How does counselling work?
Counselling is a linguistic therapy based on communication which allows a person to discuss and talk about their problems and feelings in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment.
It is a therapeutic route where a trained therapist provides you the opportunity to talk about issues affecting your life and help you come to terms with your own thoughts and emotions. Counselling helps you make connections between past events and present behavior patterns.
How can counselling help me?
Counselling can help you deal with:
- the death of a loved one or a relationship breakdown
- redundancy or work-related stress
- sexual identity and preferences
- feelings related to denial, guilt and shame
- issues preventing you realise your true potential and achieve goals
- feelings of depression or sadness, and have a more positive outlook towards life
- feelings of anxiety and depression
- borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- long-term illnesses
- eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
- drug misuse
- difficulty to adhere to treatment & medication
- denial to accept a sudden and radical change related with your body, health and lifestyle
- understand yourself and your problems better
- feel more confident and develop resources to navigate through difficult times
Which are the different types of therapy today?
Types of Therapy
Which therapeutic route does Anastasia applies in her sessions?
Anastasia chooses among the four different therapeutic types of the Cognitive Approach depending the needs of each individual. This approach evolved from within Behavior Therapy. Several variations have developed since behavior therapy’s emergence in the 1950s.
The most commonly used variation is the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on both thoughts and behaviors. Cognitive therapists center on identifying and changing inaccurate or distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors. CBT emphasizes what people think rather than what they do and Cognitive therapists believe that it’s dysfunctional thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors. By changing their thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do. Major figures in cognitive therapy include Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
CBT is often utilized to help people who struggle with negative thoughts or are looking to break a habit. In CBT practices, the psychologist must study a patient’s patterns of thinking and gain understanding of the origins of these patterns. Once identified, specialists can work to combat thought patterns that are causing emotional harm, focusing on developing coping mechanisms that will help patients deal with issues as they arise in the long term.
CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that focuses on the link between our thoughts (cognition) and our actions (behavior). It is intended to help people change thought patterns that cause unhealthy, unproductive, or incapacitating behavior.
During CBT sessions, you work with your therapist to learn how to recognize persistent negative thoughts or beliefs and respond to them more productively. For example, if you have the habit of thinking: “I’m terrible at everything” whenever you make a mistake, CBT is designed to help you notice this thought, identify alternative thoughts (e.g., “Mistakes don’t make me terrible; they make me human”), and choose a more realistic way to view the situation (e.g., “Although I made this mistake, I do many things correctly and now I have learned from this error”). It’s believed that making these positive shifts in your thoughts will lead to a positive change in your behavior.
Note that CBT does have a homework component—follow up occurs during sessions.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment is a form of cognitive behavior therapy which addresses thoughts and behaviors while incorporating strategies such as emotional regulation and mindfulness. Its primary aim is to give people the skills to regulate their emotions, handle stress in a healthy manner, and improve relationships, and live mindfully. Originally developed to treat people with borderline personality disorder, DBT is now used to treat a variety of mental conditions and is believed to be especially helpful for people with seemingly uncontrollable, intense negative emotions or those who may incline toward self-harm.
DBT differs from CBT in that it teaches you that your experiences are real and shows how to accept yourself, even with your unique challenges and life experiences. The treatment usually consists of both one-on-one sessions with a psychotherapist and therapist-led group sessions where the participants develop and practice skills and behaviors needed for a more manageable daily life. In both situations, DBT patients learn how to label emotions, handle angry feelings and navigate conflict without giving into impulsive tendencies, and develop awareness of their feelings during the present moment.
Like CBT, DBT also has a homework component. DBT is ideally done both in groups and in individually sessions simultaneously. People generally find this mixture quite helpful.
Multimodal therapy suggests that psychological issues must be treated by addressing seven different but interconnected modalities: behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations.
Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) involves identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging these beliefs, and finally learning to recognize and change these thought patterns.
How often should I meet with a psychologist?
The length of a psychological therapy depends on the therapeutic approach that each psychologist applies.
Anastasia is a Cognitive Psychologist thus you are expected to meet with no more than once per week (one 45-min session per week). The actual therapeutic length varies as it literally depends on you and your needs.
What is the role of a psychologist?
Effective psychologists function as both
- experts; conducting therapeutic techniques in session, educating clients about mental health issues and the scientific and research that supports the treatment of these issues,
- and as collaborative equal partners who recognize we are all in this together; empathizing and humanizing the experience of suffering and the path to healing and growth.
Psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises. They examine a person’s experience and explore underlying issues while they provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of more severe psychological symptoms.
They treat a wide range of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, ‘personality disorder’, negative life events, bereavement, domestic violence, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, trauma and relationship issues.
A good psychologist will focus on you and your needs and listen without judging or criticising you. They may help you find out about how you could deal with your problems, but they shouldn’t tell you what to do.
Should I see a psychologist or a psychiatrist?
There are three core differences between psychiatrists and psychologists:
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychologists are not.
