Multi-billionaire, fashion icon, perfect family and almost every woman’s favourite brand. From handbags, wallets to clothes, her brand represented women’s desire to look classy, elegant, yet casual. She made women around the world happy through fashion. Despite all her success and wealth, today the world is once again saddened by shocking news. The death of fashion mogul - Kate Spade.
Her death has been confirmed as suicide due to stress and depression resulting from getting a divorce that she refused. According to lenapevf.org, suicide rates have been rising since 2006 in the United States with an average of one person committing suicide every 13.3 minutes in 2011 and this number keeps on escalating every single year. The President of Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society said that at any given time, 7% of the population committing suicide is affected by a major depressive disorder. Quick detection of suicidal thoughts and behaviour is very important and with the help of psychotherapy (and medication if necessary) the chance of rebounding from depression is likely to be around 85%. Unfortunately for Kate, the help she needed didn’t get to her sooner.
But for many who are still battling with depression and mental illness, it’s never too late to seek help. The easiest way is to talk to someone whom you trust and make sure that your problems are highlighted especially when dealing with extreme depression. And if it’s hard to talk to people that you know, there are plenty of professionals in the field to help you or the person you know in fighting this battle. Most importantly, to get a good psychotherapist that can really help those who need the help in healing through the journey of mental illness. Here’s a list of six common criteria of a good therapist
1. Checks on patient’s history and profile
It is very important for a therapist to know the patient thoroughly and this includes extensive background research. Past experiences are the key to a precise diagnosis. Certain trauma, occurrences, and even family background make an impact to the current life. Such information is used to understand the map of his/her patient’s experiential field. A good therapist will put the effort into focusing patient’s past and present background instead of just focusing on the present.
2. There shouldn’t be any judging session
When you enter your therapist’s room, the first thing he/she shouldn’t do is first, judge you by how you look. Second, judge you through the experience that you’ve been through. People who seek for therapist’s help are those who have been judged critically by other people around them. And most patients who seek professional help mainly want to avoid from being judge. It is vital for a patient to feel accepted, understood, and encouraged to think positive regardless of the current situation.
3. Honest and accurate in communication
The way the therapist deliver his/her feedback plays a large role in improving patient’s condition. One wrong word can trigger patient’s negative thoughts and one right word can change a patient’s life for the better. In giving feedback, there shouldn’t be any sugar coating from the therapist. But the feedback must also be delivered in a compassionate manner in a sense where no harsh and destructive words or sentence should be used. The communication between a therapist and a patient should be inviting and perceptive to initiate a safe space for the patient to express themselves truthfully.
4. Constantly checking patient’s progress
Therapy sessions can be quite expensive, while some organisations offer it for cheap or free. Expensive, cheap or free comes with one con - patients will only get the session that they paid for. No extra attention is given once a patient walks outside the therapy room. However, a good therapist will take further steps to check on his/her patients regularly according to how critical their situation is. Patients sometimes can lose track because depression doesn’t just disappear after few sessions of therapy. Having someone to check on their progress will create trust and it will definitely make the patient feel safe.
5. Maintains patient’s confidentiality
Unless it’s between life and death, for legal proceedings or if the patient agrees on using her case for research, patient’s information should be kept between the therapist and the patient only. A good and responsible therapist will not go around talking about his/her patient’s problem to other. Case example can be used but not by exposing the patient’s identity or any information that will allow others to recognize the patient.
6. Legal training and credentials
Most importantly, make sure that the therapist you go to has a legal license, certified by the ministry or respective boards. A well-trained therapist will follow basic professional codes of ethics and trained appropriately to meet all local or state guidelines in providing therapy. Their certificates should be displayed on the wall for patients to clearly see it. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist about their professional and educational background. This will give you more confidence in using their service to help you.
It’s not necessary to spend a fortune to get a good psychotherapist. If you have the money, there’s no harm in paying more for a good service but if you don’t, it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the treatment that you need. Government hospitals, at least in Malaysia, are always ready to help those who are suffering from mental illness for a very cheap service charge. And if you’re not keen towards government hospitals, plenty of NGOs provide professional help with reasonable charges. SOLS Health
has been advocating for mental health in Malaysia for many years now. Much effort has been made to help those who are looking for help in improving their mental state. Counseling, therapy, assessment and support groups are all available to ensure that patients are fully supported throughout their healing journey and subsidised rates are offered to those who are qualified.
To reach out and to know more about SOLS Health, check out: www.sols247.org/solshealth