How effective is Online Counselling?

Traditionally, people make appointments to visit a psychotherapist to discuss their problems in person. However, with the coming of the internet, we now have online counselling, in which an individual can interact with the counsellor at the comfort of their home through internet services like email, chats, IMs, and web camera. There is an on-going debate regarding the effectiveness of online counselling with respect to the traditional way of consulting a counsellor in person.

Most of those who are sceptical about online counselling are of the belief that the counsellors or psychotherapist cannot observe the body language of the patient through an online medium like email or a video chat. However, such assumptions are irrational, because counselling is not limited to psychoanalysis, in which the analysis of the body language might be important. There are a number of counsellors, who believe in helping their clients find their own solutions to problems rather than imposing one upon them.

Again, an online session has the potential for a more focused discussion of the problem, as it is devoid of distractions such as being aware of the presence of a second person, and the resulting consciousness of one’s appearance and body language. With increased attention to language and thought organization in the comfort of one’s familiar environment, one can help in converging on the core of the problem faster and more effectively.

However, online counselling can never entirely replace the traditional, face-to-face psychotherapy sessions. It is just another way of providing immediate care to those seeking it. Of all the disadvantages of online counselling, the most talked about is the lack of verbal and non-verbal cues. Such cues are considered vital for assessing how the patient is feeling, and analyse his or her behavioural patterns. Online counselling denies the therapist access to such cues to observe and interpret the issues the client is facing. However, video chatting offers a means to counter this shortcoming, even though it may not be as effective as a face-to-face consultation.

Another disadvantage that the critics of online counselling assert is that of privacy and confidentiality. It is part of the ethical responsibilities of a mental health practitioner to maintain the confidentiality of their patients’ mental health issues. With therapy being conducted via Internet services like email, Instant Messaging and chat rooms, the sensitive information regarding the client’s mental health can be prone to confidentiality breach. However, with the latest security systems implemented, one can avoid such jeopardy and ensure the confidentiality of patient details.

Social stigma is the most problematic disadvantage of traditional counselling. The very fear of being seen by others, especially those in the waiting room, can discourage a client from seeking an appointment with a psychotherapist. This is where online therapy gets involved. Online counselling lets the client share their problems in private, with a veil of anonymity, which enables them to make honest confessions and revelations that can help the therapist arrive at a solution faster and more effectively.

Insighte, connected to the best psychotherapists in India, offers a wide range of online counselling and psychotherapy services to individuals in need of help. Just send in your details, choose your preferred mode of care, and leave the rest to us. We will connect you to the best psychotherapist in your locality who can help you.

A Psychological Perspective on the Rising Elder Abuse in India

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Traditionally, the joint family setup in the Indian society has protected the social, financial and emotional security of the elderly in the country. However, with the emergence of nuclear families, there has been a steady rise in the number of cases of elder abuses in the country. Most of such cases go unreported, as the victims tend to be protective of their children in spite of the abuse.

There are a number of interesting insights on the psychology behind elder abuse typical to Indian families. The first typical situation is where the youngest son in the family inherits the hard earned shelter and property of the parent. Once head of the family, the father expects the same respect and care from his children as it was before handing over the baton. However, he waits endlessly for his meals to be served, and his requests and wishes are almost always ignored. This causes severe emotional distress in the elder and it often manifests in the form of depression and deteriorating health.

In a survey, two thirds of the adults encumbered with taking care of the aged parents blame their parents for not understanding their everyday problems and struggles, and almost justifies the abuse. The influence of liquor and the resulting financial and psychological crises faced by the care giver can worsen the situation further. The poor quality of living and job security issues faced by the current generation can be contributing factors to elder abuse.

The elderly, once retired from their position of being the head of the family are at the mercy of their children to whom they have handed over the responsibility. With the widening generation gap, there is little understanding between the elderly and the care givers, and the difference in views and opinions further weakens their relationships. Most often, the elders in the family are cornered and isolated in the household. With no one to talk to or share their anxiety, their physical and mental health deteriorates drastically. It is not uncommon to find ageing people talking to the walls in many households across the country.

