Monday, May 26, 2008
“His outlines can only be surmised, never defined.”
Leonardo was a renaissance polymath: an architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, geometer and a painter.
Leonardo was never understood by his colleagues and contemporaries and remained a mystery man for the world. His paintings and life have a seductive and elusive quality. Even today people are spending hours to extract hidden meaning in his works of art. He is full of contradictions.
What was it about his personality that people found difficult to understand? Freud was also a victim of Leonrdo’s enigma. He spent 10 years in his study of Leonardo. This biographical study was the last and the only that Freud ever undertook
This was the first of the ongoing lecture series that revival.life with an objective to spread awareness on Psychoanalysis and Freuds work.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
MYTHS ABOUT MARITAL COUNSELLING
- TALKING ABOUT MY PROBLEMS WILL MAKE IT APPEAR BIGGER THAN NORMAL AND CAUSE MORE RIFTS.
Just like when a wound when cleaned causes more pain, so does talking about your hurt does. Talking about the problems brings about catharsis and a release of emotions. This can be perceived as threatening initially but is an essential step in healing.
- PROBLEMS SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE. WHEN THEY ARE LEFT ALONE, THEY WILL AUTOMATICALLY DISAPPEAR.
Wounds when left unattended to are likely to form abscess and increase the pain. Similarly emotional wounds do not disappear over time. They need to be addressed carefully to avoid further problems or even amputation in worse case scenario.
- ALL MARRIAGES HAVE HITCHES 2 YEAR HITCH, 5 YEAR HITCH, 7 YEAR HITCH AND 10 YEAR HITCH. IF I AM ABLE TO KEEP UP THE MARRIAGE THROUGH THIS, THE MARRIAGE WILL SURVIVE.
Dragging along with negative emotions actually leads to further damage to the relationship. Emotional content of one incident adds on the next and carries on till it becomes unbearable.
- IF I TALK ABOUT MY PROBLEMS TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, IT WILL CAUSE THEM UNNECESSARY PAIN. IGNORANCE IS BLISS
People listen and trust non verbal or body language more than verbal messages. It is of no surprise that 80% of our communication is non verbal. Family and friends, if they are closely bounded, therefore will already have some idea about the problems. Keeping it hidden from them not only isolates you, but causes greater anxiety and even conveys a message to them that you do not trust them. In effect your efforts to keep them from being in pain actually cause more damage to your relationship with them and ultimately greater pain to both. Sharing pain with the family gets each other closer.
- NO ONE CAN HELP ME IN A MARITAL RELATIONSHIP. I HAVE TO WORK IT OUT MYSELF.
This is self induced pain and helplessness. This belief is the language of a victim who at an unconscious level prefers to remain as a victim. There is no basis to this belief.
- IF MY PARTNER IS NOT WILLING TO WORK AT THE MARRIAGE, NOTHING WILL CHANGE FOR US. I ALONE CAN NOT BRING CHANGE IN MY MARRIAGE.
Marriage is a relationship between two dynamic individuals. Changes in one lead to changes in the other. It has a ripple effect on the other. It is also a well known fact that one can only bring out changes in oneself and any attempt to change another is a foolish act. In my 10 years of practice I have worked with numerous marital conflicts and more often than not only one person consults for therapy as the other is either unwilling to come for therapy. Relationship has been resurrected despite only one member being present.
- I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BREAKDOWN IN THE RELATIONSHIP; IT IS FATE OR FAULT OF THE PARTNER.
Blaming fate is an unconscious unwillingness on our part to bring about changes in our self. Change in any aspect is perceived and experienced as stressful and therefore unwelcome. However we verbally say that we are willing to work on the marriage, there is a resistance to change in a similar manner and its outward manifestations are in the form of helplessness to fate or blame on our partner. Our age old saying “taali ek haath se nahin bajti” goes a long way to explain this phenomenon.
- HAPPINESS IN OUR MARRIAGE IS DEPENDENT ON CHANGING NEGATIVE HABITS OF THE OTHER PERSON.
Taking on the responsibility of change in your self is the first step to healing a marriage. Any attempts to change the other is seen as an evaluative, judgmental and a corrective act and therefore sabotaged at the first chance. I have more often than not worked with only one individual with equally effective results and in as much time.
- ONCE THE RELATIONSHIP IS TARRED, THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME FOR US.
The basis of this is negative thinking and the focus on what is not there. We can spend our time on focusing on how there is a speck on the drawing sheet or paint something so beautiful that the speck although there does not catch our attention. How we view things, a glass half full or a glass half empty is the premise of our belief in working out a marriage.
- TRUE LOVE IS MAGICAL.
This is a powerful and omnipotent belief that love is magical. Therefore one can not really work on it or create it. It is either there or not there. If damaged, one can not create it. The fact is marriage or any relationship is not magical. We all need to work on it and resurrect it from time to time. Communication is therefore a crucial element in its survival. Even the purest form of unconditional love of a mother and child needs efforts to keep it alive. There is nothing magical about it. Any mother will tell you how she struggled with her child and that only conscious effort and good communication helped.
- GOING TO A COUNSELOR WILL ACTUALLY SPOIL THINGS FOR US FURTHER.
Many clients feel that going to a counselor will spoil things for them yes, many have experienced this too. Counseling is good; unethical practice in the name of counseling can have devastating effects. You need to be careful in choosing the type of marital counseling you are opting for.
