• 02 Nov
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Holistic Healing for Depression

    Holistic Healing for Depression

    Depression is a mental health disorder that is characterized by negative thoughts, low or depressed mood, significant sleep and appetite changes, and a general disinterest in life and no pleasure in activities that were previously both important and engaging to the person. While face-to-face psychotherapy can go a long way in helping with depression, it may be difficult for the person or their caregiver to seek this help, because of a variety of reasons like stigma, cost of therapy and insurance issues and so on.

    In such a case, alternative forms of healing can be a good first step, or even complement mainstream therapy. The best part is that the focus for these healing forms does not have to be on therapy, depression or getting better. There forms of healing help to get better without arousing the defenses of the person, as healing happens as a process, as and when one participates in these activities. The caregiver can also take part in all these forms of healing.


    Laughter Therapy: It is very easy to start a laughter therapy club, all you need to do is write to them and they help you establish one. Laughter exercises help by releasing helpful hormones, expanding the lungs and are a good way to take in more oxygen. For a person who is completely inactive due to depression, this can be a good fun start.


    Art Therapy: Humans have always expressed themselves using art. Right from cave paintings to modern art, our struggles and thinking have shaped our art forms. Art therapy is evidence-based and research suggests that engaging in art helps us to both process and express negative feelings in a way that face-to-face therapy might take longer to achieve. When engaging in art our resistance is low and that is why we feel healed after a couple of months of creative expression.

    Holistic Healing for Depression

    Music Therapy and Dance and Movement Therapy: For people from cultures that have bright, vivid religious rituals of dance and music, it might not fit well to sit in a room and discuss their concerns. Even regardless of culture, music is known to stimulate multiple areas of the brain that expand our thinking, make us better at problem solving and even more resilient. Dance movement therapy helps to use our body to reduce cortisol secretion, reduce stress and elevate healing.

    Holistic Healing for Depression

    Pet Therapy: Having a loving pet to spend time with can make a huge difference. Depression includes the internalized feelings of unworthiness, and an attachment with a simple being like a pet, can be a refreshing change. Pets love us unconditionally unlike people. Therefore, with pets, we can learn to love again and believe in ourselves.

    Holistic Healing for Depression


    All the above practices have shown evidence of being useful to heal not only depression, but other mental and physical health issues. Therefore, if you feel hesitant to try traditional therapy or if you want to combine it with something more, do feel free to try the above holistic healing steps and techniques.


    Image sources:1 2 3 4


  • 02 Nov
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    What Are Your Children Observing About You?

    father son

    A lot of us think of children as busy and absorbed in their own world, to care about the adults around them. 

    True that these day's children have a lot more stimulation as compared to before, in terms of games, toys and interactive media as well as highly structured days with hobby classes and other engagements. 

    However, children are curious by nature and observe their parents more than the parents would like to think. 


    This means that behaviour by adults and other parents who goes against the teachings we give, tends to confuse children by giving them mixed messages. 

    In fact, research suggests that the best way to teach a good behaviour to a child is to model it yourself, as children copy powerful adults in their lives, mainly teachers and parents. 

    So, if you tell a child that it is wrong to lie, but you ask him or her to tell on the phone that you are not home, as you wanted to avoid the caller, the child feels that you are violating the very code that you are asking him or her to live by. 

    Children’s minds have not reached the intellectual sophistication level of an adult and they find it difficult to understand situational differences. 

    They feel that if their parents do not follow what they say, they are not compelled to either. 

    Therefore, you have to be very careful in what you say and do in front of children. 

    Majority of the children who grow up to be under-confident, have mental health issues, or have problems in their social life, tend to grow up in families that give mixed messages, and the communication is not clear. 

    When children are growing up, they are developing the concepts and understanding of the world that will stay with them. While they are in this developing phase, it is best to make their world as simple as possible, by modeling good behaviour and not giving contradictory messages. 

    Studies in Family Therapy have found out that unclear communication patterns when combined with the biological propensity of it, can even cause disorders like schizophrenia and other psychotic spectrum disorders. 

    Further, children learn the ways of lives from their parents and intuitively feel that the way their parents live is the right way to be. 

    Therefore, how you and your partner behave with each other teaches the child about relationships. 

    If you insult your partner or make them feel bad in front of a bunch of people, it is quite likely that the child will pick this up and turn to bullying behaviour using verbal assaults. 

    In conclusion, the parents are the child’s blue-print for life. 

    The way parents live, eat, sleep, behave with each other, and talk as well as think, are all mirrored by the child. 

    The responsibility also lies with other important adults like teachers who are both close to and influential with children. As adults, we all have to take care of what children observe about us. 

    Image source   




  • 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.

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