THE PSYCHOLOGIST’S KIT
My name is Sara Guelha, I’m 36 years old and I’m a clinical psychologist.
Throughout my professional career, I worked in a business context, in social institutions, and mental health, always maintaining a private practice simultaneously.
In my office, where I currently spend most of my time, I do not save up on the comfort and convenience that I have to offer my patients. Located in the center of Lisbon, it allows quick access to public transportation, facilitating travel, with nearby services that may be useful, namely banks, cafes and a pharmacy.
In my therapeutic setting, natural light, ambient music and ergonomic armchairs promote well-being, comfort and relaxation.
In my kit I take a good dose of empathy, availability and respect, three essential ingredients in the construction of the therapeutic relationship. I do not forget the box of tissues, I do not let the emotions overcome myself.
When the focus of the therapeutic process is centered on mental health intervention, a battery of psychological evaluation tests and a desk to fill them out are needed. In my kit I take the music, useful in sessions of relaxation and/or meditation.
In childcare I have a box of playing material with several toys, with special attention to the tastes of each child. It’s my kid’s kit! In addition to objects such as crayons, felt pens, erasers and playdough, I use dolls, a replica of a house with miniatures of furniture, a kitchen with utensils, miniatures of cars, motorbikes, and airplanes in sessions where the goal is to approach familiar themes
For cognitive activities, memory games, jigsaw puzzles, or picture books may be a solution.
For sensitizing activities, the use of musical instruments is useful. In my kit I use children’s songs that can facilitate relaxation and closeness between therapist and child. A rug on the floor is great for us to sit and play.
Health professionals, due to the complexity and specificity of their functions, are considered a risk group for occupational stress and burnout.
It is thus essential to be alert to the signs of our body, to identify symptoms of malaise and emotional exhaustion, and to use resources to deal with them in an adjusted and effective way.
In my kit I use physical exercise, social and family support, good sleep hygiene, leisure activities and a good management of the consultation schedule to allow breaks/pauses between sessions.
As part of my duties, I spend many hours sitting, so the use of several breaks throughout the day promotes increased productivity and concentration, preventing risks associated with sedentary lifestyle.
Water, fruit, nuts, posture care, and breaks after 50 minutes are a few more ingredients in my psychologist kit.
Do not forget a few pockets of resilience, a vial of commitment and a pack of dedication.