Friday, March 15, 2019

Want help with stress and depression but are freaked at talking to a psychologist? Here's what to expect in the first session

Hi, good to see you again. If you want to ask questions or comment, email me. Alternatively, find me on Facebook Monday to Thursday. Warning: I love cats!


I work with clients who are looking to manage stress and depression. As I live in Malaysia, I work with clients who live in my time zone: it runs roughly from Hong Kong and Australia to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

In our part of the world, there's a stigma about consulting mental health professionals, and so it can be a bit nerve wracking to reach out. Therefore, I thought I'd explain what happens in the first two sessions. You know, to take the fear out of the equation.

This first time we talk, we chat for about 20 mins. It's a free consultation so we can check that we can work together. Because we're talking over a video link, we start off by checking that the connection is stable. Then you tell me what kind of support you're looking for.  If I can help, and if we get along, we make an appointment for the first session.

The first session is where we explore the issues.  Depression and stress come in various forms, and they hit people differently. Also, there are several good therapy approaches.  So in this session we figure out what's going on and how we're going to work.

First, we talk about your overall background, like what you do, how old you are, and so on.

Then we look at what stressful events you've gone though in the last year. Like, have you moved house, changed jobs, had a health scare, had a baby, changed your lifestyle etcetera.

Then we look at your mental health, paying particular attention to common symptoms of depression. Like, how is your concentration, what's your appetite like, how are you sleeping, do you feel unusual sadness, have unreasonable flashes of anger.

Finally, we look at your support system. That involves a chat about how you get along with your friends, family, and colleagues.

At this point, we should have a reasonable idea of what's going on. I put together an overview, and we have a chat about goals and the approaches we might use to reach them.

At this point you'll be tired, so we set a bit of homework, simple things to get you started, and then we call it a day.

The first session covers a lot of ground, and takes about 90 minutes. But after that, sessions take about an hour.

So, I hope you find this useful. If you are looking for help, send me an email to happy@lepak.com and we'll set up an appointment.