By Charusmitha Singh
The provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems is called counseling. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.
A counselor, or therapist, is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do or give advice. Instead, they will encourage you to talk about what is bothering you to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking. They may then look to create a plan of action to either help you reconcile your issues or help you to find ways of coping.
Counselor Kalpana is an accomplished practicing counselor fromB engaluru. She has been in the counseling field for seven years since 2016. Initially, she did her diploma in psychology, and later after marriage, she completed her master’s from IGNOU. During, the pre-pandemic years she was working in Banjara academy as a counselor under the e-mail panel but after covid-19 she is working as a freelancer.
Currently, she is on a project creating a booklet for students around the age group of 9-15 years old. The booklet consists of day-to-day life activities that the students come across in their life situations.
Here’s the excerpt of the counselor’s interview:
What motivated you to take up counseling?
“It was entirely accidental. Initially, I wanted to study lifestyle and be a trainer, but I also had the ambition to study human behavior. Then, I thought of taking up counseling to discover the subject more deeply, so I enrolled in counseling without giving thought and even my superiors advised me to take up counseling. Thereafter, I did my diploma course in counseling psychology from Banjara Academy, Bengaluru. Then immediately I started working on an e-mail panel at the same academy. Meanwhile, my interest in the subject developed more deeply. Therefore, I enrolled myself for MA in Psychology at IGNOU University.”
If a client wants to enroll himself then is there a procedure that he must go through?
“Yes, initially there will be an interview for the clients but it also depends on the client’s emotional state like if he is very disturbed then I build a Rapo to make him/her feel comfortable and relaxed. Later, I will tell them to go through the procedure to enroll themselves.”
Tell me about the successful (satisfying) cases that you have handled to date.
“According to my experience I believe that every day is a new day, and we get to meet and learn from many people that we come across in our day-to-day life. So, there was a student who was doing his engineering, he approached me for counseling because he was unable to focus on his studies instead, he was into movies, binge eating, procrastinating things, he was very disturbed by his family, and much more. He knew his responsibility, but he was not ready to hold back his other addictions during study time. Due to this, he secured very few marks in his exams. At one point it was exceedingly difficult to help him because he used to tell the same story again and again. So, it was hard to motivate him and encourage him to do his work.
But eventually, I helped him and motivated him in his work. I also prepared a study schedule for him that he had to follow and work on to achieve his goal. Then he decided to follow all the guidelines that I had told him. Later, he scored good marks in his exams and was comparatively much better than before. Seeing this I felt I had achieved molding him to focus on his studies and this gave me happiness and satisfaction.”
What times when you are facing your own life crisis then how would you deal with your clients?
“When our emotional state is not stable then I cannot deal with the clients at all. So, I tell them to ping me after 2-3 days or tell them that I am unwell or busy. Here counselors have their own personalities. While counseling we learn, unlearn and relearn many such aspects. Based on my experience I was aware of my emotions, for example; some days when I will be low then I was aware of my emotional state. So, my next step will be to convert those feelings into positive emotions. Due to my experience as a counselor, I am conscious of my emotions, it is not that we are born with these skills. Whereas we must develop eventually over time. If each one develops these qualities, then the world will be a better place to live.”
How many sessions do you allot a client and for how many minutes will per session be?
“It depends on the client’s mental state, if the client needs clinical intervention, then we tell them to go to the clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. But if the issue is disturbing them temporarily then they will have to take up 3 to 4 sessions. In counseling, we will tell them that we are here for emotional support. Not everything can be treated by medication whereas just talking to clients by supporting and motivating them helps to come out of their problems and they will learn how to be positive in any situation.
Usually, a session will take 30 to 45 minutes maximum.
What was your experience being a practicing counselor for these many years?
“Firstly my main motive was to help people, later when I took up counseling in my diploma course then I decided that I will go deeper in this field and try to help people. So, this was one of the ways to relieve them of their problems.
If I help them just by listening to those that make them feel relaxed, it will be a wonderful thing because there are few good listeners in this world. There are very few people who will actually listen to somebody’s miseries. So, the very first thing that people do is give advice. If a person is empathetic, then they can be empathetic towards others. According to my understanding counseling is a particularly good healing process for people since it needs skills like empathy, and be a good listener to understand them. Eventually, I developed these skills to relieve people from distress, anxiety, and more.”
What advice would you give to the future generation regarding mental health?
“Now a day’s we see even kids/students dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. They come up to me and tell me that they are unable to enjoy their lives.
So, I would request everyone to empower students to understand their own emotions which will help them to turn out and grow brilliantly. If they initially inbuild this quality, then later during adolescence period they will be aware of their emotions and will also be able to tackle the situations carefully. These are not actually taught in schools because they focus on academics where they deliberately do what is taught. Therefore, they are not using their own creativity, intelligence, and experience. But if they are empowered through counseling medium or through some awareness programs like ‘know your own emotions’ then definitely their mental health-related issues will reduce in the future. For example, there was a competition in school/college and a student participated in the event. The student expected to be the winner but unfortunately, he did not win. So, he was disappointed in himself. But, if the student is aware that he is facing this emotion then later, they will understand and will encourage themselves to do better next time in any field. These are the small incidents that I mentioned. If we guide them to know their emotional state, it will help them in their future endeavors.”
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