Adolescent Psychological Issues and the Need for Professional Help

Adolescent Psychological Issues and the Need for Professional Help

In this technological era, where the roles are adapted on the basis of cultural demands, adolescent developmental milestones are achieved quite late during the twenties, therefore, the period of adolescent psycho-sexual and psycho-social development could be considered from age 13 to 20. It starts with the onset of puberty where a sexual orientation and differentiation is introduced through bodily changes.
If an adolescent doesn’t successfully pass puberty it may cause psychological problems such as difficulty in accepting one’s gender, for instance, may result in poor body image. Another trend which is now seen increasingly in adolescent girls is to adapt tomboyish look. If we find in-depth reasons, it connects with primitive experiences, such as a girl in childhood living among many brothers, observing gender discrimination, watching that her brothers gained more favours from parents and society, or listening to gender-based comments such as boys are stronger than girls. If adolescent forms such kind of perceptions and ideologies, the sense of self and identity becomes distorted. In extreme cases, they may develop gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. During an adolescent crisis, dissatisfaction with one’s own genitals may further lead to sexual difficulties or psychological impotence.
Keeping recent trends in mind it is also evident that some adolescents who don’t feel satisfied with their gender attempt to change their gender by undergoing surgeries as we see many transgenders who deliberately choose this style of life. Other traumatic or early sexual experiences along with difficult puberty may also lead to sexual disorders in adulthood such as hypoactive desire disorder, sexual aversion, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and many others. Regarding career choices, an adolescent who couldn’t successfully attain the developmental tasks may acquire occupational choices other than gender suitability such as adolescent boy becoming more interested towards female fashion designing fields.

Some deviant career choices with this particular sexual identity crisis can include those sex sellers or prostitutes. Other abnormalities with respect to adolescent psycho-sexual and social attainments may include simple role confusions such as a female adopting dominant role in a family, going for a job while husband remains at home to take care of children. This could be primitively related to adolescence stage where a female felt inferior to males and to compensate this inferiority complex she adopts a powerful role in future. Similarly, an adolescent boy who observed a more dominant role of a mother compared to an inept father, he later in life may adapt female roles or may remain submissive just like his father was.
All of such issues are those requiring clinical attention. The period of youth is important in many regards. Youth is the period on which a person’s future is based. It is the period where an adolescent requires support and proper guidance. It is the alarming sign and it is the time to cater all of the above-mentioned issues related to the adolescent crisis before it’s too late.
During the adolescent period if parents observe any of these signs in their children then they must take steps. They may approach health workers, psychologist, psychiatrist, or any relevant professional to take proper guidance regarding how to deal adolescents with such issues. They may refer a child for psychotherapy where a therapist can help deal with such cases. Online counselling is now available to guide parents and adolescents regarding such issues. You can approach our trained professionals of this field by registering yourself for online counselling.
Written By:

Dr Mehwish Mursaleen
PhD Clinical Psychology

Attention Deficits and Hyperactivity in Children: Guidelines for the Parents

Attention Deficits and Hyperactivity in Children: Guidelines for the Parents

Parental guidance is one of the crucial steps in treating children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) symptoms. Without parental training, a child cannot be treated fully. If you are taking a therapeutic treatment for your ADHD child from a clinical psychologist you would be aware of this fact. Because parents are the first institution, a child learns many things from them, which is apparent in their life ahead. If parents treat their child appropriately in initial childhood years there are reduced chances of developing attention deficits and hyperactivity. Even if the child has developed symptoms, appropriate parental handling can create a difference.

Therapists treating children with ADHD give particular instructions to their parents for how to deal with behavioral issues. However, some of the necessary steps parents can take are mentioned here.
Child’s daily functioning would improve if he/she is provided with proper home base training for instance, train the child regarding mannerism and following rules such as how to sit quietly in a classroom or while studying at home, listen attentively to what is being taught, how to behave with other children, refrain from picking up other’s possessions etc.

Develop your child’s friendship skills e.g., teach the child how he/she needs to behave if he/she wants to make a best friend. Involve the child in play activities or games which require sitting quietly and following rules such as, Ludo, Carom board etc. Tell the child clearly about the consequence when he/she doesn’t wait for the turn. Teach the child how to initiate and end conversations with people if he/she wants to get a friendly response.

