Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterised by, as its name suggests, obsessions and compulsions. It should, however, be noted that official psychiatric diagnosis differentiates if from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), which regardless of its name is not characterised by actual obsessions and compulsions. OCD is anxiety based condition, which can be successfully attended to in psychotherapy or counselling. When faced with OCD in a therapy room, the condition itself is not hard to diagnose and differentiate from other conditions, however, people presenting with OCD will sometimes tend to hide their symptoms from the therapist due to the sense of shame.
Narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder seem to be quite latent personality presentations—they are not commonly presented in therapy as the core presenting problem that a client will present when they come in for treatment. Often times, hence, narcissistic personality disorder is undiagnosed, which goes even more so for narcissism in general.
Panic attacks and panic disorder are usually associated with anxiety. However, a panic attack should not be mixed with anxiety, even though they will most often present themselves together.
Bipolar disorder and bipolar personality structure, also known as manic depression and manic-depressive structure, are something we are more likely to encounter in therapy than appears to be the case at first glance. Bipolar is predominantly characterised by swings in mood—from manic to depressive. However, contrary to common belief, neither the intensity of swings nor their frequency are deterministic of bipolar.
Depression is one of the most common phenomenon encountered in psychotherapy and counselling. When we talk about depression it is crucial that we differentiate it from low mood, grief or sadness. In the case of depression, the individual will not only see the world as empty and hopeless, but will see themselves as the source of worthlessness, despair, pointlessness. Depression hence needs appropriate attention in therapy—one that differs from regular mourning or feeling low.
Part of the misconception and confusion of what anxiety really is also comes from the general everyday use of the term. It is often used to define a spectrum of feelings and moods, ranging from feeling scared, anxious before an important event or feeling nervous and agitated. When speaking about anxiety symptoms in psychotherapy and counselling, the term tends to be more narrowly defined.
Burnout is a term that is used often in relation to feelings of physical fatigue due to work, work-related issues and stress. Socially the term is used to describe a person that is chronically overworked and potentially not getting enough sleep and time away from professional life. Often times burnout is also misinterpreted as anxiety or depression.
Transactional analysis (TA) is a form of psychotherapy in which determination of client’s current or past ego states is defined by analysing transactions. These can take place either between the client and the therapist, between members of therapy group, between a couple (if in relationship therapy) or any other past event.
Psychotherapy still often remains a taboo and a topic that is insufficiently discussed. Many often wonder who needs psychotherapy, what it is and what the criteria for it are. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of reluctance to speak about it openly.
It is usually assumed that someone needs psychotherapy only when mental health issues get to the point of severe disturbance in their life. So, when does one need psychotherapy and in what cases?