These days the common remedy for anyone suffering through deep-seated psychological turmoil is therapy. Contrary to some common misconceptions, seeing the shrink is no longer associated with mid-life crisis endeavours or damage repair after a nasty breakup.
At a moment, where we find ourselves surviving through the dreadful pandemic, climate change, and navigating faulty old patterns, seeking professional help seems like a good idea now more than ever.
An Ipsos Global Happiness Survey 2020 found that, by August 2020, only 66% of Indians described themselves as ‘very happy’ or ‘rather happy’, down 23 percentage points from 2011, and 11 percentage points lower than 2019. With the average Indian juggling between the in-palatable doom of inflating worries and a culture that is quick to blame mental illnesses as being weak or lacking willpower, we sound out our doubts and dreads in regards to therapy with a mental health expert.
Every day, the country wakes up to more and more Indians seeking out therapy, from lively Gen- Z to eccentric old-timers. In the words of the New York Times, ‘Therapy has been democratized! Everybody needs an ear.’
We at Homegrown clear the air and answer your burning questions about therapy and why it’s an essential part of a new age reality.
Researching the different schools of thought in therapy is the way to go says Zohra Master, a practising psychologist and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) supervisor and practitioner. From psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioural therapies to even animal-assisted therapy - the options are plenty.
Zohra recommends researching your therapist in a way that goes beyond their degrees and alma mater. Reading up on their outlook and goal with therapy is always a good idea. With therapists maintaining a wider social media presence and providing pro bono sessions as well, don’t be afraid to ask questions and test your connection with the professional. However, finding the right therapist is the key step in the healing process and consistency is an important contributor to its efficacy.
Now for the burning question - What is the final goal of therapy? Zohra reveals that there’s no magic answer. Ultimately you along with your therapist can set goals to reach your ideal self. The purpose is not set in stone. From fixing faulty patterns to improving developmental cognisance, consider therapy as a useful aid that help you navigate life at your own pace.
Beyond the heteronormative standards, you might wonder how therapy steps in to aid and support the LGBTQ community in terms of access, acceptance and availability of treatment. With long-standing periods of isolation, many queer people find themselves excluded from fundraisers and in vulnerable positions of being subjected to homophobic households.
This is where therapy steps in and proves to be a safe space for queer individuals in exploring and embracing their identities retorts Zohra who believes that the scope of queer affirmative therapy seems to be broadening at a drastic pace in India.
You can access a list of queer-friendly, inclusive mental health practitioners here.
As we find ourselves getting comfortable with the idea of mental health professionals and honing a positive outlook towards therapy, Zohra paints a stark contrast in the approach to therapeutic resources displayed by different generations. While Gen-Z finds itself to be a staunch advocate for mental health awareness and embracing therapy as a life tool, older generations aren’t strangers to the albeit polite yet blatant stigma surrounding the ‘I’m seeing a therapist’ revelation.
The need of the hour is to clear the air and engage in conversations breaking down the usually misinformed discourse that unfairly defames therapeutic practices. In the interest of fairness, we need to acknowledge the full picture of the complexities and developmental aid that therapy provides for one and all.
Perhaps starting afresh and opting for a mind over matter approach can help us rewire our thoughts on mental health and therapy.
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