Importance of self work to develop the efficiency of mental health workers
By admin On 7 Jun, 2014 At 07:54 AM | Categorized As Article | With 0 Comments


Rojina Manandhar (2)

-Rojina Manandhar
A holistic approach for Structured Self Work was developed in order to see the performance in personal and professional development of the mental health professionals. 12 participants who work in the mental health sector in Kathmandu participated. The professionals are the psychologists and professional counselors. The study was carried out to observe the impact of self work upon mental health professionals based on the following features: self esteem, confidence level, interpersonal skills, concentration, job satisfaction, and coping skills. The study findings reflected that 10 participants said that their self esteem was heightened which ultimately helped them to improve their confidence level and 2 participants feel that they have to work for it. 10 participants reported that their confidence level was increased, 10 participants reported that they have less physical pain and 2 participants felt no pain at all. 10 participants feel that they can concentrate more and they feel that can be more with the client and understand fell with them.

Self work, self help, self groups are the new developed in the avenues in the field of mental health. The consequences of joining in self help programmes are always fruitful for the individual. Most of the people join meditation, yoga as a self help but it’s not a complete and structured technique. Simply the self help is defined as helping self which helps an individual for his or her personal, psychological, emotional, and intellectual and many more developments. However the main objectives of self help is to release all the repressed anger, jealousy, irritations, frustrations and more which we have been holding from so many years. As all these negative emotions are playing as a powerful resistance for our physical and psychological development. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”(Buddha). When we are free from all the negative emotions, we can help ourselves and others as well. This kind of programme is very much helpful for all but it helps more who work in the mental health sector. It is found that who can deal and learned from their own problems can help and guide the other people. The European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) requires at least 100 hours of personal therapy or personal development (as specified by different therapeutic schools), as part of future psychotherapists’ training (European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations, n.d.).

Structured Self Help Work
This kind of programme is designed to boost the potentials and abilities of an individual. This kind of programme helps to enhance emotional maturity, build self esteem and confidence, develop coping skills, creativity, enhance human relations and which ultimately would improve the effectiveness of service and health interventions provided by the mental health professionals. Moreover, it is strongly believed that who are emotionally stable can help others. BODH, an organization that works in the mental health sector designed a structured programme on Self Work. The programme was carried out in four phases over the span of 6 months. There were altogether 48 sessions with the session of 3 hours twice a week. In the first phase, different therapies were practiced to recall any memories which have negative emotions attached and release all these emotions as much as possible. In this phase, the participants experience different kinds of negative emotions. In the second phase, meditation was done along the activities carried out in the first phase. Meditation helps to make aware what’s going in the body and mind. It helps if the participants have any pain, discomfort in their body and helps to find the emotions attached with it. In this phase the participants were doing the activities of the first phase as well. In the third phase, guidance classes on thoughts, feelings, energy, behavior, mind was done followed by phase one and two. In every session there was experience sharing on self improvement, problems and emotions which are very hard to let go, innovative and practiced by the participants to tackle with the problem and many more. In the last or the fourth phase, each participant leads the programme for a group respectively.

Rationale of the Study
The status of mental health in Nepal is still in its infancy stage. People started having awareness about mental health but still the people suffering from mental health problems are stigmatized. People still have confusion between psychological and psychiatric problem. In this situation, self help programmes, personal development programmes are very new for the people. It was found that very few organizations in Nepal like TPO, Antarang who work in the mental health sector include self work programme for their staffs. The impact of these kinds of programmes has proved to be really helpful as it has led to good physical and mental health as well as emotional maturity. People go to fitness centers, attend mediation program train on dance and yoga, and attend different seminars to develop their personality which is a very common practice these days. However, such practices do help only partially in the holistic development of a person, both personally and professionally. Henceforth, a standardized approach and practice to self work is required.

Objectives of the Study
General Objective: The general objective of this study is to understand the importance of self work in developing the effectiveness of mental health professionals in their work.
Specific Objective: The specific objective of this study is to find of the impact of self work on the personal and professional development of mental health professionals of Kathmandu Valley.

Study design:

The study was designed as a qualitative study with mixed methods approach.
Methods: For this study, structured interview, non-participant observation and case study were used for qualitative study method. These methods were applied to all the 15 interviewees.
Tools: Questionnaires were used for the structured interviews, observation and case study guides were used for the qualitative research. Study Population: The study population comprises of 12 female mental health professionals. The selection of the 12 study participants have been based on non-probability based sampling using snow ball sampling method where mental health professionals have been identified based on the information provided by the first one approached and a chain of information provided thereafter.
Study period: The data collection of this study was done from June, 2013 to November, 2013. Ethical Considerations: Anonymity of the participants was maintained and the raw data was not shared with anyone except the research team members during the entire research. Consent of the participants was taken before conducting the research to be a part of the research and no threats or provocations were used upon the study participants.
Data Analysis Plan: Data collected were analyzed in the form of Data Analysis Matrix using the ‘Theory of Change’ approach. Context The status of mental health in Nepal is still in its infancy stage. People started having awareness about mental health but still the people suffering from mental health problems are stigmatized. People still have confusion between psychological and psychiatric problems. In this situation, self help programmes, personal development programmes are very new for the people. It was found that very few organizations in Nepal like TPO, Antarang who work in the mental health sector include self work programme for their staff Input Whole Structured self work package which includes therapies, meditation and experience sharing Output Changed behavior of mental health professionals, observation of being calm, happy and more satisfied in their work as well as removal of bodily and mental discomfort Outcome Enhance emotional maturity, build self esteem and confidence, develop coping skills, creativity, enhance human relations.
Improve the effectiveness of mental health professionals in health interventions and service delivery
Almost 12 participants participated in this structured self work programme . The following data were collected which is 1- 10 scale followed by therapies and other techniques.

