• 01 Jan
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Clarification of 19 myths about counselling

    Clarification of 19 myths about counselling

    Counseling can be a wonderful journey of self-discovery and healing, given that it is conducted by the right person and in the right way. Sadly, there are many myths and misconceptions that both counsellors and clients hold which can be really damaging to the process. Please read on below as we dispel some of them.

    1.Anyone can be a counsellor: There are cases of people with 2-month courses doing counselling and it is sadly rampant in India. But truly, a counsellor should have a degree in human development or psychology, and at least a master at that too. If you are unsure about a professional, ask them about their qualification. It is your right to know.

    2.If the service is cheap, it is no good: This is not true. Many community centres and NGOs do provide free services and are good too.

    3.If someone is charging a lot, they must be good: Similar to the one above, there are many quacks charging high fees. So money is not the only criteria.

    4.The counsellor’s job is to give me advice: The counsellors job is to help you reorganize your emotional material and help you build skills so that you can solve your own problems. They are not advisors and it is wrong for them to advise you.

    5.I have to be mad to go for counselling: Counseling is not meant only for people with psychological troubles, but even for relationship issues, work performance, academic achievement, stress management and so on.

    6.Going for counselling means I am weak: Does seeking medication for cold mean you are weak? No, it is only rational and clever to save yourself at the right time and seek help

    7.Counselors make you dependent on them: On the contrary, a good counsellor helps you build skills so that you can live your life more independently.

    8.Counseling or therapy goes on for years: This is not true. Although some deep-seated issues require longer intervention, most problems can be sorted with briefer formats of therapy.

    9.You have to take medicines when in therapy: You don’t ‘have to’ do anything in therapy, and that’s the beauty of it. The choice lies with the client. The counsellor may work in adjunct with a doctor who may prescribe medication, but it is up to you to want to take it or not.

    10.Counselors can prescribe medication: Unless the counsellor has a medical degree, they cannot prescribe.

    11.Clients are passive in the therapy process: Clients have to be highly active for therapy to work as they are constantly building skill set for themselves.

    12.Only female counsellors are good: Although many more women are seen in the profession, if a person has the right skills, qualification and experience, even males are good.

    13.The older the counsellor, the better they are: Although experience is a helpful aspect, sometimes, age can make people rigid so there is no hard and fast rule here.

    14.Counselors can be our friends outside of therapy: It is better to not be friendly outside of the counselling relationship as boundaries need to be maintained for effective therapy.

    15.Counseling is just ‘talking’: Counseling is a deep process of uncovering and reorganizing emotional material for clarity and problem solving.

    16.Friends and family members should do counselling for each other: Family and friends cannot impartially see each other’s strengths and weaknesses like a counsellor, nor do they have relevant training, so they should not officially counsel.

    17.Online counselling is not reliable: A lot of reliable online counselling options are robust and safe.

    18.Counseling is only for disorders or sickness: you can go for counselling even to get better at certain skills, e.g., divergent thinking skills.

    19.Counselor will use my secrets against me: A good counsellor will keep what is discussed in the therapy room within the therapy room and never use it against you.


  • 27 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    What is OCD?

    OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a very distressing disorder, where a person wants to repeatedly engage in an act which he or she knows is quite illogical. Yet, they are not able to control themselves. People who are just finicky about neatness may not necessarily have OCD, and one should refrain from putting labels on people.

    What is OCD?


    The DSM or the diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders written by the American Psychiatric Association,  lists down the following criteria for the diagnosis of OCD.


    • Presence of Obsessions/Compulsions OR both. Can be one/other (but mostly BOTH are seen together). Obsessions associated with increased anxiety, distress, and guilt. Compulsions reduce these negative feelings.


    • Obsessions : Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, unwanted images. They are unwanted, intrusive (causes anxiety/distress), not pleasurable thoughts


    • Attempt to ignore/suppress /neutralize with other thoughts and actions by performing a compulsion


     Either of the two presents (obsession/compulsion)


    (Obsessions shaped by prior experiences, socio‐cultural factors, and critical life incidents) 

    • Obsessions Should meet the following criteria –
    • Recurring, unwanted, intrusive
    • Efforts to suppress/control/neutralize
    • Recognition that the thought is a product of their own mind
    • Heightened sense of personal responsibility
    • Involves ego‐dystonic highly implausible content (e.g., if I don’t check the door 7 times, something bad will happen)



