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  • Writer's pictureRashi Modani

Therapy and Opting to Undergo it

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

“You need therapy"

A phrase used too often as an insult, a punishment, or even a bad joke. For a very long time, seeking therapy in pop culture and in our society has been used as a punchline. We all might remember moments in which we have said that to our partners when we are mad at them, or to a friend we feel has done something wrong, or even to an unknown person with whom we disagree. Said in any way or any tone possible they all stigmatize how therapy is viewed, and of course when one should undergo it. As I contemplate the matter, it seems that many people are unaware of why someone might seek therapy in the first place. Additionally, some may harbor doubts about its effectiveness or believe that it is only necessary in extreme cases. As much as it is saddening and concerning, it is something that has been in our society for far more than a decade

Let's make an effort to illuminate the effectiveness and immense value of therapy for numerous individuals. Let’s have a more elemental point of view, the brain is a very important organ for our day-to-day activities, and, as our other organs need maintenance and are considered to be of medical importance so should the brain. With therapy, help can be extended to manage life’s varied challenges and live a more fulfilling life as well as it can help you understand what you are feeling, why, and how to cope with it. And just like a regular dental checkup, a therapy session can help keep your mental health in order.

Hence, therapy can be beneficial “just because”. But a bigger question knocks on the door. It is essential to determine the type of therapist that would best suit your needs since selecting an appropriate therapist can significantly facilitate the process of personal growth and development.

There are two main terms that are often used interchangeably - therapist and psychologist. However, this can be a bit misleading as therapists encompass a broader range of professionals such as psychologists, counselors, and social workers. While there are similarities between the two, one key difference is that a psychologist (in particular a clinical psychologist in India) is qualified to diagnose and prescribe treatments based on clinical diagnoses and observations, whereas a therapist is not.

Now that we have a foundation set, we encounter the most important and hardest step of all,“

How do I figure out what exactly am I looking for in a mental health professional?

There are several sites and a lot of information present for that, but research is the last thing on our minds when we’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of a listening ear.

When you confide in those close to you, it is natural to expect a certain emotional response. You may choose someone who aligns with your personal beliefs and values. However, assuming that someone accepting your views and opinions will lead to a better outcome is not always the case.

Dealing with our mental health can be challenging enough but choosing a therapist shouldn’t.

Hence for you to have a better understanding let’s look at some pointers to look in a mental health professional :

  1. While undergoing a therapy session, you shouldn’t feel like you are alone but as if you and your mental health professional are working together.

  2. Understands your situation, can identify the underlying issue and is capable of assisting you in your personal growth and improvement.

  3. Minimum education background - Master in counseling psychology or social work.

  4. They should be able to empathize with you while having a mental map of how to proceed with the concern at hand.

  5. Ability to recognize recurring patterns in your behavior and thought processes and help maintain awareness

  6. Therapeutic approach rather than a demeanor of a friend or a doctor

If you find it difficult to determine a good therapist by yourself as it might be a big task itself, you could obtain one by talking to people you know or asking your doctor. It is advisable to take control of your therapy to the extent possible and maintain a confidential relationship with your therapist. It is important to be mindful of how a therapist presents themselves during initial meetings, as their demeanor may differ once they shift into therapy mode. It is recommended to have one or two interview meetings with a therapist to gauge whether their personality is a good match for you.

After getting an idea of what to look for in a mental health professional, it is important to understand and decide if you want to do virtual therapy or in-person therapy. After the pandemic, virtual session has become quite popular as it allows us to avail it at our ease and from the comfort of our house while also being cost-effective. But as much as it is convenient, it constrains our communication through emails, texting, and calls. In case you are wondering if or if not an offline session would be better, then it is crucial to understand an in-person session would have intensive support, and an in-depth report as non-verbal cues can also be detected. Although both of the ways would work, the bigger concern is which way you would be comfortable in. Because finally, it all comes down to choosing a therapist who meets your needs.

Scott Peck stated it well:

Your therapist should be reserved, but the reserve should mask warmth. It would add jollity and curiosity; the reserve should mask a capacity for laughter and a genuine curiosity about who you are.

To provide more comprehensive information, we will soon have a new blog that delves deeper into the different types of mental health professionals.

Happy growing!

Written by: Rashi Modani (BA Psychology - TY, SNDT University, Mumbai)

Proofread by: A Ph.D. Scholar at Christ University, Bangalore

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