Graph1: Self Esteem
Graph 1 shows that 83% of the participants reveal that their self esteem has heightened and the remaining 12 % do not feel any changes in their self esteem, even after following the structured self work. It shows that the structured group work along the therapies related to boost the self esteem release all the negative emotions and really help to boost the self esteem.

Graph 2: Interpersonal Skills
Graph 2 shows that 75% participants expressed that they have developed their interpersonal skills from the self work. Structured self work for mental health professionals really helped. 15% participants show that they have slightly improved their interpersonal skills and it shows that they need to work more on it. The graph indicates that SSW is much useful to develop interpersonal skills with self and others as well.

Confidence Level
Graph 3: Confidence Level

Graph 3 shows that among the 12 participants, 25 % participants show a great improvement in their confidence level, 25 % participants reported that they have gained excellent confidence level, another 33% participants showed that they have gained good confidence level and the remaining 16% have slightly developed their confidence level.

Concentration Graph 4: Concentration
Few participants reported that their concentration level had increased in the 2nd phase of the SSW. Most of the participants were complaining about their memory and lack of concentration during the 1st phase of the Structured Self Work. And slowly participants started to show the bit increase in concentration from the second phase when the mediation was started. Graph 4 makes clear that 25% participants showed a tremendous increase in their concentration, 41% had a moderate increase in their concentration while 8% had their concentration level increased at a good level and finally another 8% showed a less improvement in their concentration.

Job Satisfaction
During the first phase of the SSW, most of the participants reported that they have great passion and love their job but does not feel satisfied at all. Some said that they do not get good salary, feels over sensitive with the client, feels helpless in some situation and some even reported that they feel angry and irritated with the clients.

Graph 5: Job Satisfaction
Graph 5 shows that 4 participants expressed their satisfaction level at 8 out of 10 scale, 5 participants reported that their they feel more satisfied rating their satisfaction at 9 and the remaining 3 participants expressed their satisfaction rating at 7 which is good as well. This shows that SSW is very much fruitful for the mental health workers.

Coping Skills
We learn different kinds of defense mechanisms from our childhood. When we have to face any painful situations and problem, we either fight with it or run away from it. We learn it consciously and unconsciously from our parents, guardians, teachers which are already stored in our mind. Graph 6: Coping Skills Graph 6 shows that there is a tremendous development in coping skills with participants. 9 (75%) participants expressed that their coping skills had increased a lot, one participants(8%) reported that her coping skills had increased tremendously and the remaining 2(16%) participants reported that their coping skill had increased more than they expected. Most of the participants said that they created a different kind of coping mechanisms which indicates their potentiality and innovativeness.

Psychosomatic Pain
Graph 7 showing progress with the physical pain after SSW. Graph 7 shows that 5 participants didn’t feel any pain in the different parts of the body which they had before. 2 participants felt very less pain , four participants feel pain at level of 2 out 10 and only one participant feel at level of 3 out of 10. This all shows that all these pains are psychosomatic and these all are the after matches of repressed negative emotions. And it is clear that when we release the negative emotions, acceptance the fact, awareness slowly reduces all these psychosomatic pain.

Good changes in the personal and professional life after SSW Participants reported that there is a very good change in their personal life as they feel good changes in the relationships with their spouses, children, in-laws, friends, co-workers, and relatives. Most of them expressed that they are emotionally stable and can handle the situations very well. Some expressed that they feel very easy handling their clients. Some participants expressed that they feel happier, in peace and have more positive thoughts compared than before

Figure 8 showing the changes in personal life and in profession

Graph 8 shows that 50% feels that their personal life hd improved and they again feel more satisfaction in their job as well. 35% participants feel that SSW helped a lot to strengthen their potentials and improved their personal and professional life and the remaining 15% expressed that SSW helped them both personal and professional level but need to do more self work as they still have lots of issues to work out and need more self work to be continued.

Need and Importance of Self Work among Mental Health Professionals All the participants reported that Structured Self Work is very powerful for them as it really helped them to release the emotions which they had been holding from long time. Some reported that they had been to training to build their self esteem and confidence and it helped for a time being only. However with the help of SSW, their self esteem, confidence level, coping skills strengthened naturally. Henceforth, all the participants felt that this kind of programme is required for them.

Very little research is done on self work with mental health workers. Different kind of programmes like care for care takers were introduced few year back in Nepal but its not enough. Self work is very new in Nepal. The need is immense and there is no doubt that the professional should be physically, mentally and emotionally sound and stable. This study shows that courses on self help/ self work must be included with counseling and psychological trainings and courses. This Structure Self Work shows that there is a very good changes in the participants personal life and job as well. It again helped the participants to flourish their potentials and creativity.