Do I need a Psychologist?
Are you wondering whether a psychologist can provide you with more help than you yourself or your family and friends? Undoubtedly, the supportive network of people that each of us has – if there is one – is crucial when we are dealing with emotional and other difficulties.
If your symptoms cause you considerable discomfort, interfere significantly with your normal routine in your everyday life functioning and do not subside despite your personal efforts and the willingness of the people that are close to you to help you, maybe it would be wiser to refer to a mental health professional.
The psychologist is not another friend with more knowledge or tricks that will relieve you. He is the scientist that has the knowledge of the workings of the psyche and the human behavior and can help you cope with mental difficulties through scientifically proven effective methods. All methods may not suit everyone and for that reason knowledge and flexibility in its use is needed.
At the same time it is important that you feel you can cooperate with your psychologist. If this is not the case, don’t hesitate to refer to someone else.
What should I expect from the treatment?
During the first sessions your therapist will pose specific questions regarding a wide range of your life, which aim to investigate and define the symptoms and the difficulties which you face in your daily life.
Planning the therapy
In collaboration with the therapist you will rich a conclusion and you will commit to a therapy plan which will be adjusted to your needs and will include
- The frequency and the duration of the sessions
- The goals of the therapy
- Whether or not there is a need for pharmacotherapy and its significance
At the beginning of every session, in collaboration with the therapist, you will set your agenda, which means the issues that you will work on. This could include reviewing the previous session and the intervening time between sessions, managing emotions in specific situations, the progression towards the goal and anything that can occur in the “here and now”.
While in session you will learn a lot about the way you think, the way your thoughts affect your feelings and in the end how your beliefs about yourself, the world around you and the future affect the way you react on a personal and interpersonal level. Nevertheless, in order to endorse the things you learn in the session you should also be able to practice them when you are alone, without your therapist. In order to accomplish that, you will need to practice outside sessions by doing what you are assigned as “homework”.
What could that include?
- To observe yourself under specific circumstances
- To record some thoughts or behaviors, for example in the form of a diary
- To try to engage in new activities or to do something that you already do in a different way
- To try out the skills you learned outside the therapy (e.g. new communication skills, assertive behavior, social skills, relaxation techniques)
Are my current problems a result of my childhood experiences?
- Our early experiences with our parents, siblings, close relatives and our wider environment have significantly affected the way we have learned to think and act in the present. Up to a certain degree some of your difficulties could be due to these early experiences. But the Solution to the difficulties you are facing today lies in the way you think, you feel and you act in the present.
- The therapeutic procedure will benefit from reminiscing about childhood experiences in order to find through it ways to change the way you think and in the end your behavior to the direction that you desire.
Does my child need a child psychologist?
Many parents have concerns about the efficacy and the necessity of a visit in a “child psychologist”*. Nevertheless, over the past years the stigma of mental health has significantly receded and the collaboration between the parents with the psychologists has contributed significantly in the prevention and the overcoming of many difficulties.
The fact that you refer to a “child psychologist” doesn’t necessarily mean that your child has “serious mental problems”, that he/she is “crazy”, that he/she will start psychotherapy in a weekly base for ever or that you are inefficient as parents. On the contrary, through this procedure you will be able to answer your questions, be properly informed and find new strategies that will help you improve your everyday life.
The first visit (maybe the second one as well) involves the parents (or the parent that is available). During the first visit basic information about the development of the child and the family history are obtained and the parents express their concerns. Then, the psychologist and the parents discuss and make decisions about the progression of the collaboration, that is, whether there will be sessions with the child or with the parents, the goal of the therapy and the frequency of the sessions.
In the collaboration with the psychologist you can express any concerns you may have about the development and the upbringing of your children, your personal difficulties, your concerns about specific issues or the management of a crisis in your family (like grief, a divorce or moving house). In addition, you can get information about normal and deviant development and get some guidance that can contribute to the prevention of more serious emotional disorders or behavioral problems. If a difficulty – problem already exists, then psychotherapy is provided, which at younger ages includes means such as play time or painting, later even therapeutic electronic games, while in adolescence it is more similar to adults speech therapy. At the same time the parents are informed about the progression of the therapy and learn more functional strategies to get on with their children. In some cases family or couple therapy may be suggested.
* The term child psychologist is used to describe the psychologist that specializes in the particular issues of child development. The scientific brunch of psychology doesn’t accept this term since it is not a recognized field of specialization. It is possible that it has been established by analogy with the terms psychiatrist and child psychiatrist which are two recognized medical specialties. The “child psychologist” in order to fulfill the criteria for this title must have specialized studies in child and adolescent psychopathology which is provided on a postgraduate level.
She has specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy at the Hellenic Association of Behavioral Research which is accredited by the European Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (EABCT).
Furthermore, she has attended specialist seminars on Family Therapy, Parent Counseling and Eating Disorders.
She is licensed to practice psychology as a specialist in School/Educational Psychology (Ref. No.: 359).