• 10 Nov
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Psychotherapy for insomnia



    Insomnia or sleeplessness is a major problem these days. As we have more and more electronic devices to stimulate us, our quality of sleep seems to be getting lower and lower.

    There’s so much to do and that can be done, that people simply don’t stop thinking about their next day, as they lie in bed, languishing for hours.


    So how do you know if you have insomnia?

    If you’ve had three or more nights in a week for more than a month, where you slept less than 4 to 6 hours, and you had a hard time falling asleep or remaining asleep, then you should get checked for insomnia.


    But what if you have it? Are treatments available?

    Yes, they are.

    Majority of people with sleep issues can be helped quite easily if they asked for it.

    Sadly, people use that time of the night when they can’t sleep, in order to work even more – which makes it almost impossible to go back to sleep again because the brain is fully stimulated again.


    Treatments for insomnia include medications and behaviour therapy.



    Side effects of medications

    Possible side effects of these medications include:

    daytime sleepiness,



    and rebound insomnia.

    Sleep-walking, sleep-driving, sleep-eating, memory lapses, and hallucinations have also been reported.

    Added to this, there is always the risk of dependency and abuse of the drug.


    Psychotherapy for insomnia is better option rather than taking pills

    Keeping all this in mind, psychotherapy for insomnia seems like a better option.

    Therapy involves many approaches, but most of the research is showing that CBT or cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia works well.

    The behavioural part of insomnia is treated by using sleep hygiene methods and correcting faulty sleep habits.

    This means that catering to the distractions available around bedtime, level of eating and activity, as well as not sleeping in the day.

    Sometimes, not sleeping in the day and also not sleeping till midnight can be very tiring, but after that one week of struggle, the sleep cycle usually fixes itself.


    The cognitive part involves working on thoughts about sleep as well as working on thoughts that may occur when one is in bed, and both these thoughts interrupt sleep.

    Further, the cognitive part of therapy also addresses concern about work, work-life balance, relationships and other concerns of life that may be leading to distress and sleeplessness.




    Responses 1

  • 10 Nov
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    What is a personality disorder?

    What is a personality disorder?

    Personality disorders are used as light terms in order to chide, tease or label people. However, having a personality disorder can be a huge problem as it can interfere in all areas of life.

    Personality disorder means having an enduring pattern of inner experiences and behavior that deviate markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. Pattern manifested in at least two areas:  

    • Cognition – ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events
    • Affectivity – range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response
    • Interpersonal functioning  (relations with others)
    • Impulse control


    The following conditions have to be met in order for a certain pattern of communication, behaviour and internal state to be called a personality disorder. The conditions are:


    1. Enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations
    2. Leads to distress or impairment in functioning  
    3. Pattern is stable and of long duration.
    4. Onset tracked to adolescence or early adulthood  
    5. Not due to any Axis I issues (other psychiatric disorders)
    6. Not due to substance use/General medical condition


    A few things are therefore clear:

    Firstly, it is an aspect, a pattern developed over the years and tends to show in all areas of life. Therefore, just a one-off incident of strange behaviour will not qualify as a personality disorder.

    Secondly, this means that this way of being is crystallized over the years, making it extremely difficult to change.

    Perhaps the most important point to note here is that when someone has a personality disorder, they have adjusted their lives around it. Therefore, they have already chosen jobs and life situations which either suit the dysfunction or is not actively harmed by it. Therefore, they are highly unlikely to come for therapy for it themselves. There is little or no medication available for this.


    If at all someone does show up at the therapist’s office, it is because their personality was becoming a problem at home or in the workplace. Therefore the client is very rigid when they come to the therapist and simply do not want to change.

    Many are also made to seek treatment because they engage in rash and needless criminal behaviour. Such individuals are all the more set against treatment and therapy. Therefore, success rate in the treatment of personality disorders is very low.

    One of the personality disorders which has a lot of research and a very successful rate of treatment (as compared to other personality disorders) is borderline personality disorder.

    Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT is very helpful with BPD. It can help the person control their mood as well as their all-or-none thinking, which is the main issue in BPD. Research is showing that DBT also looks promising for other personality disorders.

    Image source http://dearlavender.blogspot.in/2014/05/understanding-6-faces-personality-of.html


    Responses 1

    • sania khan
      sania khan   Dec 24, 2015 03:15 PM

      I am more than sure I suffer from

      personality disorder

       but my psyc won't listen to me and I can't handle my emotions anymore. Any words of advice?

  • 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.


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