Are face to face sessions more effective than online ones?

 There is a new research which has found that therapy is just as effective over the phone/video sessions as it is face-to-face. The data used by the researchers was from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies database, which looked at the records of 39,000 clients. The data was compared to find out whether online therapy is as effective as when conducted in person, and found that it is for the majority of clients. For those whom it isn’t as effective, they have severe conditions, which can’t be dealt with online and these clients can be easily identified by the Counsellor/Psychologist. Overall, they make up a very small fraction of people taking psychotherapy.

How many sessions do I need to be all right?

Well, it totally depends from person to person, case to case. Being all right is also very subjective. After taking sessions, people gradually start to learn how to deal with their situations, emotions, behaviours effectively. There are some people who learn it in 3-4 months, there are some who learn it in a year, which is completely fine. Everybody’s journey is different. You need to understand that counselling is a process. An angel is not gonna come, wave a magic wand and solve your problems overnight. 

What is the difference between a Counsellor, Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

Counsellor: Counsellors have a Masters degree or higher in Psychology. They help you deal with your emotional and behavioural issues.

Psychologist: The same duties as professional counsellors are being performed by the Psychologists, but additional psychological services, such as administering psychological tests are also provided by them if needed.

Psychiatrist: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who complete specialized training in psychiatry and can prescribe medication.

Can I counsel my own family and friends?

 A Psychologist herself can’t counsel her own family and friends, let alone you counselling your family and friends without even having proper training and knowledge in the field. Kindly leave it to a Professional 

What is the duration of each session?

 It depends from Psychologist to Psychologist. Usually it is for 1 hour.

Can I trust my psychologist that my personal information and concerns will not be shared with others?

Yes you can It is unethical for a counsellor to share your concerns with others. Whatever you share in the session, stays in the session. Also, please note that if the case is severe, involving suicidal ideations and attempts, then the Psychologist might have to share it with the concerned person or with a trustworthy person who is related to the client.

Will I be labelled as ‘Pagal’ if I take counselling?

No! First of all we need to stop using words like ‘Pagal’, ‘Insane’, ‘Retard’ etc. as it can be hurtful to people who live with mental illnesses. Secondly Psychologists also take counselling from other Psychologists for their own issues. Shocked? But yes, this is the truth. So chill and you also can try to spread awareness about it. Don’t worry with time, people will become aware of the importance of mental health in India too.

What if I am not able to follow the advice of my counsellor? How am I going to improve then?

Counsellors never give advices/suggestions. They help you find solutions to your problems. Under the counsellor’s guidance, you will learn how to deal with your emotional and behavioural problems and find their solutions.

Can I give gifts to my Counsellor as a token of gratitude?

No. It’s unethical for a counsellor to receive gifts from the clients.

Can I maintain a good friendly relationship with my counsellor outside the sessions?

 It isn’t advisable to bother your Counsellor outside the sessions to be friends with you. The counsellor too has a personal life and they feel reluctant to show that side to you plus it’s not ethical for them to do so also.

I have stalked my counsellor on facebook. S/he seems to be a totally different person in her personal life. Does s/he fake her personality in the sessions?

Well, firstly you need not stalk her/him on social media. Isn’t it unethical on your part to do so? Secondly, s/he is a human being too. S/he has friends too. S/he has a personal life too. S/he may be a comedian amongst his/her friends, always cracking jokes, pulling each other’s legs on social media, dressing up the way s/he wants to, going out with them. Why would s/he do all that in the session with you? No s/he doesn’t fake her personality in the sessions, but s/he knows how to keep his/her personal life separate from work. 

P.S. Stop stalking him/her on social media, s/he has a life too!

If my counsellor has never been married and never experienced marital conflicts herself/himself, how can s/he counsel others who have these issues? OR My counsellor looks very young and I am 45, how can s/he counsel me? S/he hasn’t even experienced life as much as I have. How will s/he be able to understand the mental state of a person who is 45 or 60?

When you go to a doctor, do you really bother about his/her age? The same way, to be able to deal with marital conflicts or geriatric population, the Psychologist doesn’t need to be of a certain age. S/he has been trained to deal with most of these issues. The image of a Psychologist in people’s head is usually of a person with grey hair, big bindi, cotton saree etc. Please change it.