this is what makes therapy special.
12. How do I know whatever I discuss with the a psychologist will be confidential/private?
Interactions and emails between the client and therapist will be confidential. Confidentiality is one of the significant aspects of a psychologists code of ethics. Any information about you will not be shared with a third party. However, in cases of risk then I will have to break confidentiality and take required safety measures such as disclose the session notes, client records and share the content of risk discussed.
Risk factors such as:
1. When the client discusses suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide
2. When the client discusses causing harm to someone or discusses being harmed by someone
3. If there is harm being caused to a child
4. If there is any legal requirement such as a court order, search warrant and any other form of regulation.
If you are below 18 years then significant issues that come up in therapy will have to be discussed with the your parents or guardian.
13. Description of Client therapist relationship.
* The relationship between a client and a psychologist/therapist is called a therapeutic relationship.
* The relationship between a client and a therapist is unique when compared to relationships between clients and other professionals such as doctors, lawyers or accountants.
* In therapy there will be discussions of clients feelings and relationships, however it will be done in an extremely professional manner and setting. Yet a therapist will also understand clients feelings as a person. It is a balance of professional and humanistic way of being that makes this a special process.
* Although there will be a healthy attachment formed with the therapist, firm boundaries are to be maintained. There can be no social interaction between the client and the therapist.
* While the therapist will connect with the client on a humane level, she will not discuss about her personal issues with you. Therapy is all about clients needs and goals. Nevertheless your therapist will be congruent with you.
* Many a times it is the healthy therapeutic relationship because of which healing begins for many clients.
14. What kind of records or documents are maintained concerning the client ?
I will be fully present with you during the sessions, however in order to help me keep a track of the therapy process I will be noting down some points occasionally. You are welcome to have a look at these notes.
I will be managing case notes after the sessions, documenting whatever was discussed in the sessions .
For some cases referred by the Psychiatrists I will have to present a report to them regarding the client.
15. What positions do psychotherapy and medication have ?
* Mental health conditions are due to genetic, biological and psycho-social causes. Genetic causes means a mental health condition is inherited from family members and biological causes means due to chemical imbalance in the brain. Under such circumstances medication is extremely essential.
* Medication can help in reducing the symptoms and address the genetic and biological factors, however medications cannot consider the psychological, social and family aspects.
* Psycho social factors also play an important role in triggering mental health problems. And a Psychologist in therapy can help individuals to cope with stressful psychological & social factors. A therapist further provides a warm, genuine and an empathetic environment to safely discuss your internal feelings. Moreover, in therapy you will acquire tools on how to cope with your situation.
* Not all individuals engaging in counselling and Psychotherapy require medication
* However individuals with certain psychological conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar mood disorder and schizo affective disorder require medication. If individuals with severe mental health conditions want to work in therapy then they have to be on medication, because medications will help them to engage and respond well in therapy.
* Only a psychiatrist can prescribe medications. Therapy can be offered to you coordinating with your psychiatric treatment. Incase a client does not have a psychiatrist then the client can be referred to one. This applies to clients living in Goa.
16. How effective are Counselling & Psychotherapy and are there any risks ?
* Several studies show that medication in combination with Counselling & Psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for psychological problems.
* Not all individuals undergoing stress and mild psychological problems require medication. Research has also shows majority of people undergoing various types of stress such as relationship problems, stress at work etc immensely benefit from psychotherapy alone.
* During Counselling and Psychotherapy you will be encouraged to be in touch with painful emotions which can be difficult in the beginning.
* This is part of the process of facing and learning to live with one’s feelings and coping with them. As a qualified therapist I will try my best to keep your feelings safe.
17. What should I do if I want an appointment ?
You may call or email me to fix an appointment.
18. What should I do if I want to opt out of therapy ?
* After your session with your therapist. Your therapist will schedule another appointment with you. If you would like to continue with therapy or counselling then you can fix the next appointment.
* Incase your not sure about continuing you don’t have to fix another appointment. You can think over it and get back to her if you want.
* If you and your therapist have decided to have a certain number of sessions and you feel you do not want to continue then you can opt out of therapy. If you want, you can discuss your reasons with your therapist.
19. How do I know if i have recovered and if I am ready to end therapy ?
* The client and therapist together decide if it’s time to end therapy.
* You know you have recovered, if you are longer distressed by issues that brought you to therapy. You feel you have got a new perspective to your issues and have found some direction.
* If significant others in your life tell you about positive changes in your behaviour.
* In addition to this if the therapist notices improvement in a client’s behaviour and approach towards life. Then the client and therapist can work on their endings.
* With regards to children the parents or teachers will notice a positive change in their behaviour and the children themselves will report feeling better.
* To maintain a healthy state of mind , after the therapy process has ended, it is suggested to have regular mental health check ups or follow up sessions with your therapist.
20. What is expected of the client ? * Please do Respect the professional boundaries and the therapeutic relationship with the therapist/Psychologist. * Above all client is expected to freely discuss and explore his/ her feelings and thoughts.
* Client is expected to turn up on time for the sessions.* Kindly let the therapist know if you cannot make it to the sessions.
* Please do Respect the professional boundaries and the therapeutic relationship with the therapist/Psychologist.
* Above all client is expected to freely discuss and explore his/ her feelings and thoughts.
21. How much will counselling or therapy cost ?
22. If I have personal problems will I get a solution ?
Therapy is an interactive process wherein you and your therapist work together to resolve your issues. A therapist will help you to see various options. However a therapist cannot make decisions for you. Your therapist will ask you certain questions in a manner that sometimes it will help you to find solutions to your problems. Your therapist will share certain insights which will also help you to make better choices.
23. Can only psychotherapy cure a Psychological condition ?
Recovery from a psychological condition is a combination of multiple factors. It depends upon whether the condition is mild or severe, medication, individuals personality, healthy environment, family support and regular therapy sessions. Therefore, therapy is one of the mediums to help you in your process of recovery.