How is your therapist doing?

Many clients (and people in general) become curious about the therapists they are talking to especially as the therapeutic relationship builds.  Indeed sometimes a client may bump into their therapist outside the therapy room, out shopping, with their family etc.

All sorts of questions seem to emerge – has my therapist children?  what issues have they experienced themselves?  What brought them to this vocation? How much money are they making from this?

While in many modalities  limited self disclosure does occur within the therapeutic relationship the process is obviously not focused on the therapist.

This article explores the issue from the perspective of a practitioner in private practice in Ireland and highlights issues many therapists will relate to.  Might have some answers for those curious too!

 

Relationship/Marriage Counselling

A number of recent enquiries to Talk Therapy Dublin have related to couples or relationship counselling.  Clients often report mixed experiences attending these sessions and sometimes are quite seriously distressed as a result of them.

It is important to check your therapist has experience and specific qualifications in this area (don’t be afraid to ask) as it is different to one to one work.  It is also useful to read up and explore how the process works.  Some clients attend purely for the other person, this can be a factor in negative experiences.

The below articles one from Ireland the other from the UK describes some of these experiences

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/she-wanted-out-i-didn-t-couples-who-go-to-counselling-1.3229240

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/08/relationship-therapy

 

Mental Health, Insomnia & Sleep

Tuck Sleep have a primary mission of promoting awareness of sleep health and as part of that, they have researched the connection between sleep and mental health and summarized  findings in patient-friendly online guides.

Their section on mental illness &  sleep is available here:

Sleep is a key pillar of living a healthy  life.  This article has information on the science behind sleep, including what happens to your body while sleeping, why you need it, different types of sleep and how much sleep you need.

 

It also delves into the circadian system, external factors that affect it and disorders caused by disruptions to it.

Abortion, Choice & Mental Health

With a Yes vote now a reality for Ireland in terms of repealing the 8th amendment it is now important to reconsider how we support women no matter what choice they make when facing a decision around their pregnancy.

There are a multitude of studies which have provided results that look at both sides of the debate but what strikes me as most concrete is that it is a big life decision which carries a mental health risk for some women no matter what the choice.

My experience working with women who have made difficult choices around their pregnancy is that even when it seems clear cut it is often not a simple “yes” or “no” answer especially when explored on a more emotional level.

Talk Therapy Dublin aspires to help any client wishing to process a difficult life decision and views the process of counselling/psychotherapy as a useful resource that can help clients move forward with their lives after experiencing distress. .

Below are three links from the USA & UK that look as the topic of mental health & abortion.

http://time.com/4599806/abortion-doesnt-negatively-affect-womens-mental-health-study/

https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/abortion-and-mental-health/

 

 

Reliance on medication in Irish Mental Health

While it is important not to dismiss the role medication has in managing mental health it is striking the amount of clients who contact us upset at being prescribed medication without any structured form of assessment.

Many of these clients are upset they are being put on medication first instead of getting offered counselling or alternative supports.  In many of these cases  NICE guidelines actually concur with these client’s views by highlighting that medication should not be the first step in terms of recommended best practice.

We also get a lot of enquiries from those trying to come off medication struggling to find resources beyond their GP appointment.  The below article demonstrates the disparity in investment between medication & counselling in primary care.  It is also worth noting that counselling in primary care (CIPC) is only available on a short term basis to medical card holders leaving many clients struggling with the costs of private therapy generally not covered by private health insurers.

The increase in discussion and awareness about mental health is very welcome but there is a long way to go in terms of seeing the same level of improvement in actual services, supports and resources for clients outside medication.

https://www.rte.ie/news/health/2018/0426/957328-mental-health/