The concern and anxiety over having to undergo the financial and physical hardship of taking care of the invalid elders, forces the sons, daughters and daughters-in-law alike to seek an escape from such responsibilities. The main factor responsible for this perspective is the lack of adequate Government policies on providing social and financial security to the ageing. Another factor is the lack of any initiative in sensitising the public about elder care, and re-instilling the traditional joint-family values in the increasingly nuclear family culture.

More than just a crime, elder abuse is also a psychological problem, and with prompt counselling, the abusive tendencies of the care giver can be resolved. There are a number of emergency helplines for the elderly, but very few initiatives to cater to the psychological and emotional well-being of the ageing population in the country. What the country needs is a governmental initiative to make psychological counselling accessible and affordable for the elderly in the country. However, there are a number of online initiatives like Insighte, which aims at connecting those requiring psychological help with the best psychotherapists and counsellors in the country.

 

 

 

How to identify if you have an Internet Addiction

Addictions aren’t easy to identify, as one may confuse it with what might be just a simple hobby. Especially when it comes to Internet, the unavoidable medium for almost everything in life today, it could be difficult to ascertain whether you actually have an addiction to one or more of its features. However, it is not impossible to identify, as Internet addiction too has its own share of symptoms like any other addiction. Check out the following indications and if you find yourself nodding “yes” to most of them, you are most likely to have an addiction to Internet: –

Symptoms:

  1. Most of the 24 hours a day is spent on the Internet

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Do you find yourself sitting before you laptop or slouching over your smartphone most of the day that you are unable to spend quality time with your loved ones? If yes, then you possibly have an Internet addiction.

  1. Unable to take time off the Internet

 

Do you fear losing out on some major information if you take a little time off whatever you are doing on the Internet? Do you find life on the Internet more interesting than your physical reality? If you find yourself unable to even think of taking time off the Internet, then you might be inching towards an Internet addiction.

  1. You always find some excuse to get online

 

Another typical sign of Internet addiction is the wide range of excuses you make to take out your smartphone and go online. You realize your overindulgence in the Internet and try hard to reduce the use, but you will always find some excuse to break your resolve and go back using the Internet.

  1. You find yourself panicking when Internet is down temporarily

 

Do you find yourself unsettled and panicky when your Internet service is down for a few hours? Unless you have some important business emails to send, this kind of reaction to offline time is a sign of addiction.

  1. Unnecessary Spending on Internet Products

 

Do you often spend a ton on unnecessary Internet products which have no real productive use, like a power up in a mobile game, or better theme on the desktop? This could indicate that you have chosen the Internet over the real world around you. This could be a sign of addiction to Internet or its various features.

 

If you feel that you have an Internet addiction, don’t be disappointed. You are not alone. With Internet giants blatantly finding new ways to exploit the Neuroscience of Internet addiction, there are millions of newer victims of Internet addiction added every day. However, help is always around. It starts with your family. Ask your loved ones to help you overcome the pangs to use Internet. Spend more fun time with your family and friends, as it can enrich your mental and physical health. If you still feel you need professional help, worry not. Help is not far. There are reputed online mental health networks like Insighte, offering services of the best psychologists in the country. Click right away. Help is on the way!

 

 

Merry Barua – The Woman who Explained Autism to India

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Only a few decades ago, the term autism would have made no sense to an average Indian. During the 1980s, a woman set out on an unusual journey across the capital of India, trying to educate the public about autism, at a time when the Dustin Hoffman movie, Rainman was out in cassettes.

It all began in 1981 when Merry Barua gave birth to an autistic son, whom she named Neeraj. She struggled to get proper care for her son at different institutions, but none could grasp Neeraj’s disability. Only when she moved to the US when Neeraj was 11 years old, she could find the support he needed. After working with Neeraj for over a year, attending a course on how to take care of autistic children, she felt the need to share her knowledge about autism care to millions of parents like her in India.

She felt that the Indian public had little or no awareness about the disorder and started a national movement for spreading awareness about autism in India. She founded AFA (Action for Autism) in 1991 with the sole purpose of educating the public about the disorder and how to take care of the children suffering from it. She formed a lot of network groups and sat down with families, sensitizing them about what their beloveds are suffering from and training them how to take proper care of them.

In 2006, her works resulted in the inclusion of autism in the Disability Act by the government. The government also offered a grant for her AFA movement, which was a huge motivation for the movement. Her efforts also inspired the establishment of several special schools for autistic children. In an interview, she expressed her hope to expand this movement further and include vocational training for autistic children to ensure their employment and independence.

