Cyprus-Therapy's Frequently Asked Questions

Important: success of psychological treatment most often relies on the interaction between the psychologists/therapists and the client/s. As such, clients should feel comfortable to ask all sorts of questions in order to clarify any concerns, doubts or misconceptions; prior to therapy, during and even after. Feel free to call or e-mail Cyprus-Therapy in advance to ask any questions that are not answered here below.

Who is a psychologist?

A psychologist, also known as a clinical psychologist or therapists, studies how we think, feel, and behave from a scientific viewpoint and applies this knowledge to help people – individuals, families, groups, and society as a whole – understand, explain, and change their behaviour and ensure their health and well-being. Psychologists are doctorally-trained professionals who conduct research, perform testing, assessment and evaluate and treat a full range of emotional and psychological challenges.

According to the UK's NHS:

Psychology is a science based profession. It is the study of people: how they think, how they act, react and interact. It is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivation underlying them.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA):

Psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life. Some psychologists do basic research, developing theories and testing them through carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation and analysis. Other psychologists apply the discipline's scientific knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better.

As psychological research yields new information, whether it's developing improved interventions to treat depression or studying how humans interact with machines, these findings become part of the discipline's body of knowledge and are applied in work with patients and clients, in schools, in corporate settings, within the judicial system, even in professional sports.

Psychology is a doctoral-level profession. Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience. Today, as the link between mind and body is well-recognized, more and more psychologists are teaming with other health-care providers to provide whole-person health care for patients.

What do psychologists (or therapists) in Cyprus do?

Psychologists (or therapists) deal with the way the mind works and can specialise in various areas such as mental health work, educational and occupational psychology. Psychologists work in research, practice, and teaching that focuses on how people think, feel, and behave. Their work can involve study of individuals, couples, families, groups, as well as larger institutions or organisations, such as in government and private industry (i.e. companies, schools). There are a number of areas that psychology covers, including:
  • clinical psychology
  • counselling psychology
  • educational psychology
  • forensic psychology
  • health psychology
  • occupational psychology
  • teaching and research in psychology

The various topics of research and practice psychologists are involved with include:
  • Mental health issues, such as depression, mood disorders, anxiety, and phobias, etc.
  • Various stress (emotional or physical), anger, trauma and other aspects of lifestyle management
  • Addictions and substance use and/or abuse (e.g. smoking, alcohol, drugs)
  • Management of chronic medical illnesses (e.g., chronic pain, headaches, diabetes)
  • Neurological (e.g. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease), genetic (such as autism), psychological and social determinants of behaviour
  • Brain injury, degenerative brain diseases
  • Perception and management of pain and related issues
  • Psychological factors and problems associated with physical conditions and disease (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, stroke)
  • Psychological factors and management of terminal illnesses such as cancer
  • Cognitive functions such as learning, memory, problem solving, intellectual ability and performance
  • Developmental and behavioural abilities and problems
  • Criminal behaviour, crime prevention, services for victims and perpetrators of criminal activity
  • Application of psychological factors and issues to everyday life, schooling and work place management, including motivation, productivity, leadership, learning, healthy practice
  • Social and cultural behaviour and attitudes of an individual towards various institutions, such as work, family, school, recreation, general society, etc., and
  • Marital and family relationships and problems,

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), practicing psychologists help a wide variety of people and can treat many kinds of problems. Some people may talk to a psychologist because they have felt depressed, angry or anxious for a long time. Or, they want help for a chronic condition that is interfering with their lives or physical health. Others may have short-term problems they want help navigating, such as feeling overwhelmed by a new job or grieving the death of a family member. Psychologists can help people learn to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, manage their chronic illnesses and break past the barriers that keep them from reaching their goals.

Practicing psychologists are also trained to administer and interpret a number of tests and assessments that can help diagnose a condition or tell more about the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. These tests may evaluate intellectual skills, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, vocational aptitude and preference, personality characteristics, and neuropsychological functioning.

What is the difference between a counselling psychologist and a clinical psychologist?

Traditionally, the main difference between counselling and clinical psychology is their perspective and training. Counselling psychologists focus more on the psychologically healthy individual and tend to deal more with mental health issues in a more normally functioning population, dealing with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress and people having difficulty coping with human diversity (women's studies, gender issues, homosexuality, bisexuality, minority and cross-culture psychology, etc.). Clinical psychologists focus on individuals with serious mental illness and abnormal psychopathology, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, severe ADHD, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other types of chronic mental illness or personality disorders. Counselling psychologists are considered to be the generalists, they are trained in a wide variety of basic therapeutic skills. Clinical psychologists are typically focused in one or a few areas (e.g. depression, substance abuse).

Having said this, there is also a great deal of overlap between the two subspecialties; there have been studies regarding merging them. For instance, both a counselling psychologist (counsellor) and a clinical psychologist deal with how to alleviate psychological stressors from an individual or group of people.

The main difference is in the education and training of each profession. Counselling is often taught at various universities while clinical psychology is often taught at private schools focussing on psychology and research. The average GPA mean in order to register to a counselling programme is 2.5 out of 4 while clinical psychology programs require a GPA of 3.5 out of 4. Higher scores are required for Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for clinical psychology and in addition clinical psychology students must also take the GRE-subject test in psychology.

Lastly, graduate programmes in clinical psychology offer classes in psychometric testing such as I.Q. tests and personality tests, therefore classes in statistics are also taught – such requirements are used in most schools in the USA; different criteria may be used in other countries.

In any case, anyone seeking therapy should ensure the therapist is trained in psychotherapy and is licensed to practice.

Why is it important that the therapist is registered with the Cyprus Psychological Association (CPA)?

