To Rustin Cohle’s Defense ;-)

(As a team, where I also consult- at our beautiful counseling center called Inner Space Counseling, we decided to do a round of defense mechanisms in pop fictional characters for Mental Health week 2016. I chose Rusty, here’s an article on what could really be going on in his intelligent but dark mind.)

Why True Detectiveyes, season one

Psychological defenses are necessary for us to cope with the pressure and demands of leading a civilized life. All of us are obliged to employ defense mechanisms, and we all do so- unconsciously- everyday! It’s the “tricks” that our mind plays so we can deal with inner conflicts, unpleasantness and to prevent a tide of overwhelm- in order to stay composed and function “better”. While they seem very much like our allies, they can pose a lot of problems as well- like the auto-correct on our phones that don’t always help… But that’s a text message, and this, is life. To explain this at play in as close to real life as possible, and accessible to all, I’ve chosen the broody Detective Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) from the 8 episode long popular mini-series True Detective’s Season One by HBO.

true-detective-poster

It’s based on real events, and since the writer has written a riveting multilayered story just as real life can be, I’ve chosen a popular fiction character to help better explain psychological defences in daily life rather than a textual one. Its a fantastic cop story unlike the typical ones- focussing on the growth of characters- Rustin: a complex, intense, intelligent, pessimist who’s past is dark; and Martin- an easy going charming man but self-cenetred family man who vehemently challenges monogamy but only secretly- set in 1995 to 2012 Louisiana. Along with Rusty’s hypnotic dialogue delivery, each time I revisit it, there are more and more psychological nuances that reveal themselves. The non-verbals are so bang-on, I wonder how did they manage to do it- I’ve so far not been able to fault it. If you have seen True Detective, proceed only then 🙂 Take this as your spoiler alert for the whole article!!

 What is so peculiar about Rust?

“I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.” -Cohle (writer Nic Pizzolatto)

https://i0.wp.com/rustcohle.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/rust-cohle-true-detective.jpg

                With Rusty, you’re bound to have a strong reaction as the use of minimal defense mechanisms contribute to the intensity of his character as compared to the ‘herd’ (along with his depressing past). Using fewer defense mechanisms can make it difficult for people to be or relate with him: he ends up being constantly confrontative and look-at-reality (his depressing version of it) kind of person. The following adjectives help us sketch his personality type – shown as a misanthrope, he is highly self-aware, truthful, responsible, messed up, cruel, obsessive, perceptive, intelligent and socially aloof- all rolled in one, as shown repeatedly throughout the story.

What is Rusty coping with? How does he really defend himself psychologically?- hint: by hitting a special reset button in his mind and as a conclusion, operating from his infamous pessimistic philosophy

The entire article is here: (Since I cant repost it and I’ve submitted that article to Inner Space, and my love for Rustin Cohle, Nic Pizzolatto & the full True Detective story had to be shared on my blog, I’ve made an entry here- my analysis is in the link below)

http://innerspacetherapy.in/self-help-and-improvement/defenses-of-rusty/

I enjoyed it, hope you do too!!

Sattva – My psychotherapy office named.

I’m writing after a gap of a little over a year.. What better way and time to re-start, than NOW 🙂 . This post is more of a personal happy update on my clinic office, Sattva.

My work space has shifted from a medical clinic set-up to a private psychotherapy office (late 2013). I’ve finally reached the name I’m satisfied with after a couple of months work of thinking, and wish to announce and share it with everyone – It’s named SATTVA 🙂 . It means- True Alignment. That pretty much sums up the general direction of counseling goals I have in mind as a counselor. And I’m very happy after months of googling, discussing with friends and family, along with client feedback and brainstorming with myself for finally having found an apt single word that says exactly what I mean to.

Setting the place up was another challenge. Clinic location, the seating inside, it’s position, the couch, wall colour, nick-nacks- what to add, what to leave, the general feel of the space.. it took a lot of researching, introspection, going over client feedback over the years… and shopping. While I’ve only begun adding the little touches, the office is very much operational and am contented with the cozy, warm yet spacious enough place for people to feel just enough comfort to be able to open up and discuss painful things as well as feel lighter. Couldn’t have done it without family and friends 🙂

It’s nice and green and brown 🙂 . While I feel the space is great, clients too have shared they like the warm space hundred times better than meeting in a clinical setting. The couch helps accelerate things as well, as I have been witnessing. So all set for 2014, I’m ready for this additional year to enrich life.

