Meet Precious Nwaze, a certified psychologist working with MyTherapist.ng. Precious has dedicated her career to aiding individuals in managing mental health issues through online therapy sessions. In this interview with Oluwafikunayomi Odusola, she shares her journey as a psychologist, client experiences, and insights into mental health.
PN: Certainly. I’m Precious Nwaze, a psychologist, and I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology at Bournemouth University.
PN: My journey in the field spans nearly five years, possibly reaching the five-year mark. It all began during my final year of schooling when I served as a psychology intern at a neuropsychiatric hospital, extending support to inpatients. I also gained valuable experience working at an inclusive school for individuals with special needs, primarily children.
During the lockdown in 2020, I seized the opportunity to take online courses in Psychological First Aid and volunteered with a mental health NGO in Nigeria. Subsequently, I embarked on a career with a psychology organization. Having graduated from the Department of Psychology, I’ve continued my professional voyage within the realm of psychology.
PN: Absolutely, you’re right. Neuropsychology, though uncommon, involves the application of psychological principles to the study of the brain and nervous system. This field delves into understanding the origins of behavior, developmental disorders, and cognitive issues by exploring the intricacies of the brain and nervous system. Essentially, it’s a method to comprehend the underlying causes of behavioral challenges and psychopathological conditions.
PN: Your inquiry is quite thought-provoking. In all honesty, my choice was rooted in personal introspection. I questioned why I felt different, why my behavior diverged from that of others, and how these distinctions influenced my interactions. This curiosity extended to understanding my relationships with family and friends, which eventually drove me to seek answers.
Discovering psychology was a revelation, as it provided insights into human behavior, personality dynamics, and transformative changes. This knowledge addressed many of my queries. I was also motivated by the desire to help individuals grappling with similar questions about self-identity, uniqueness, and character formation.
Psychology’s holistic nature enables us to decipher our essence and distinctiveness while fostering empathy and understanding towards others. This foundation enhances relationships and minimizes conflicts, as it acknowledges the diversity in personality, behavior, and preferences.
PN: Indeed, the fulfillment of pursuing a passion is undeniable. However, psychology also presents its challenges. One of these is the potential emotional overwhelm that comes from shouldering the burdens of others, especially when one possesses empathetic qualities.
Empathy is intrinsic to mental health professionals, yet it can be a double-edged sword. While some may easily detach after sessions, genuine empaths might struggle to disengage from client discussions. This emotional weight can be daunting. Another challenge is the misconception that psychologists possess all-encompassing solutions to every problem.
Fundamentally, psychology entails diagnostic assessments and therapeutic interventions, primarily talk therapy. However, the role resembles that of a driving instructor, guiding clients who are steering the wheel of their lives. This disparity can lead to unrealistic expectations from clients seeking immediate solutions, often unaware of the gradual therapeutic process.
PN: Addressing this misconception necessitates transparency and effective communication. Educating clients about the therapeutic process and managing their expectations is crucial. I ensure that clients comprehend the collaborative nature of therapy, emphasizing their role as active participants in their journey towards improvement.
By clarifying that therapy is a progressive endeavor involving introspection, understanding, and gradual change, clients can better align their expectations. My role is to facilitate their growth, providing insights and tools to navigate challenges rather than presenting instant solutions. Establishing this shared understanding enhances the therapeutic relationship and fosters realistic goals.
PN: Managing the emotional toll is a multi-faceted endeavor. I’ve learned the importance of compartmentalization for my well-being. During therapy sessions, I adopt a focused and empathetic stance to address client concerns. However, afterward, I consciously switched gears, setting aside the “therapy persona” and allowing myself personal space.
This intentional separation helps prevent emotional burnout. While empathy remains a vital tool for client rapport, acknowledging my limits and developing emotional boundaries safeguard my mental health. Regular check-ins with senior professionals and practicing self-reflection contribute to this balance. Engaging in personal activities like nature walks, exercise, and solitary moments further aid in recharging and maintaining emotional equilibrium.
PN: MyTherapist.ng has significantly impacted my practice by expanding my reach to a global clientele while fostering a safe, non-judgmental environment. Many clients express concerns about judgment and criticism from past experiences, underscoring the need for a secure space. MyTherapist.ng has provided a platform where clients feel empowered to express themselves without fear of judgment.
This platform’s accessibility has facilitated connections with diverse clients, enabling me to extend my services beyond geographical boundaries. Creating a safe space fosters trust and openness, vital components for effective therapy. MyTherapist.ng’s emphasis on these aspects aligns with my approach, enhancing the quality of my therapeutic interactions.
PN: Certainly. My first therapy session as a recipient was marked by anxiety and uncertainty. The unfamiliarity of the process and my reserved nature contributed to this unease. However, as the session progressed, I began to feel more comfortable. Over time, consistent engagement built my confidence and eased any initial discomfort.
Transitioning to MyTherapist.ng wasn’t daunting, given my prior experience with both online and physical sessions. While each client interaction varies, possessing a general understanding of the therapeutic process helped ease any apprehensions. My initial sessions with MyTherapist.ng were similarly pleasant, aligning with my expectations based on previous encounters.
PN: Addressing clients who don’t experience immediate improvements requires a holistic perspective. It’s essential to recognize that therapy isn’t a quick fix, especially for long-standing issues. Complex concerns often necessitate delving into psychoanalytic therapy, tracing the origins of problems over time.
Understanding the historical context, identifying lingering effects, and providing insights from the initial steps. Therapy is a gradual process, and it’s unrealistic to expect significant changes after a handful of sessions. Each client’s journey is unique, characterized by ups and downs. I focus on providing continual support, reminding clients of the incremental nature of progress, and encouraging patience.
PN: All clients hold equal significance to me. My commitment extends to each individual, and I aim to provide tailored assistance to suit their needs.
PN: Certainly, there have been instances when I’ve encountered doubts or felt overwhelmed due to external factors. Balancing numerous responsibilities and managing stress without a solid framework can be challenging at times.
PN: Prioritizing my well-being involves a conscious approach. During therapy sessions, I immerse myself in the role, focusing on client concerns. Afterward, I deliberately transition out of this role to maintain a healthy balance. This ensures that the emotional weight doesn’t accumulate, preventing burnout.
Setting boundaries, seeking guidance from senior professionals, and engaging in self-care activities play pivotal roles. Acknowledging my empathetic nature while respecting my limits helps me maintain emotional equilibrium. Regular reflection and practices like nature walks and exercise contribute to my overall well-being.
PN: Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure engaging in this conversation. I appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences.