What is the difference between a Psychologist, a Psychotherapist and a Psychiatrist?
Practicing psychologists have the professional training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems. They evaluate, diagnose, treat, and study behavior and mental processes.
Psychotherapists are trained more rigorously and they use talk therapy and are qualified to handle more intense cases. They may use different techniques and may follow different schools of approaches towards therapy.
Psychiatrists are basically trained in medicine, are MDs in psychiatry with their focus on treating through medicines along with using therapy at times.
What would be the duration, frequency and time for a session and how many sessions does one need to solve a problem?
Sessions are minimum for 50 minutes but each therapist chooses the amount of time mutually suitable to both to maximize on the process. Normal frequency of sessions is once a week unless the intensity of the disturbance demands more sessions. The number of sessions is decided upon the nature and intensity and complexity of the problem/s.
Will you be able to find a solution to my problem?
The goal of counseling is to help the client become self-reliant by making them stronger and finding their own solutions through developing an awareness and deeper insight into themselves and their issues.
If I come for counseling, will I need to go through any tests?
It is not mandatory to go through ant tests unless the counselor identifies a certain issues that require tests.
Will I have to take any medicines if I start with counseling?
Not all clients require medication. However, if the nature of issues is severe or needs medical intervention, a client is recommended to take a psychiatrist's help.
Who needs counseling? If one comes for counseling, does it mean he/she is mentally ill?
Counseling is not only for those who have mental disorders. Anyone who is psychologically disturbed, is not being able to remain healthily functional due to some stress, anxiety or disturbances may seek counseling. Starting from career confusion, relational problems, familial problems, problems in work area, basic disturbances within the self to severe psychological disorders are areas where a person can benefit from counseling.
Would counseling make me go emotionally dry and too practical about life?
Counseling helps the client to work on irrational thought process and channelize the negative emotions to a healthier state, thus find a balance between the rational and emotional state.
If my spouse and I both come for counseling, will you help her to change?
Couple counseling helps each individual to identify the nature of their problem and its causes. It helps both to understand the other's perspective and thus work on their relation.
I am worried about confidentiality. How do I feel assured that my therapist will keep my discussions confidential?
Counselors, like doctors are bound by their ethics. All client information is kept confidential and the records are maintained using client codes.
I have been prescribed psychiatric medication but I don't think they suite me and I wish to discontinue them. If I take counseling, will that help me?
Each client differs in the nature of issues, personality and level of medication they require. But in any situation decisions related to medication needs to be taken after a discussion with the psychiatrist. Sudden stopping or reduction in medicine can have damaging side effects.
What kind of education/degree is required to become a counselor?
In India so far there is no license allotted to become a counselor. A Masters degree in psychology is recognized for anyone to become a counselor. However, we at Maanas believe, like in the west, that to become a counselor, a bare minimum six months of skills training is a must in order to become a practitioner and a beginner counselor must remain under supervision with his/her senior for a minimum of fifty clients and further if the supervisor thinks necessary.
How do I know if the counselor is good?
The basic quality of a good counselor is a good listener, empathy towards the client, has client's best interest in focus always and someone who helps the client become self-reliant. Going to a counselor who has been referred by a close friend or relative who has had some prior experience with the counselor is good way of ensuring that you are reaching out to a sound practitioner.