Parents must help and encourage their child to practice and develop above-mentioned skills and do provide the child various opportunities so that he/she can acquire a better quality of life.
Encourage the child when he/she does well on tasks and give feedback immediately after completion of a task. It will develop your child’s abilities and help him/her understand the link between his/her own efforts and success.

Some of the helpful tactics parents can apply during their home base training are as follows:

  • Create a to-do list of homework and household chores for the child so that he/she can follow it.
  • Give your child simple and clear instructions. For example, if you want the child to do homework then Instead of saying “Finish your homework”, you can say what specific things you want him to do such as, “Finish your English lesson. Then write down in a paragraph what you have read. Finally, do your maths sums”.
  • Organize your child’s clothes and school work so that they are always in the same place and easy to find.
    • Get into a routine. Having a sense of order and routine helps inattentive children stay focused. Follow the same schedule every day. Such as wake-up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed, put on your uniform etc.
  • Paste the schedule in a central place, such as the main hallway of your house.
  • While doing homework, turn off the TV, computer, radio, video games or other distractions.
  • Give the child a reward for finishing his/her homework or other responsibilities. You might offer the child to take a trip to the zoo or may offer a chocolate etc.

Do utilize these strategies in your daily routine if you are dealing a child with ADHD. For expert opinion regarding specific behavioral problems of children and guidance on how to deal the specific issues, you can contact us directly.
Written By:

Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

Is Yawning Contagious?

Is Yawning Contagious?

Revealing the Logic of Our Brain behind Irrational Yawning Behavior
You must have experienced or listened by someone that yawning is contagious. You might be exposed to various comments regarding this phenomenon. You might have observed that if someone else is yawning you also tend to yawn. Is the sound of a yawn contagious? Have you ever experienced anyone watching a video or picture of a yawning person tend to yawn instantly? If someone yawns while observing others yawn must be sleepy? Is he getting bored? Because we are social beings so is the yawning transferred socially? These and many other questions regarding the phenomenon of yawn were existing in everyone’s mind. Do you know this debate is now under research and scientific observation? Yes! this is true. Just like everyone, this topic developed curiosity in scientists who observed this phenomenon under scientifically controlled settings.

One of the research conducted during 2013 by researchers in Switzerland who studied this matter. In Zurich University, they gathered 11 volunteers and showed them 3 different kinds of videos i.e. one containing laughing incidents, another containing neutral situations, and a video of yawning person. While the participants were watching videos, their fMRI was recorded. It was found that more than half of the participants who watched other persons yawning in the video were more likely to yawn as they watched the video. The brain area called inferior frontal gyrus was highlighted while they yawned. Whereas, those who were watching videos of laughing or neutral acts showed no activity in this area of the brain. This interesting study revealed brain area to be responsible for making a mirror image in brain cells (through mirror neurons) which tend to be imitated by the person (i.e. the person yawns in response to a yawn).
You can test this with a simple experiment. Visualize an image of a person yawning. Just maintain your focus on the image. Observe what happens. You will be surprised even while reading this article unconsciously some people tend to yawn. You may also tend to yawn unintentionally while visualizing, hearing, or reading about yawn.

There is more to study about the yawning phenomenon. Animal studies have been conducted to gain more insights about the facets of yawning. An article published in Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience revealed more aspects of contagious yawning with respect to social, evolutionary and neuroscience links of human behaviors. In an Italian Zoo, neuroscientists observed twenty-one baboons with respect to behaviors such as yawning, sleeping, nurturing, priming, and walking. They found that not merely observing other baboons led them to yawn, but their yawning behavior was more related to the time they spend in nurturing and grooming of each other. Thus, it is more about the connection, affection, and closeness in the relationship which determines their contagious yawning behavior.

The interesting findings regarding the phenomenon of contagious yawning are opening doors for many other facts. If the mirror neurons play a role in contagious yawning and this behavior is further related to social familiarity and the degree of closeness among creatures, there might be indications that mirror neurons can also show links with imitation or understanding of other person’s experiences. Empathy is the state where a person can put himself in the other’s shoes. Can there be a link between mirror neurons and the development of empathy? We await further discoveries to unleash the topic.

