The importance of psychology is starting to gain ground in Lebanon and people are becoming more aware of the need to ensure good mental health.

Unlike psychoanalysis, which tackles the unconscious, cognitive therapy suggests that human emotions are dictated by thoughts. One might, for instance, feel anxious, for misconceiving a certain situation as dangerous. Correcting this misconception or thought lies at the core of cognitive therapy.

Numerous are the mistaken notions surrounding the practice of psychology and people still fail to view it as an independent science just like physics or math. Psychology is not fortune-telling and therapists do need proof before they can make any claim.

Although cognitive therapy can be applicable to almost every psychological disorder, it works best when addressing obsessive compulsive disorders, social anxiety disorders and phobias. Being a biological dysfunction, schizophrenia, for instance, responds to medical intervention better than psychological one. Severe or complex diseases are rare and entering the clinic doesn’t necessarily imply a serious condition. OCD, depression and panic attacks are among the most common disorders that patients wish to overcome with the guidance of a professional.

In recent years, more people have come to terms with the need to seek professional help when needed. The Lebanese, in particular, have always consulted professionals when it came to their mental health, but today, there is a growing tendency among them to speak of it openly. It is clearly evident that the population in this country and the region at large are in need to see psychologists and specialists to process their emotions and engage in open dialogues aimed to alleviate their troubles and rid them of their psychological burdens.

The average age of clients seeking consultation is between 25 and 35 years – about two thirds of clients are women. Those suffering from severe OCD are the most challenging as they are very guarded and rigid and their excessive need to be in control makes them far less accessible.

Luckily, Lebanon has come a long way as far as mental health awareness is concerned. However, reaching out to all segments and communicating the message of mental health with the disadvantaged coming from less privileged backgrounds remains a major challenge.

Another challenge hindering the improvement of psychology in Lebanon is the lack of qualified personnel. Patients must be certain that the psychologist they are approaching is fully trained and qualified. Unfortunately, there is no syndicate for psychologists in Lebanon to decide on whether one has the competency to practice therapy or not.

Bigger attention is given to raising mental health awareness among students within Lebanon’s schools and universities. It is of the utmost importance to have a professional team on hand to ensure that children and teenagers have the necessary support and guidance in assuring good mental health.

If untreated, children with Attention Deficit Disorder are likely to develop low self-esteem as well as anxiety and poor academic performance. This is where professional psychological assistance should come in handy to minimize the adverse effects of a certain disorder and lay the foundations for better self-development and progress.