7 Awesome Mind Tricks to Save a Relationship

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Our minds invest a lot of time and energy on relationship building more than any other activity, which is an evolutionary phenomenon unique to humanity. According to researchers, our brains have evolved to be efficient at social skills. We spend most of our free time thinking about relationships and how to improve them. However, we always find ourselves in want of a formal guidance when it comes to the complexities of real-life relationships. Here we have designed 10 mind hacks to save a relationship in real life: –

  1. Make a Conscious Decision to Change

Everything rests on a conscious decision to change. Its only when you really want to change, you can make a practical resolution to actually make that happen. What usually happens is a passive acceptance of the ill habits you are tied up with. It is only a matter of choice to overcome this, and make changes that you truly want.

  1. Reset Priority Lists

If someone or a group of friends are found to be a negative influence on your mind and your relationships, move them down your priority lists, and if possible avoid them entirely. Be with people who care about your interests, who can help you through the transition.

  1. Open Communication

Be honest when you communicate, so that you can observe how it is appreciated or ignored by the other person. Based on the observation, you can reset their position on the priority list. If a person appreciates your honesty and is kind enough to make amends or at least promise you a resolution, hold on to him or her! On the other hand, if all you get is a cold response or a total indifference towards your concern, you must know that your relationship with that person has run its course.

  1. Simmer down on Idealistic Expectations

Do not fantasize too much about absolute perfection when it comes to relationships. Accept the others as they are, without trying to “fix” them. The less you expect from the other person, the happier you will be, and you will also make space for them to surprise you. You must accept that they are not responsible for your happiness, and your need for love or understanding. It’s the misplaced expectations that ruin most relationships these days.

  1. Forgive more, Rebuild Trust

Once, the trust is broken, usually both parties declare that they irreconcilable and call it quits. This is a wrong approach, if you are looking for a strong relationship. What they forget is the fact that every broken trust can be healed and mended, if both the parties are willing to work together focusing on self-growth. You must understand that trust is something that requires effort throughout the lifetime and is something that can be rebuilt if you really want.

  1. Smart Compromise Vs. Argument

When there is a difference in opinion, be assertive if you believe you have the right reason, but don’t end up in an unhealthy argument. When you express your disagreements, your focus must be on reaching a smart compromise that takes into consideration the roles and importance of both parties in a relationship. Arriving at a common ground must be your goal, rather than winning an argument.

  1. Tweak your Idea of Completeness

You are constantly fed the idea of romance and finding the “one” by the media and culture, that you fantasize the arrival of the “better-half” who will save you from your miseries and breathe new life into you. Isn’t that so easy to shove everything upon your partner to make your life easier? But unfortunately, real life isn’t a fairytale where your knight in shining armour or the princess in the castle will “complete” you. You must understand that being complete isn’t in the hands of your partner. It is entirely your own responsibility to deal with your emptiness, dissatisfactions and pains, and not your partner’s.

Feel free to add more hacks that has worked for you. Tell us what steps you have taken to save your relationships with your loved one. Leave them as comments below.

Doctor Google and Self Medication – A Deadly Combo?

INSIGHTE.IN

You have that unusual numbness in your left arm, and you are panicking. What is the first thing that you do? Do you find yourself typing away on Google search box? If yes, then you too are among the many clients of “Doctor Google” around the world. Today Google holds the position of a know-it-all Guru with answers to almost everything under the sun. With smartphones in every hand, it is easier, quicker, and cheaper to check out your symptoms on a search engine than going through the hassles of booking an appointment with a doctor.

However, is it really all that rosy as it seems? With those Google searches and the resulting self-medication, do you really think it’s really safe? According to WHO, the rise in self-medication is a result of improvement in education, general knowledge and economic status of the people. Well, aren’t they all really good indicators of human development? Yes, but how far can it go? How far before it is unacceptable to rely on a search engine program to deliver you the explanations and medications for your symptoms?

There is really nothing wrong in checking out your symptoms on Google, but there must be a restriction on what you do next. You must know where this reliance on the “Google Doctor” must stop.

“Why?”

