What a mental health professional should avoid during a session

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Nowadays, career titles which determine mental health professionals have been increased. Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, life coaches and so many other titles are used from professionals who provide various kinds of sessions in their clinics/offices. However, the choice of a good specialist and also the decision of a visit to his/her office is not an easy case for many people yet. There are already enough people who have experienced or are afraid of having one undesirable/unpleasant experience in a specialist’s clinics/office. Unfortunately there are many who received an unusual/inappropriate behavior from a mental health professional and that is why they decide to prevent others to visit “These psychiatrists and psychologists who don’t help anyone”. In addition, it is really pity that even themselves will not easily trust again another mental health professional.

Two processes should apply at the same time in order unpleasant situations between mental health specialists and people who ask for help/advice to been avoided: Every client/patient should be well-informed of the curriculum vitae and the scientific approach of any professional that wants to visit, while every mental health specialist should follow some unwritten but important behavior rules in order to help anyone who visits his/her clinics/office to feel comfortable. Some behaviors that it would be better if they have been avoided are:

  1. Saying to a client/patient what to do

A visit to a mental health professional’s clinics/office is done with free will (or let’s hope that it is done indeed like that). Each client/patient discuss with a specialist because he/she wants to and because he/she believes that he/she will have received some help after some sessions. The job of a mental health professional is to make the right questions to each person and not to give some “right” and absolute answers. The truth is that many people expect from a mental health professional a magical solution to all their problems. Of course the quicker someone understands that nobody can say to him/her what to do or how to live, the easier he/she will start thinking in a deeper and more honest way regarding how to deal all the important issues by himself/herself. A specialist’s job is to mentally strengthen every person who visits him/her and later he/she should leave him/her with new and stable confidence to go on his/her life with the decisions he/she made.

  1. Scolding or lecturing someone who asks for help

One of the worst behaviors that a mental health professional can show is the one of a “bad teacher”. No one should hear bad or insulting words and especially by a mental health specialist who people visit him/her to receive professional support. Professionals that have been educated and worked in Mental Health’s field should know better that bawling and strict behavior cannot help anyone to realize his/her faults and become better. Yes, a mental health specialist should be austere and sure about what he is saying, but he/she should never stop being empathetic and patient. If a patient/client wants to cooperate with a specialist in a right and responsible way then that is good exclusively for him/her. In addition, let’s not forget that a mental health professional can always finalize sessions if he/she thinks that for some reasons the psychotherapeutic procedure cannot be continued.

  1. Pushing someone to visit again his/her clinics/office

As we previously said a visit to a mental health professional’s clinics/office should be done with free will and never under pressure by everyone. No one can start a difficult and mentally painful psychotherapeutic procedure if first he/she doesn’t believe that he/she can do it and moreover that it would be good to start it. So, nothing should seem pressing in a specialist’s behavior: every client/patient should come again and again to see the professional he/she chose because he/she really wants it. A mental health professional could simply clarify from the beginning how much time will take the upcoming sessions’ procedure, which could be the possible – total or individual – cost of sessions and which are the expectations/goals until the end of the psychotherapeutic procedure. In this way a client/patient can decide more easily what is the best for him/her since he/she has all the necessary information regarding time, money and qualitative data of the psychotherapeutic procedure.

  1. Talking about his/her personal life

During a session the center of attention should always be the patient/client. A mental health specialist keeps the right “tools” with which can lead a client/patient to find his/her personal truth and correctly decide regarding personal issues. A patient/client insistently looks for answers to his/her questions during a psychotherapeutic session and the best place to look for them is specialist’s behavior, attitude and words. That’s why a mental health professional should be very careful of what information he/she shares. He/she should never forget that many times he/she seems as something “ideal” for his/her patients/clients, so every information regarding his/her personal life could be “translated” with various, different and uncontrollable ways. Additionally, let’s not forget that a relationship between a mental health professional and a client should always remain typical and empathy should not be considered as personal interest. Personal information of a mental health specialist’s life could easily misinterpreted as tendency to intimacy by him/her towards his/her client/patient.

  1. Believing that everyone could be helped after a session with him/her

A truly experienced and complete mental health professional could not believe that he/she can help anyone who would visit his/her clinics/office. In order a psychotherapeutic procedure to be considered as successful it should be first of all a product of chemistry between a specialist and a client. That is why every patient/client has the right to change as many specialists he/she wants until he/she will find the one who he/she feels good with him/her. On the other hand every specialist could decide to stop or not accept someone for sessions if he/she felt any kind of discomfort/difficulty to start/continue his/her task. Moreover, let’s not forget that every mental health professional follows a specific specialization so he/she cannot truly help everyone that asks his/her professional help. That is why so important a patient/client to choose a specialist based on his/her specialization and experience in specific domains.

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3 thoughts on “What a mental health professional should avoid during a session

    • I am truly sorry to hear that. Unfortunately there are lots of mental health “professionals” who don’t know at all what exactly is their job. But as I already mentioned in this post I wish you to find the strength and visit again a therapist, if you ever decide that you are again ready for it.

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