What does a psychologist do?

Psychologists have usually studied psychology at a master’s level and are experts in the science behind human emotions, behaviour, and mental processes. They use evidence-based strategies to diagnose and manage mental health illnesses and disorders non-medicinally over the long-term.

They may also perform assessments and analyse the results, as well as diagnose psychological or behavioural conditions.

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What does a counsellor do?

Counsellors generally have a minimum of a postgraduate diploma (TYHO’s Professional Counsellors all have at least a Master’s in Counselling degree), and are highly skilled in applying integrative therapies to assist people in working through their personal and emotional issues. They tend to adopt a more person-centred approach that focuses on the overall wellbeing of their clients when helping them address specific problems.

If you would like to talk about a specific issue (eg adjustment to a new job, coping with loss, problems at school), then a counsellor may be more appropriate to approach.

Note: Different countries utilise different nomenclature. For instance, in India, the terms “counselling psychologists” and ”psychotherapists” are frequently used, but not “counsellors”.

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How do I know if my sessions are working for me?

When we have been attending sessions for a while, it can feel almost like “I’m here, what’s next?”

While it is normal to expect results fast, the simple fact is that progress takes time. To gauge if therapy is working for you, look out for these signs that suggest you are on the right track:

> You begin to notice small changes in both your physical and mental health (eg better sleep, uplifted moods). Do keep in mind that therapy is not always linear and that sometimes you will have bad days or weeks.

> You don’t dread sessions. You may even start looking forward to them! Opening up to a stranger can be uncomfortable initially, but over time you’ll realise that it is a dedicated time for you to be in touch with your feelings.

> You feel respected and validated. A hallmark of therapy is being in a safe environment where your needs are heard.

> You feel better equipped to manage bad days. After several sessions, you have developed a repertoire of coping skills to help you weather the storms. This can be an improvement in dealing with conflicts or even simply learning to prioritise yourself.

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How often should I have therapy sessions?

For a start, individuals can consider going for therapy once a week. Weekly sessions instil regularity which is highly beneficial to clients, particularly at the beginning of the therapeutic journey. You may refer to the Pricing page where we elaborate on research-based findings on the benefits of having regular sessions.

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Under what circumstances will my confidential information be disclosed?

Your Therapist has strict ethical and professional responsibilities to keep the content of your sessions confidential.

Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions to this rule where your Therapist may be obliged to disclose information about your sessions to meet their legal, or ethical duty. For instance, these include:
> circumstances where you are assessed to be at risk of harm to self or others; or
> where there is any legal obligation requiring disclosure.

In such cases, external parties (eg family, court, police, or crisis service providers) may be informed of the situation.

Do note that, typically, the platform defers to your Therapist regarding disclosure of any information (eg session notes or messages to Therapist). Numerous jurisdictions have stringent regulations around Therapist-client relationships and the confidentiality obligations accompanying it. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your Therapist’s confidentiality obligations, you may wish to discuss this with them during your session.

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Can I remain anonymous during an online session?

Not entirely. Your safety is important to us, and hence, your Therapist must be able to contact you or an individual you trust in case of an emergency.

Otherwise, we collect minimal information (eg your name, email address, and mobile number) during the sign-up process and do not require you to share any other personal details, such as your date of birth or identification number, that can identify you.

If you wish to remain relatively anonymous, you can opt for an audio call with your Therapist. That way, you will not be required to turn on your video.

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When is online counselling unsuitable?

As a general guideline, online counselling is not suitable where a person:

> is in a crisis;

> is suffering from psychiatric disorder and/or experiencing psychosis such as hallucinations, paranoia or delusions;

> experiences severe or long-term mental health illness; or

> engages in excessively risky behaviour such as heavy alcohol or drug use.

Persons experiencing the above may consider engaging a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist for a face to face session instead. Psychiatrist are medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders and can prescribe medications if necessary.

Note: The Platform is not intended for case management and crisis management, and the client agrees that the Therapists will not be undertaking such activities as part of provision of Services.

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What are the benefits of online counselling?

Talk therapy has been shown to have numerous benefits to one’s overall wellbeing, including improving self-awareness, enhancing interpersonal interactions, and managing certain physical illnesses (eg chronic pain and IBS).

Above all, it allows one to not just deal with their immediate concerns but also cultivate healthy habits that improve their overall quality of life. These practices can then be imparted to loved ones as well.

If you are thinking about going for counselling, you may want to consider the various advantages of doing it online, including:

> Easier access to counselling, particularly for those who are otherwise busy with work or other commitments, have carer responsibilities, or reduced mobility.

> Up to 50 percent more affordable as compared to traditional in-person sessions.

> Greater time efficiency as travelling is not required, and scheduling is made simpler.

> Reduced inertia and fear of judgement as you will be attending sessions from a private space.

> The option to express yourself through writing, if you prefer.

At the very least, conversing with a Therapist on our platform lightens your mental load and gives you another perspective to approach your issues.

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How are online sessions different from in-person sessions?

The primary difference between online sessions and in-person sessions is where and how counselling takes place.

1. Location

> With online sessions, you can select a private setting that suits your preferences, such as your residence, workplace, or any other relaxing environment to attend your session from. This option also allows you to switch therapists via our platform effortlessly. 

> With in-person sessions, you would have to visit a specified location, typically the Therapist’s office, for your session.

2. Communication

> With online sessions, you can opt for your preferred mode of interaction (eg an audio call), depending on your comfort level.

> With in-person sessions, you are involved in direct, face-to-face conversations with your Therapist.

Ultimately, finding the medium for therapy that works best for you is most important.

Note: In-person sessions are currently only available in Singapore.

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