Sharing a couple of photos :

This is how it looks from the outside-

Sattva exterior
The inner counseling room:
This is one of the seating arrangements used for Individual/ Couple’s Counseling-
counseling seating
 A closer look at what the couch at Sattva looks like, for individuals who prefer this seating:
couch
Here is what your Counseling room at Sattva actually looks like:
Sattva full inner room
A big warm Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive, helpful in getting Sattva to happen and for your generous blessings and well wishes. I hope to continue doing the same work with more commitment, greater focus and larger reach.
Good to be back on wordpress,
Towards mental health and well-being,
Kunjal.

Con fidence & Confidence

I find the word, ‘confidence’, quite amusing. It’s because of the word construction and the root and origin of the word’s parts .. the word confidence is said to have derived from ‘fide’ meaning fidelity, trust. And ‘con’ meaning “to attach” (latin). You see it right?- the word begins with c-o-n, con.. to cheat! It’s meaning is to do with fide- with attaching trust- but interestingly con is also ‘to cheat’, though not implied here.. Well, not intentionally at a conscious level at least.

The irony is worth indulging in.. Shiny confidence as we see around in suits, grins with sparkly eyes, and firm exteriors and seemingly warm smiles = one of the biggest ‘games’ we humans play.. we’re sending it and receiving it too.. from others, ourselves, most of the time. When we con and act to be ‘playing it cool’ and a knower of things, what message are we giving to our inner self?? – That we are not good enough the way we are and need to be like something, like others, etc. etc.? What message are we giving to those depending on us for their guidnce and nurturance? That there is something to match up to? Some standard we are failing to rank well in? To stand out from the rest perhaps–and that is important somehow for better chances, for appreciation, for attention.. It’s too important to each of us. But how does the word “confident” end up here then? — which means truthful about self and meeting the world this way.. And yet, when normally the word “confident person” is used, the image that follows is not necessarily say- Anna Hazareish or your grand parent who’s just being his/her own self, not to please anyone or for even societal standards, but just cause that’s who they are.

All that is ok. The REAL JOKE is when we try to fit ourself in the bill while waiting outside the cabin for an interview “trying to be confident”- by which we’re meaning to say trying to APPEAR confident. There.. not being self, not confident! If the individual sitting on the other side of the desk is experienced, he/she can see through the put up facade easily. The wiser one understands the nervousness and tests the applicant- once into the subject, is the applicant full of work and looses the consciousness of the business of self image and is busy BEING self, or continues cheating. ( Something our succesful marketing, advertising people know a lot more about!)

A lot of clients come with this problem: “I am not confident enough to do xyz”. This snowballs into a much much larger problem making the lived world smaller, and dysfunctions many. The trouble lies in the lies we feed ourselves using language whose meaning we are only vaguely aware of- colloquially and dictionary wise. What they are really seeking is courage to be, inspite of anything; courage to walk the path without knowing if anything lies ahead, courage to just truely live. Not confidence. Confidence is already there.

There, I’ve said and shared my bit that I had been meaning to say for a while. Didn’t have the right words or the right enriched experiences to help me express this before today. Here it is, a little something for when we find ourself stuck in these issues..

Love, Strength & Courage~

K.

Readdressing Love & its Issues

Flowing Insights Programme

designed & facilitated by

Psychotherapist

Ms. Kunjal Shah

~

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

-Socrates

“Whether its understanding our relationships better.. or we are going through a tough time in life due to specific problems or reasons, or if we are simply looking to “up” the game of life to the next phase or level- these sessions will certainly pave the way.

 

Flowing Insights sessions are designed for you in such a way, that you will be better able to reach the answers you seek. The topics are large and general enough to cover a huge range of issues. Your practice of the process you experience here, and the professional assistance I lend, will provide you with a road to resolve your specific problem from its root. You may check back your trial experiences of insights gained and fine tune the approach back in your life through later sessions. That’s the beauty of these sessions- it will not end in a single talk- It will end after you apply the insights learnt and come back with feedback and questions for more clarity and fuel for your journey in the next session.

 

The springboard for these sessions is You and Dr. Peck’s book: The Road Less Travelled. If you’ve read the book, going to read the book, or not read the book, it matters less. Your presence, some motivation and a little bit of openness is what’s required.

 

Our topic to begin with, is Readdressing Love & its Issues.”

 

Yours sincerely,

Kunjal Shah,

Your Psychotherapist & Counselling Psychologist during “Flowing Insights’ Programme”.

~

THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. FOR QUERIES REGARDING THIS PROGRAM, YOU MAY DO SO BY USING THE FORM IN THE “CONTACT ME” SECTION.  THANK YOU.

