Awakening the mind the Naya way for better mental health

licensed-professional-counselorPeople often ignore the deep connection between mind and body.

About one in every six American adults, (which translates to at least 44.7 million people), live with  mental sickness, and 52% of them believe mental health therapy is difficult to get.So,only a third of those suffering with mental sickness receive any type of treatment. Yet, Americans visit a doctor for physical ailments at least four times a year.

In this backdrop, neurologist Dr. Alex Lehn at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, said, “You can’t separate the mind and body as much as we used to think. The mind can make you sick.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)in Rockville, Maryland, the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder is mood disorder. As diagnostic interview data indicate, mood disorders could include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, or bipolar disorder, and affects about 21 million adults in the US.NIMH reports that around 21.4% of adults in the US experience some type of mood disorder during some period of their lives.

The second commonly diagnosed disorder is personality disorder which affects about 9% of the population. According to NIMH, this condition can be categorized as antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. About 1% of the population is diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, a condition that manifests itself by an unwillingness to abide by social and cultural norms.

NIMH reports the third most-commonly diagnosed mental disorder as eating disorders, which includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.  According to the study, women are thrice as likely as men to develop anorexia and bulimia and 75% more likely than men to suffer from binge-eating disorder.

Psychotherapy is known to be an effective treatment for a wide range of psychological disorders. Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology, said, “The principle aim of psychotherapy is not to transport one to an impossible state of happiness, but to help (the client) acquire steadfastness and patience in the face of suffering.” Though more people today are seeking professional counselling and therapy for these conditions than earlier times, more often than not, intervention is delayed or inadequate.

However, according to a research release by California-based Barna Group, 42% of American adults have seen a counselor at some point in their lives, and 36% of adults are receptive to counseling.The study finds that21% of Millennials and 16% of Gen X are receptive to counselling while Baby Boomers are less open to the experience.

Up until recent times, counseling programs focused on the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach, as the most pertinent and efficient method of counseling.CBT treats mental problems by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts and by focusing on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted perceptions and to change destructive patterns of behavior. Despite the general popularity of the CBT approach, there was one therapist, Sam Nabil, founder of Naya Clinics,who was, in his words, “deeply dissatisfied” with the“harsh and impersonal” process of CBT.  He said, “I was convinced that those who sang the praises of CBT day and night, would steer far away from it if they needed counseling themselves or for someone they loved.”

While in counseling school, during discussion and debate, Nabil would tell his professors and colleagues, “With all due respect, CBT is dead.”

And so began Nabil’s all-consuming search for the ideal counseling approach. With over two decades of experience focused on human behavior and performance and organizational behavior, while living in half a dozen countries, Nabil was ideally placed to introduce a whole new way of counseling.

During his search for a new approach, Nabil was drawn to the deeply insightful, humane and honest approach of Existential psychotherapy.  Yet, he was concerned that the two major contributors to Existential psychotherapy, Rollo May and Viktor Frankl experienced traumatic events. Frankl had been a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, and also lost his wife and children, parents and brother. Roll May had a traumatic childhood. And, Nabil felt that a therapy used during great tragedy and upheaval of World War II,would hardly be appropriate to engage people born into prosperity, stability, and focused health of the late 20th century.

Nabil proudly says, “And so came the birth of my personal approach to counseling Positive Existential Therapy (PET).” He finds it gratifying to have “reinvented psychotherapy for the 21st century.” He has merged the insightful wisdom and humanity of existential psychotherapy and relevant, clinically tested elements from positive psychology, to effectively deal with problems that people face today. He explains, “PET is client centered and designed to give you results. It is a radical departure from how therapy has come to be, and it works.”

Nabil currently has Naya Clinics in several locations in Ohio, also in Kentucky and Indianapolis. He has plans to expand further as communities embrace the new therapy approach.

Nabil’s pioneering effort at creating a therapy relevant to modern times is appreciated by his clients, who are delighted by the professionalism of service, and the kindness and compassion that envelopes them with each interaction.

As Carl Jung said, “Who looks outside, dreams: who looks inside, awakens.”

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