Whom should I consult – Psychiatrist or Counselor?

Ideally both… Let me show you some specific scenarios from my clinical experience.

Say; you are struggling to be happy in your marriage. There are continual fights, misunderstandings and fears. Marriage Counseling should be the first port of call here. However; if your issues appear intractable; a psychiatrist maybe able to expose a hidden Paranoid Schizophrenia or a Depression which makes it difficult for spouses to connect with each other.

Say; you can’t stomach the thought of getting into a flight or an elevator. You are always on the edge. You freeze on the stage. You know the answers thoroughly but exam anxiety pulls down your ranks. You feel persistently low. These kind of situations are best resolved with a joint treatment program from both a Counselor and a Psychiatrist.

Now that you know the difference between a Counselor and a Psychiatrist; it is also useful to know the ground reality that most psychiatrists are too busy to listen for more than 5 to 10 minutes and they like to restrain themselves to prescription of medication. In such a case you can see if they will put you on to a in-house Counselor or someone they know.

I will be quick to add that there are many Psychiatrists who love to counsel too. It is really a professional decision all of us have to take for ourselves. When I started my clinical practice I decided to devote a large part of my clinic time to counseling as I personally felt more fulfilled in helping my clients with changing their thinking than just prescribing pills and leaving it at that.

Whoever you decide to meet; ensure experience & professionalism. Be frank and open with your treatment team.

Let us know your experience with counselors and/or psychiatrists by commenting below.

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The Top 3 Differences Between A Counselor And A Psychiatrist You Must Now

Writing this out felt like I was comparing apples to oranges. Anyways…

Let’s start with the qualification process. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized in the structure and function of the brain and the mind. It takes you a minimum of 8 to 10 years to qualify as a psychiatrist. Obviously; that makes it very rigorous scientific training with a high entry barrier. Counselors on the other hand may have done a BSc in Psychology, Counseling or Clinical Psychology.

Surprisingly as of now there is no regulatory body for counselling services in India. That means; anyone can become a counselor of any type. Since the entry barrier is low not everyone may offer a professional approach. Some people may just be sharing their life experiences in the guise of a counselor. Of course; that is not true for the many who take efforts to educate and continually train themselves.

Secondly; counselors focus on the psychological aspects of any problem by exploring thought patterns, emotions, behavior and habits in great detail. On the other hand psychiatrists generally focus on brain biochemistry and its optimization to relieve clinical situations.

Finally; only a psychiatrist is authorized to prescribe psychiatric medications. Counselors are non medical people and hence do not concern themselves with medication. This becomes significant in today’s date as chemists do not dispense psychiatric medication without a fresh prescription.

Do you feel there are some other differences between the two? If yes; please let me know by commenting below.

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The 5 Cool Things Dum Laga Ke Haisha Says About Marriage & 2 Ways In Which The Movie Is Similar To Shallow Hal


I am not a professional movie reviewer. Also; it is not my forte to evaluate the technical aspects of making a movie but then my interest is in the psychological learning points from it. Here are five things I draw from Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

1. The movie rightly emphasizes that you are more than your physical appearance. That should stand not only for weight but also for skin color; knowing our country’s obsession with the so called fair and the lovely.

2. Love is a great feeling but it is impossible to create and nurture it without working at it. There are ways to get the feeling back if you have lost it. Feelings are not everything even though they are important.

3. Marriage is a difficult commitment but it does have its rewards.

Nobody likes to be forced into an arrangement like the couple in the movie were cajoled into but then they were able to start in the negative and end with a positive.

How ironic and painful when Ms Right and Mr Perfect start with a celebration that is the size of the Big Bang and gradually move their marriage down to the rocks.

4. Biology & endocrinology tells us that the mid of the twenties is the best age to get married. It is alarming that many marriages are getting delayed in the guise of ideal circumstances. Did I hear someone say, “Let me settle down first”? You can keep saying that forever.

5. It helps to have parents and in-laws who will push you toward each other instead of away from each other.

And now for the two similarities between Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Shallow Hal…

1. Loving someone for their inner qualities and in spite of their physical appearance is an emphasis you find in both the stories.

2. In Shallow Hal the movie ends with the girl carrying the guy in her arms and in Dum Laga Ke Haisha we see our man carrying his girl on his shoulders.

What a similarity from healthy real life marriages wherein spouses take turns to carry each other on their shoulders emotionally; if not physically.

Most of my friends liked the movie. And then there were some who felt uncomfortable with it’s message.

Let me know your take on the movie by commenting below.

PS: I will continue to review more movies and books. Ensure that you don’t miss out on future reviews by subscribing at this link

From my previous website

Here is a round up of what I had written on my previous website

1. I reviewed the book “Outlier“; the key thoughts in it and what I learnt from it.

2. The two systems of thinking

5. An interesting village story

6. A jungle story

7. Issues with Information-Distraction

8. A Tehelka story on psychiatry in India

9. The need for empathy in our profession

10. A social analysis of courtship dynamics

11. My Strengths Finder themes

12. Why our work needs confidentiality

13. Confidentiality has it’s limits

14. A surgical poem

15. Blood tests in clinical psychiatry practice