    - Obsessions are commonly about themes of

    -Cleaning (contamination obsessions and cleaning ‐Compulsive Disorder compulsions)

    -Symmetry (symmetry obsessions and repeating/counting compulsions)

     Forbidden/taboo thoughts (aggressive, religious, sexual OCs)


    Harm (fear of harming self/others)

    Hoarding is another common compulsive tendency: there can be elaborate obsessions surround this behavior


    Odd content: There is some weird explanation to why things must be symmetrical/clean, unlike anxiety disorders where the person is fairly realistic


     Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the individual feels driven to perform in response to obsessions. Performed rigidly


    • Washing, ordering, repeating, checking, praying, counting
    • Behaviors/mental acts performed to reduce the anxiety/distress/prevent some dreaded event
    • Acting on the compulsions leads to reduction in anxiety
    • But no real connection between dreaded event and compulsions!
    • Children can’t articulate the perceived connection between these
    • Compulsions are observable
    • Very distressing to engage on these behaviors
    • Can even experience a panic attack when in situations where they face triggering situations
    • Discomfort/uneasiness until things are “just right!”
    • The person starts avoiding public places
    • Obsessions/Compulsions are time‐consuming ( > 1 hour) and cause distress and social‐occupational impairment .

     Therefore, as it is clear, OCD is a very distressing disorder that can go to very extreme states if untreated. In the famous case of Howard Hughes, depicted in the movie Aviator, he would wash his hands till they bled, and towards the end, lost sight of what is reality and what isn’t. If you or someone you know exhibits one or more of these symptoms, get checked for OCD today, by a qualified mental health professional. Medication and psychotherapy can help greatly to regain control over all areas of your life

    This video will give more clear idea about OCD.

    Image source


    Responses 1

  • 27 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Understanding Panic Attacks

    Understanding Panic Attacks

    A panic attack is sudden sensation of heavy and difficult breathing along with a pattern of other sensations that can last for several minutes. Panic attacks may occur independently, as a part of Panic disorder, or as a part of other disorders. The DSM criteria for panic disorder are as follows:

    • Recurrent and unexpected (panic attacks)
    • There is a pattern (expected Panic attacks)
    • Many PA within minutes
    • Four of the following should happen for it to be called a panic attack:
    • Palpitations/heart pounding
    • Increased heart rate
    • Sweating
    • Trembling/shaking
    • Shortness of breath
    • Choking sensation
    • Chest pain/discomfort
    • Nausea/abdominal distress
    • Sometimes can this can also be accompanied by:
    • An abrupt surge of intense fear/discomfort that peaks
    • Dizziness, light headedness
    • Chills/hot flushes
    • Numbness/tingling sensation
    • Depersonalization/derealization (losing one’s sense of self and feeling cut off from reality)
    • Fear of losing control
    • Fear of dying
    • At least 1 attack should be followed by 1 month of –
    • Persistent worry about having another Panic attack and its’ consequences
    • Maladaptive changes in behavior to avoid having a panic attack: Patients Often worry that they will have to lose control, will be judged by others for having a Panic Disorder. Therefore, they exhibit avoiding behaviours to tackle this.

    Nocturnal PAs or panic attacks during the night are quite common. PA’s usually occur in rare episodes but the symptoms often resurface and very few people have full remission. The first time it happens is usually around the 20s. Inquiring about the childhood can help understand the trigger, it could be a cardiac arrest, exposure to emotional and sexual abuse, or a mental health issue.

    There is almost always a trigger, a stressful event that put the person into an exertion-like state. However, there are also some personality types that seem to go with this: mainly fearful, anxious and controlling personality types.

    People with these personality types are more likely to worry about controlling one’s body and its reactions. This makes them worry too much when they are not able to control it. Therefore, each time the body’s responses are slightly elevated also, the person misinterprets it as a cardiac arrest or a panic attack and this makes them actually have a panic attack.

    However, the good news is that panic attacks are highly manageable. There are definite cues within the body that seem to make people think they are having a panic attack, and that actually leads to a panic attack. In psychotherapy, sensitivity to these cues can be reduced with training and relaxation. Alongside, the therapist also starts to work on thoughts and feelings related to Panic attacks and how they affect work and relationships. With time, the trigger may be identified and worked through. Medications (anti-anxiety or/and anti-depression) can help to curb some of the symptoms.

    Therefore, help is available if you or someone else you know has panic attacks. Never hesitate to take help.


