Therapy is not a Magic Pill
Does therapy offer a magic pill? Take one and everything is miraculously fixed? Does it make promises like an astrologer that this puja or that stone will make everything alright? No, it is not. Therapy takes time, effort and wholehearted dedication to working on you. And then yes, magic does happen.
Therapy in the West
For those of us who may have lived in the west or have friends and family living abroad, we most probably are aware of the fact that in the Western world, therapy is a normal part of life. There is no shame, no taboo associated with reaching out for help and support. People have therapists just as they have bosses at work, teachers and the Principal at school, a family GP or the local grocer – all essential for everyday living in the modern world.
If not friends or family, there is ample reference of therapy being part of the norm, as we have witnessed in plenty of Hollywood TV shows and movies. You may have seen the characters going for therapy sessions or even casual references in the dialog, “My therapist says….” is heard often enough. The other characters do not judge or ask them why they are seeing a therapist – it is accepted as part of ordinary life.
What is the need for this? Why do they need easy, non-judgmental access to a therapist and therefore, to therapy? Why is it OK for them and not for those of us living in the East? What do they gain? How does it help? Should you break the taboo around you and sign up for therapy?
Whether we acknowledge it or not, the modern world is a difficult and harsh environment, regardless of where we live. Joint families are an exception rather than the norm – with large houses having been pretty much all converted into apartment blocks. People are living physically closer to one another today, but are emotionally separated like never before. Packed into cities, packed into little individual boxes in tight building complexes – all squished together like sardines in a tin.
Unbelievable amount of stress goes into living in a city like Mumbai. The stress of earning the money needed to live here. Added on to it, the heat, the rising humidity, the insane traffic and endless chaos of the metro construction and dug up roads. Not to mention the challenge of bringing up our children in this environment and attempting some sort of a work-personal-social life balance.
The idea of a community has fragmented and with the loss of access to elders – older cousins, aunts, uncles or grandparents, there are few people we can turn to when we need to speak our minds and hearts. Getting advice from someone trustworthy is often difficult, even access to someone to be a sounding board is a challenge; leave aside the issue of the basic human need of needing someone who will listen to us with love and without judgment.
Contribution of Social Media
Social media has further separated us in this respect, while providing us with the illusion that it is a community. We have gathered people who we know from our deep past, the present, social circles, work mates, ex colleagues and even family. But everything looks good on Facebook – people post only the best versions of themselves and there is little to be gained by way of real connection via this medium.
We are each isolated within our own boxes. Rather than picking up of the phone and connecting to people – we message. We keep ourselves entertained by “screens” and for most part it is one way communication. Living our lives vicariously through video games or watching TV or scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest waiting eagerly for the number of “likes” to go up on our posts to prove that we have been seen, being heard, being validated.
Therapy in India
In obvious instances of ill health, grief or depression – counselling and therapy (thankfully) is now commonly being advised by doctors in India and the rest of the Eastern world. It is slowly but surely coming into the mainstream consciousness of acceptability. But it is a slow process.
People seeking out therapy for the large part cannot seem to reconcile what they are paying for. They cannot comprehend that the person isn’t going to write them a prescription and promise them that everything is going to be alright. It is incomprehensible that coming to therapy is more like going to the gym rather than going to a doctor or astrologer.
It is hurtful and insulting to me when I hear (and it happens way too often for comfort) a client say that someone or the other, among their friends or family had told them, “Yeh kuch nahin hota hai – sab paisa bananeke dhande hain” (all this is rubbish, it’s a money making racket).
What is Therapy?
Therapy is an undertaking that you will be equipped to tackle your problems on your own. The therapist is your cornerstone, your guide, your objective friend, your mentor, even a source of unconditional love. A compassionate listener who will never judge you, or tell you what you must or must not do.
For specific issues, between 3-5 sessions may be sufficient. But how often are we plagued with one particular problem that is not interconnected or overlapped with multiple other problems? After this issue is resolved why wouldn’t you stick around to sort out the other stuff?
On the other hand, let us say you are a “normal” person. There is nothing wrong with you or your life as such. Ironically, this is actually the best place in which to start therapy, because there is incredible value to be gained in viewing therapy as a way and means of getting to know yourself better.
A process where you gradually work on peeling away the layers of defenses you have built up over the years. Decoding patterns of behavior that do not serve you any longer, and learning new ways of being, of living. Healing past hurts and learning how to truly forgive.
Going for retreats, workshops and signing up for healing modalities all contribute on this journey of self-discovery. Finding yourself a therapist you can trust and vibe with, to be your companion on the way is something I wish for you.
Cost of Therapy
A therapy session once a week or twice a month for a few years on a regular basis can aid you to transform your life. However, the desired outcome and therefore the monetary cost of it, is something only you can evaluate against the benefits you seek to gain.
The cost of therapy should not be viewed as something the therapist as a person is getting “from” you. You pay the doctor for his/her expertise and knowledge. In therapy – you are not only paying for the therapist’s expertise – but you are paying for time. A regular guaranteed hour or more of concentrated time – committed to you, only for you.
How is that you can budget going to a gym regularly to look after your physical body but cannot see the reason in going to a therapist regularly to look after your psychological and emotional body? How is it that you can easily spend money on clothes, shoes and going out but you balk at the thought of paying me for being there for you?
Click on this link and sign up for a free basic consultation with me and take it as an opportunity to gather more knowledge for yourself as to how therapy can benefit you. Discuss your concerns with me and decide whether or not therapy is for you.