All posts by huibee

Why do I need Psychotherapy on top of Medication?

Case 1:

My OCD client. She used to take medication many years ago, and has stopped after her condition was well under control and they were planning for pregnancy. The symptoms came back quite aggressively during her pregnancy, but with the support of her husband and family, she didn’t take any medication till her delivery, then she found me. We started psychotherapy (mainly mindfulness and Exposure Response Prevention) few months back, if you ask her what her advice was based on her experience, she would tell you, “I should have started psychotherapy when I was taking medication. That was when my symptoms were less intense with the medication, and the exposure would have been much easier. That way I could learn the techniques and use it later when I no longer medication. I wasted the opportunity. When my symptoms returned and I couldn’t take medication, I don’t know what I can do at all. I struggled till my baby was delivered.”

Case 2.

My anxiety client. She was referred to me by a psychiatric consultant, when we first met, she was rather cheerful and calm, and was tailing off the medication instructed by her doctor. Then she never came back for follow up. Till two months later, she texted me saying she had been so anxious and was unable to sleep for the past nights. We had our second session where she learnt some coping skills. When I followed up with her over the phone, she told me she was much better practicing what I told her to, and was able to sleep. Another month gone, and I received her text again saying she was under much stress and worrying a lot. She asked if there was anything she could do to stop worrying and being so anxious about things. I told her to come back for a follow up session.

 

Psychotherapy doesn’t work like tranquiliser. You pop the pill into your mouth, within 15 minutes or so you get much calmer. Psychotherapy doesn’t work like anti-depressants either. You take the medication regularly for few weeks, your depressed mood, your anxiety and OCD symptoms subside significantly.

However, psychotherapy equips you with coping skills and techniques, if you practice regularly, it becomes YOURS. You become your own therapist. When you spot the early warning signs and symptoms, you can treat yourself, without medication, without any wait.

So when you get much more stable after taking medication, it’s always good to start psychotherapy, which help you tail off medication more easily, understand yourself and the illness better, and prevent future relapse better.

马来西亚催眠治疗

前阵子发现询问关于催眠治疗的人有增加的趋势,而我这两年也开始在马来西亚结合催眠和 CBT (认知行为治疗)还有 ACT (接受与承诺疗法),来使治疗效果更显著一些。我在2012年在英国催眠与催眠治疗学院完成的“认知行为催眠治疗”文凭证书,是一个完全基于科学与研究的催眠学派。从2015年开始,我也跟随来自英国的学院院长,开始在中国北京讲授这门课。

催眠治疗并不是什么神秘魔幻的力量,它用的依然是我们头脑的力量(e.g. ideomotor & ideosensory responses),需要的是患者的积极态度和配合才能生效,所以并不是“躺在那边一两次,问题就全解决了”的。

有兴趣的人,不妨看一看这里,让自己更了解催眠,也更不会被市面上许多没有科学根据、没有实验与临床研究根据的所谓催眠治疗给骗了…

也请大家不妨分享一些好的、比较专业的催眠治疗师。

 

P.S. 有时间的时候,再和大家仔细分享催眠与临床心理学的结合应用。目前我在巴生的私人医院和吉隆坡的精神专科诊所也有在接个案。

Creative Problem Solving

Here are some questions to help finding creative solutions of any problem you have. (N.B. provided that it’s a problem that can be solved, not something not within your control)

Really sit down and take time to consider these…

  • What’s the problem?
  • What have you done in the past to cope with similar problems?
  • What haven’t you tried?
  • What would you advise someone you care about to do in similar situation?
  • Think of someone you respect or admire. What would they do?
  • What do you think people you respect would advise you to do?
  • Who could you approach for help?
  • List all the other resources you can draw upon to cope?
  • What would a creative person do?
  • What would a wise person do?
  • What would a courageous person do?
  • What would be the easiest thing to do?
  • What would be the most effective solution possible? What’s the ideal solution?
  • Overall, what do you think the best or most realistic solution would be?
  • What would be the first step?

The elderly companion

I came across quite a few “love-less” relationships in some elderly couples recently. They are normally above 60 years of age, retired, spending a lot of time together (if not all the time), and starting to argue within 5 seconds of a “conversation”.

I am not sure if it’s right for me to call them “love-less”. But there does not seem to be anything else, other than complains, arguments, resentment, and even hostility. Sometimes I feel like they are hating each other.

Whenever I try to shift the topics to something else, within a short while, and often without me realising, the topic is again back to the partner, what s/he has done, how s/he hates him/her doing that etc. I observe “loathing” on their faces when they talk about their partner.

