Why therapists often speak very little

A common complaint among the patients of psychologists and other mental health providers is that it seems to them that their therapist hardly ever speaks during a session. This can bring up feelings of isolation or anger and dislocation. The sense that we are not being fully heard, or that we are not being paid adequate attention or respect is extremely frustrating and difficult, and in fact, may be part of the reason why a patient has sought out counselling in the first place.

This is completely understandable, as conversation is the way in which we as humans bond with those we are the closest to from infancy on. Many of us look to the traditional patterns of conversation and sociability as being appropriate in most situations. This confusion about how much the therapist should engage in conversation and commentary springs from a basic misunderstanding over the role of the therapist. Psychological therapy is different from all of our other interpersonal encounters. The therapist, as is evident in the word itself, is there to provide a therapeutic service.

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Narcissism in Cyberspace

It has become commonplace to display much of our lives in a very publicly accessible fashion. Amateur videos go viral every day, making instant celebrities out of the least likely candidates. We can portray ourselves as the wealthy, beautiful, successful people we always wished to be, and we can make sure that everyone who ever doubted us gets a full screening of our talents and accomplishments. We can be up-to-the-minute with not only friends and family and workmates, but with actors, musicians, politicians, and sports figures. Just as we can individually select the music, news, television, and other entertainment we wish to enjoy, we can also broadly send our own images, actions, beliefs, feelings, and thoughts out into the world.
It seems that everyone knows that person who has thousands of cyberspace “friends”. Their Facebook is legend, they have so many followers and tweeters and likers it is dizzying. It appears as if their lives are filled with glamorous and fun events that inspire envy in all who read their self-created media kits.

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50 Shades Of Sexuality

In society today, one’s sexuality can have far-reaching consequences. Sexuality may influence our choices in the work we do, where we live, how we worship, and other intimate areas of life. Sexuality is often associated with one’s identity and what it means to be an individual. With all of the meaning that is carried with sexuality, there is the potential for an individual to question their own feelings. It is far from the case that all people simply know their sexuality or can identify with a particular group. Although many people do not express any confusion or concern regarding their sexuality, this is not the case for a great number of individuals who find that their questions regarding their sexuality are not so easily answered.

Sexuality is not defined by one behaviour or one feeling, or even by one experience. It is a highly complex human response that can be influenced by a variety of factors in its expression. What does seem to be clear that sexual preference is not a choice. One cannot control or determine who they are attracted to – whatever their sexuality. While many people have clear preferences, it is largely outside their ability to change that attraction, or lack thereof.  Read More »

Understanding Substance Abuse

When we hear the words “substance abuse”, too often it brings to mind the image of a stereotypical addict or “junkie”. While this is sometimes a reflection of reality, it is also possible for substance abusers to show very few, if any, outward signs of a problem. For this reason, and others, it can be difficult to identify substance abuse in those around us. Untreated substance abuse takes an enormous toll on individual lives, as well as on society at large.

Although illicit drug use is a major category of substance abuse, it is not the only one.  Alcohol, inhalants, adhesives, nicotine, prescription medicines, and solvents are also subject to abuse. Recent news reports about teenagers using liquid hand soap to “get high” demonstrate the lengths to which people will go to satisfy an unquenchable desire for the abused substance.

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It is a commonly held view that bisexuality does not, in fact, exist. Most people cannot fathom the concept of bisexuality, and bisexual individuals are often thought of as being promiscuous and mentally flawed. Being a victim of such prejudice can cause innumerable problems such as stress, anxiety and depression, and being socially ostracised can shatter self confidence. A counsellor or therapist can help deal with issues so that they may not lead to more complex problems. Emotional trauma and abuse can have a lasting impact on one’s life, it is therefore important to deal with it as early as possible.Read More »

The darkest side of social media

Studies have shown that constant connectivity on social networking sites and a constant exposure to media are strongly linked with people feeling inadequate, insecure and anxious. Having to compare yourself to others and being bombarded with public broadcasts of other peoples’ ‘ideal’ lives can cause feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and low self confidence; and for people who are prone to anxiety, this can sometimes even lead to severe low self esteem, depression, and other mental issues to a point where it becomes necessary to seek help from a therapist. Read More »

All about Mindfulness

Mindfulness has several different definitions, but in essence it involves experiencing the present instant, being fully aware of the moment that exists now, and accepting it as it is. Mindfulness is a concept that emerged from the eastern philosophies and is used extensively in Zen meditation, as well as in Pranayama. The effectiveness of this concept in psychotherapy has been recognised and has resulted in the evolution of different forms of therapy that use mindfulness as a technique.Read More »

It’s never too late to change your career.

The thought of making a career change in mid-life can be a cause for much stress and anxiety. You may know in your heart that you wish to change the course of your life, but it can be a daunting prospect, especially after having spent years doing one thing. Talking to a counsellor can help you decide which part of your career you have enjoyed so far and work out a new course for your life. But even if you know what is it that you want to do, sometimes you might need a little push before you can actually take the plunge. Professional counselling can help overcome the fears and anxiety associated with big life decisions and help you move forward in life.Read More »

Narcissism in a nutshell.

The word narcissist is often used synonymously with vain or selfish. While this usage normally tends to be casual, sometimes even facetious, the fact is that there are major differences between narcissism, vanity and selfishness. Narcissism can be a more serious mental condition that can have a significant negative impact on personal life and relationships. So much so, that many people choose to seek the help of a therapist or counsellor to mitigate the effects of narcissism on their life.

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Existentialism in therapy for HIV-positive clients

Using existentialism in therapy for HIV patients can be benefitialIn the more holistic model of health care that is prescribed to nowadays, psychological and emotional well-being are acknowledged as being integral to patient care and management. As such, HIV counselling and psychotherapy are considered to be core elements in the treatment and care of people suffering from HIV. Counselling and therapy are often the best and the only true way to discuss sensitive questions and feelings openly and without judgement, for both the patients as well as those affected by the patient’s illness.Read More »