Association of Professional Counseling Psychologists (APCP), a premier Organization in the field of Counseling Psychology, with the sole objective of empowering people of all ages especially Malayalees to face the challenges of changing times was established by a Group of like-minded Professionals in a meeting held at MTI, Anjilithanam ,Tiruvalla on 20.09.2009, on the initiative of Dr. G. Dinakaran, Mind Management Consultant, Thiruvalla. This meeting was presided over by Mr. P.P. Kunju Kunju, Senior Commandant (Retd.), Central Reserve Police Force, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Subsequently APCP has since been registered under The Travancore Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act 1955 (Act XII of 1955) and currently it has roots in all the 14 districts of Kerala. Our Members, through the scientific application of Psychoanalytic approach, assess and diagnose the shortcomings and inadequacies in the personality of each client, fine-tune and enhance empowerment resulting in higher degree of coping skills so as to face the challenges of changing times. This process in effect enhances the mental and physical health and wellness of clients without medication. Here comes the need to take the services of Professional Psychological Counselors or Counseling Psychologists.

Mostly Public are not aware about the distinction between a Psychiatrist and a Psychological Counselor or Counseling psychologist or a Facilitator. This write up aims to throw light on this aspect and create awareness amongst the Public on the significance of Psychological Counseling/Counseling Psychology. Understanding this aspect help a Parent take his emotionally disturbed adolescent child first to a qualified Psychological Counselor instead of a Mental Health Hospital/ Lunatic asylum. A Psychiatrist is a Specialist Qualified Medical Professional who undertakes Post Graduate training in Psychological Medicine (A Psychiatrist would normally hold an MD Degree, D.P.H. or both) and is licensed to prescribe medication. Most Psychiatrists in India practice or work in Medical Settings where they deal with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia etc. Common symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disorganized thinking and withdrawal from reality are observed. Mainly 5 types of schizophrenia are recognized: the paranoid, characterized by delusions of persecution or grandeur combined with unrealistic, illogical thinking and frequent auditory hallucinations; the disorganized (hebephrenic), characterized by disordered speech and behaviour and shallow or inappropriate emotional responses; the catatonic, characterized by motor inflexibility or stupor along with mutism, echolalia, or other speech abnormalities; the simple or undifferenciated type, which conforms to basic definitions of schizophrenia but does not exhibit particular behaviours in the aforementioned types: and the residual type, which is a chronic stage indicating advancement towards later-stage-schizophrenia. Schizophrenia seems to occur in 0.5% - 1% of the general population, and more than half of those so diagnosed will eventually recover. There is strong evidence that genetic inheritance plays a role, but no single cause of schizophrenia has been identified. Stressful life experiences may help trigger its onset. Treatment consists of drug therapy, Psychotherapy and counseling. However, a small number of Psychiatrists work in the field of Psychotherapy and Counselling as well. On the other hand, Psychological Counselors or Psychotherapists or Counseling Psychologists or Clinical Psychologists are those Professionals who have obtained a Master’s Degree or M.Phil or Doctorate in relevant disciplines such as Psychotherapy and Counseling, Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Positive Psychology, Mental Health, Applied Psychology, Clinical Psychology or equivalent. Professionals in the related fields such as Social Work, Yoga and Meditation or equivalent having a Master’s Degree in the relevant field and possessing adequate training and exposure to counseling skills too contribute to the Psychological growth and development of man.

Counseling Psychology continues to be one of the few disciplines that highlights the values of fostering human capacities, satisfaction, and well-being. The main aim of APCP is to explore how Counseling Psychology fosters and builds human strengths and well-being and, in pursuing this endeavour, furthers the development of positive psychological science and practice. In line with the emphasis on Modern Field of Futurology, as envisaged in the UNESCO – International Committee Report, few important points are discussed. The School as a whole purports to prepare the student for life i.e. happy, adjusted, satisfying and rewarding life. As we have seen earlier, in view of the fast changing world of today, the student really has to be prepared for an unknown tomorrow land. From the educational point of view, the indications are that knowledge, skills and information related to school subjects will tend to become outdated by the time the pupil enters life. In order to assist him with adjustment to his life, therefore, the education as well as its inherent counseling programmes need to help the individual in developing skills of learning to learn. This can happen mostly through individual counseling situations that skills related to learning new things, unlearning the wrong learning and therefore skills of learning to learn are developed. For this every School must have a School Psychological Counselor. This form the central theme of Counseling Psychology. These Professional Psychological Counselors /Facilitators /Psychotherapists are not licensed to prescribe medicines. We must remember that a person emotionally disturbed and attemted to commit suicide need not necessarily be a mental patient/lunatic needing psychiatric treatment and medication. Psychological Counselors/ Psychotherapists are able to find lasting solutions to psychological disorders/emotional imbalances of clients through the application of a Psychological process –therapies such as Logo Therapy, Reality Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Insight Therapy, Behaviour Therapy and so on. Research shows that 70% of mental health problems relate to Psychological disorders commonly known as psychoneurosis which can normally be corrected through a Psychological process without medication, provided the sufferer approach a trained therapist in the initial stage.

Thus by creation of availability of large number of Psychological Counselors/ Counseling Psychologists/Facilitators , we can deliver mental heath services to almost 70% cases with lasting solutions that too without resorting to medication and at much lower costs. Implementation of this concept is extremely essential to take care of common man’s mental and physical health in India especially in Kerala within his means. To illustrate an example, a case which the content writer of this website directly experienced as a Consultant is explained here. An 11 year old boy belonged to a very poor family in Idukki district, despite his first position in academic achievements in the class, suddenly started showing symptoms of brain disorders. Becoming unconscious and falling down on his way, wherever he goes. Stoped attending school and was admitted initially in a Taluk Hospital, then in a Medical Collge hospital and subsequently referred to a Speciality Hospital of International repute in Trivandrum. Parents collected some money from neighbours and stayed in Trivandrum and treated for about 15 days. Finally, after several tests and investigations, the Hospital authorities advised the parents to show the boy to a Psychologist. During counseling through application of Psychoanalytic approach, the boy disclosed the fact that he was terrorized by a classmate whose parents were enjoying political power. Affected boy could not resist due to fear and he took this route to escape from this torture. This Consultant could easily solve this problem without resorting to complaints and the boy resumed school and studying well. No medication was required.

Due to lack of knowledge about Psychological Counseling/ Psychotherapy, most emotional/ mental health clients take the route to Mental Health and Psychiatric Hospitals/Lunatic Asylums where the Psychiatrists do not have adequate time for therapies owing to large number of patients per day. Owing to various Social, economical, political, religious and inter-continental cultural mix up, Malayalees living in Kerala, living in other Indian States as well as NRIs/NRKs living oversees and their families need Psychological counseling services so as to enhance their coping skills empowering them to face the new age challenges. Young men and women from this group essentially need a psychological fine-tuning for a successful social integration leading to a successful career/ happy married life. It is needless to mention that we should remember bad counseling can damage the mind as much as a quack can in the body. Thus investing some time in searching and choosing a right qualified Therapist/Counselor would well worth the trouble.