Psyche of Psychologist
What do you consider the most inexpensive thing?
Anything that is of no worth, and there could be many, you’d argue.
But what if we were to pick just one?
Here is a pointer on arriving - something in huge supply but lacking demand.
It would be Unsolicited Advice!
Agree, at least partially?
Good, we’re friends now.
We all despise advice and opinions and avoid such conversations when we are least in the mood.
But what if someone has to make a career, advising people not in a proper state to seek and follow the advice? Difficult Job!
Over the last couple of months, we have been interviewing counselors and sharing their insights for the good of all.
Welcome to this interview, we’ll be delving into the psyche of a psychologist to gain deeper insights into this critical aspect of life. Our interviewee is Dr. Abha Arora, a counselor based in Mayur Vihar, Delhi, who has been practicing for nearly 20 years.
Dr. Arora’s journey began as a gynecologist in 1980, where she dealt with routine cases and encountered situations where infertility led to domestic violence and abuse. She realized that treating the medical symptoms wasn’t enough and started advising couples on ways to bring harmony into their household. She found that her counseling made a significant difference in people’s lives.
Dr. Arora strongly believes that a woman’s fertility should not be the sole criterion for her acceptance into a family. Instead, she feels that in-laws and husbands should accept women as human beings rather than mere reproductive machines.
Dr. Arora says, “The feedback I received from young ladies was very encouraging. Counseling relieved them from anxiety, and infertility pills helped them conceive naturally. That was the turning point where I merged both these practices.”
Besides infertility issues, Dr. Arora also addresses concerns related to child care, teenage violence, and addiction.
Q: What issues have you observed in adolescents that have evolved over the years?
Over the past two decades, there have been significant changes in the issues faced by adolescents. In the past, common problems included drug and tobacco use. However, the internet and social media rise has brought new challenges. Adolescents are now exposed to online content that can harm their well-being. They may be tempted to imitate what they see online, including unhealthy behaviors and risky activities. For instance, some adolescents may aspire to become overnight celebrities and live a luxurious lifestyle, which can lead to unhealthy competition and peer pressure. This can cause them to resort to unfair means to achieve their desires.
Q: Why do these patients who are otherwise chasing their prime come to you?
The patients initially avoid seeking help because they feel there is only one day of life and want to live it to the fullest. They feel it is normal for them this way. When they have some kind of breakup or severe trouble, they only seek the help of a psychologist or a counselor. By the time they arrive, they are genuinely shattered; they come with a pang of guilt that they spoiled their life, and they want to get out of it; it is then that the counselor’s job starts.
Q: Tell us a little about how you dissect the case?
I start with the initial days of why he took that trajectory. What made them do that? Most of the time, the parents don’t even know, while in some cases, the mother is aware. I ask them if they want to be out of it when they come to me. I advise them to be consistent with the prescribed exercises. I ensure them that their secret is safe with her. For instance, if the mother is bringing them, I will not talk to the girl in front of the mother in the second sitting. If she says it is ok to sit with the mother, I talk to them together.
The roots sometimes are also related to child abuse. Whether it is a girl or a boy, they want relief from the trauma they have been carrying for their entire lives.
I extend a supporting arm; if someone understands them and acknowledges the grief, they develop a bonding with the person.
Q: Do you talk to family members?
The trust in the family is breached. The parents are advised to treat their children as partners and friends. The environment should be comfortable for confiding with elders. Sometimes, the child starts a conversation but fails to draw attention or attract flak.
Q: How do you go about advising the parents?
I make them understand that they can’t keep bossing the kids around all the time. The child can have his emotion, including anger, and get annoying or distracting. As parents, it is their job to acknowledge that their child is imperfect, like every other human, and will make mistakes. There exists no remote control to press buttons and magically watch things happening. If they continue their bossy attitude, the relationship is bound to derail.
Q: Do you try to find the middle ground between parents’ expectations and the rebelling child?
Yes, it is a tightrope; my job is to minimize parents’ expectations (including the future aspiration of the child) and the freedom-seeking child.
Nobody wants conflict. Parents are concerned for their children, and the hormonal imbalance makes him impulsive. I magnify that impulse, which settles with time. They need to be respectful to their parents. What kind of parents will they make?
Q: How do you ensure people listen to you?
I need to ensure that the person is not offended; you must start on a friendly note. Offer advice so he does not rebel against you, nor should he dislike the idea. Help him discover his strengths and weakness.
The session should be such that the child goes home feeling that he has received something positive.
While talking, you need to look into the eyes and gauge if the candidate is listening or pretending to listen. If you find rejection, change the mode of delivery, there can be multiple ways of expressing the same thing. Different people will react to the same thing differently, so we need to be flexible and see what is working and what is not.
Counseling is not dialogue delivery. Instead, you sit in front of the person, constantly watching every action that will tell you if he is a liar, faking, or needs counseling.
Q: Tell us about any grown-up child case that you have resolved.
One of my patients was an engineer who wanted to become an IAS; he left his job and everything; however, he didn’t clear his exams, his mother brought him to me, and I started counseling him.
As I dug deep, I realized he was lured into being an IAS to enjoy the power and perks the position offers and was so hooked to that toy.
I made him understand that both goals were essential, but he should let them run together; he got a job again and got a promotion after a few years; although he was not able to clear his UPSC exams even on the fourth attempt, he was happy that he didn’t leave his engineering altogether.
Q: Since most of your patients have emotional problems, does it affect you?
I thank God that I am a pleased and jolly person, so it does not affect me so much. I am glad that I can help others and make them happy.
In conclusion, this interview with a psychologist highlights the importance of seeking help for emotional problems and their impact on a person’s life. Many individuals avoid seeking help until they are genuinely shattered and feel guilty about their past actions. The psychologist’s approach involves understanding the roots of the problem, including any history of trauma or child abuse, and building a supportive relationship with the patient. The interview also highlights the importance of working with family members and finding a middle ground between parents’ expectations and the child’s desire for independence. The psychologist’s approach emphasizes offering advice in a friendly and positive manner and ensuring that the patient feels heard and understood. Ultimately, this interview offers valuable insights into counseling and its potential impact on individuals struggling with emotional problems.
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