Tag Archives: psychology

Psychologist or Psychiatrist?

#SavageSaturday

That is a question often asked when one suffers some mental issue or another. Films and magazines sway the public opinion towards a psychologist. They often depict the treatment, called therapy, as relaxing on a couch or in an armchair, outside of hospital environment and talking to a professional. Usually, we see a doctor-patient relationship and both parties call each other these names. Yet, we don’t see white medical robes or any sign of a medical office.

I had always thought the professional is a psychotherapist by practice and a psychologist by education. It turns out to be a mistake. Even though they don’t prescribe medicine or hospital stay, these therapists we see in films are psychiatrists. They study at a medical university along with all the rest on the craft – paediatricians, obstetricians, cardiovascular and internal disease doctors. They know about anatomy, biology and chemistry just as all the doctors we meet in more typical environments. After medical school, they go on to specialise, again like any other doctor does, in the so-called residence. That means they work full-time at a hospital or institution where they get familiar with lots of different real cases and get trained to treat patients independently.

So, when we’re mildly affected by a mental issue, who should we turn to? I used to see psychiatrists as doctors who would simply prescribe some drug to you which is sure to meddle with your sense and stability. It turns out, they actually undergo courses in psychotherapy, if they like, and then continue helping patients with sessions only or combining pills and talking sessions.
Then, when do we visit a psychologist and what can we expect her to treat? I would say, we do that when our marriage or parenting or relations in the office don’t work efficiently. We go to see a psychologist when we need a new perspective in some area in our everyday lives where we are stuck for one reason or another. We don’t do it when we are depressed or suicidal, just as we don’t go to the pub owner for a cure when we have the flu or a toothache. In those latter cases, we visit medical doctors, of the speciality we need.

We must face it, though – a lot of people do exactly that. When they are sick, they seek advice and help at various places, but at the doctor’s. It’s hard to imagine they would do differently when it concerns their mental health.
I am a psychologist and am deeply interested in therapy and ways to help people. At the same time, I know doctors have a great advantage compared to me because they know of hormones, enzymes, physiology and nerves, among other things. I, on the other hand, can simply improvise and imagine things. Things which can do more harm than good. That is why I know I’m helpless in a lot of situations. Like all psychologists in the world.

I hope more people will realise that.

Savage Saturdays: Introversion, Part 1

In this hashtag, #Savage Saturdays, I plan to focus on things of the mind and soul, mental health, psychology, and self-help. First, I’ll draw your attention to one of my favourite topics: Introversion. To make it proper, I’d like to start by laying the foundation and take it from here. This post is the first of a series that will speak about What Is Introversion and Some Myths about Introversion.

If you are introverted, you probably know it. Extroverted people, on the other hand, often mistake shyness and the lack of social skills for introversion. We need to set the definitions straight, not only because we owe it to introverted people, but also because they make nearly half of the population on Earth. There is no way to count them precisely; there is no “census” for this, and there is no place where you can go and declare yourself by voting or signing up for a list. It seems extroverts are more numerous. That is because they are outgoing, express themselves with ease and are normally quite noticeable. Introverts are simply not there. And yet, we may safely say that at least one-third of the population are introverted, another third are extroverted and there is yet another third – those people whom we call “ambiverts”. Ambiverts alternate acting like extro– or introverts in different areas of life, thus making it hard to put them in one pure category.

“It takes all sorts to make a world.” When we want to share valid opinions and expect others to listen and take our ideas into account, we need to be prepared. That means knowing and understanding.

Introverts and Energy:

  • Extroverts charge through socialising: they like noisy environments and the sensory stimulation of sound, colour, temperature, vibration and people touch.
  • Introverts can do on a lot less of the above. They, like every human being, like company and interaction, but their energy drains fast and they charge through spending time alone and in silence.

Introverts and Shyness:
A frequent mistake is to use “introverted” and “shy” interchangeably. These are not synonyms and as an introvert who is not shy, I remember this was a major difficulty in my self-analysis. Extroverts can also be shy, for all we know. Shy people get nervous and self-conscious when they need to socialise and be part of some social interaction. They blush, stammer, don’t know what to do with their hands, and more often than not, forget what they know. Oral exams at school show the shy boys and girls pretty clearly. Think about it for a moment: Do you remember an outgoing classmate who was very noisy during breaks but couldn’t say a word when examined in front of the blackboard, even when she knows the answer? Do you also remember that no one believed this classmate was nervous, and most people thought she was faking it? That is a good example of a shy extrovert.

Do you know any untypical extroverts or introverts? Tell me in the comments below.
Next time, I’ll go on to the popular myths about introversion and help busting them. In the meantime, be well and have a nice weekend!