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What’s Important About Psychology?

By Dr. Matt Marko M.D. Ph.D



First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou

Kangning Mental Health Hospital, Ningbo

North American International Hospital


Humans - Who We Are


We are not made up of just our human physical bodies. No, we are all much more than just this. More than a collection of skin and bone etc. So what are we? What is it that makes us, us? Our physical bodies yes, our personalities, our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are all a part of each of us. The same and individual as well. So are lives what, how and why we do what things we do are influenced by these later things more so, and not our physical parts. True that the way our body fits together down to the tiniest cell is part of what makes these other things work, and does have an effect on it all. It’s how these things come together from the time we are conceived and throughout our whole life. Environment also plays an important role that acts in conjunction with how these things come together. A subject of much debate, (nature -vs- nurture), which is best left for another time. We think, analyze and try to understand all things, see things as we do, feel about things as we do and come to realize that it is ever changing as all things are. So “why” do we feel the things we do? Think the things we do? Act as we do? Why do we lose control sometimes? Why do we feel so depressed at times that we would prefer to be dead? Why do we get too nervous and feel like we will die? Why do we love? Why do we hate. Why, why, why?


Well, these are the questions and puzzles that are for us to solve and why we have psychology in an attempt to analyze and define these things for over the more than last 50 years. To understand why, how and what these things are, or rather why we are the way we are. Both normal and what we would call at times abnormal. A study of humans and all the things that make them up and that surrounds them. To learn the ability to not only understand, but to solve the many problems that we humans have in all parts of our lives.


What Kind Of Problems Do I Get Help For?


All people have problems at sometime in their life. Some carry these problems all their life. Some are just life problems, confusion, frustration, and difficulty in dealing with many various situations, emotions and much more. Some are actual psychiatric illnesses, which are for some very clear and for others not clear much of the time. Again, this is made up of various individuals though there are some things that are very similar and the same. Some are very unique and different as all individuals are.


So we have these many problems and difficulties. So we get lost in the rush of life. We don’t understand this or that; usually we don’t understand this or that many times over. And then, when we think we do understand, something in our life will throw us a curve and we scratch our heads and wonder what happened to what we “thought” we already knew.


But this is life as it is, this is life for humans. Complicated and ever changing. The one thing for certain is that most all things change at some point. Societies change and develop and grow. As so do the people in them attempting to adjust to all these many changes. Trying to find ourselves in all of this. How do we fit? Where do we fit? Do we fit at all? And much of the time feelings as though we can’t fit these things or that they don’t fit us. And the questions keep coming as we look for the answers.


Where And How Do We Find Help?


In finding these answers we need to understand many things in many ways. Living life is a part of that. Experience and knowledge are all helpful, but it takes much more. It takes someone who is trained and educated in this field. We have a lot of knowledge that is very difficult for most people to understand, but the good part is that you don’t have to understand it all to get the help you need in your life. That is what we are here for. To fix these problems by whatever means are needed. No matter what the problem is. There is a solution. It must be found and we have the means to do it. But having the means does no good unless people seek the treatment.


People have many stereotypes and have many fears about saying “I’m going to see a therapist, psychologist, a psychiatrist”. Very afraid of what others will think. Many times getting no help because they fear what will happen. Actually, what can happen is that they get better or improve their life because they got what they needed. Yes, sometimes others will talk about this person. Oh, they have mental problems. Well all in all, it doesn’t matter so much. If they are calm and logical about it all. To simply say, I had some difficulties and I went for help and I got what I needed and am now am happier and better for it is a much better way to deal with others. Lead by example. Show them the new and improved you and even they will follow. Be proud that you are smart enough to know what to do. Show others that you feel so much better, are so much better, and they will soon want to follow. Without psychology, a person can become a burden instead of help to themselves and to all around them. Their physical health can and does deteriorate and many health problems occur. Even this can lead to physical maladies, which can lead to death. Stress has become critical in physical health as a factor leading to heart and blood pressure problems and more.


A person, who is healthier psychologically, is healthier emotionally, mentally, and even physically. They are better, happier as an individual person, as a family member, as an employee they are more productive, as a part of the community, society and even for the country as a whole. For this “harmonious” society to become this way, psychology is very necessary. We must help each individual in order to help the whole nation. And hiding these things will not make them better. Hiding them in fact over time will make them worse and cause more problems. Things we don’t resolve enough in our subconscious mind will stay with us and often will build up causing more difficulties later. So answers are part of the key to making things better. Answers that we help you to find. So we must solve the problem(s) and not bury them. Then we can go on.


Psychology In Other Areas


Major corporations throughout the world use psychology for their businesses to be more efficient and more profitable. They use it as a way of making sure that the people they employ are stable, to keep their employees happy and stable by helping them with their problems and by avoiding problems that could cost them a great deal of money if an employee were to become very unstable and who might do something wrong such as committing suicide or attacking others. It keeps their employees more productive and more efficient. They use psychology in their marketing. Anywhere from advertisement to the appearance of their businesses to the public. Certain colors and shapes of décor and more affect their customers in different ways and corporations use this knowledge to help their businesses to grow more.


Schools, colleges and universities also use psychology in much the same way. To produce healthier happier better people for the future. More stable and to avoid those things such again as suicide or by heading off bad incidents such as murders from unstable students.


While there are more things that psychology is used for, you can now get some idea as to the many benefits from this field affecting the world at large and to all the effects on the people and more throughout the future.


Another area that over recent years has been of what is called profiling. This is where a psychologist or psychiatrist can identify the type of person someone is, what they might do in future behavior such as used in finding serial killers. Or in finding someone’s main weaknesses for interrogative purposes. This has become helpful in the law enforcement field and is now widely used.


