mentalhealth

What exactly happens in a therapy session?

Mental health concerns affect all age groups throughout the world. Many individuals who have never been to a therapist have curiosity and certainly have many questions like; Will he read my mind? What will I say when I go to a therapist? What if someone else comes to know about my problems? Will I have to talk about my childhood all the time?

What is Therapy?

Therapy is also known as ‘Psychotherapy’. It is a form of treatment that aims at relieving] emotional distress and mental problems. A trained professional who listens and guides the client to resolve his/her issues conducts therapy.

 Art therapy, talk therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy are some of the different types of therapy. 

 Before a therapy session is booked, some therapists ask the client to fill up a ‘client intake form’ that has the basic background information of the client. It could also include details about how long the session will last, confidentiality and session fee. 

The Process 

Therapy sessions are professionally structured meetings between a trained therapist and a client. 

  1. The therapist will do some rapport-building exercises. This provides a supportive and comfortable environment where the client talks openly and the therapist actively listens to the client without any judgments or criticism and with a positive approach.
  2. Therapists might take notes while listening to the client during the session.
  3. The therapist will ask the client to share – traumatic experiences, feelings and incidents. 
  4. Initially, most therapies begin with ‘talk therapy’ where the therapist asks the client questions to understand their struggles and establish a therapy goal.
  5. A therapy session is not like a magic wand. It does not solve the client’s problems but instead, the therapist helps and leads the client to possible solutions and coping strategies. 
  6. The counselling psychologist might refer you to a clinical psychologist for psychological tests or may refer the client to a psychiatrist if needed.
  7. At the end of each session, the therapist might give you a mental health activity before the beginning of the next session. These activities help the therapist analyse the client’s progress.

Tips:-

  • Do seek professional help if needed.
  • Be honest with your therapist.
  • Avoid missing the scheduled sessions.
  • Complete the mental health activities assigned by the therapist.
  • Be patient. 
  • Change your therapist if you feel their approach isn’t working for you.

Grief and Bereavement: Coping with the loss of a loved one

The global pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone’s life. During this pandemic, many people have lost their loved one. Not connecting with the deceased before and after their death has potentially increased the risk of complicated grief. 

What are Grief and Bereavement? 

Bereavement is the situation of having lost a loved one. Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief reactions range from normal to diagnosable psychiatric conditions; people adapt to the loss and accompanying life changes. 

Social distancing has impacted the usual form of religious and cultural aspects of the grieving process. “Physical distancing” has invariably resulted in “social distancing”; the isolation and quarantine result in “touch starvation.” 

Signs & symptoms of grief:

  • Shock, disbelief, or denial
  • Anxiety
  • Distress
  • Anger
  • Periods of sadness
  • Loss of sleep and loss of appetite

Tips for coping with grief and bereavement: 

Communicate: Talk to people, expressing how you feel is a healing activity. Find ways to express your grief through communication. Join an online bereavement support group. Conduct a ritual with your friends and family to share happy memories about the deceased. 

Heal At Your Own Pace: Healing is not linear. Each one heals at their own pace, never compare yourself to another grieving.

Space: A space or specific area for grieving may help in the easier expression of emotions without hesitation and facilitate healthier acceptance of death.

Journalling: Penning your thoughts down can help you understand your feelings better.

Exercise: Physical exercise along with relaxation will improve your sleep and concentration.

Spend time with others: Allow yourself to have moments of happiness or escape, spend time with others. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself.

Stay healthy: Get plenty of rest and eat regular and healthy meals.

How is the pandemic affecting children?

As we are constantly bombarded with news about COVID-19 and its spread, we experience a lot of anxiety and stress. Children face similar anxiety and stress, too.

Detecting physical symptoms of COVID is simpler than knowing about its effect on our mental health. This applies particularly to children, as all their regular physical activities have suddenly come to a stop. Schools and daycares have been closed; children can neither visit the park/play areas nor can they meet their friends in person. This can lead them to experience anxiety and stress.

Detecting physical symptoms of COVID is simpler than knowing about its effect on our mental health. This applies particularly to children, as all their regular physical activities have suddenly come to a stop. Schools and daycares have been closed; children can neither visit the park/play areas nor can they meet their friends in person. This can lead them to experience anxiety and stress.

It is hard for children to understand why their parents are stressed. Also, with easy access to digital gadgets; children can now gain a lot of information online and have a lot of queries about the pandemic.

Parents play a critical role during this phase, as children will be curious and ask more questions. They will also need clarification from their parents on specific issues. Hence, parents need to prepare their child emotionally for social distancing and isolation during the pandemic.

Psycho-education of parents and caregivers is crucial, as, during these difficult times, parents are the child’s biggest support.

There are certain things that parents can do to get the child to understand the situation, like:

  1. Reassuring them that this is a temporary phase.
  2. Give the children much-needed attention, especially when they feel like talking or have some query.
  3. Look out for emotional changes in the child and have regular conversations with them.
  4. Pre-plan the daily activities with the child, keep a fixed routine for schoolwork, playtime and recreational activities.
  5. Keep them in touch with their friends, grandparents and their loved ones through video calls and phone calls.
  6. Keep a check on their screen time on the devices.
  7. Try to keep them engaged in physical activities.
  8. Most importantly, take good care of their health and wellness. Develop a habit of self-hygiene in a fun way.

