Let us talk about something that is a taboo in our Indian society. Mental health, and seeing a therapist. First reaction from sellers of conventional wisdom is “I am not mad.” People frown at you as if something has gone totally wrong in your mind. Thanks to Bollywood (and partly Hollywood), we imagine lunatics in asylums. Well, sorry to break the myth, a person seeing a psychologist or undergoing mental health treatment, can look and talk like you!
Coming back to today’s topic. Do we need a psychologist? Usually, in our society, we see a psychologist when we are diagnosed with a clinical mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder etc. Our psychiatrist, who is licensed to prescribe medicines, would often ask you to see a therapist. The role of a therapist is clear. To heal and treat through techniques like CBT and other therapies.
However, the question remains? Can psychologists solve our problems? Trust me, even therapists are not sure. Becoming a psychologist is not difficult in our institutionalised society. Get a degree, get a license, and you become one. I wish it was as simple as that. For me, it takes more than a degree and even experience to be a psychologist who is responsible for healing. Unfortunately, psychotherapy is not a one-shoe-fits-all approach. Every brain is biologically same, but every mind is wired in a unique fashion. In my opinion, it is a godly task to understand someone’s psyche.
Then there are therapists who are not exactly qualified in psychology as western psychology prescribes, but are eastern and natural healers. They might be qualified as doctors in medicine. They work on energy healing, mindfulness based healing, reiki, etc.
Let’s admit that all of us have some level of stress and unresolved issues. We, the urban workers, are not the serene saints of the Himalayas. We are as vulnerable as they come. We rely for support on families, friends, spouses and children. Some of us are self-empowered to support ourselves. It is also to be understood that it is not the nature of issue but the reaction of our system to it that causes mental disturbances. A soldier might lose his arm but be absolutely fine, while another might get shivers visiting a dentist. We all react differently to situations.
Whether you need a psychologist or not is totally your call. Don’t treat it like a taboo. Please ensure that you are comfortable with your psychologist so that you are able to express and communicate. If you are not comfortable, change your therapist. Also, be aware of your goal. What you want to talk about, resolve, and communicate.
I have realised that some clinical psychologist only listen to you, while others try to find a method to heal you. If you have even undiagnosed mental health problem, it is important to understand the science of brain. Our brain is made up of various centres and run on chemicals. An important chemical for our wellbeing is serotonin which most psychiatrists work on. Let us understand that each thought produces a chemical or has an effect at mind-body level. It is this effect that we can treat through therapies.
Sometimes, we are also confused which therapy will work for us, as there are tons of choices nowadays and each healer prophesies her method. This is a tough nut to crack, but again whichever therapy you have faith in, go for that, as long as it is not an undercover operation to initiate you in a cult.