The Cyprus Psychological Association (CPA) provides a psychologist/therapist the license to practice in Cyprus. It is both legally binding and offers credibility.

The CPA has strict legislation and guidelines on who is allowed to practice with clients in Cyprus, thereby ensuring people seeking psychological aid receive appropriate and professional assistance and guidance, as well as allowing for proper management of the sector, i.e. monitoring, lobbying, updates, research, education, etc.

The CPA also ensures that people are not misled by psychologists that might use a certain method that is not officially recognised as a form of treatment or diagnosis. If you suspect that such methods are being used by your therapist, the CPA advises you to report it immediately so they can take the appropriate action.

What will my first visit to Cyprus-Therapy in Cyprus be like?

Although abiding by the CPA's code-of-conduct and international practices, each psychologist usually has a somewhat different approach to treatment. Of course each psychologist also tends to specialise in a different area of therapy, i.e. specialising in child psychology, young adults-teenagers, couples, marriage counsellors, terminally ill.

Zoe Anthouli adopts both professional standards, as well as a more modern, interactive, flexible and client-specific comfort method. Read more about the therapy process at Cyprus-Therapy.

Once you have made the first appointment at Cyprus-Therapy, the first session is usually the initial information-building and fact-finding process. It is usual for the therapist to ask you to describe your problem, as well as any detail about your personal history that might or might not be directly related. These questions will address such things as when your specific problem began, level, any changes along the way, what stimulates it and makes it better or worse, and how the problem affects your everyday life, such as your work, school, social or family life.

This information-gathering process normally takes one or two sessions, depending on the problem of course, as well as the level of interaction with between client and therapist, and the amount of detail to go through. It may also be supplemented by the use of various psychological tests.

What levels of confidentiality are there with your therapists and when might confidentiality be broken?

No doubt, confidentiality is a very important issue in psychology and the therapy process. Client confidentiality is an integral component to successful treatment and indeed a key element of the practice's code-of-conduct. However, there are certain situations when confidentiality must be broken, either as required by the law in Cyprus or for the purpose of overall protection, security and safety.

Situations where confidentiality might be broken include:
  • In case of child abuse and neglect
  • In case the client is a serious threat to others
  • In case the individual is in danger of harming themselves. This is assessed by a structured suicide assessment interview which determines if you are at a high risk or at a low risk. An individual who is at low risk will not be reported but the therapist should monitor the client's progress very closely

Depending on the case, child protection services are called or there is an involuntary psychiatric commitment for further monitoring. For more detail about confidentiality issues in psychology and therapy at Cyprus-Therapy, click here

What else will happen during psychological treatment at Cyprus-Therapy?

Following the initial information-gathering phase, which may or may not include psychological tests, the psychologist will discuss with the client (and/or their parent or guardian if applicable) the main issues and concerns, as well as what type of treatment or psychotherapeutic approach may be necessary, together with related aspects, such as possible length-of-therapy, other tests, costs.

Treatments or psychotherapeutic approaches used are empirically-supported treatments, where research has already proven to be effective. A common type of treatment – and mainly used at Cyprus-Therapy – is cognitive-behavioural therapy that can be offered to an individual, group, couples or family format.

The psychologist will help identify targets and goals – changes to improve your life – and how best to achieve them, whilst monitoring progress during treatment. Targets and goals might include:
  • Alleviating stress levels
  • Reducing trauma
  • Feeling less depressed
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Improving social interactions
  • Bettering interpersonal relationships
  • Pain management
  • Behaviour alterations

Such targets and goals can no doubt be challenging. Commitment and dedication to therapy is integral, as is greater interaction with the psychologists.

What are psychological tests?

There are various psychological tests that can be used in order to help a therapist gather more information about a patient and how they are feeling, thinking or behaving. For instance, tests can be used to asses and diagnose memory, mood disorders, concentration and focus issues, personality characteristics, attitude, among other.

Test can be written as questions and answers style, activity based and games – common in child therapy. Before any tests are used at Cyprus-Therapy, the therapists will clearly explain its purpose and procedure.

How long does therapy normally last for?

Each situation (and each individual or group) is completely unique, so it is quite hard to accurately determine length of therapy. It very much depends on the severity of the problem, the client's commitment and level of interaction, some external factors such as family, school, work or social environment, among other. Of course, therapy sessions should continue as long as the client and therapist agree they are needed. Some people prefer short-term therapy focussed on a specific issue whereas others, particularly those who are experiencing chronic feelings of being 'stuck', seek longer term therapy to address their difficulties.

A more accurate idea of length of therapy can be provided following the first consultation and during the initial information building process. The therapist can suggest a recommended time frame of therapy based on the initial consultation, however it is completely up to the client/s how often and for how long they attend therapy.

How much does therapy at Cyprus-Therapy in Cyprus usually cost?

Cyprus-Therapy uses a sliding scale costing system.

Sliding scale fees are somewhat variable costs for the therapy service, based on the client's situation, namely their ability to pay. As such, cooperation and support regarding fees may be provided for those who have lower incomes or less money to spare after their personal expenses. This is a common method for many medical practices, in an effort to offer assistance to all those in need.

Therapy session fees can be discussed in advanced, whilst a better idea of costs can be determined following the initial consultation.

Do psychologists prescribe medication?

Psychologists DO NOT prescribe any medication. This is done by a Psychiatrists. During your therapy sessions, if the psychologists believes the client's problem is severe and requires medication they will be referred to a psychiatrists. After which, a combination of therapy and medication may be used.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in mental health and mental disorders. Psychiatrists often use medication to assist clients manage mental disorders. For instance some disorders for instance require medications, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, and severe cases of depression.