    Responses 1

    • jyoti sharma
      jyoti sharma   Dec 24, 2015 04:11 PM

      I am 28 year old female. I experienced my first panic attack when I was a senior in high school. I started to work out and lost weight but being at home always makes me feel pressure and stress. At times I don't know what to do. I've taken many medications but citalopram has been more effective.

  • 27 Oct
    eWellness Expert

    Let's discuss About Mental Health

    mental health

    Is it only weak people who seek psychotherapy?

    Will you be completely out of control if you had one?

    Does having a mental health disorder make you ‘mad’?

    Are you wondering what it means to have a mental health disorder?

    Are these illness contagious or will someone get them by talking to you?

    These and many other questions would probably be in your mind. We answer a few of them for you below:


    Causes of Psychological Problems:

    Mental Health disorders are caused by your biological make-up as it interacts with your social environment (economic, social class, safety, violence, access to development etc) as well as your psychological make-up ( shaped by your thoughts, feelings, how you were bought up, strengths, life experiences etc).

    Therefore, as you can see, there are many factors that can act as risk and protective factors for mental health. This means that pills alone cannot solve the problem.

    Although they can help control neurotransmitter imbalance, the rest of the work on psychological and social levels happens in various kinds of therapy. Further, relapse and dependence is quite likely in medication, whereas therapy helps build skills and is empowering.

    Stigma begins and ends at home. We as a society are a long way from where we should be. We don’t spend enough on both prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.

    Our social circumstances and experiences like poverty, abuse and violence make it much more likely for us to have a disorder. But you can take the first step, and empathetically accept and love someone in your family or friends’ circle who has a mental health condition. 

    What not to do

    Don’t throw around words related to psychiatric condition. Terms like ‘I’m so depressed’ and ‘Are you retarded?’ as figures of speech are very insulting to people who do live with these conditions and undermines their struggles. It is the equivalents of saying you have AIDS when all you have is a cold. We need to start respecting people with mental health conditions because they didn’t cause it to happen, it is society and social conditions which make them vulnerable.

    How to help?

    One in four people in the world suffer from a mental health disorder, and we have to all join hands to prevent and treat mental health disorders with respect and care.

    The one thing that makes human stand apart from other species is our ability for compassion, love and care. It is about time we used these very qualities with each other, especially for those among us having a troubling time, as they need it the most.

    Image source:

    Responses 1

  • 17 Jan
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    If you wait, you will get more

    delaying gratification

    You may not have heard of a man called Walter Mischell, but he has something very important to say about you. In perhaps what was the cutest experiment in psychology, he conducted the ‘marshmellow test’ with children. A child was left in a room with marshmellows. The child was then told that the researcher had to leave the room for a few minutes, but not before giving the child a simple choice: If the child waited until the researcher returned, she could have two marshmallows. If the child simply couldn’t wait, she could ring a bell and the researcher would come back immediately, but she would only be allowed one marshmallow.


    This tested the will-power of the children. This obviously applies to food and our ability to indulge in our cravings, but it can be extended to life as well. When our will-power fails, the cool system of our mind, which reasons that ‘If I wait, I will get more later’ is overrun by the hot system which just simply wants to indulge and not think.


    The same children with whom the experiment was conducted, were later also analysed as adults for self-control tasks. It showed that children who had poor control in childhood, continued to have bad control in adulthood as well. For those with better control, the frontal cortex of the brain, where decisions are made, was more active (cool system), and for those with less control the ventral stratium (that part which produces rewards and desires) was more active. This is the hot system. Therefore, there is a definite neurobiological basis to our urges.


    Researchers found that people with better control do better on achievement tests of schools and college, have lasting relationships, better health and better stress management skills. Delaying gratification then, is a part of a person that can have many good outcomes.

    Delaying gratification

    So if you are a predominantly hot systems person, how do you become more of a cool system? This is an area still under research, but what seems to help are the following tips:

    Distract: If you can distract enough for the initial urge to go, you may be able to reason with yourself later. So, a good ability to distract can help you delay gratification.

    Delay by seconds: This seems to work even for serious OCD issues. Try delaying your urge by seconds. So tell yourself that you will have the cookie 5 seconds or 10 seconds later, and then slowly, increase the seconds till you have enough time-gap to reason with yourself.

    Self-talk: Have a dialogue with yourself. ‘Why do I want to do this? I felt so guilty the last time. I definitely do not want to feel that way again. Let’s see if I can push my urge to indulge by half a day’. This sort of dialogue is important to make sure that you are not functioning from your hot system.

    Image source