Do you have questions for a psychologist? Are you afraid or embarrassed to see one? Well, we may have the answers you need!
My 6 year old daughter is getting invited quite often to her friends’ homes for birthday parties or play dates. She becomes embarrassed if I accompany her or send the nanny with her. What’s the right thing to do as I want her to be independent but I also want to make sure she is safe?
Your concern is quite understandable as children’s independence needs to be promoted but not at the expense of their safety and well being. It is always healthy that you get to know your child’s friends and their parents as this will give you some details regarding their home environment and value system, which will help you decide whether it’s compatible with your own. With regards to your child being invited to birthday parties and play dates, remember that you have the right to call up the parents, introduce yourself, ask who will be there, and who will be chaperoning the kids. Based on your comfort level, then you can decide whether or not it is OK for your daughter to visit her friend’s house and whether you or someone you trust should accompany her. If it’s the first time, it’s always best that she be accompanied by a caregiver. Even though we want our kids to be independent, we are also responsible for their safety. At 6 years old, your daughter can demonstrate independence in other ways like completing assigned chores and having small responsibilities at home, then eventually going to her trusted friends’ homes unaccompanied by anyone.
I have been through an unsuccessful romantic relationship that affected me deeply and negatively. How can I get over this relationship and regain my identity, self confidence and resolve my trust problems?
Individuals often undergo unsuccessful relational experiences. It is not uncommon that, when a relationship ends, we blame ourselves and put ourselves down. Additionally, previous relational experiences with friends and family also impact how we deal with the success or failure of future intimate experiences. The key, however, is to learn from these experiences and not allow them to impact prospective positive relationships. Whatever the scope of the relationship, it is important to not allow it to be the focus and center of your life, so that if it does not succeed, you don’t feel like you lost everything. Individuals often, initially, become distrustful, guarded and insecure when an intimate relationship ends. It’s important for you to take your time, grieve the loss of the relationship, but most importantly figure out why the relationship was unsuccessful so you can have a more successful future relationship. Again, if you want to move forward and begin to trust, you have to forget about self pity and remorse.
How is it possible for psychologists who have not undergone a similar experience of a patient to understand them and how is it possible for psychologists who have problems of their own to help patients?
Qualified psychologists undergo years of training and supervision before providing services to clients. They receive knowledge and training regarding diagnosis, assessment and therapy of various symptoms and disorders. Remember, clients do not access psychologists for their personal experiences but rather for their professional expertise. In addition, psychologists are trained to not allow their personal experiences to interfere with their therapy and to maintain strict boundaries during the professional therapeutic relationships with their clients. Also, psychologists are human beings who have difficulties of their own but these difficulties should in no away impact the quality of the services they provide to clients. If, at any point, a qualified psychologists feels that he/she will not be able to objectively work with a client then the ethics of the profession ascertains that the psychologist refers the client to another psychologist who will be able to help the client objectively and professionally. If at any time, while seeing a psychologist, the client feels that his/her psychologist is not being professional, is talking about their personal problems or they are not maintaining boundaries during the therapy sessions (i.e. inviting the client outside for coffee, dinner or a social activity), the client has the right to end the therapeutic relationship and look for someone professional and ethical.
I have noticed that I have always struggled with setting goals but now that I am beginning my career, I find it important to learn how to do so. Do you have any tips?
Goal setting and organization are skills that can be learned. It’s great that you have noticed this to be a difficulty of yours as some people do not find it to be a problem and constantly repeat the phrase that there is “order to my chaos”. Goal setting is an important skill to have as it keeps you organized, focused and disciplined. Before getting into the particulars of goal setting, try to have a rough plan of where you are in terms of life accomplishments on the various domains of family, personal and occupational. Then, make a list of things that you would like to improve or achieve. Remember, goal setting involves short term planning (daily or weekly routine) and long term planning (monthly or yearly targets). The first step is to learn how to manage your time. At the beginning of each month, you can set aside an hour and write down tasks that need to be accomplished during the month. Then you need to prioritize the ones that have time constraints and then you can start plugging in these tasks or goals into your calendar. It is important that you are realistic with your list of goals and to only write the ones that you can accomplish in the set time frame. Setting unrealistic goals can be disappointing and self defeating.
For psychological advice, send your questions to [email protected]. Please note that not all questions can be published. Dr. Juliet and Dr. Nisrine are bilingual and bicultural expert psychologists on various personal and social issues.