Mental health and Psychology has certainly gained some importance in India over the past year or two and it’s nice to see that instead of being ashamed people are more aware, open and vocal about their mental health situations and are taking a step towards betterment by consulting counselors/ Psychologists
But in this buzz, a lot of “ so-called counselors” and mental health clinics have been misleading people and practicing without having legitimate qualifications in the area and falsely diagnosing patients.
So this is a small FAQ blog on my behalf to ease out the confusion and help you guys out!
Who am I?
I’m Neha, a graduate in BA Hons Psychology and preparing to pursue
masters in it.
Can a Psychologist read your mind?
A Psychologist / mental health counselor cannot read your mind. What they can read and understand is your behavior. Afterall Psychology is a systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes like emotion, motivation, thinking, maladaptive thinking etc.
2. Who can be called a mental health counselor or Psychologist?
Counselor- A person with M.A. or M.Sc in Counseling/ Clinical Psychology (preferably) and is registered under the Rehabilitation Council of India(RCI). Yes! A license is important to practice as a mental health counselor and it’s illegal and punishable to practice without one.
Psychologist-A person with minimum M.Phil or Ph.D in Psychology area such as Clinical/ Counseling preferably and needs to be registered with RCI . Someone with MA or someone holding a mere diploma in counseling or just a certification like ITAA or other private institutions cannot be called a Psychologist.
Psychiatrist- A specialist with M.B.B.S and specialization in Psychiatry. Only a Psychiatrist can prescribe you medicine for mental health disorders after proper diagnosis.
3. How does a Psychologist know you have depression?
Well, Psychologists don’t practice some woodoo science where they’ll look at you for a second and then just diagnose you with depression or any disorder. In reality a good Psychologist/ counselor conducts several processes like history taking, mental status examination, assessment through psychometric tests , self-introspection reports and more before diagnosing a client with depression or any other disorder and they thoroughly follow books such as DSM V( book of disorder classification) and ICD-10 guidelines.
4. Can meditation cure Depression?
No. Technically and statistically speaking meditation or any other breathing techniques, exercises, diet are all good in treating or alleviating depression or anxiety-like disorder only and only when they are accompanied by first proper diagnosis, counseling, effective therapy and medications if needed. Only meditation may help you cope with an intermediate level of stress by calming and soothing you but can’t cure disorders as such.
Major depressive disorder(one of the mood disorders) or anxiety disorders are extremely common and can be treated with the help of counseling, therapy and sometimes medications if required. But it’s a journey towards betterment, self-understanding and to tackle the illness , it’s not something that can be treated in a week or two and even if you feel better after a session of counseling or two doesn’t mean you’re cured of it.
5. Are crystal therapy, reiki, aura cleansing a part of Psychology practices?
No. None of the Psychology approaches, schools, therapies or curriculum books endorse these practices as they are not concerned with the field of Psychology. ( scientifically speaking).
6. Why is it harmful to go to an unqualified “so-called counselors” without degrees or license for counseling?
When a person usually decides to approach a counselor their mental health might not be in its best state and an unqualified Psychologist clearly will not know what is the exact state as they are not familiar with assessments and neither are they trained to handle a suicidal individual and things can go south real quick in mental health illnesses and suicidal cases.
Hence it’s always best to consult a well qualified, good counselor who uses all the techniques they have studied in the course of 5–8 years. I hope this small FAQ blog on mental health and Psychologist selection has been worth a read.