Mental Health: Do you really think you are doing your clients a favor?
Mental health in Singapore has taken the limelight in recent weeks. If you are a psychiatrist or psychologist, you might think that what you are learning has created massive change in patients. Unfortunately, it might very well be the case that what you once thought to have been helpful for your patient is actually harming them even further.
Here are three major issues I see in the mental health scene in Singapore.
Issue 1: Mental health professionals believe that what they learnt in the past is the be-all and end-all of mental health treatment.
This is odd to see because the vastness of the research available tells us very little about the brain, our biological makeup and reactions to the external environment. In other words, shouldn’t we also be looking at our patients instead of relying on past records alone and risk making our clients fall for a textbook formula rather than a customized intervention.
Issue 2: Mental health professionals become skeptical about alternative mental health methods.
I’ve been practicing NLP for around 14 years and have been formally trained for longer than any other mental health practitioner in Singapore. I happen to be trained in counseling as well as psychology, and my personal view is that if anyone who simply relies on traditional training
in psychology or counseling will be missing out a lot. I’ve only seen ONE psychiatrist in my whole life in NLP who is trained in NLP at a basic level, and that’s Dr. Joseph Leung from IMH.
Worse, if you are skeptical about NLP you are going to be in the danger zone of throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Issue 3: No actual cases and proof to “medical” subjects
In the USA and UK, many psychiatrists (but still not enough?) have long realized the power of NLP and adopted it as an additional weapon in their quest to help their clients heal faster. But the mindset in traditional psychiatry is that people want to have statistical results. Personally, I think that statistical results are expensive and waste a lot more time than just doing individual case studies. By the time you are done with multiple case studies, your meta analysis of these situations will show a distinct pattern of result anyway.
Is NLP the only mode of intervention? Well, here’s where I put the shocker: NLP is NOT a mode of intervention. NLP is actually the toolkit that helps you to identify the appropriate intervention.
Unlike cognitive therapy or behavioral therapy, nlp therapy models that work. More importantly, NLP helps you study patterns of communication in an individual with problems. These patterns of communication reveal certain things about their beliefs, their values, their mental modalities and more. Many of these have been troublesome to study and learn because few professionals in the field have actually studied the linguistics behind communication. I’ve studied applied linguistics and continue to be fascinated by the field. I believe that the future of mental health is in the communicative sciences rather than just the brain sciences. Why? Simply because someone who is in a particular state and needs change will require some persuasion. And if you can’t do it from your authority as a psychiatrist or psychologist, then you have to do it from persuasive skill.