Naya Clinics reach out to women troubled by depression, with Positive Existential Therapy (PET), founder Sam Nabil’s unique approach to psychotherapy
Greek philosopher Atticus said, “Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.” Despite from having an unhealthy state of mind, it is easily hidden with a bright smile or a cheerful disposition. American author Jasmine Warga, said, “What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside. It’s about the inside.” Due to this fact, it might be aggravated by the ignorance of others.
Studies done at different times reflect that the worries of daily living affect women more than men. For instance, Oxford University clinical psychologist Daniel Freeman, found that women are 20-40% likelier to become mentally ill, than men.
For women, as life givers and nurturers, the commonest psychological problems revolve around pregnancy and childbirth. In the US alone, around 900,000 women in a given year, suffer from postpartum depression in the immediate aftermath of having a baby. In Asian countries, as many as 65% of new mothers go through postpartum depression.
Popular American actress Selena Gomez recently said, “I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s never down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”
Indeed, getting over postpartum depression requires women to recognize there is no shame in feeling the way they do. Traditional forms of therapy are not helping getting through to patients, as psychotherapist, Sam Nabil, founder of Naya Clinics, found.
Up until recent times, counseling programs focused on the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach, as the most pertinent and efficient method of counseling. CBT treats mental problems by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts and by focusing on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted perceptions and to change destructive patterns of behavior. Despite the general popularity of the CBT approach, Sam Nabil, was, in his words, “deeply dissatisfied” with the “harsh and impersonal” process of CBT. He said, “I was convinced that those who sang the praises of CBT day and night, would steer far away from it if they needed counseling themselves or for someone they loved.” He told his professors in a direct and forthright way, “With all due respect, CBT is dead.”
Responding to this urgent need, Nabil, pioneered Positive Existential Therapy (PET), an innovative avant garde approach to psychotherapy, as a culmination of multicultural work experience over two decades. With PET, Nabil is able to view problems in a broader, more diversified context. He has done so by, as he explains, “merging the deep insights, humanity and wisdom of existential psychotherapy, with carefully curated and clinically tested elements of positive psychology, to create a counseling approach that is born of our new circumstances and conditions, and that is designed to reinvent therapy for the 21st century.”
While still training at counseling school some years ago, Nabil was “deeply dissatisfied” with the importance given to the CBT approach. Says Nabil, ‘I believed that CBT was harsh and impersonal, although it was presented as the most applicable and efficient way of doing counseling.” Instead, he considered Existential psychotherapy a better option because of its “candor, humanity, and deep insights.” But as he read deeper into the lives of the existential philosophers who subsequently became existential psychotherapists, he saw that they themselves had experienced troubling traumatic experiences which influenced their view of life at a deep level. Nabil said, “That to me was a big stumbling block in finding a counseling approach that I was fully convinced with.”
There was another reason why he could not accept the then prevalent Existential approach. As he explained, “The ideas of existential psychotherapy that blossomed in an era of World War II, the holocaust, and the mass killings and destruction of the middle of the 20th century can NOT – for all their wisdom – be used to engage clients born in the prosperity, stability, and focus on wellness and progress that dominated the last decades of the 20th century.” And beyond as well.
This is what led to Nabil introducing his own PET approach. He took the most appealing features of the earlier Existential approach and merged them with “carefully curated and clinically tested elements of positive psychology, to create a counseling approach that is born of our new circumstances and conditions, and that is designed to reinvent therapy for the 21st century.”
Nabil is deeply encouraged by the appreciation of his clients. Said one grateful individual, “Professional and caring towards those he interacts with. I admire his ability to connect with people and make differences in their lives.” Another client commented, “Made me think about things in a way I hadn’t thought of before. He is sharp and gentle in a way I have not come across before.”
Nabil’s pioneering effort appears to be catching on as he has opened up five branches of Naya Clinics in Ohio – specifically in Cincinnati, Columbus, Blue Ash, Hyde Park and West Chester Ohio, also in Kentucky and Indianapolis. Apart from Online Therapy and Online Coaching, he and his well-trained staff also provide in-person therapy and coaching and alternative healing and relationship counseling, to people reaching out to him for help.
He believes that the PET approach which is client-centered and results-oriented, works because it is “a radical departure” from what therapy was earlier supposed to be. Having experienced a variety of cultures over decades, Nabil brings a unique perspective and unassailable hope into lives wracked by hopelessness. It is like Victor Hugo said in Les Miserables, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
And as women benefit from his unique approach, the word spreads, and the new approach has rapidly become the one that helps. And as American poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women.”
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