Internet is a huge cesspool of all kinds of information, which could be authentic and very often bogus. You might come across reliable websites with all the information you need about your condition, but chances are that you won’t confine your searches to these websites, and end up seeking more satisfying diagnosis and instant solutions on other untrustworthy websites, which can do you more harm than good. This is why it is important to go for a proper physical diagnosis by a licensed doctor.

The Google Effect – Curiosity and Anxiety

Most people type in their symptoms on Google just to relieve their curiosity and anxiety, but end up becoming more anxious. There are simple symptoms of a sinus infection that Google Doctor would declare as signs of brain tumour. Many young people rush to the hospital expecting to be diagnosed with a serious condition that they saw on Google. Most of the time it would be a case of simple cold or a body ache, and they end up wasting the valuable time of the practitioners.

Self-medication – Good and Bad

For those with limited means to consult a physician, and having conditions not serious enough like that of allergies or occasional headaches, self-medication can be beneficial as long as the symptoms are manageable by OTC drugs. However, the danger of self-medication is that you might end up underestimating the symptoms and try to manage a serious condition with OTC drugs without consulting a physician.

Unless if your symptoms are familiar and not debilitating, it is not wise to go for self-medication, as you are not qualified enough as a doctor to identify and understand the symptoms and their seriousness. It is prudent to consult a physician when you have a health condition rather than Googling your symptoms and deciding the best course of medication all by yourself.

Kerala Elections 2016: Voting Behaviour and Psychology

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KeralaTourism.com

Kerala went to polls on May 16 after an extensive campaigning by the left, the right, and the NDA which failed to capture a single constituency since the institution of the state of Kerala. When the ballot box revealed the people’s choice on May 19, the results were revolutionary, questioning the various theories on voting behaviour in Kerala held by experts so far.

Once touted as a recalcitrant state that largely ignored the “Modi wave” that swept the nation, turned its sight towards the saffron beacon this time, by choosing O Rajagopal from Nemom. There was a substantial erosion of vote-share from both the Congress and the Left, which went to NDA this year, which evidently signifies a shift in attitude of the majority Hindu population in the state, which held a largely secular outlook so far unlike the BJP – RSS offshoots which took root in the state through a temple-kavu-centered approach.

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IndiLeak.com

To understand the changing political scenario in the state, one has to understand the psychology behind vote-shares and the various ideologies that take part in the decision making process in the minds of the voters.

  1. Being a hundred per cent literate state, the voters in the state are well-aware of their politicians and they so far prevented any party or leader to ossify their presence by giving them not more than one term at a time. Kerala voters always made it a point to wage a successful anti-incumbency wave at the end of every term, thereby alternating between the Left and the Right governments. This move by the people not only prevents stagnating of the government, but also keeps a strong and active opposition in the government.
  2. Another psychological factor that plays a major role in Kerala politics, is that of party identity. The Communists, and the Congress so far played their cards taking advantage of the voter’s psychological attachment to their party identity, which remained faithful to their respective leanings, irrespective of the issues and controversies at hand.
  3. Third factor is the caste identity that usually garners a large share of votes for the communist party, which takes on the pro-poor, socialist outlook. Castes played a large role in 2016 elections. The Ezhava community votes that usually went to the Left, changed its course this year, by choosing BJP over the Communists as an alternative to Congress. A large share of votes from the lower castes went to the BJP, ushering a new age of saffronization in the state. The kavu-temple-centered organized society propagated by the BJP and its offshoots like RSS and the BDJS played in right in the minds of a largely religious and ritualistic Hindu population in the state.
  4. Fourth psychological factor that plays a major role in Kerala politics is money. Money is the major factor that covertly turned the tides favourably for tainted candidates and also for the newly independent stalwarts in the state. Crores of rupees and party workers campaigning day and night have caused a significant influence on the psyche of the voters this year.
  5. The fifth factor that influences the voters psychologically is the local issues. The local issues like Puttingal disaster, Bar Scam, and Jisha rape and murder case have caused a significant shift in the political leanings of the population. It was interesting to note that Modi’s visit to Kerala and his speeches almost always centred around these very local issues, and in spite of his Somalian faux pas, his campaigns yielded a historic breakthrough for BJP into the Kerala legislative assembly.

