Understanding- Misunderstanding Counseling
‘Symbiotically married means living by supporting each other, having a free dialogue between husband and wife. Symbiosis means accepting compromise. With acceptance of this compromise, we look for different ways of happiness and ask God to give courage to face the circumstances that we cannot change. Introspect yourselves and sedately think about all in our family and try to win everyone’s heart.’
‘Read spiritual books to calm your despondent and crest fallen state of mind. Who am I? For what am I in this world? What is true contentment? The answers to all these questions would be obtained by reading. With yoga, meditation, pranayam search for the YOU within yourself and achieve mental satisfaction. Forget the past, shred off the depression and think positive. Remember the law of Karma and keep working. Happiness would follow you.’
While tying the wedding knot, looking for your life partner, realize the facts and ignore the fantasies. Because it is difficult for an individual to fulfill all the dreams you dreamt. So it is important to accept the fact than to linger with the looks and appearances. By all means if the groom is suitable and not good looking, then you will have to compromise. Remember, it is difficult to have your dream boy as a life partner.’
Suicide is not the option to any problem. Suicide is the escapist manner for the funk people. All the things cannot occur as per our accord. Hence should we give out living life? Instead involve yourself in Laughter clubs, Yoga classes, and coeval friends. Is life only a barbed bed? NO! it is also a bed of roses, think optimistic, enjoy life and give up the thought of ending up life.
The misunderstanding about counseling is: many times we hear such types of suggestions, read incidences that provide morals, implement remedies, listen to advises and this is what is counseling is. It should be noted that any educated, experienced, voracious reader can put forth the above sentences or advises given or well-heard. The individual who has a problem also is aware of this, so he / she wonders, how will I be benefited by talking to a person who calls himself / herself counselor? At home, all elderly people also give similar solutions, suggestions and advice. Is this also counseling? Is counseling similar to discussing the recipes of different food? Use this spices, add lemon juice, cut the vegetables in this fashion, saute the onion etc… It is alright to discuss a recipe on the basis of experience, reading and general knowledge. But in counseling all these techniques are useless and good-for-nothing. However even though, concrete and success guaranteed solutions are given, the problem is resolved temporarily but not permanently.
Counseling means neither giving a solution, nor giving an experienced suggestion. It does not state philosophically, “Everyone has problems in life. In a family, everyone has to compromise, always think positively”. It does not focus on pointing to others mistakes, proving his / her excellence, not obtrusing his /her opinions, no disputes, not asking the individual in problem about other irrevalent information, not concerned with other in-depth information, no threatening, no certification of personal experiences, no lessons or morals, nor any justice done.” Under the tag of counseling, this is what is done everyone and hence counseling means not understanding the person in problem and suggesting or giving solutions as per their knowledge and convincing the person in problem is a misunderstanding that has been considered by common people and it is indeed a matter of regret.
Our last 20 years experience, which focuses on the discomfiture about counseling and providing accurate and correct information about counseling, is the goal of writing this article. Let us see, what does Counseling precisely mean? When any individual facing a problem, approaches a counselor, he / she expects the counselor to suggest a solution or provide a remedy for the solution. Under such conditions, as specified above, without giving any solutions, suggestions and advice, it is necessary to listen to the negative feelings with empathy and try to understand them. Also help the individual to express him/ her by ensuring security and secrecy of his feelings and emotions. Surveying the individual’s problem from all sides, identifying the problem, its root cause and motivating the individual to focus on it so that he/ she become capable to take a decision. This is counseling and it’s a lingering process.
An incidence at home
10 year old Parth, just returns from is school; he has not washed his hands-legs, pushed his school bag on the sofa and seems to be upset. His mother Vinita goes to him and notices something wrong with Parth. She asks him kindly, “What is wrong dear? Anything wrong in the school? You look upset. ““Nothing” replies Parth. Mother further continues,” Come on Parth, Cheer up! Who else will care for you better than me? I understand your benefit! Tell me what is wrong with you? Why are you so upset? “Parth repeats,” I really do not know”. Mother adds, “If you do not tell me, how I will know, what is bothering you? And how would I help you? Please tell me.“ Gathering courage, Parth said,” To tell you the truth, I do not like school. I do not want to go to school.” Surprisingly, mother asks “What? You do not like school? What does this mean? Both of us take so many hardships for your education and you do not want to go to school? Look how clever your elder sister is! She is clever because she goes to school. Don’t you want to grow up? Don’t do so my child” saying so, she emphasized how going to school is necessary, and convinced him that schooling is the base of life, life is useless without education etc. and Parth started going to school unwillingly. Mother was successful in sending him to the school. What do you think, how long will this “success” of his mother last?
This is what exactly happens as a misunderstanding related to counseling. The individual in front of you poses some problem to you, instead of understanding the individual, counseling means focusing in one direction, on how wrong are his / her thoughts and being a part of society, what must be done and what must not be done, and creating a feel that the problem is resolved. Does this really solve the problem? Sometimes, we feel the problem is solved. Because we are taught to look at all the problem positively. But then what about the negativity that exists? In the above example, the negative fact, that the boy did not like the school, was suppressed, is this counseling? Certainly not.
In the above example, the mother successfully (?) convinced her child but when she came across a similar problem, she could not find the solution. Let us see why she could not find the solution. Nowadays Vinita is fed up with a problem. She is irritated after waking up and cooking breakfast. Her husband daily asks her to cook something different for the breakfast. He wants some change of food in the lunch too. But Vinita has no ideas in her mind. She is very angry with her husband. “He does not help and wants me to cook something different! In the evening also when I am back after my job, and tired, I don’t have strength to do anything. 10 / 15 days in a month, we get parcel from the hotel or from a domestic mess and all of us have dinner. This upsets my mother-in-law and my husband too. Parth also sometimes says that he does not like the food I have cooked. This makes me irritated. What can I do? If I appoint a maid to cook food, my husband and ill mother-in-law do not like the food the maid cooks. Due to all this, my food intake is reduced and in office too I am not able to focus on my work. I soon realized, kitchen, cooking is not my cup of tea” adds Vinita.
Vinita then went to her friend and shared her problem with her friend. Her friend was shocked. She said, ”If you do not like to cook food, your family life would be in a harry, you would incur disfavor from all and your relations may reach to the extreme of legal separation”. This friend of hers gave her many books of recipes, jotted down some recipes for her and convinced her to develop interest in cooking. To summarize, Vinita was disappointed because her friend had really helped her, but she got a feel that her main problem was not resolved. She felt, nobody could understand her problem and at the same time she recollected the dialog with her son Parth, related to his dislike to school and she felt guilty. She felt that before she could understand the main problem Parth faced, she advised, suggested and convinced him to do something, which he did not want to do.
Such events can occur with a counselor too. He / She can feel that the person in front has a simple problem and can suggest some solutions. But when he himself or she herself comes across such a situation, he / she may not be able to resolve his / her own problem and may not be called as a counselor. While counseling, it is necessary for counselor to undergo the following three phases. The first phase involves self introduction, realization and exploring himself / herself. The second phase means counseling and the final phase implies being capable to help yourself and then successfully understand others and obtain true happiness by counseling them.
In the above example of Parth, he does not like school, but why is he so indifferent in going to school? From where have the negative feelings associated with school curbed in to his mind? Discussing all these issues motivates one, to think and respect his feelings. This reflects in what does he want to do? After asking about the options of what makes him happy and contented at school, it is easy to find out and consistent and persistent help would provide the capability to take a proper decision of how going to school can be interesting for him.