psi

FAQ

What is “Counseling”?
What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?
What is PSI?
Who comes to counseling at PSI?
When might I need counseling?
How long does counseling take?
What about confidentiality?
What are the qualifications of PSI's Counseling Staff?
How do I start the counseling process?
Does PSI offer opportunities for personal growth other than counseling itself?





What is "Counseling"?

Counseling is not easily described in general statements.  Counseling is a series of discussions with a trained professional counselor. Many different professionals provide counseling, including social workers, psychologists, pastoral counseling specialists, and others. You speak confidentially, focusing on problems that are bothering you. Counselors do not prescribe medication (psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, prescribe medication). Counseling is not like a medical doctors visit.  Instead, it calls for a very active effort by the client.  Your counselor does not tell you what to do, or try to blame anybody for anything. The counselor is objective, and can help you clarify what the problem is, what causes it, and then help you decide for yourself what the best possible options are for resolving it.  The fundamental goal of counseling is to help a client live life in ways that are valuable and meaningful for that client.

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What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?

Counseling and psychotherapy have more similarities than differences.  Both involve working with a trained professional to help you make changes in your life.  In both, the professional uses a wide range of techniques and approaches to help you, the client, make changes and reach your goals.  At their best, both counseling and psychotherapy enable people to identify and overcome barriers to growth and to live richer, more meaningful lives.
Some people seek professional assistance for problems in their lives that can be solved by exploring the current situation for answers.  These are typically problems that have come up recently, or in response to stressful events. This is usually comparatively short-term and does not require much delving into the past. There are also standard recommendations for certain problems. This is commonly referred to as counseling.
Other people seek professional assistance for issues which require more in-depth exploration.  These issues typically involve long standing habits or patterns that the person wants to change.  These patterns or habits may have been useful (or neutral) in the past, but now interfere with living a satisfying life.  This kind of work includes a wider examination of the client's history and relationships and may not always focus on a specific “problem” per se. This kind of process can be called psychotherapy.
If you have questions about this, please don't hesitate to being them up in an early appointment with your counselor.

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What is PSI?

Psychological Services International (PSI) is a group practice of qualified, credentialed and experienced professionals who work together to provide a wide range of mental health services to the Bangkok community. Every provider at PSI is one of the most skilled professionals available in Thailand in their area of expertise.  We provide comprehensive psychological support in several languages (as of October 2014 we can provide services in English, French, Italian, Thai, and Portuguese!). We can provide services for children, teens, adults, couples, families, groups and organizations.
We are multi-ethnic and culturally diverse in background, training, and experience. We are committed to providing services to all regardless of race or ethnic group, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or ability to pay. Clients who can afford to pay the full standard fee help support our work with those who cannot.  PSI is committed to helping develop the next generation of Thai counselors and psychotherapists.  PSI offers the services of talented, bilingual Thai counselors.  Because they are still in training, they see clients under supervision and for reduced fees.

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Who comes to counseling at PSI?

Our clients include adults of all ages, adolescents, children, couples, and families; all are able to work effectively on their problems here. Our counselors see people individually, as couples, and as entire families.  Sometimes, some of these may occur in tandem (for example, seeing a counselor individually while also in couples therapy).

The majority of our clients are expatriates living in Bangkok, in Thailand, and in the region at large.  We have provided services to citizens of almost every country!  Many local clients from the diverse communities of Bangkok also come for help, support, and growth at PSI.  As of October 2014, our counselors are providing services in English, French, Italian, Thai and Portugese.  One of our counselors even speaks Swahili!
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When might I need counseling?

Here are some common reasons people come for counseling:

"I was unhappy. I never felt good. I wanted to know if I was suffering from depression."

"My children were having problems at school."

"My parents are driving me crazy!"
"There were some unpleasant situations repeating themselves in my life, and I couldn't seem to avoid the cycle."

"My spouse and I were close to divorce."

"I had trouble re-adjusting to life in Thailand after being gone for many years."

"I was anxious all the time, over-stressed at work. I couldn't just relax and enjoy my life, and couldn't sleep."

"I was having trouble making a big decision."

"I couldn't give up alcohol (or other substances) on my own."

"I was arguing with my family a lot. We could never agree about anything."
You can see that these are everyday people with problems common in life. They aren't unusual at all. They just need a trained professional to listen to their problem and help them to sort it out.