What To Know, What To Expect


There are different levels of people in this field. From the lowest to the highest. are counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. They all have many benefits for each person who needs them. All are trained to different levels of help that they can offer. Some things in therapy any counselor or therapist can do. Some things are only available through a psychologist and some more only through a psychiatrist. Medicine can be given here by a psychologist or psychiatrist. But the most effective methods of treatment are in the combination of counseling and/or therapy and the use of medicine as well. This has been proven in scientific research.


So you go in to see one of these, and what to expect? Not so difficult, but here in China is somewhat different depending on where you go and who you see. From the U.S. we are trained to evaluate patients differently. We spend anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes with a patient to evaluate them for a proper diagnosis to be done. Diagnosis is critically important so that the right medication and counseling or therapy can be provided to them. While I can do this in less time, it is more accurate to do this in the way that we have been taught. There is less likelihood that a mistake or misdiagnosis will happen if done properly. Many times a diagnosis thought of in the beginning will change after further questioning and examination or additional problems may be uncovered as a secondary problem. But a close evaluation will bring a clearer diagnosis from the start making treatment more exact and accurate.


Example: Female, 40yrs of age, history of 12 years and 5 doctors later, diagnosed with sometime depression, sometimes anxiety. Many different medicines taken but never felt normal most of the time. Insomnia, tired, very excited, very depressed, confused and more for all this time.


After seeing her, I concluded she actually had what is called bi-polar disorder. An illness caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. This requires different medicine and treatment than depression or anxiety. So I changed her medicines and after about two months of this and counseling, she felt normal for the first time in her life. So now she feels happy and in control for the first time with friends and family saying that she is a different and better person. 


Should you expect to receive medicine? In many cases yes you should. This may be temporary or it may be permanent. It all depends on what the problem(s) are. There is no reason to fear this or to think about it in the wrong way. Taking medicine doesn’t mean that you are terribly ill. It means it is a way to treat your problem(s) whatever it might be. Research has proven that it is best when we combine both medicine and therapy together to get the optimum results in the shortest time. Many worry about the side effects of medicine, and there are some side effects. But this is usually minimal and much of that is less or even gone in 30 to 45 days time as your body adjusts to the medicine. Drug makers must list ever possible side effects even down to 0.01% so don’t fear these so much when you read them.


Many people also try to self-regulate or stop their medicine, especially after they feel better. This is something you should not do, as your doctor should decide this. Because you feel better, may be only because of the medicine balancing some chemicals in your brain, which may be necessary to make you feel better. Many people are born with an imbalance of some chemical in some way, and the medicine only brings this into proper balance so you can control the problem(s). It is specialized medicine that only we can understand. Its uses are very specific. And there are reasons for each medicine for each patient. Counseling or therapy will follow as needed for each individual case. So it may be one, or a combination of several things.


You will be asked about family history as well as your own. What medicines you have been on and are on now and the question will also be, how much? This would include any other physical illness or accidents you may have had. You may be asked to have blood tests, urine tests, possible ECG, CT or MRI. Maybe written tests will also be available and requested of you. Your heart rate and blood pressure can be measured. Many things are involved in this, not just what your thinking and about your brain. As research goes on, we find more and more that stress is one of the leading causes of cardiac, blood pressure and other physical health problems as well as leading to death.


So it is very important in all this process that you are very clear and 100% honest and truthful about how you answer these questions.


We have very few things that we can so called “cure”. But most everything can be treated and controlled. A great deal of research is being done, but we need much more and until then, we need to learn as we go to build on what we already have so far.


Another common error that people make here is that they come once or twice, and think that is all it takes. Or they think, I have been once or twice and tried and now I’m better, or now it doesn’t help me. These things are not like a cold or a virus. One or two trips and a little medicine can’t solve all the problems. So you must see this as it is and in the way that it works. So expect and plan for more commitment than that. You should be asked to do some things, such as find certain hobbies or to keep a diary or other possible methods of treatment, to get exercise and more. There are many different types of things you could be asked to do from running to hypnosis. But whatever the reasons, there are reasons to be sure. You should try to believe and have faith in all these things. You do not have to understand it all to get help and benefit from it. A way is there. But it must be found for each person.


In Conclusion


As professionals in this field we know and understand that this is a science of medicine based on years of research. This is not magic but medicine and science. But yes, it is also more than that. Very complicated and diverse. But so are humans, emotions, thoughts, feelings, and many other things. So an easy field of medicine, no, but one that we are learning more about all the time. We must tie together what we know in science, with what we know and don’t know about humans as a whole in order to help everyone the best. But the fact remains is that it works. If people can learn to understand more and to accept these things, then we all win more in the end.


All these many problems, psychological and psychiatric illnesses are not new. It is only that these things have been hidden and kept secret. From people’s fears and misunderstanding of these things. We must learn that these have always been here, always a part of humankind. But pressure and stress in how we live is becoming more in some places. And that pressure and stress is taking its toll on people. We cannot let things stand in our way of fighting these problems. We must see that it is all a part of us and our lives and to accept it and deal with it. Then we can all get better.


Do not become panicked by these things or what surrounds it in your treatment. Just move forward with it knowing that it will ultimately help you to lead a normal life and that you will have a better life for doing it. We must learn to understand each other as all people should, and that seeking help for our many different problems IS the right, normal and best thing to do. Because we all improve ourselves and all the things and people around us as we do. The path may be difficult and sometimes longer than we would like, but we can survive and even thrive forward to the future in a better way.



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