Written By:

Dr. Mehwish Mursaleen

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

Source: Psychology Today

Treatment approaches aimed at healing psychological problems

Treatment approaches aimed at healing psychological problems

The term “psychological problem” is defined as any kind of mental state in which person feels distressed or disturbed. The psycho-social functioning of the person gets affected such as academics and job performance is not up to the mark, the friendships, social contacts, and family relationships become troublesome and person’s daily life is messed up. This upsetting condition last for longer durations let’s say more than a week or a month. There are different kinds of psychological problems for example depressive state is associated with mood, anxiety relates with worries, adjustment issues are related with long-lasting stress and psychotic disorders are a kind of perceptual disturbance in which person has extrasensory experiences e.g. hearing unusual voices or seeing weird things which others can’t experience.

A variety of psychological treatments is now available for the management of psychological disorders. Behavioural therapy, psychodynamic approach, client-centered treatment, and cognitive behavioural therapy are some of the treatment options one can avail from a psychologist. Among this variety of treatments, cognitive behavioural therapy is proved to be the best treatment for most of the psychological disorders.

Recent researches by clinical psychologists suggest the effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy in a long run. Cognitive behavioural treatment in some cases is supposed to be more effective than pharmacological treatments. For example, a study conducted by clinical psychologist Mehwish Mursaleen along with Dr Uzma Ali associate professor at Institute of Clinical Psychology, University of Karachi shows the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural treatment for quick recovery of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. They had a client with severe symptoms of anxiety and panic. The client was unable to move out of home due to the fear of sudden anxiety attacks. Her life was limited to the bedroom and she even feared to drive or travel a car. She had not travelled through plane for a long time. The client had three to five panic attacks per day. She had constant nausea and anxiety. With increasing severity of the panic disorder, she also developed symptoms of depression. All these symptoms started after an event of an emergency situation raised during her travelling through an aeroplane. She also had one of her uncles died of heart attack during a plane travel. Before the development of psychological problems, she had a very social and active life but after such incidents, she had confined herself inside her room and she couldn’t run her home due to which all of her family life was disturbed.

She had all her medical test reports showing normal results while she was suspecting to have any heart disease. As recommended by medical professionals, she approached to a psychological clinic where psychologists treated her with cognitive behavioural therapy. She was provided with therapeutic interventions including cognitive restructuring in which thought processes were altered to create healthy thoughts/beliefs. De-catastrophizing continuum offered normal perceptions regarding travelling, minor bodily symptoms, and her ability to control the symptoms. Systematic desensitisation was useful in regulating her anxiety through graded exposure, imagination, and relaxation.

With the completion of treatment within four months, she became perfectly all right and started managing her daily tasks effectively. She had two to three plane travels from Pakistan to abroad and within Pakistan without any single moment of anxiety. She was even able to handle her life situations in a more efficient manner than it was prior to the development of her anxiety symptoms.

With this case study, the researchers showed the effectiveness of CBT in a clinical setting. There are many other instances of treating mental disorders with the help of cognitive behavioural techniques. Psychological management is becoming first-line treatment nowadays, whether it is a hospital, rehabilitation, private clinic or community setting. Therefore, our mental health professionals are acclaimed to include psychological strategies and be committed providing the best services to our people.

Written By:

Dr Mehwish Mursaleen

PhD Clinical Psychology

The World at work! A metaphor to motivate depress client get back to work

The World at work! A metaphor to motivate depress client get back to work

Human beings and other life-bearing entities are undoubtedly at work but the question that “Is the whole world at work?” is an enigma.

Apparently, a concrete wall seems to be stationary and without any motion. But only a simple scientific analysis would reveal the fact to us that seemingly motionless particle is a composition of uncountable atoms in which various other particles are in a state of continuous and organized motion. Thus, the notion of chemistry that “particle motion is a blessing in disguise” is justifiably useful in the physical world too.

