Mina's report on working with individuals

Many Iranians show signs of dysthymia (depression) and/or anxiety. The most common forms of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Revolution, war, forced immigration and culture shock are reportedly the contributing factors to development of such difficulties.Despite the need for treatment, many Iranians are reluctant to seek help because of their lack of familiarity with therapy, their pride or shame. Those who do enter treatment need to learn about the following:

1) Regular attendance and punctuality are needed to insure continuity. Absenteeism and tardiness are disruptive.

2) Some emotional attachment to the therapist should develop for therapy to be effective. The intensity depends upon the individual client and the stage of therapy. At an early stage, the clients’ attachment gradually increases. During the second stage, the attachment reaches a plateau, where it may remain for quite a while. The third stage begins when the clients internalize what they have learned in therapy. At this point, emotional attachment declines and self-reliance increases.

3) Intense positive and negative feelings towards therapy and the therapist are common. Discussing such feelings with the therapist is needed for the process to move forward . Unfortunately, Iranians’ cultural politeness and fear of hurting the therapist's feelings prevent many from discussing their negative reactions. This may also lead to premature termination.

4) Patience and realistic expectations are essential. Most clients feel better shortly after they start therapy. However, making lasting changes is more challenging and time-consuming. Progress is not linear but spiral/circular.

5) Therapy is an investment. Effective therapy helps the clients to grow emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.

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