If the child is already in an abusive environment, the isolation during a pandemic can further deepen their mental health crisis. Childcare helplines have seen a huge spike in the calls regarding the health, nutrition, child abuse reports and medical assistance.

To reach out, you can write to Mind Mosaic at contact@mindmosaic.in and we will connect you with the concerned authorities and helplines.

Stay safe. Maintain social distancing.

Q & A with Dextrus Workspace

14th October, 2020. Live Twitter Chat with Dextrus Workspace. Dextrus is a workspace with the single focus of creating the right work environment to enable you to be the best at what you do.

Q1. How do you approach counselling/Therapy for Kids? 

A1. I begin the process of counselling by telling the child that I am here to help them express their emotions and tell me what is affecting them. It is essential to gain a child’s trust. The child should feel comfortable. Therapy involves activities and sharing of ideas that help the child face their emotional turmoil. Play therapy along with worksheets and conversations. Play Therapy is also effective for children with special needs. It works very well with children under 14 years.As Plato said, you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. It is essential for me to connect with the child and provide a safe environment. 

Q2. “Mental health problems do not happen to children; it’s just a mood, they will grow out of it”, how often do you face such myths? 

A2. Yes, most often, the mental health of a child is not taken seriously by the people around him/her. As statistics show, about 10% of children are affected by mental health problems. This includes behavioural issues, stress, and anxiety. 
I remember a child’s parent having unrealistic academic expectations from him, which had made the child go into a cocoon. He had stopped having any interaction. The parents ignored it for two and a half years thinking it is ‘just a phase.’ Also, seeking professional help is largely stigmatized in our country. I still have parents telling me that they do not think their child is ‘mad’ to see a therapist. 

Q3. What is your advice to parents facing mental health concerns, their own or of their kids? 

A3. Parents need to look out for warning signs, whether their own or of their kids. Warning signs such as talking about hurting oneself or hurting others, staying aloof, mood swings, withdrawal from social interactions, being sad for a long time and substance abuse, etc. For children, it includes falling grades or lack of interest in the activities they enjoyed earlier. It is essential to understand that mental illness can begin at any age. Parents need to accept that they or their child has a mental health problem. 

Q4. How can the mental health of guardians/parents impact that of the children? How often are parents aware of this impact?

A4. Mental Health of a guardian/parent can hugely impact the child. Children can feel anxious and depressed if their parents are overly critical of their behaviour & actions. There is an increase in the number of adults seeking therapy & many of them are child caregivers. According to a research, children are by nature egocentric. This means that a child views and interprets the world from their perspective. A parent’s mental health illness can lead to the child feeling guilt, rejection, instability, and uncertainty.Most often, parents are unaware of the impact of their mental health on their children. If at all they do realize, the damage is already done. 

Q. 5 What is the importance of adding mental health modules in school curriculums? 

A5. Good question. Being a counselling psychologist and a curriculum developer myself, I feel that mental health education should be mandatory in the school curriculum. Mental Health support at school can impact the child positively. The school should discuss and recognize the warning signs that I mentioned earlier. Children spend most of their time at school. The school should create a safe environment. The curriculum should have modules discussing empathy, resilience, mental health illnesses, empowerment, etc. This will help in gradually ending the stigma attached to mental health. Mental Health awareness needs to be learnt early in life. 

Q6. As adults, we spend most of our time at the workplace, which has its toll. How can our mental wellbeing at work impact our mental wellbeing at home? Can you share some examples?

A6. Adults spend most of their time at work. Work pressure, deadlines, bringing work home can affect the dynamics of a healthy home environment.  Example – A parent would spend only the weekend with her daughter. The parents would take her to the mall every weekend. There was hardly an emotional connect with the child. During therapy, I found out that the child was struggling with loneliness and anxiety. With both the parents working, the child could only interact with them on weekends.Another example is where the parents had unrealistic academic expectations from their child, the kid could not bear the constant pressure and tried to run away from home. It was only after a year of such consistent attempts; they tried to seek professional help.Parents need to prioritize their time with the child. Prioritizing is becoming increasingly difficult due to the pandemic with the children attending classes at home and parents working from home. Time management is crucial. Parents need to follow a schedule which lets them focus on their child’s needs and also be good role models while inculcating discipline. 

Bonus Question: Can you shed some light on how accessible is mental health therapy for families in India?

Answer – Excellent question. I am glad I am getting to answer this. Do you know what is the mental health workforce in India? 
According to a WHO report, mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population) includes psychiatrists (0.3) and psychologists (0.07) Mental Health is a social justice issue. We must consider making mental health easily accessible and affordable. Our health insurance should also cover mental health. Some professionals work pro bono on some instances and even offer discounted sessions.Some organizations offer free or discounted therapy, especially to students. However, the stigma attached to mental health is still prevalent. People need to be sensitized about it. It is as simple as visiting your general physician for a cough or cold.A therapist undergoes extensive training to understand how the mind works. Each mind is different. I have been told by some people that they would rather indulge in shopping or food than take care of their mental health. It is not just accessibility but also the importance one gives to it. Therapy is now accessible through the phone, text, online, but people are still sceptical about it. A lot of times, people think therapy is just ‘talking’.There should be regular discussions and awareness. 
We only discuss mental health when it makes it to the news!