 

However, in spite of the consolidation of Hindu votes in favour of BJP in some constituency, majority of the population made a calculated decision to choose the Communist alternative. The continued failure of communalistic ideologies to penetrate into the Malayalee mindset, largely owes it to the high literacy level in the state.

How Psychologists Can Make More Money with their Practice?

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As psychologists or psychotherapists, it could be difficult to even discuss charging money for patient care, but as it is a necessary part of keeping your business open, the matter of making money cannot be swept under the carpet. It is important to know how to make a great, sustainable income while providing quality patient care.

Sell your Skills

As a psychologist, the most important money-making skill is talking about yourself. If you are looking to establish a successful career as a psychologist, you must know how to sell yourself. You can begin by advertising your practice using display ads on a dedicated business page in leading social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. To improve your local publicity, you can put up display ads on local newspapers. Though publishing print advertisements could be a costly affair, if done right, it could lead to better conversion of local clients.

To improve the credibility of your private practice, build a dedicated website for your clinic. With professional help from a digital marketing agency, you can tweak the web design and manage online content for better visibility on the Internet. You can also opt for PPC (Pay Per Click) ads on major search engines like Google and Yahoo for better online traffic of potential clients.

Diversify your Sources of Income

It is indeed rewarding to opt for an advanced training to improve your competence in the field, but if your goal is to make more money, you don’t really need to spend on any additional training. Just diversify what you know into multiple sources of income. You can start by creating a group therapy program, where you can attend to more people at once. Another way would be to create and sell therapy videos that could be useful for your peers and clients both professionally and personally. If you are fond of writing, repackage your experiences into research papers, EBooks, or training manuals in psycho-education. If you have relevant experience and reputation in your field, you can also build certificate programs that other budding therapists can benefit from.

Manage your Practice as a Small Business

To make more money from your practice, you must learn how to run it like a small business. You must be comfortable in investing on advertising your clinic and in improving your brand’s visibility. Always be ready to tolerate risk, because no business is ever resilient to risks that come with changing trends and market. Just like any other business, never hesitate to ask your clients to refer your clinic to their peers. Word-of-mouth referrals have high conversion rates when it comes to potential clients. Start an online or print newsletter under your banner and project yourself as a subject matter expert in your community both locally and online. Welcome invitations to speak at community conferences and meetings. Invest time in doing interviews for local newspapers or online video streaming channels in your field.

In addition to all the above tips on making more money, a psychologist could also get in partnerships with reputed mental healthcare portals like Insighte, and reach out to more clients in the country.

It is never too late. You can always do a Leicester!

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The Guardian

Have you ever felt that it is too late or too far-fetched to make your dreams come true? Have you already given up hope in yourself? Do you embark on a mission but have very little expectations? If yes, then this story is for you. Chances are that you must have already heard about it, as it has recently rewritten the history of English Premier Football once and for all. Leicester City gave the world the best underdog story ever written on English soil. Media channels are already abuzz with fans rooting for an underdog movie on Leicester City.

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CBC Sports

It is the story of how a humble team from East Midlands in England beat the giants of English Premier Football league to clinch the coveted crown of the champions. With star-studded teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, shown their place far down on the scorecard, Leicester City has done the impossible. Now crowned the English Premier League Champions, the odd team of rejects and underdogs taught the world an important lesson – Nothing is out of reach if you are willing to believe and work for it.

You do not have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth to make your mark in the world. Without a single star player, if Leicester City could pull this off, so can you achieve what you think is impossible. Win after win the team believed in themselves and humbly did what they do best. They stood their ground without getting intimidated by the so-called star talents of the big teams. Though, in the last match with Manchester United, the team suffered a starting trouble, but they did not just stand there and weep. They believed in themselves and bravely put up an offensive to make it a draw.

When you feel intimidated by the big names and talents in your workplace or school, stand your ground, and do not stop believing in yourself. There will be Beckhams, Ronaldos and Sanchezes, but no one can stop you from realizing your dreams, except if you doubt yourself. The first enemy to beat is your inner critic who keeps you doubting your capabilities. Do not kill it, as it could kill your humility too. Just make sure it doesn’t pull you back from giving your best.

It is never too late to work towards that ever-elusive dream of yours. Be it at work, or on the academic front, do not hesitate to dream big. No matter who you are, where you are from, there is no one who can stop you if you believe in yourself and work hard enough.