Psychotherapy is a therapeutic interaction or treatment between a trained professional and an individual (client), or group. It involves medication-free treatment of mental and emotional disorders through the use of psychological techniques designed to encourage communication, with the ultimate goals of personality growth and behaviour modification.

Client’s hope to learn about their condition, moods, feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and on how to take control of their life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills. The problems addressed are psychological in nature and can vary in terms of their causes, influences, triggers, and potential resolutions.

“We don’t see things the way they are, we see things the way we are.” – Anais Nin, Author

In Pakistan, due to the prevailing illiteracy and lack of awareness, mental illness is often misunderstood. People from lower middle class families usually associate mental illness with outright madness. Rural folk assume their sick family members are plagued by “supernatural entities”, or that some ill-doer may have cast black magic on them. Some dupes are even made to believe they will be cursed for not marrying off their 11-year-old daughter to their landlord’s dog.

But let’s not stray away from the topic at hand… The lack of mental health awareness is an abandoned concern that needs to be tackled, aggressively. In an exclusive interview with The Karachiite, Mekayl Mashhadi Ahmed explains to us how Therapy Works, a Counselling and Psychotherapy centre has undertaken this brave initiative…

So, what is Therapy Works exactly?
Therapy Works is a Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre, affiliated with the ‘Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body’ (CPCAB), the only awarding body in Europe to specialize in counselling, offer vocational counselling and life coaching qualifications in training centers throughout the United Kingdom.

What do you offer?
We have out-client services for everyday problems such as anxiety, depression, anger management, domestic violence, family therapy, marital issues as well as for more serious dilemmas such personality disorders. Therapy Works has a private in-client rehabilitation facility for those suffering from addiction and unstable mental health disorders. We have a specialized children’s department which deals with learning disabilities and other difficulties. Therapy Works also conducts corporate training for multinationals and semi-government organizations. We also host workshops conducted by our international faculty consisting of world renowned psychotherapists.

Many Pakistani’s consider therapy to be a taboo. What is its scope in Pakistan, and how do you overcome the stigma associated with it?
Mental health is one of the most neglected fields in Pakistan, despite exponential increments in the number of people suffering from such disorders. Given the scarcity of data, it is hard to provide an accurate estimate of the percentage of our country’s population suffering from psychological problems.

Recently, we have felt that the stigma associated with therapy, being linked only to mental health issues, is slowly beginning to fade. We have people from different backgrounds and age groups who come in for counselling and therapy every day. Now, in our seventh year of operation, we feel we have been successful in creating awareness about the importance of mental health welfare. As more and more Pakistanis are becoming open to the idea of therapy, it is now being seen as a way forward for even healthy people to continue in optimum health.

Tell us about your rehabilitation facility?
Our rehabilitation center is a state-of-the-art facility and is unlike any other in Pakistan. Commonly, sending a loved one away to a coercive and purely medical facility can be isolating and humiliating for the person and heartbreaking for the family. However, our facility provides a humanistic approach with a safe, self-empowering environment that promotes dignity and respect for the individual and peace of mind to the family. As an organization, we are committed to the highest international professional standards of excellence in client care, based on principles of mutual respect, complete confidentiality, genuineness and positive regard for the client.  Our rehabilitation center helps people overcome their alcohol or drug dependencies, and also caters to people with severe mental disorders. Clients who stay at our rehabilitation center have a number of extracurricular activities to engage in. They are also taken on trips to restaurants and on beach outings.

Who are you courses targeted towards? Can anyone do it?
Our UK accredited courses in Counselling and Psychotherapy are open to all. The minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s in any subject. Our students are diverse in terms of age and profession, some are 25-years-old, and we have some who are even 70 plus! Our students include corporate executives, human resource professionals, teachers, headmistresses, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and people working with non-government organizations.

What are the advantages of taking these courses at Therapy Works?
By training with us in Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad, one can become a CPCAB-UK certified counsellor. Our counsellors are not restricted to clients only in Pakistan, but can practice anywhere in the United Kingdom, and some other parts of the world as well. Training to become a counsellor is exciting, challenging, sometimes demanding, but it’s always a dynamic and rewarding life experience. By experiencing the support structure of a group, who together embark on a journey of self-discovery, our students are given the unique opportunity to experience themselves in different light and grow as human beings. Not only do they learn from the curriculum, but they also acquire life lessons from sharing experiences within the group.

So if you or anyone of your family members suffers from a mental, social or behavioural disorder, or, if you or anyone you know is interested in pursuing a stimulating training course to become a counsellor, Therapy Works is the best suited institution for your tailored needs.