Furthermore, a thorough evaluation of world system makes us certain that each part of the universe is at work. May it be the galaxies, solar system, waterfalls, clouds, volcanoes, winds, each and everything? Work hides in itself the secrets of life. Without work and motion, there is no life. Stagnant water smells unpleasant and dull. The similar law is applicable in our social, political, and economic lives too. A stagnant economy, paralyzed political movements, transfixed thinking processes, rigid and strict working policies are unquestionably equivalent to failure and ultimately lead to disaster. History of various nations substantiates this fact. The exchange of powers from east to west in past few centuries proves that success was engrossed by that part which was engaged in work. When leisure, entertainment, and pastime found space in their system, their downfall started at the very point.

This continuous state of the world at work proved to be a boon for today’s advanced technological era. A man worked to start from the wheel to the invention of robots. Minds worked to get out of caves and carved buildings out of concrete. It is only the sequel of the world at work that man is now able to fly high in the sky and dive deep into the sea, to extract and utilize the gifts of nature. It is only the consequence of world at work that it has been squeezed to a global world.

David O. McKay aptly states, “Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is the success.”

The world had been at work, is still working and will continue to work, to make this world a better place to live. World-including man, living and material things- is meant to be at work. The halt will definitely be an end to a life and world will be vanished.

This article written by Sundus Burhan gives a brilliant idea about how you can evade depression and bring your activity level back to work. A depressed client feels tired and lacks interest in anything which seems to be pleasurable for others. They can get motivated if they try to put themselves operating through “The World at Work” metaphor.


Written By: 

Sundus Burhan

M.Phil. Clinical Psychology


Mehwish Mursaleen

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved? (Descriptive)

Problem Magnifiers: Why Your Problems Don’t Get Solved? (Descriptive)

Every one of us has problems bigger or smaller. An interesting thing about “problem” is everyone thinks that his/her problem is the biggest one. For example, a person admitted to an orthopedic surgical ward with an ankle injured sees his problem bigger than a person who has injured his knee. We as an observer can see that problem is bigger for the person who injured his knee because he can’t move his leg and one side of his body would be paralyzed due to it. Whereas, the person on the next bed wouldn’t be able to recognize this thing because he would be so totally involved with his own sufferings. This will make him unable to see what is going around his surroundings.

We get entangled into problems on a daily basis and the problems increase when we don’t know the reason behind our problem. Most of us don’t get things solved because we are not consciously aware of what causes the problem. If we want to overcome our problems we need to understand the dynamics which exaggerate our problems. Here we discuss the factors which help your problems to get settled inside you.

1. Denial:

When a person denies the existence of a problem, how can he/she find any solution for the problem? Beware this denial is an unconscious process which drives a person to reduce his anxieties and thus, throws threatening facts into the unconscious to get safer on the surface level. The problem with denial lies in the fact that it actually doesn’t reduce anxiety but results in the form of psychological disturbance. For example, a girl who is a survivor of a rape may deny the fact but her unconscious processes would result in psychosis. Similarly, a woman who denies the existence of breast cancer would never seek help or even she wouldn’t go for a check-up and this would ultimately drive into last-stage where a tumour gets untreatable. These days we can observe many such cases who get examined at last stages of cancer. These people actually deny the warning signs of illness because it is threatening for a person to get such a terminal illness. Another example we must hear about smoking is that smokers deny the fact they can have cancer while watching or hearing many smokers dying of throat or lung cancer.

2. Wrong initial assumptions / false beliefs:

Another thing which doesn’t help in the solution of problems is; we make initial assumptions regarding things. For example, anyone of us can assume that he must not be betrayed, must not experience any corruption or must be dealt with respect. These initial assumptions will hurt the person whenever he suffers any experience of dishonesty or disrespect. Because the person has high expectations from people, he will be hurt on even minor immoral experiences, which every one of us experiences on a daily basis. This is the reason why keeping expectations from people or having high standards for yourself or others don’t always work.

