More thinking, feeling and talking: psychologists about mental health

January 5

Today’s megalopolis residents often face stress, anxiety, loneliness and emotional burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic also affects the human condition. If you do not contact specialists in time, these conditions will worsen and negatively affect the quality of life. Experienced psychologists told why it is important to monitor mental health, when and why you need to contact specialists and how to cope with crises.

What a psychologist deals with

Psychologists are often confused with psychiatrists who deal with serious clinical cases requiring medical treatment — deep depression, psychosis, personality disorders and others. A psychologist after all helps cope with crisis situations that cause stress, anxiety or despair. It can be death of a beloved one , divorce, problems in a relationship or at work.

Lyubov Ternevskaya, head of the Emergency Psychological Aid Telephone branch of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service, notes that sometimes a person experiences such situations very keenly. Then it is especially important to talk about it with a psychologist.

"The psychologist will not condemn, give advice, criticize, will not talk about himself or use the conversation for personal purposes. He will bear the gravity of the situation and take it seriously. Usually acquaintances and friends of a person in a personal crisis cheer him up with words like "come on”, "get distracted”, "don't be sad”. Thus, they do not allow a person to live through difficult feelings, but they need to be lived. One of the psychologist's tasks is to help a person not give up emotions, which means not give up life. This is the only way to comprehend a difficult situation, but not to be in a state of stupor, shock, crisis or deadlock," the psychologist explains.

The specialist will also help not to dodge a problem, not to hide from it. After all, sometimes people try to drown out emotions with intensive and seemingly useful activity — turn into a gym geek, work very hard, etc."We need to think, feel and speak more. The problem backed into a corner will never disappear, and sooner or later it will manifest itself" Lyubov Ternevskaya adds.

When you need to go to a psychologist

Moscow psychologists are most often attended by people with depression. Previously depressions were rather associated with a dreary and gloomy state, and now anxiety comes to the fore.Tatiana Matantseva, the first category, candidate of psychological Sciences, specialist of the Department of Psychological Rehabilitation of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service helped those who applied to the hotline of the Moscow social development complex during the pandemic. She emphasizes that a person needs to have an appointment with a psychologist if he feels unexplainable psychoemotional tension.

"You need seek an advice immediately, because this condition has a cumulative effect. Also, one needs to go to a psychologist if there is a feeling of anxiety, stress, and panic attacks. Another reason is post-traumatic disorder. It occurs when the stress seems to have passed, but after a while an incomprehensible psychological state appears. Yet one more reason of contacting a psychologist is a feeling chronic fatigue or emotional burnout," the specialist advises.

Tatiana Matantseva notes that the number of stereotypes and prejudices against psychologists is reducing, and people seek for specialists advice in difficult situations more often.

How to decide on going to a psychologist

It can be difficult to get an appointment with a specialist right away, so there is a 24-hour emergency psychological aid phone in Moscow: 051. The caller may not introduce himself and interrupt the conversation at any time. This creates a safe environment, where it is easier to make an appointment with a psychologist after a conversation.

"People mainly come to us with problems in the field of relations. We also get calls from those with fears, depression, panic attacks, and worries. We try to calm the person down, talk to him and find his resources to cope with the situation. At a time like this, a person's consciousness is narrowed, it is like a tunnel. Our task is to enlarge it, give an opportunity to look around," Lyubov Ternevskaya says.

Two-thirds of callers to the hotline are women, but the number of men is growing. Lyubov Ternevskaya cites as an example a man who asked for help at the beginning of the pandemic when he lost his job.

"It turned out during the conversation that he was used to controlling everything, and the pandemic situation jolted him out of his routine. And we managed to make the man refuse from controlling the situation, drop the role of omnipotence and stop reproaching and humiliating himself," says the psychologist.