- Psychiatrists prescribe medication, psychologists cannot. However, psychologists often work in tandem with psychiatrists to refer patients for prescriptions
- Psychiatrists diagnose illness, manage treatment and provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness. Psychologists focus on providing psychotherapy (talk therapy) to help patients.
Among the common elements the two healthcare professions share refer to that:
- Both psychiatrists and psychologists understand how the brain works, our emotions, feelings and thoughts.
- Both can treat mental illness with psychological treatments (talking therapies).
However, psychiatrists attend medical school and become medical doctors before doing specialist training in mental health. Because they are doctors, psychiatrists understand the links between mental and physical problems. They can also prescribe medications.
To go into it in some more detail, the main differences relate to:
- treatments provided
- conditions treated
- getting an appointment.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with at least 11 years of training – usually more. Psychiatry studies focus on biology and medicine.
They first do a medical degree at university. Next they spend at least 1 or 2 years training as a general doctor.
They then complete at least 5 years training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Psychiatrists hold a doctor of medicine (MD).
Psychologists in Greece have 6 years of university training and supervised experience including 4 years undergraduate and 2 years postgraduate studies according to the National Requirements (https://www.europsy.eu/national-requirements-greece). Psychology studies involve mainly cognition and human behavior.
They should hold a Masters qualification in psychology. Psychologists earn a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) in which case they can call themselves ‘Dr’, but they are not medical doctors.
Clinical psychologists have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Psychiatrists can provide a wide range of treatments, according to the particular problem and what will work best. These include:
- general medical care, including checking your physical health and the effects of medication
- psychological treatments
- brain stimulation therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Psychologists focus on providing psychological treatments.
Psychiatrists tend to treat people who need their medical, psychological and social needs considered.
These are usually people with complex conditions, for example:
- severe depression
- bipolar disorder.
Someone who has attempted suicide or has suicidal thoughts will usually be seen by a psychiatrist.
Psychologists are more likely to see people with conditions that can be helped effectively with psychological treatments. This might include behavioral problems, learning difficulties, depression and anxiety.
Should I see a Psychologist, a Therapist or a Mental Health Counselor?
The term ‘therapist’ is not common in Greece compared to the rest of European countries. The term ‘Mental Health Counselor’ is more common in our country.
However there are distinct differences among the two practitioner groups
- The term ‘Psychologist’ is a protected title that can be assigned only to those who have completed 6 years of university education including 4 years undergraduate and 2 years postgraduate studies according to the National Requirements (https://www.europsy.eu/national-requirements-greece). The term ‘Mental Health Counselor’ can be currently used freely by anyone in Greece who just finished high school and has taken a couple of online seminars. A ‘Mental Health Coach’ in Norway is a registered profession which prerequisites a two-year accredited studies program with a certain Curriculum defined and controlled by the Health Directorate.
- “Psychologist” is a legally recognized and protected title for all areas of practice. License or entry in a register is needed for practising psychology. A psychologist should provide their unique license number to their patients ensuring their credentials. Mental Health Counselors are not licensed in Greece. Mental Health Coaches in Norway are registered as Alternative Medicine Professionals.
- Psychologists who are registered in Greece, may also be professional members in Association of Greek Psychologists (SEPS) and/or EuroPsy. Mental Health Counselors are not qualified and thus, restricted from SEPS membership. Mental Health Coaches in Norway are obliged to be professional members in a Norwegian Mental Health Association such as NFCN
- A psychologist needs to provide their license to the taxation office as a proof in order to start their own business and practice their profession as mental healthcare providers. Cost-wise, a session with a psychologist is VAT-free. A Mental Health Counselor may start their own personal business in the taxation office in Greece without providing any credentials. Cost-wise, a session with a Mental Health Counselor involves VAT charge. A Mental Health Coach in Norway needs to provide their credentials to the taxation office as a proof in order to start their own business and practice their profession as alternative mental healthcare providers . Cost-wise, a session with a Mental Health Counselor involves VAT charge.
What if I don’t feel comfortable with the psychologist?
For counselling to be effective, a trusting and safe relationship needs to be built among you and your psychologist. If you feel that you and your psychologist cannot build a good rapport, you should discuss this with them, or you can refer to a different Practitioner Psychologist.
I want to book an appointment with Anastasia. What should I do?
Check our offers under Pricing section and choose the one that suits you best
Alternatively, you may click on the ‘Make an appointment’ button on the top right of the page and you will be directed properly.
Otherwise, feel free to Contact me directly and I will help you through the process.
You are expected to provide some very basic information about you and the issue that burdens you.
I have booked my next session but I have to cancel it. What should I do?
You are free to cancel your session at least 24 hours before your appointment. Just login and cancel your next appointment. Alternatively, just contact the psychologist directly in any way that makes you feel more comfortable. You don’t have to provide any reasons for the cancellation.
Any cancellation made at least 24 hours before the appointment is fully refundable asap or you may choose to roll the amount over to your next appointment.
