Although many people usually wave off times spent talking with trusted friends as wasted, a medical expert, Dr Ayodele Adewale, has said talking about issues, feelings or thoughts that cause stress or discomfort is therapeutic for many health conditions and ensuring good health.
Adewale, a talk therapist and the Chief Executive Officer, Quantum Leap Consulting, Nustream, Conference Centre, Ibadan, stated that talking allows the mind to be free and ensures that the body can cope better with many medical conditions, including depression, pain attack and personality disorders.
He declared that a spectrum of psychological problems that people have can also culminate in depression, panic attack, personality disorders, drug addiction and so on.
The expert said although bad childhood experiences also predispose individuals to mental health state in adulthood, the large patient to doctor ratio in Nigerian hospitals does not give the opportunity for doctors to identify those experiences or psychological issues that can make conventional modes of treatment less effective.
He said aside mental health conditions, talk therapy was helpful with conditions such as hypertension to help them deal with other underlying psychological issues such as stress and anxiety that can make their blood pressure go up.
“So we need to combine all these therapies; psychological, spiritual, organic or bodily therapy together in order to be able to have lasting solutions to the problems patients have,” he declared.
Dr Adewale, however, said there are very few talk therapists in Nigeria and many people see it as something foreign.
“What many people do not know is that there is power in thoughts and in words. When giving talk therapy and my clients go into details about their childhood experiences, they just discover a lot of things that have affected them.
“It aims to lessen the effects of symptoms experienced by patients through talk therapy sessions where they can freely express their thoughts, feelings and experiences in a safe and productive atmosphere.
“Many have had terrible events and we need them to admit it happened. They now need to delete the experience in their minds. The mind is so powerful that it can only handle one thing at a time. It is a very long phase but people end up forgiving themselves and forgiving ‘God’ because some people are angry with God,’ he said.
Dr Adewale declared that there are different types of talking therapy, but they all involve working with a trained therapist.
According to him, “For some problems and conditions, one type of talking therapy may be better than another. Different talking therapies also suit different people.
“Problems helped by psychotherapy include difficulties in coping with daily life; the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss, like the death of a loved one and specific mental disorders, like depression or anxiety.”
He cited cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a form of talk therapy, as helpful to understand the problems and make positive changes to be free from unhelpful patterns of behaviour.
The expert, however, declared that talk therapy is much more than couselling and people are not hypnotised, but that it may be used in combination with medication or other therapies.