What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist ?

Both are trained Mental Health Professionals and can practice Psychotherapy. Yet, Each of these professionals has a different educational background, training, and role in treatment. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medications because of their medical training. Whereas, a Psychologist has a Masters/ PHD in an area of Psychology and treats mental health issues through non – medicine problems. They specialize in assessing and treating mental health disorders through a variety of non-pharmacological interventions and psychotherapies.

How does an individual identify, that he needs help from a professional?

Life is full of surprises, challenges and emotional difficulties. Hence, one must know that help is available for every problem life throws at you. Telling someone they should go to therapy or that they need therapy can be stigmatizing. It may be difficult to watch a loved one deal with mental health challenges, but it’s important for people to choose to seek help on their own—as long as they aren’t putting themselves or anyone else in danger. We face with stress,anxiety, depression, phobias which hampers our day to day functioning. Hence when one visits a Psychologist, he/she will do a thorough assessment, to determine whether you have symptoms which meet the criteria for clinical diagnosis.

What is one to one Counselling?

Often known as Individual counseling, its is a process in, which you have one on one conversation with a professional psychotherapist/Psychologist. The two form an alliance, relationship or bond that enables trust and personal growth. They can help you with any mental health or relationship problem you are facing. Some problems can include anxiety, depression, anger, family issues, abuse, insomnia, sexuality, addiction, eating disorder, etc. The discussions are safe and confidential between the client and the therapist. A therapist helps to learn skills so that one can handle stressful situations, how to control your thoughts, feelings and assists you in having a more positive mindset and living a happier life.

What are the factors that can help in maintaining a good mental health ?

Many factors influence an individual’s mental health:

  • Biological factors, such as heredity
  • Personal factors, such as lifestyle, self-esteem or childhood experiences
  • Physical environment, such as the condition of one’s home or the quality of their neighborhood
  • Social environment, such as the quality of relationships with family, friends and the community
  • Economic environment, such as employment status and living conditions

It is impossible to act upon such factors as heredity or certain biological characteristics. However, you can change your habits and take certain measures to keep yourself in good mental health.

Lockdown has been tough on all of us and a lot of people are breaking down because of the lockdown. How can people handle the same?

Most of us are spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities are no longer be available to us. This phase will help to try and see it as a different period in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it. 

It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.  

Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.     

There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you. 

Suicide rate has tremendously increased during this lockdown period. What is the first thing a person should do if he or she gets such thoughts.

Even though your pain may seem overwhelming and permanent at the moment, there are ways to deal with suicidal thoughts and feelings and overcome the pain. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you. Or continue to call a crisis helpline and talk about your feelings.

Remember that problems are temporary, but suicide is permanent. Taking your own life is never the right solution to any challenge you may be facing.

The news and media has been increasing stress for a lot of people. How can we reduce that ?

The media we consume daily has an impact on our thinking, behavior, and emotions. If you’ve fallen into a pattern of regularly watching or listening to the news, the majority of what you’re consuming is likely about the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. To talk about my personal experience, we don’t have Television at home, which helps us avoid most of the ongoing discussion. Secondly , the upcoming Whatsapp University , which is a new source , I strictly do not download any vidoes, images which would affect me. However I did a lot of personal research on the same topic to understand the facts & authenticity of the ongoing situation. But avoiding TV & Whatsapp sourced messages has helped me tremendously to keep the anxiety & incorrect information at bay. However , it is recommended less than 30 minutes per day total of social media scrolling and news exposure combined.

What is the best way to take care of your mental health ?

Well there are not one or ten but multiple factors that determine in maintaining a good mental health. Based on an individual’s preferences, hobbies, interests one can choose accordingly. Being in good mental health is not just about not having a mental illness. A person can live with a mental disorder and still experience mental well-being resulting in a balanced and satisfying life.

Like being physically healthy, being mentally healthy makes you feel good about yourself. It also allows you to enjoy the pleasures of life, to grow and to try new things.

Maintaining good mental health is also one of the best ways to prepare for life’s difficult moments both at a personal and professional level.

To maintain good mental health, you must establish a balance between various aspects of your life. These aspects are:

  • Social
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Economic
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional

Apart from that, listing down few tips to keep good mental health.

  • Practice Good Lifestyle habits
  • Maintain positive social circle.
  • Reduce stress Levels
  • Maintain a positive work environment.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem
  • The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change
  • Track gratitude and achievement with a journal.

These are just few guidelines, A Psychologist can chalk out a proper planned schedule based on the individuals assessment & need base. Those keen on knowing more can reach out to me for a detailed discussion.

Does a person commit Domestic Violence because of an unbalanced mental health ?

Domestic violence is a choice and it is a learned behavior.

For these reasons, it is difficult to say that domestic violence is caused by any one single factor.  In my opinion, Mental health problems are more likely to be caused by domestic abuse than the other way round. Mental health issues are not the cause of domestic abuse if the abuse is planned, controlled and limited only to a specific person or small number of people within the family setting.

Some mental health problems do lead to violent behaviour but this is uncontrolled and unpredictable. People with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it.

Any message for the Society ?

Please remember that you are only human. Your vast expanse of emotions is beautifully expressive. When you cry, you are allowing your body and mind to connect and converse. As children we cry to express a need, a pain, or a frustration. This mechanism does not change as we get older, even though we may shed fewer tears.

Perhaps we should stop and listen to our inner voice. Maybe instead of hastily wiping our tears when we cry, we should honor them and ask ourselves, “What do I need most right now?” One of the most common things people will say in therapy is, “I should be able to figure this out on my own.” And, of course, you could try that.

But, if you have the option of getting more support during a difficult transition, then why wouldn’t you just do that? Think of all the people who you support in your life, either directly or indirectly. You deserve to feel supported along the way as well. It is my genuine hope that every client that comes to me, journeys along their therapeutic path with a renewed sense of understanding and self-appreciation. Feel free to reach out to me @mannheal@gmail.com

Contact Details of Munira Soni

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