Home   Sandra Laujin   Professional Practice

Professional Practice

The Need for an environment to rethink mental health care

During this last decade, the world has encountered tremendous changes, with the digital revolution, the progress in medical science and in the different fields of human knowledge. However, has it changed in a way we hoped for?

All over the world, and particularly in this transitional place between East and West that is Hong Kong, new issues are soaring. This fantastic space for freedom of thought and being is also a space where established frameworks and rules in the field of healthcare are constantly challenged. Non-professional and sometimes unsafe practices are emerging.

Indeed, what can you expect and rely on, what are the reference points, when official healthcare titles are poorly regulated? Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world where anybody can claim to be a mental health professional, a "therapist" of some sort: psychologist, psychotherapist and so on. The legal sphere dedicated to the field of mental health care is non-existent in Hong Kong. It is difficult for people to differentiate between legitimate and non-legitimate services.

When mental health care comes under time pressure

Everywhere in the world, and more specifically in the transitional space of Hong Kong, we have seen the emergence of new forms of care. Numerous alternative, pseudoscientific treatments promise a fast and almost magical resolution of our painful symptoms of sadness, anxiety or anger. In such a fast-paced world, what is more obvious than the desire s for the quick fix epitomised in Nike’s "Just Do It!" campaign?

Reflections on the Three Dimensions of Human Experience: Feeling, thinking, behaving

Human experience possesses three dimensions: emotion thought and action. The slogan "Just Do It" implies that feelings and thoughts must be overlooked to focus solely on action. The Nike revolution suppresses two of the three aspects of human activities: emotion and thought.

The very idea of a clear cut separation between the three aspects highlights an impatience to act, without concern for being and feeling. "Just Do It" is an instruction to neither feel nor think, but "just do"...

And why is that so? This "just," through its magical aura, inevitably attracts us. In this day and age, what is valued most in action is certainty. Feelings and thoughts are therefore invalidated as "weaknesses," when action becomes an end in itself.

However mature people do think before they act. See for example, Sigmund Freud’s famous article, "Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning." Published in 1911, the paper develops the idea that the psychological breakthrough between childhood and adulthood is precisely the postponing of the moment of action. The toddler, or the very young child, moves directly from impulse to action, with nothing in-between: "I want it, I take it." But, with the process of maturation, we learn to interrupt the chain of action. We add an intermediate stage. From this point on, after the impulse, and before the action, we think. Progressively, we move from the pleasure principle to the reality principle. This Freudian concept is known in modern psychology as "delayed gratification" or "tolerance to frustration."

We often hear: "I just need…to be more assertive in front of others, not to get angry, not to let my anxiety take over, to become closer to others, not to worry what people might think of me, to be better organized, to be more focused, to take the time to do my homework,..." The list is never-ending and the message is crystal clear: the "just" signifies that no questions or thoughts are necessary to understand why, despite the passage of time, "we just don’t do it?" Why in the end we remain stuck repeating old patterns… So there is apparently nothing to understand about what keeps us from following the right path for us, nothing to understand about what prevents us from heading towards the behavior and action we so dearly desire.

Well, psychotherapy questions the meaning and motivation of our behaviour. We want to know: "Why should I do that? What significance could it have? How come this seems to be the only way possible for me at the moment?" These analytical queries are precisely the key questions that could help us evolve. But those questions are rejected by the Nike culture, in favour of instant action.
The essence of self-analysis in psychotherapy is not a quick action but the use of depth of emotion (feelings) and cognition (thought) to initiate a significant behaviour (action). In the field and practice of psychotherapy, we learn to listen to our own experiences in all their complexity, to explore thoughts and emotions as the basis of our behaviour.

Yet, psychological practice encompasses a lot more than simply thinking. The objective is to live. And when it is about living, thinking is helpful but does not lead beyond thinking. At some point, we need to act. When all feelings are examined, all odds have been taken into consideration, envisaged and thought through, and when all subconscious dynamics are well understood, we need to have the courage to live. And that means doing something.

Therapy: A Professional Practice

So this is how we envisage our therapeutic work, both the evaluation and the treatment of our difficulties and suffering.

And so we do not offer kinesiology, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), kinesiology, hypnosis, positive therapy, brief therapy, coaching, positive parenting programs, cognitive-behavioral therapy, symptom-centered therapy, or any other alternative approach often promising formulas centered on action.

On the contrary, we offer a professional and analytical approach, as much through an evaluation as through treatment of the symptoms causing our distress. An approach involving reflection to achieve deep long-term evolution, whilst providing emotional security.

In the same section Areas of Expertise Qualifications