Cancellations made the same day of the appointment are neither reimbursed nor rolled over to the next appointment.
What if I do not wish to continue with Anastasia?
You are actually advised to cancel your treatment if you feel that either it doesn’t suit your needs or there is poor communication with your psychologist.
You do not have to provide any explanations for your decision
How do I know if there is a progress with me?
Effective treatment may have significant changes in your life, although health behavior changes happen gradually over time, not all at once. Therapy that works isn’t a one-shot deal, although it can be short-term. At least eight sessions are recommended while more sessions may be necessary if the issues are many or complex.
You’re a unique person with a unique set of experiences and issues. What’s right for another person may not be right for you. Don’t put a limit on what’s needed for you to feel better. Take your time to work through your issues. Your active participation, along with a highly qualified practitioner psychologist will definitely help get you where you want to be.
Here are some health behavior improvement indicators
1. Improvement in mood, emotions and psychological well-being
Depending on the reasons for entering therapy, check if any of your symptoms have improved. For example, if you entered therapy for depression or sadness, do you feel less sad ? If you came to therapy for anxiety, do you feel less anxious?
2. Increased positive thinking
Do you have less negative/destructive thoughts and more positive/constructive ones? Have you noticed lately yourself engaging in more realistic thinking and developing reachable goals? Thoughts lead our behaviors, so as your thinking shifts, your behaviors will shift as well.
3. Health behavior change
Healthy behavioral changes is the most significant indicator of your progress. For instance, you’re leaving unwanted, unhealthy habits behind such as smoking cessation, becoming more physically active, quit gambling. Another example: You went to therapy to work on self-assertiveness. Now, you’re taking the initiative more and more often .
4. Improvement in your relationships
Relationship improvements with your spouse, partner, or other loved ones are good indications that your mental health therapeutic treatment progresses. Fewer conflicts signifies not only progress per se but also your conflict and problem-solving skills.
5. Increased life satisfaction
Have you noticed that you start finding satisfaction with your life? Do you feel that you’re getting more out it? Then, be sure that this evidences your progress and will motivate you to keep up the good work.
6. Diagnosis change
An improved diagnosis showing more mild symptoms is ultimate progress indicator.
I am diagnosed with depression. How do I know if there is a progress?
Monitor your depression symptoms once every 2-4 weeks
I would recommend you checking your symptoms once every 2-4 weeks; daily changes monitoring will most probably report short-term fluctuations in your emotions, rather than the actual depression symptoms. Here are some core indicators that show your depression symptoms progress
Sadness as among the most common emotions in depression along with irritability. As you start to feel better, you might notice that you have more patience, and feel less easily put out with others.
Increased interest in activities
A defining depressive feature characteristic is the lack of interest or pleasure in getting involved in things we usually enjoy. As you start to feel better, you’ll show more interest in your normal activities and start enjoying them more. Food might even start to taste better.
As depression starts decreasing, your energy will gradually return; a change with an immediate positive effect our your energy levels. You will notice an increase in your stamina that will allow you to do more of the things you care about and improve your mood.
Decreased feeling of overwhelmingness
People who suffer from depression have the feeling that everything is difficult and they are inadequate for the task. A decrease in your depression symptoms will allow you to feel more on top of your daily responsibilities and capable to respond to any forthcoming challenges.
Depression may either increase or decrease your appetite. As depressive symptoms start to decrease, you will notice that your appetite regulates. So, if depression had caused an appetite loss, you’ll find that food is more appealing and enjoyable. Reversely, you may also find it easier to resist to foods you had a hard time avoiding when you were really depressed.
The cognitive symptoms of depression can be quite disruptive, making it hard to think and focus. With improved concentration, you’ll become capable again to follow a conversation or the plot of a book, and in general, you’ll feel sharper mentally.
Return of libido
Depression may often diminish or even cause total loss of your sex drive, causing you marital or partnership issues due to lack of intimacy. Don’t be surprised if you feel again that spark as it’s one of signs of progress.
Another core symptom of depression is that it leads us to have a lot of negative thoughts about ourselves. Depressive patients tend to describe themselves as “worthless”, “loser” or “pathetic” – which in turn feeds the depression and creates a ‘loop’ of which most patients find it difficult to come out. As you will start reconnecting with your basic sense of self-worth, you start seeing the reality and yourselves in a more loving and accurate light.
Keep in mind that depression symptoms neither show up all at once nor they improve all together at once. Furthermore, nobody can say which symptoms ones will improve first, although research has shown that sleep problems are often the last to resolve. So if you’re still battling insomnia, give it some more time – it can get better as the depression continues to recede. You may also ask for a focused CBT insomnia treatment (CBT-I).
If you’ve tried one kind of treatment, but continue to suffer from depression, consider a combined treatment: A combination of medication and therapy typically is better than either treatment alone for people with moderate to severe depression. Discuss it with your psychologist who may refer you to a psychiatrist.
When you do start to feel better, continue the practices that led to your improvement. Your recovery is worth the investment of time and energy.