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Things you need to know about Counseling

By Sailaja Menon, Counseling Psychologist


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Sailaja Menon
Counseling Psychologist


March 12, 2019

The process and purpose of Counseling are often misunderstood, and many people have a negative perception of it. People are often very conflicted about approaching a professional who will be discussing and analyzing their hurtful feelings, sadness, and anxieties. But the reality is totally different. Let’s talk about all the questions you get in mind while talking about Counseling.

What is Counseling?

Mental Health counseling is based on the science of Psychology. The methods and techniques of various treatment modalities are used by mental health counselors/therapists are based on scientific research. These methods are practical, solution that focused; problem-solving based skill building methods whose main goal is the best interest and overall wellbeing of the individual.

Counseling is a facilitative and interactive process where a counselor provides to the client emotional help, guidance, insight, nurturance and clarity to life situations, crisis, and dilemmas. People often behave in ways without knowing why they do so and may be living or behaving in ways that they would like to understand better and change. The process of Counselling can help to bring insight and awareness to their unconscious feelings and behaviors and the connection between them. The process eventually allows the client greater freedom in making choices that help the client to achieve self-sufficiency, a greater sense of self-worth and empowerment

Essence of Counseling

“The Essence of counseling is always the learning of improved skills and techniques to increase one’s ability to better deal with life’s vicissitudes”

Who is your Counsellor?

Your Counsellor a highly skilled professional with a minimum of a graduate degree in the field of Counselling licensed in the area of mental health and is trained to provide the following core services-

  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Treatment planning and utilization review
  • Psychotherapy-Individual, couple and Family
  • Brief and solution focused therapy
  • Psychoeducation and prevention programs
  • Crisis management and referrals to other medical professionals for consultation
  • Crisis management and referrals to other medical professionals for consultation

What You Should Know About Your Mental Health Counselor

  • Is your Counsellor licensed by the Department of Health and Medical Sciences (DOHMS) in Dubai?
  • What are the educational Qualifications of your Counsellor? How long has he/she been in practice?
  • Does he or she have a Degree from an accredited and a recognized University?
  • What are your areas of specialization (such as family therapy, women’s issues, substance abuse counseling, etc.)?
  • How can you help me with my problems? What type of treatment do you use? How long do you think counseling will last?

How does Counselling work?

The therapist listens to the client’s reasons for seeking help. This could be initiated through a phone call, walk in, or a referral. As a follow up a screening/assessment appointment is set in person which generally lasts for about 50 minutes. In this meeting, the clinician conducts an assessment with a thorough screening of the presenting problem, rule out organic symptoms that might be causing the presenting problem, provide a medical referral if necessary and recommends one or more ways of therapy to eliminate the symptoms of distress

If it is determined that other professional help is needed, the therapist will assist in making an appropriate referral. All decisions are made in consultation with the client.

“Regardless of the length of a session(s), therapy is hard work and client will not see a benefit unless and until the client is committed to exploration, understanding, growth, and change alongside a therapist committed to facilitating that process. It is also critical that the client is committed to making therapy an ongoing and active process even once they are outside the session which means they should be committed to applying the skills and the lessons learned from their sessions outside in the real world and in their respective life and relationships” Says Ms. Menon, Counselling Psychologist, Lifeworks–Holistic Counselling Centre

What is the duration of therapy?

The time required for therapy varies with each person depending on the nature of the issues presented, personal history and agreed upon goals. The length of therapy is jointly determined by the client and counselor and may be revised as therapy progresses. Appointments are usually once a week and last about 60 minutes. In a therapeutic model such as Crisis Counselling, the session is very solution focused with not more than three one-hour sessions. Otherwise, sessions can be the short term which is about six sessions with one session a week or long term which could range from about 10-12 sessions with one session a week. The objective, duration, and the treatment plan are outlined at the onset of therapy to provide the client with a strong structure and a committed continuity to their treatment. However, they are not fixed considering the therapist will review the progress and the outcomes achieved with the client on an ongoing basis and on a mutual agreement with the client will modify and or terminate the session accordingly.

Is counseling confidential?

All information shared in therapy is held in utmost confidentiality. As a client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Licensed Counsellors are mandated by their ethical commitments that no information discussed in the sessions is released without the authorization of the client. The only limitations to confidentiality occur when a counselor feels that there is a clear and imminent danger to you or to others. However, no information discussed in the sessions is released without the authorization of the client. Detailed information about confidentiality and privacy will be listed in the Client’s Bill of Rights which is signed by the client before the commencement of the session.

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