If psychological consultations are not enough, the specialist will recommend rehabilitation. Before starting it, the client usually undergoes diagnostics. His psychoemotional state, level of anxiety, presence of depression is assessed, it is checked whether there are disorders of the neurovegetative system. Then, specialists develop an individual rehabilitation program.

Фото М. Денисова.

"It can be body-oriented therapy or art therapy. We draw a lot, use neurography, when new neural pathways are built in the brain through drawing using a special technique aimed at harmonizing the personality. Art therapy helps people with depression, anxiety, and psychosomatic disorders well," Tatiana Matantseva explains, adding that results of working with a psychologist are always evident.

What is to be done if there are problems in the family

Veronika Tymoshenko, a psychologist at the Otradnoye Family Center, notes that many parents seek help easily because they understand the importance of good atmosphere in the family.

"Some parents do not understand that modern children and teenagers are radically different from the 1980s and 1990s generations. They have a huge amount of information, access to gadgets, a completely different culture. For example, many parents worry that children do not like to read books. But they get a lot of information anyway, and some elements of culture are simply replaced by others. Therefore, it is impossible to measure new generations with old standards. We need to look for a compromise," the psychologist advises.

It often happens that a stressful situation triggers negative processes in the family. Such a situation can be a move, a change of school, separation of parents, death of a family member. Estrangement, conflicts, and violation of traditions may begin. The child may change, start communicating in a different way, want to change his appearance, problems may begin at school.

Veronika Tymoshenko says that it is important to fix such changes at the early stage. But parents often think that nothing terrible is happening. However, the problem is that the child is forming a negative image of family relationships. And the longer it lasts, the longer it will take to correct his behavior.

In family centers, services are provided free of charge. Sessions are usually held once a week at a time convenient for parents and children. The work lasts from two to six months, and if necessary, even longer.

Veronika Tymoshenko experienced different cases. She recalls the one that showed the importance for teenagers not to feel lonely.

"A teenage girl came who complained of loneliness. She lived alone with her mother, conflicts began. The psychologist managed to regulate relationship. Moreover, the mother decided to find the girl's father through social networks. It turned out that he lives in another country. Now the family, yet virtually, so to speak, reunited. After some time, the girl said that now she does not feel lonely: although at a distance, but she has a dad, sisters, and brothers," says the psychologist.

Do psychologists go to psychologists on appointment

Since psychologists often listen to very serious stories, they also need help, so a supervisor works with them. This is what Vladimir Mikhailov is doing in the department of supervision and additional education of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service.

"As a supervisor, I help other psychologists sort out the most difficult cases from their practice. Together we explore this or that story, discuss solutions to the problem. One of my activity goals is to restore the mental well-being of the psychologist, give him more confidence and understanding so that he can return to the client and continue working with him with new strength and new perception of the situation. It would be correct to call me a psychologist for psychologists if only a specialist come with his personal problems, but he comes with the professional ones. The ideal option is when a specialist has both his own psychologist and his supervisor," Vladimir Mikhailov explains.

He works both with colleagues and with ordinary clients, most of them with problems in the field of relationships. Usually women come, and men mostly consider it to be a kind of weakness to consult the specialist, though the situation is changing.

"In fact, going to a psychologist is a sign of strength, the ability to admit that you may not know something about yourself. For example, a father who shouts at a child may turn a blind eye to it and think that the child is to blame. Another idea is to stop and think about changing something in yourself and in a relationship with a child," the psychologist believes.

Vladimir is sure that his profession is very important, because psychologists help people make their lives better and happier.

"The value of a person is infinite. And it seems to me that making the person feel easier, better, calmer is a worthwhile occupation. When you see how your work makes the person's life better and he learns to control himself, build relationships, you feel inspired," Vladimir Mikhailov notes.

Aid in crisis situations is provided by the Moscow Psychological Aid Service. The institution's website contains a chat with a specialist, as well as a forum, where you can find advices on how to act in various difficult situations.

You can also call the emergency psychological aid number: 051 or +7 495 051.


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