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May 14, 2015

Healthy Living: Therapy – the Best Approach to Control Emotion

In our day to day lives, we experience a wide range of emotions. Some of us have very strong support systems to deal with challenging times; but some try hard to battle it alone; or, even with the best advisers, some still can’t get out of their funk. When this happens, it may be a good time to seek professional help for your problems. Contrary to what you may have heard, counseling or therapy is not for “crazy” people. In fact in tonight’s Healthy Living, I speak with one psychologist who explains how most people can benefit with therapy at some point in their lives.


Aimee Jex, Professional Counselor, BMA

“Only in educating people will we decrease the stigma that counseling is only for crazy people.”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Psychologist, Aimee Jex, has been working at the Belize Medical Associates for the past two years offering professional counseling services. The private sector, though, is not the only healthcare facility recognizing the need for mental health services. In fact, all public healthcare institutions offer assistance for mental health issues. And just like most other medical advice, it’s better to tackle the mental health issues early.


Aimee Jex

Aimee Jex

“It’s not like when you have a flu, you go to the doctor at the first cough or you go at the first sneeze. You go when you have a certain feeling when you know it will get worse. Sometimes you don’t have to go to counselor; sometimes you just have to make sure you’re talking to someone about those things that you are feeling. So one of the indicators, how is your support system, do you have enough friends, do you have enough family or people that you are talking to, are you communicating to people or are you holding something back.”


The idea is to talk to a professional before the problem becomes unmanageable. Too often, she says, people wait until they’re in a crisis to access care.


Aimee Jex

“That is the typical reason why people go to crisis when they feel overwhelmed or in the midst of a crisis. When they start to experience suicidal tendencies, they send their child when the child is cutting or the child is not eating and something major is happening. And yes that is an ideal time to send to counseling but like I said, if you can notice the little indicators of I don’t feel like myself or what I feel does not match with other people perceptions of me. Those could be little indicators that could prevent a crisis.”


But how do you know when your problem warrants a visit with a professional? One way is to look at changes in your behavior; whether you notice or close friends and family point it out to you.


Aimee Jex

“You have to see if it’s a good change, am I happy with it? Or am I just staying home and watching TV all day and not living my life, not enjoying it. Then you spend all day thinking I use to be a fun person, I don’t know why I’m not having fun anymore. Or sometimes you don’t even have that insight to be thinking about those kinds of things. You may want to start to want to manage something. It may be an addiction. It may be a behavior like you’re spending a little too much or you’re overeating. You may notice different things patterns or behaviors, your sleep pattern changes. Sometimes there are drastic changes and you just want to manage those things. You may feel overwhelmed or just out of sorts. You just feel that there is something that needs a little bit more control and you want to go to counseling just to start to manage some of these changes that you see.”


Counseling services can also help you cope with other people’s behaviors.


Aimee Jex

“Sometimes we don’t know what’s going on with the people around us and that is a good enough reason to go to counseling. You want to understand what is happening with your child your teenager. Maybe you feel disconnected from your teenager and as parents you want to send your child for counseling cause they’re the one who needs help, but very often in a situation like that it’ll benefit you as well to see what more you can do as a parent. Sometimes we have a family member with a chronic illness and we feel overwhelmed by what they are going through. It’s not something about us necessarily but it’s something we want to understand or discuss with someone else and those kinds of things are very good to discuss.”


Sometimes people require only one or a few sessions to learn to cope with their problem and some need more regular check-ins. It’s dependent on the problems you’re facing. If you’re in a difficult spot, Jex advises to find a professional counselor who you’re comfortable with and get the help you need so you can get back to enjoying your life.


Aimee Jex

“This is something I’ve seen with the different ministries in the government and with private practitioners and with the schools and different people. They have all started a movement in mental health and it started about fifteen years ago and I’m in a time when it is more well-known. We have the psychiatric nurses, we have counselors in different parts of the communities, we have counselors in schools; so there is some of that acceptance in counseling and there are a lot of people who have been to counseling several times before they come to me. We are starting to have that culture of accepting counseling a little bit more. We’re not to the point where it is not stigmatized which of course is the goal to have mental health without stigma because everyone does have mental health issues. The most healthy people have mental health issues. We all have our day when we doubt ourselves; we all have our days why our family members are doing these kinds of things. And sometimes we do feel overwhelmed by work; we have that one person at work, who is unbearable to deal with. Everyone has mental health needs. Mental health is a part physical health.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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