In today’s world, taking care of yourself is perhaps collectively more important than it has ever been. That said, individuals who are seeking help for various psychological health issues often feel it’s inaccessible due to factors such as lack of finances, lack of facilities in their area, and culture and language barriers.
There’s one treatment clinic that aims to break the barriers and build a bridge to those seeking treatment by offering clients a host of clinicians who come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, and speak a variety of languages.
Psychology Health Solutions offers a variety of treatment services that address stress and anxiety, relationship and individual counselling and chronic pain and disability, to name a few. They have five branches located in Kitchener, Hamilton, Brantford, London and Toronto, Ontario, allowing them to treat patients at a location that’s convenient for them.
However, what makes their services unique is their goal to make psychological services more accessible, by offering patients these services in their native language, which can be a barrier for many who are seeking treatment.
“It’s not just the simple translation from one language to another. There’s a whole context behind it, and it’s the cultural familiarity,” says Sean Shahrokhnia psychologist and managing director of Psychology Health Solutions.
Benefits of receiving help from someone who understands your native culture and language
Regardless of what you may be seeking treatment for – individual counselling, trauma recovery or relationship help – having a treatment provider who is a professional, speaks your language and has cultural familiarity and sensitivity is always beneficial.
“Familiarity with culture provides the provider with a lot more background information, a lot more of a chance to connect and establish a rapport with a patient,” says Shahrokhnia. “Rapport is more easily established because there are a lot of commonalities rather than trying to explain it to someone because they’re already familiar.”
For example, if you’re seeking relationship counselling, and perhaps one or both people hail from a different country other than Canada, having a clinician from their background is beneficial in conveying that someone understands and they’re not alone.
“It’s building bridges between the host culture and Canadian culture. It’s also helping them through their process, and if it comes from someone who speaks your language and is familiar with your culture it gives them hope and they can see that it can be done. So, in that aspect it’s very helpful,” says Shahrokhnia.
A multicultural, multilingual facility where inclusion and patient care comes first
Across their five branches, Psychology Health Solutions has clinicians who speak 14 different languages, but Shahrokhnia says they’re always looking for more clinicians who speak Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin as there’s currently a shortage of treatment providers that speak those languages.
Being a multilingual, multicultural facility, they have an open-door policy. Shahrokhnia said their clinics are a welcoming, secure and safe place for treatment, where top patient care is at the core of their values.
“We are a very open clinic, we provide assessment and treatment services for motor vehicle accidents (MVA), the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), first responders, and the general public,” says Shahrokhnia.
Maintaining hope in light of COVID-19
Shahrokhnia says he has not yet seen an increase in referrals during the current pandemic and feels that this is because people are focussing all their energy on being healthy and staying safe. However, he said the hardest part for many is the uncertainty of how long this will last but there’s always the potential for a positive experience as well.
“A situation like this is never one-dimensional,” says Shahrokhnia. There are many different layers, and it could go in many different directions. It could bring people closer together and they may gain a new appreciation for life and the things we may have taken for granted like going to a grocery store or to a restaurant. So there could be some positives.”
Shahrokhnia also says that despite the challenges and uncertainty we are all facing, there’s always room to maintain some hope.
“It’s much better to be hopeful than to be hopeless, it’s much better to focus on the positives and try to see the silver lining rather than to go through the doom and gloom scenarios because that will really drag you down. We will get through this and we are all in this together and eventually, we are going to come out of it.”
If you need support during this time, contact a Psychological Health Solutions location nearest you. If you are in Kitchener, call 519-208-2966 or 1-888-592-5075 to speak to someone who would be happy to assist you. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
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