Other common problems are:


* Self esteem and self confidence issues
* Anxiety and other types of fear, such as worrying, panic attacks, and phobias
* Substance abuse and different kinds of addictions
* Cultural adjustment, culture shock, and the various special problems of living overseas.
* Prolonged grief reactions
* Self Harm or Self Injury
* Career or employment issues, such as burnout or difficulty with the boos
* Life goal planning
* Sexuality issues of various types
* Religious or spiritual issues
* Coping with different forms of abuse (spousal abuse, child abuse, psychological abuse)
* Coping with the impact of trauma (for example, rape or other sexual assault, car accident, mass violence,    and other forms of trauma)
* Eating disorders, such as bulimia or binge eating
* Issues about money, such as impulsivity or compulsive spending
* Reactions to natural disasters
* Couple conflict



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How long does counseling take?

For most people, an important goal of counseling is to stop coming to counseling!  That is, if counseling is effective and useful, at some point, the counseling ends.  How long does that take?  That depends on the client, the counselor, the characteristics of the problem/s being worked on, the client's goals, and the client's motivation (to name a few relevant factors).
As mentioned above, it is difficult to describe counseling in brief, general statement (like, 'counseling requires X number of sessions"). Sometimes only a few sessions are needed to get on track. Other people need a number of months to get to the roots of problems. Sessions are usually once a week, although it is sometimes helpful to come more often. Your counselor will help you decide what frequency and length of treatment is best for you. It is our ethical responsibility to "work ourselves out of our job" with each client.  And, in the end, you're the boss and you decide when to continue and when to stop.
What about confidentiality?

As in North America, Europe or Australia, everything you tell your counselor is confidential. We will not share information about you with anyone without your prior permission, including the fact that you are in counseling. There are several standard exceptions to this rule, which are related to our responsibility to make sure that people are safe. For example, if we believe that someone is in imminent danger (you or someone else), we may break confidentiality to protect people (as would any counselor around the world).

In Bangkok , each of us often runs across people we know as we go about our "daily rounds". That makes some people reluctant to consult a professional counselor for fear they will be seen at the counselor's office or that what they discuss will become known to others. At PSI, our counselors maintain the highest possible standards of confidentiality.  None of our counselors will discuss you with anyone else.  You may see someone you know as you come and go from the counseling office. If somebody does see you, they'll only know that you were here. Nothing else.

If reports of sessions are required for any reason (insurance claims and the like), you must sign a Release of Information statement before anything can be said or written by your counselor about you.

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What are the qualifications of PSI's Counseling Staff?

Our counselors are professionally trained and qualified. All of us have a minimum of a Master's Degree in counseling or mental health related field.  All of our professionals have received extensive training and supervision according to the highest standards of practice in their home countries.   In addition to training and supervised practice, each of our professionals has extensive experience in their area of expertise. Every counselor at PSI seeks out regular supervision and continuing education to hone skills and maintain efficacy.
We encourage you to be "wise consumers" of mental health services;  it's valuable to recognize well-intentioned people who call themselves "counselors" or "therapists" but who lack professional training, supervised experience, and other essential qualifications.  Some people practice outside their area of professional expertise (since every counselor can't be competent to help every client, a professional counselor can always tell you what clients they work with AND what kind of clients they don't work with)
Here are some questions that the American Psychological Association suggests you ask any potential counselor:
  • Are you licensed by the state?

  • How long have you been practicing?

  • What areas do you specialize in (i.e., family therapy, marriage counseling, etc.)?

  • What kind of treatment do you usually use, and why do you feel this would be effective for my situation?

  • How long would you expect my treatment to last?

  • What are your fees?

For more detailed information on how to find and select a good counselor, check out Ben Butina's comprehensive 'how-to' guide at PsychCentral.   For a more general introduction to counseling/psychotherapy, there is also Raymond Richmond's interesting Guide to Psychology.






How do I start the counseling process?

It's very simple. Call PSI at 02-259-1467 and leave us a confidential message on our voice response system.  In your initial call, you need only give your phone number if you wish. Your contact details will be kept strictly confidential and you'll get a call back very soon.  Your message will be listened to and responded to by a professional counselor (no one else).  You may also email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Whichever method you choose, one of our counselors will respond directly to you.  You can ask questions and discuss which of our counselors is a good fit for your needs, preferences, and schedule. You may also request a specific counselor provided that counselor has openings. Then only the details of scheduling a convenient time to meet with the counselor need arranging. When you come for your first appointment, you'll find out that the waiting area is laid out to be comfortable and quiet, and that you will be met with plenty of personal attention and care. In the first session or two, your counselor will help you design a plan of action that specifically addresses your circumstances.

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Does PSI offer opportunities for personal growth other than counseling itself?

Not at this time.

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