Psychology Counseling and Psychotherapy: What You Should Know
Individuals may experience challenges in any stage of life. The challenges experienced in life may cause stress. Prolonged stress that are not effectively managed may lead to mental disturbances or illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
According to the National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2015), it is reported that prevalence of mental problems among adults of 16 years and above is increasing from 10.7% in 1996 to 29.2% 2015 in Malaysia. It is well
understood that mental health is equally as important as physical health, thus seeking for professional help is of the utmost importance for mental well-being and to function better in daily life.
When Should One You Seek for Professional Help?
It is imperative to seek professional help when it comes to mental health. You should seek professional help when:
- The problems cannot be resolved despite seeking help and support from family and friends.
- You are experiencing difficulties in focusing on tasks or performing daily activities.
- You experience excessive worries on certain issues or matters.
- You feel overwhelmed with the present situation or experience a prolonged sense of helplessness or sadness
- Certain actions that one takes may harm oneself or others
What is Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is psychological therapy that involves psychological intervention. It is provided by licensed and trained professional psychological counsellor or therapist, clinical psychologist and Psychiatrists. Psychological counsellors who provide therapeutic intervention are also called Psychotherapist. In Malaysia, psychological counsellor is provided license by Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia.
Consulting with a mental health professional helps one to identify and manage problems more accurately as all the important elements of psychology such as emotion, thought and behavior are addressed appropriately through proper assessment and intervention will be provided.
Psychological interventions are provided for one to manage issues and gain positive changes as needed, and improve on psychological symptoms. The professional psychological interventions are derived from well-established theories and structured techniques. Most of these techniques are scientifically proven to be effective in treating various psychological problems among normal and pathological cases.
For pathological and severe mental illness, the patients may usually need to be treated by a Psychiatrist and medicine will be prescribed. For such patients, psychotherapy will be combined with medication as a comprehensive treatment for a better outcome and improvement
There are various psychological
therapies, namely Analytical therapy –Psychoanalysis, Person Centered/Humanistic Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Supportive Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and several others. Additionally, Religious Psychotherapy is also provided by relevant trained therapist.
The Process of Psychotherapy
At the beginning, the therapist and
patient will develop a professional working alliance that is grounded by ethics. An informed consent form will be given to patient that explains about what can one expect, confidentiality, bridge of confidentiality and this consent will be signed by both parties. Then, a clinical interview will be conducted to gain further information on the background, present issues, symptoms, and history. Relevant inventories or questionnaires will be administered for further assessment on specific experiences depending on the case and the patient’s concern. For example, a patient may seek help to manage a specific stress. A questionnaire on stress will be administered to identify the level of the stress. The same questionnaire will be used to monitor the progress of the patient along with the clinical interview.
A Psycho-education will be provided for the
patient to gain better understanding about their issue and symptoms. Then, both the therapist and patient will discuss on the goals to be achieved or on any positive changes that the patient needs. Once goals are set, the therapist will explain on the relevant therapeutic intervention that will be used to treat the patient. The intervention process will be done in a systematic and structured method and the progress of the patient will be assessed throughout all the sessions.
What Can an Individual Learn and Gain from Psychotherapy (not limited to)
- Gain clarification and increase awareness of issues and symptoms
- Understand oneself better (thoughts, emotion and behavior)
- Alleviate dysfunctional thoughts, emotions, and behaviour
- Improvement in one’s personality
- The ability to process emotion is significantly improved
- Resolve the negative and distressing experiences
- Learn various techniques to manage problems and coping skills
- The techniques can be used in present and for future events
- Develop new perspectives of oneself, others and situation and function better in daily life.
conclusion, you can expect to gain positive changes on personal aspect, on relationship with others, to manage life events at home, school and work. If you feel emotionally disturbed with your problems and it affects your functioning, seek for professional help. You will get a clearer perspective about yourself and others, learn effective ways to cope with life events and gain positive changes for a better emotional and psychological well-being.
With the present COVID 19 pandemic situation, online counselling and psychotherapy are made available by most mental health professionals.