Dr. Annette Schonder
Psychologist, Sociologist,
American Board
Certified Clinical Counselor
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
Phone: 00971-4-4574240

There is an array of reasons why individuals seek the services of a mental health care professional, such as a counsellor, psychotherapist, or psychologist in Dubai. They can range from needing a sounding board in a decision-making process, or a life crisis, to getting qualified psychological treatment addressing symptoms of a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, or OCD etc.

A person seeking to find a psychologist, psychotherapist, or counsellor in Dubai to “talk” to might want clarification on the difference between counselling and psychotherapy. All licensed psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors, through their academic training and internship requirements, have the qualifications to do psychotherapy and counselling. Often the terms counselling and psychotherapy are used interchangeably, as these therapies overlap in many ways; yet, there are notable differences.

What is Counselling? What Can You Expect During Counselling in Dubai?

During counselling sessions, patients talk to their counsellor about their specific problems and how to address and solve them. During a session, advice is not dispensed, but the psychologist or counsellor takes the role of a guide to facilitate positive change. Patients can use the non-judgmental, safe setting of the session to freely explore their unique, individual problems. This gives them an opportunity to discover their own answers and take positive steps to resolve their issues. Counselling sessions have a present day, solution-based focus and are considered a short-term therapy, as compared to psychotherapy

What is psychotherapy? What Can You Expect During Psychotherapy in Dubai?

Psychotherapy or “therapy” in short, often is longer in duration than counselling. Therapy sessions can take place over the course of one or two years where patients see their psychologist one to two times per month.

During psychotherapy, psychological problems that have built up over the course of a long time are explored. Patients gain more insight into their feelings and actions. Emotional issues underlying problems and difficulties are identified and healing promoted. An essential component of psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and the patient. The safe and non-judgmental setting gives opportunity to evaluate relationship dynamics and to promote healing change.

The Approach of a Well Qualified and Experienced Psychologist:

Many mental health professionals will call themselves counsellors, because this is a widely accepted and non-stigmatized mental health care service. A good psychotherapist, psychologist, or counsellor is patient-centred and in collaboration with the patient sets treatment goals and discusses treatment methods. The lines between counselling and psychotherapy are often crossed. There might be initial counselling work during which deeper, life-long behavioural and emotional patterns are discovered. Conversely, there might be a patient in psychotherapy who will benefit from solution focused counselling to resolve a current issue.

The reality is that many people will benefit from someone to “talk” to. Getting professional help from a psychologist, psychotherapist, or counsellor fosters personal development and addresses and heals symptoms of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD etc. It is important that the mental health care provider is personable, has good academic credentials, is experienced, and holds an appropriate license (psychologist, counsellor, psychiatrist). To assure educational standards among mental health professionals, all nationals applying for licensure in Dubai Healthcare City must meet the same qualifications. The general requirement is that professionals must have a Western education, otherwise, for instance, an American psychologist in Dubai must meet the same requirements as a German psychologist in Dubai, or an Italian psychologist.

In a collaborative effort with the patient, the mental health care professional will know what therapies to put in place to effect positive change. If indicated, the psychologist, psychotherapist, or counsellor will refer to a psychiatrist to assess if medication is advised as an additional treatment approach.

Is the Culture and Language a Factor in Choosing a Counsellor or Psychologist in Dubai?

Dubai counts among the most diverse countries in the world. Someone seeking counselling services might wonder about cultural and linguistic factors that play into the therapy session. Some people feel most comfortable in their native language. In such a case, a German patient would want to seek the services of a German psychologist or counsellor in Dubai. It is not only the language that can be important, but is can be that a client wishes to speak to someone from their own culture, as being from the same culture, in many instances, can increase common understanding of values and ideas. It might also be that someone is from a specific culture and intentionally chooses a counsellor or psychologist from a different culture, as they might value the therapist’s country’s educational system and prominent schools of thought. An example for this could be someone who appreciates an American psychologist in Dubai, even though they might be from Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. Clearly, a patient can choose a psychologist or counsellor who will meet their personal needs and requirements.