In the society that we live in there is often a stigma attached with the concept of visiting a psychologist. People often hesitate in consulting a therapist and if out of sheer necessity they do consult a psychologist, the fact is considered as disgraceful. What is surprising is that these same people can very well be mildly hypochondriacs, rushing to a doctor’s clinic or hospital to ensure that nothing is wrong with their physical health. But when it comes to mental health, the need to visit a specialist evaporates.
While western civilizations may have overdone it with people having multiple therapists to resolve different problems, Indians are still struggling with the fact that a psychological counseling is important too. We Indians are comfortable in our understanding of mind and continue to believe that any emotional support required can be given by the network of friends and family.
Who needs a Psychologist?
This blatant ignorance and even avoidance of the topic has led to worsening of problem. Recent research suggests that mental illnesses and anxiety are major contributors to adoption of smoking and drinking habits among youth. Clinical depression, mood swings and suicidal tendencies are increasing in adolescents due to undiagnosed psychological conditions.
But unfortunately, parents are often the last ones to realize that their child may need psychological attention. Worse, parents often remain in denial that something may be wrong, at a psychological level, with their child.
Today’s youth experiences a very different world than the one we experienced. Over exposure to multi-media and social media, sets very different standards of lifestyle for them. Peer pressure is not limited to the next kid in the school but can be extended to the ‘have-it-all-super-child’ on the social media feed of a child. Thus, parents can often struggle to understand the reason their child is behaving oddly.
The situation may not be critical yet, but if left on its own, it can deteriorate. Therefore, understanding the importance of psychological counseling for both personal and professional issues is of essence. After all, the reason psychologists are called ‘shrinks’ is because they can ‘shrink’ the magnitude of problems, which a person may be facing, by lending a listening ear and by arriving at mutually agreed solutions.
How Psychologists can help in tackling problems of daily life?
We may be living in a socially connected and 24×7 awake world, but the human race has never recorded more cases of loneliness and social awkwardness. Our young generation has grown up to learn digital communication before learning inter-personal communication. Cyber bullying and trolling are common concerns, with which not only children but adults also struggle. Psychological counseling can help with concerns like-
- Poor work life balance and the need to vent out
- Weak personal and social connections
- Inability to connect or open up with others
- Post traumatic stress
- Inability to cope with major life changes like moving away from home town for the first time, getting married, becoming a parent, etc.
- Suicidal thoughts
While some of these concerns may be quite alarming, others can remain latent for years before manifesting as a glaring health issue. Often psychological disturbances can result in physiological problems as well. For instance, stress and anxiety is being considered as the leading cause of metabolic syndrome and hormonal imbalances like hyper or hypothyroidism.
Problems of educational life that can be managed by Psychological Counseling
Furthermore, there are various triggers in workplace that can disturb the mental equilibrium of a person and affect his/her productivity as well as lifestyle. Adolescence is an age sensitive to external inputs and prone to mistakes which can impact life and career of an individual. World’s leading educational institutions not only recognize this but also ensure that their students have access to psychological counseling, whenever required. Students often finding it hard to cope with the pressure of curricular and co-curricular activities can benefit from therapy.
Some students struggle with anger management and low emotional quotient, often faring poorly in inter-personal situations. Therapy can help such students to devise personal mechanisms of coping and handling their emotions better. Common educational concerns which psychological counseling can help manage are –
- Poor work-life balance
- Indecision and unclarity about academic choices
- Negative peer pressure
- Physical, emotional and social media bullying
- Learning disabilities like dyslexia
- Personality attributes like autism and ADD which make learning process difficult
- Gender and personal identity related issues
Despite all the ways in which a therapist can help people manage their daily lives and educational lives, there remains a taboo attached to the idea of psychological counseling. If people can be sensitized to these ways in which a shrink can effectively shrink their problems, the hesitance towards a psychologist visit can reduce. What is required is an inherent acceptance of these benefits and a social inclusion of people who may need psychological support.
About the Author
Ms. Palak Sharma is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Pune Institute of Business Management. She has over 7 years of academic experience and 5 years of industry experience. Specializing in domains like sales and distribution management, retail management, entrepreneurship and business to business marketing; she is an avid content creator for Indian students and academicians.