Also, one may be aware that the marriage is not working out and may fear discovering that during the counseling. Some clients opt not to go for counseling as their fear of discovering this is higher than their pain. Some realize this in the middle of therapy and tend to push the blame onto the counseling sessions. Remember it is always your choice what you want. There is nothing right or wrong about it.
To avoid disappointments check out these basic premise of counseling before you enter therapy sessions:
· Consult a person who is non judgmental and non directive in his approach. We do not want it to be a verbal court battle in the counselors room where the counselor decides who is right and who is wrong.
· Another crucial element of counseling is confidentiality and therefore for any marriage counselor to take counseling sessions together with both the clients can actually do more harm than good. It actually turns out to be the power experienced by the counselor himself when he sits on a judgment on who is right and who is wrong.
· The counselor needs to empathize and work with you as an individual. If he is able to take you to a different level working with you, things automatically improve. The interest of the client is at the forefront in a session.
· Explore how comfortable are you with the changes in your life and decide for yourself what are your comfort zone. A good counselor can help you work on this.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Everyone in the theatre including parents and children clapped enthusiastically as Ganesha (in movie Bal Ganesha) showed his superior intelligence and circled his parents three times instead of taking three rounds around the world and won the race against his younger brother. Little do we realize that, this mythology not only demonstrates the intelligence of Ganesha but in fact portrays how a child views his world and what is his emotional state? For every child, parents are the center of his / her existence and therefore a divorce or loss of a parent is experienced as a threat to his survival itself. They try out various options to survive this trauma, one of them being trying to work out solutions to reunite their parents. Sometimes they do not give up hope of reuniting their parents for years after the separation. Parents who are anyways struggling to deal with their own emotions find it extremely difficult to deal with those of the children. They ask questions which seem impeccably correct putting the parents in a spot. “But why does he not like you? Maybe if you work hard and become smarter and thin, the way he wants you to, we can be together,” says a 7 year old boy to his mother. Or a 10 year old girl to her father “Why can’t you forgive her, maybe she did not mean the things she said to you. You forgive me every time I have lied, can’t you forgive her? For my sake please?”
In most cases the children tend to feel responsible for the divorce and try to change the behaviour and actions to please the other parent, like this 6 year old boy pleads to his mother, “lets go back home, I promise I will not make him angry and bother him for toys ever again or change the TV channels.” At times, in their attempt to get back the parents together, they may even get into negative behaviours such as lying, running away from home, cooking up stories, poor academic performance, and bedwetting, being irresponsible and stubborn etc. This problem is exaggerated if the child is very young and unable to communicate; or if he is entering his teens and feels confused and threatened about the volatile emotions characteristic of this age. Unable to deal with this confusion and inability to express their distress, children learn to bottle up emotions and thoughts.
But they can communicate, through the language, language of play. Play being a natural mode of communication of children, children use play powerfully to better emote their feelings rather than talk about them. It also provides an emotional distance to the children necessary to express threatening and negative emotions and thoughts. Thus through the use of play, we can reach out to both the younger children and the teenagers alike. Unfortunately this is a language that we as parents, have long forgotten and need to relearn it in order to understand what our child is feeling to help them.
This play way is used by a therapist trained in Play therapy to help children and parents understand and deal with their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It aims to increase resilience and self esteem within each child enabling him / her to use this as a springboard to deal with difficulties in real world more confidently and to bridge the communication and emotional gap created by the trauma.
Come summer holidays and you will be suffering from the working mother syndrome as you try to balance the conflicting demands of work pressure and expectations of careers, family and self. Here are some tips to manage the children’s desires and find that balance between work and family.
Spend time to find out what interests your child and list all the activities that he / she would like to indulge in.. Children who cannot make up their minds would need your help. Next, prioritize the activities after discussion with the child and family members. Keep in mind your obligations to the family and also availability of time. Initially your children may feel disappointed that they cannot do all the desired things. But carefully explaining them the background will go a long way in teaching children to compromise and accept gracefully what they cannot have.
Play is crucial for a child’s physical and emotional development. So leave some free time for your child to do what he / she wants. This, which is very often dismissed as a time waster, is now recognized as one of the indispensable tool of therapy with children having emotional and behavioral problem.
SUMMER CAMPS are a good idea. However, they may be a traumatic for children who suffer from separation anxiety. Test waters by sending them once for an overnight camp and see how they feel
MAKE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES A FAMILY ACTIVITY: Think of an activity that the entire family can do together. It could be a weekend chore or and outdoor sport. A family that plays together stays together.
ALLOCATE RESPONSIBILITY: Asking children to help you with daily chores will help in taking some time pressure off you. It will also g a long way in disciplining your child and teaching them to take on responsibilities.
Initiate contact with parents of other kids who go along with your child to the activity class. This will help in easing time pressures by sharing pick up and drop responsibilities with them
Maintain a calendar of all the family members important events and their daily routine. Seeing the big picture makes it easy to plan ahead for days with conflicts and you won’t find yourself trying to drive kids in two directions at once while you are supposed to be in that important meeting.
SEEK BALANCE: If your child is involved in multiple activities, balance the physical activities such as sports with art or music and academic. Do not over burden your life and that of your child with rigorous training or purely academic oriented activities unless you find that drive in your child.
FLEXI WORKING HOURS: If you are able to arrange for flexi hours during the holidays nothing like it. Else find a day care for a younger child. Check if the day care offers different hobby activities which your child can be exposed to.