Frequently Asked Questions - Psychologist - Mental Health Coach

Most common questions

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

  1. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychologists are not.
  2. Psychiatrists prescribe medication, psychologists cannot. However, psychologists often work in tandem with psychiatrists to refer patients for prescriptions
  3. 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:

  1. Both psychiatrists and psychologists understand how the brain works, our emotions, feelings and thoughts.
  2. 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:

  • training
  • treatments provided
  • conditions treated
  • getting an appointment.
Training

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.

Treatments provided

Psychiatrists can provide a wide range of treatments, according to the particular problem and what will work best. These include:

  • medication
  • 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.

Conditions treated

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
  • schizophrenia
  • 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?

Feel free to click on the ‘Make an appointment’ button on the top right of the page.

You are expected to provide some very basic information about you and the issue that burdens you.   You are expected to prepay the cost of each session before the booking time.   

I have booked my next session but I have to cancel it. What should I do?

You are free to cancel your session anytime. Just send an simple e-mail to post@anastasiaolympiou.com or 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 is fully refundable asap.