Here I explain a scenario to get you a better understanding of how false initial assumptions work. A successful business woman gets attacked by conspirers and has a lawsuit on her. She gets deeply hurt by this fact because she had done nothing wrong and she had a belief that others should treat her with loyalty since she is loyal to everyone. While keeping this expectation, she became depressed and nothing worked out for her. When she consulted her psychologist and she was suggested to work on her initial assumptions. She developed more healthy beliefs e.g., every successful person gets hurdles and challenges in his/ her way to victory, and since she is a popular business woman, this is a challenge for her to face and overcome. After realizing the fact, she not only started working to overcome the lawsuits, but she learned more and more about the similar cases, gathered every useful info, presented herself in front of judges and then defeated her enemies who tried to let her down in the business world.

3. Fear:

When fear is at a normal level, it can be helpful and work as a survival instinct e.g., if you see a snake creeping towards you, you must be fearful and then run away to find a safer place. This is a normal response but, if you are fearful enough that you can’t move from the place, your legs get paralyzed and you feel numb, this is the excessive level of fear which will not work for you to overcome the problem.
Imagine a scenario where a flight pilot gets emergency situation while far up in clouds; the engine stops working properly. Think about the possible solutions. If the pilot should freeze and do nothing in this situation because the ultimate is death? Should he deny the fact because it is too threatening? Should he make initial assumptions that this crisis is unlikely because he is an excellent pilot and has never been to such situation ever? Will such kind of solutions work? You are right! Nothing like this is a workable solution. Then what you suggest that pilot should think about? The pilot should realize the emergency case and keep confidence in his ability to handle the emergency. Now he got the right one. He will take a step to contact his flight station, consult with supervisor and take necessary precautions to protect the survival.

4. Deceptive masking:

Everyone wants to present himself in an acceptable way in order to get approval from others. This is actually right but when you hide your problems from others particularly the right ones, this is the case which worsens your problems. For instance, if you have a sexual problem and you feel shy to tell your doctor just because he/ she will think you are bad. When you don’t reveal your actual problem, is it possible that doctor will be able to suggest you an appropriate treatment? No way! When you don’t get treatment for your problems than it is inevitable that your problems will increase in intensity and then you will become helpless. When it will be observable to others they may take you to doctor but this will be quite late and you will miss an opportunity to get treated at an initial stage.

Similarly, if you are suffering from a headache and you instantly get a knock from a guest. You greet the guest who observes you being unfit and asks about your health. You reply that you are perfectly all right. You don’t want to tell the guest about your headache because she will not like it. You try to be polite with your guest but your gestures show unpleasant feeling. What will the guest think about this scenario? She might think that you don’t like her arrival or you are uncomfortable talking to her or anything else, but she can’t reach to the right guess until you tell about your actual feelings. She might become doubtful at you and may not like to meet you again. Thus, deceptive masking prevents you to get the right treatment you deserve from others. If you show your real feelings and the need for help, others will definitely offer you comfort at their best level.

5. Behavioural choices:

Sometimes our choice of behavior leads us to problematic situations. For example, everyone knows that aggression is destructive and it always leads to negative consequence either for yourself or for others. But still, we get into arguments and choose aggression as it will help us solve the problem. If you review your experiences of aggression and try to find out how many times it helped you to get things right in the long run? You will definitely reach to the conclusion that it always get you into a disadvantage. For example, if a mother being aggressive on a child gets short-term results from the child such as he acts obediently and gets his homework done because of fear of punishment. Mother thinks that this was beneficial therefore repeatedly uses aggression as a strategy to discipline her child. Do you know how this affects the long-term relationship of mother-child? The child will get distant from his mother, he will never share his feelings and might remain fearful from parents for the rest of his life. Is it beneficial in the long run? Now you can clearly understand how our choice of behavior mistakenly leads many of us to choose unhealthy relationships. If we chose behavior which actually works for healthy relationships, we will never get into relationship problems. If you learn communication skills, talk assertively but not aggressively, deal problems through effective decision making, and use problem-solving in your life, many of your daily hassles will get settled at very initial level instead of piling up inside you and then bursting out in the form of psychological problems.

If you find any of these problems affecting your life and thus your problems are increasing day by day instead of getting solved, then you just talk to your psychologist about these issues. You will be guided about handling denial, false beliefs, fear, deceptive masking, and wrong behavioral choices.


Written By:

Mehwish Mursaleen (Ph.D. Clinical Psychology)

Online Psychotherapist ( &