“Hmm.. Ok. It appears that you two dislike each other very much, and dislike spending time with each other, and will start arguing once you talk. How about separation? Have you guys considered —” (Normally I don’t get to finish what I intended to say)

“No la! This is normal what! Don’t be silly la! You know how old we are now… It’s normal la, spending time together and arguing. You are young, you don’t know just yet”

Deep down most of them admit that they are no longer able to live the life on their own, without that partner who has been with them for many decades, whether with or without children. “Divorce” never crosses their minds, it can’t be mentioned, they don’t even consider it, as if it will lead to some disaster, socially, familial, morally etc. But they feel miserable with this life of retirement, it was never what they imagined to be (free, joyful, enjoyable etc). Even when they go on holidays, they can argue non-stop.

Other than listening to them, I’m not sure what I can do to help them. They don’t need any medication. They do need some counselling or psychotherapy, but they are not keen to stick to doing homework and learning new skills to communicate better, to manage anger better etc., they think they know better.

But normally, if both are relatively healthy, I’d at least recommend them to spend more time separately, look for their own interests and circles of friend, develop purpose of life of their own. This usually helps, as it indirectly enhances the quality of time they spend together. What say you?

介绍书:故事思维(英-中译)

原文要是看得懂的话,我一向不看翻译书(所以简单来说我不看英译中的书),这是我在北京上课的一名助教老师送的,和我平时看的书不太一样,确实是很棒的一本书,只是有些地方翻译得不太清楚,简单的故事却变得不容易明白。(建议购买英文版本来看)

By Annette Simmons

By Annette Simmons

书里主要说些在生活中、职场上,如何用故事影响别人,讲故事的好处,和怎么选择好的故事、演说好的故事等等。

其实说故事的确是个很重要的技能,包括我平时在临床的经验,有时你和病人说理论说道理,还不如拿个贴切实用的故事和他说说,对方会突然挺直背盯着你关注你说的话(比较有兴趣听),透过故事也比较能够直接理解你要传达的意思(包括间接的提高他的动机、完成家庭作业等)。

可以看看这本书,当然最重要的还是把里面学到的实践用上(我还得多加努力…)!

Free and Alive – An email from a reader

My work email (hello@huibee.com) does receive emails quite frequently, from people seeking psychological helps, worried family members, potential clients, advice seekers, existing psychology students etc. However, this one is quite unique!

I’ve got the permission of the reader to share this email that he’s written to me last week.


Hi,

There is a story I want to tell You, I hope this letter reaches you and you’ll have some time to read it.

I’m a 21 yo guy from Hungary. 
A few years ago somehow, somewhere on the internet I stumbled on this post:
http://huibee.blogspot.hu/2012/09/behavioural-experiment-for-social.html?m=1
I don’t remember how I actually managed to find such a thing, but It was haunting my mind for years. “You should go take a banana for a walk, that would be fun”
I was daydreaming about it a lot more than I’m proud to admit
Not because it’s something foolish to think of, but because I haven’t done it for years, even though I wanted to and could’ve.
I even put in on my bucket list to make sure I’ll do it one day.
Then I realized that every day could be that “one day”. I don’t have to wait for it, not a single day.
So one day, on april 8th, 2018 I went for a walk with my banana, called “bobo” (I assume it’s not protected by copyright, right?)
It was amazing. People were laughing, smiling all the time around me. Someone even stopped to pet the banana, while other took pictured of it (and me). Since it’s 2018, it’s not a common thing to see someone taking a walk with their banana.
Of course there were some grumpy people who just didn’t get it and looked at me with that judgemental, disgusted face
I’m never affected by such things, I didn’t care about how they thought that i’ve lost my mind or whatever, all I cared about is the smile on the faces when walked past me.
It was a wonderful feeling. The sun was shining, it wasn’t too cold nor too hot, everything was just right.
I wish I could do other things with such a “free” spirit. Do you know any other ideas that are similar to this in some way? You know, that day for that 3-4 hours I felt really alive, which I haven’t felt for a long time. I’ve been trying to find my place in this mess called “world”, but it’s really difficult if you are entirely different than everyone else.
Honestly I really wish that you would understand how big impact that post had on my life.
If you have some free time, I would like to continue emaling for a while, if you don’t mind.

Thank You,


The post he mentioned was written during the time when I was in the UK and doing a diploma with Donald Robertson. You can also read it here (I moved my blog over in 2013, but the old link he provided has got a video of us doing it).

I’ve never thought that my blogpost would reach someone that far away, and influenced him in such special way. I mean, seriously, we can never imagine how things may turn out. I’m so glad that he took the effort and initiation to look for my contact (wasn’t available in my old blog) and got in touch with me.

Be kind, be grateful, and live your life to the fullest. Try out different things, embrace new experience.

He also attached the picture of his pet, Bobo, at the end of the email.

banana