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Health News of Thursday, 22 August 2019


Inconsistent disciplining of children, cause of mental illness – Psychologist

Dr Michael T Anim, Clinical Health Psychologist Dr Michael T Anim, Clinical Health Psychologist

Clinical Health Psychologist Dr Michael T Anim has attributed the increasing rate of mental illnesses to the inconsistent training methods of people at their young age, as well as lack of discipline.

This, according to him, results in cases of schizophrenia where one is indecisive or there is lack of harmony in the way one thinks, the way one feels, and the way one behaves adding that it starts from basic things like no discipline.

He explained that if there is no consistent way of disciplining a child, the child does not know that this is consistent behaviour that he must exemplify or characterize in his/her life. Therefore, discipline keeps changes and a child learns that life is not predictable. Therefore, that lack of predictability makes them develop split mind and double standards in life.

He, however, noted that not all mental illnesses occur because of inconsistent discipline.

Dr Anim was speaking at a seminar on ‘understanding the human mind’, in Accra.

The event, which was the third of its kind to take place this year, brought together clinical psychologists, professionals in mental health, church pastors and ministers, church teachers, lay preachers and lay counsellors.

The seminar treated topics bothering on the philosophy of the mind, biological basis of the mind, behaviouristic view of the mind, cognitive perspectives of the mind and phenomenological perspective of the mind.

Other topics were sociological and cultural perspectives of the mind, spiritual perspectives of the mind, environmental influence on the mind, the bible and the mind, types of thinking and identifying an unhealthy mind & mental illness amongst others.

He said, “Mental health problems are building up in our country. A lot of mental illnesses we are experiencing in our country and most of these things we look at them at the global level, but nobody looks at the individual who is doing the thing.”

“So we planned this seminar so we would resource people who work directly with other persons in their churches, workplaces, communities and so on to understand their minds and how the minds work to translate into the misbehaviours we see in our communities, localities and on our streets,” he said.

Dr Anim expressed worry over how churches tend to spiritualize biological occurrences, especially when it has to do with mental illnesses.

Speaking to he said “the brain seems to be a mystery for many people because we cannot see what is going on inside So those who have the devices, the biomedical scientists, the neuro scientists and the neuro psychologists who use MRI scans, to read what the mind does, know that these things are not superstitious. So they understand when something goes wrong like speech disorders, Parkinson disease and dementia.”

“But we those who don’t have such tools over-spiritualize these because we don’t understand them. That is why we are holding these seminars for the churches so if you lack awareness of what the brain does or doesn’t do, and then you will be mystifying or put supernatural connotations on things that are unnecessary,” he added.

Dr Anim called on schools to include courses on understanding the mind in their curriculum beginning from age 7, where he says children begin to think abstract understand language.

He ended “I wish to call on everybody to value the mind. So once you can control the mind, everything around you gets controlled. Everything gets organized or disorganized depending on how you use the human mind.”

Paa Kwesi Acquah, a management consultant in corporate training and a participant of the seminar, touching on the benefits he has enjoyed said “it allows me to employ different tools in understanding participants’ responses to training sessions. We get to interact with participants in different ways, particularly when they pose certain questions that are related to their job schedules.”

“I learned Ways of analyzing problems, questioning techniques, how to notice certain words used by people that gives me an indication of the problem and what they expect from me in order to solve their problems. The previous session got me a license as a lay counsellor,” he said.

Ms Vivian N A Aubyn a clinical psychologist and board member of the PsyKForum said that as a country we really need to take the mental health of the population seriously i.e from infancy to adulthood and in the elderly.

“That’s is why the PsyKForum is promoting mental well-being in schools, workplaces and in our communities. And also the main reason why they are promoting the seminar by Dr Anim,” she stressed.

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