Q & A : “Psychotherapy”

An Introductory talk on Psychotherapy was held at the HELP library’s Patient Doctor Community’s Meeting in the month of May. Quite a few questions were raised and discussed, some of them are shared below:

Q.1    How come meditation itself doesn’t cure things?

A.     There are many kinds of meditation. If by meditation, relaxation and calm state of mind is referred, then within that state one may feel.. well- calm! If problems are requiring to be looked and dealt with, and instead, we tend to ‘escape’ under a false calmness, it may obviously not ‘cure’ anything. It’s important to differentiate between false calmness, and being at peace with oneself. (For more on this- https://psychdom.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/relaxation-a-solution/)

Q.2  When does one reach a stage to REQUIRE it?

A.   ..when regular support systems- family, friends, physicians, etc. have been tried but there continues to be dissatisfaction, problems have remained unsolved, unresolved, or they keep appearing, disappearing, only to reappear again. So yes, once the methods that we typically are using, are not satisfying us- that’s when generally people consider Psychotherapy & Counseling. Having said this, one can go to a psychotherapist at any point. The therapy is to facilitate our journeys too, not just problem-solving.

Q.3  Does Psychological counseling or psychotherapy “draw from within”?

A.    Insight-oriented counseling means drawing from within! There are different kinds of counseling. Long-term insight oriented therapy, Rogerian counseling, etc focus on drawing out insights from within..

Q.4   How long does it usually take? Are there a fixed no of sessions for therapy?

A.     There is no fixed number. It entirely depends on the nature of concern, with which one goes to a Counselor, and the kind of counseling or psychotherapy one opts for. What I do, is depending on the client’s awareness regarding counseling, ask them to see how they feel during the process after completing 3 sessions- This is after they’ve decided to enter counseling, after they’ve found it comfortable with me. Additionally, I tell them if they require to recheck, to check for shifts if not changes, after 10 sessions. Psychotherapy and counseling process may be from 4 sessions for someone, to sessions spanning over years- it depends on the client’s goals and working style.

Q.5   How does one, seeking psychotherapy, come to know or decide what form of therapy to choose??

A.     Considering that its going to be a little uncomfortable at times, as it is the Unconscious aspect of mind being dealt, choosing one where one finds self comfortable, helps. There are several types- art, “talk” or “couch”, play, drama, etc. Some therapists are specifically trained only in one while others employ many kinds. So if you want versatility, seek one who picks several forms and mediums. If only one form is found comfortable enough to focus on the unpleasantness that may need a way out, then a more specific therapy can be opted for.

Q.6   If the environment is affecting a child negatively, will bettering the environment be enough or will the child still need therapy?

A.     Will it help? Absolutely. Will it be enough? That depends on how the child is feeling and what he/she has understood out of the change. Overnight things cannot be changed. Permanent change takes a while- and digesting, adapting to the change- be it good/bad does take time as well. Counseling will definitely help you, your child and your family to communicate effectively. By being open and not acting out of fear, one can look how well-adjusted the child is or isn’t objectively, and can take a call accordingly (One e.g. of finding out if our actions are based on fear is if we catch ourselves doing this: to quickly make things better and communicate “quickly” everything to the child).

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Relaxation- A Solution?

Recently, in a group talk on ‘Psychotherapy’, a small, albeit aware audience emerged to form the ongoing awareness and rapport building community of doctors & patients. An interesting question emerged in the process (The following is worded keeping the essence of the question in mind):

“When we meditate or do deep relaxation processes, we feel free from the problems at hand. But they come back to bother, they do not seem to be permanently gone. Can they or are they enough to solve things or psychotherapy is required?”

The discussion that ensued came to a simple conclusion which is given below. The inquirer’s sheepish smile at the end of it  corroborated an already experienced and known answer, but one that he kept avoiding and inadvertently having pushed it out of awareness..

The conclusion:

‘When we meditate, we reach a stage where problems are found more “deal-able” , as we are more relaxed. The ‘Oh My God!’ response in our head, is subsided and we are more resourceful in dealing with what is on the plate- which is where we may choose a path for assistance; psychotherapy being one of it. But when we are only relaxing our mind and body, and using it to escape- then how can it lead to any problem resolution?! The problem needs our attention not avoidance. Relaxation can help us in doing that. So it can be a “Maintenance tool” for our daily smooth functioning- TO aide in our resolving the “Root Problem”.’

He was satisfied with this answer, though not thrilled and confessed later in person that yes, this summed up what he was avoiding- Pain/”emotional hassles”.

It is the Avoidance of things at hand that actually go on to becoming hassles- That’s something we forget while being caught up in a situation. Our wise hindsight into the consequences can make this understanding clear.