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Most of us would not have pursued a career in mental health helping (broadly including here counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, social work, and psychiatry) if we were not aware of and keen to extend to those in need the many benefits that the face-to-face therapeutic encounter brings. Accustomed to this format, we can easily dismiss online technologies as a viable way of delivering professional health services. But let’s look for a moment at what we would be dismissing. Note: the following list of benefits does not include those emanating strictly from interactions with clients vis-a-vis social media sites. There is greater flexibility ... Read More

The Gut-Brain Connection

What if I offered you a holiday which either tasted good or during which you would look and feel good? Which would you choose? Would you rather eat and drink whatever you like from that laden holiday buffet or be in a good mood – and feel healthy – while you stand around it? The question is not as silly as it sounds. New discoveries in neuroscience are helping health researchers understand how the gut-brain connection works to keep you healthy – or make you sick. Studies confirm: gut bacteria affects brain function We’ve always known that the brain can send messages ... Read More

Every year my siblings look forward to the visit my husband and I make to my country of origin. They are very glad to see me, but they can’t wait to see him. Why? When he is with each one, it is as if that person is the only human being on the planet. My husband gazes at the person with unwavering interest, drawing them out, checking that he has heard things correctly, and backing up the whole encounter with congruent body language. In short, my husband has mastered the art of being interested. So many people long to be ... Read More

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of thoughts, feelings and behaviour (Weiten, 2004). Compared to biology, chemistry or physics, psychology is a young scientific field. In 1879, William Wundt established the first psychology research lab at the University of Leipzig. In 1881, the first psychology journal was established, also by Wundt. Other important early contributors to psychology include William James (“stream of consciousness”), John B. Watson (behaviourism) and Sigmund Freud (the “unconscious”) (Weiten, 2004). Traditional influences include philosophy and physiology; however, as a multidisciplinary field, psychology is now influenced by disparate areas including computer science, medicine, music, feminism and social science. In ... Read More

The same questions counsellors use to make wise decisions about dual or multiple relationships in the real world may be employed when considering the ethical consequences of engaging in an online dual relationship with a client: Is entering into a relationship in addition to the professional one necessary, or should I avoid it? Can the dual relationship potentially cause harm to the client? If harm seems unlikely, would the additional relationship prove beneficial? Is there a risk that the dual relationship could disrupt the therapeutic relationship? Can I evaluate this matter objectively? (Corey et al, 2011, p 273). Specific to the question of social media, Zur ... Read More

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