Venue: HELP Library, VT, Mumbai.

Date:   1st session = 2nd July 2011

Time:   1 – 2:30 p.m.

Fee:     350 Rs. Per session. (Number of sessions to attend is upto you and your comfort.)

Group:  Small, Cozy & Warm 🙂

fyi:The Programme is divided across three main topics to be covered in a span of minimum 7 sessions:

a)                  Stagnation and monotony Vs Love, healing and growth.

b)                  Pains, problems, manipulations Vs Freedom, health and enrichment of relationships.

c)                  Understanding our resistances, Checking our “tools” & Onto our own roads to be travelled.

 

THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. FOR QUERIES REGARDING THIS PROGRAM, YOU MAY DO SO BY USING THE FORM IN THE “CONTACT ME” SECTION.  THANK YOU.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Flowing Insights Programme” : Bibliotherapy

What is bibliotherapy? Well, these sessions are soon going to begin here in Mumbai that I will be designing and facilitating. On this account, today’s article is on Therapeutic value of books and their discussions..

Lets take a light, fantasy filled classic for example- Alice in Wonderland, which talks about simply, GROWING UP! It unconsciously takes our mind on a journey acquainting us with the range of emotions we may experience while going through that sort of change- where the old has lost it’s value and the new seems pleasantly or unpleasantly different. How often do we come across this sort of a change?- change of job? getting a job? getting used to changes in people around us? getting in the dating scene? Entering in a committed relationship? opting for a different health regime and actually staying on it? .. The list is endless and the therapeutic use of this book (when used well), vast.

On the other hand there’s The Road Less Travelled. It shares Dr. Peck’s version of a map of life from his professional (psychotherapist) experience and the journey of his clients. So he directly talks about-events, approaches, attitudes, suggested solutions, processes, etc- that pertain to the problems-big, tiny or small. The book (when used smartly) allows an individual to look squarely at things we face everyday, in various forms and intensities- rejection, success, loss, tolerance, love, romance,  rebirth, transformation, death, joy, hopes, miracles, etc. So when, how and whom can bibliotherapy with this book benefit? The answer is obvious- at any stage of adult life. Whether its an ill person in the family one has to take care of, or understanding our own disorderliness and mental blocks, if we are going through a tough time in life for whichever reason, or simply looking to “up” the game of life on the next phase or level- bibliotherapy through this book certainly paves a way.

There is a condition though, that applies in using help, guidance or a starting point or material for discussions from books- as discussed in the prior article– the ideas and solutions presented or perceived from the books are not writ in stone! These ideas require examining, trial & error (under an experienced facilitator preferably), sharing-editing-retesting of experiences and thus learning what’s best for us practically.

Bibliotherapy is thus, help and healing through books, carefully selected by a bibliotherapist and conducted through reading jointly, or having a post-reading discussion, or through activities designed to apply the written word in real life or a combination of these methods.

I’m very happy to announce that from 18th June, I will be facilitating, in capacity of a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, such Bibliotherapy sessions in Mumbai (One example- The book selected for VT venue is The Road Less Travelled see http://helplibrary.blogspot.cotop 5 booksm/2011/06/workshops-on-biblio-therapy-flowing.html)

Best wishes for the journey, see you there! 🙂

If you have differing ideas and book and venue suggestions- do write to me. You may leave a comment here or at: kunjal.s.psy@gmail.com

Self-help books & Real help

Sometimes in life, there comes a time, when a need is felt to evaluate the way we are living. There are times, wherein our lifestyle needs change or re-designing to suit our needs. This is also about the time, a self-help book section in a bookshop holds our interest.. and a good chance we end up picking a book in the end.

Beyond reading, after some trial and error of applying the new lessons learnt and old remembered, most books are kept away and forgotten.. and life sometimes doesn’t make a transformation as hoped for and as the book jacket most definitely promised, except an adjustment in maybe a few steps here and there.

So how can we make the most of a self-help book?

It is a book at the end of the day. And the marketing gimmicks and tricks in not only selling but in the written content as well- galore. Find a person, or better, people! A book reading group- a different one each time, or a consistently meeting group- these are good ideas. It can be discussed then with facilitators present, on what basis to choose which book for which issue or motivation that’s currently active in your life. It’s like this- the worst time to go for grocery or food shopping is when you’re hungry; the intense hunger-need clouds any logic! Similarly, being patient and discussing things over- what’s going on within, gaining more clarity of a situation and then heading over a self-help book counter with some recommendations sounds like a better idea. But it shouldn’t stop there- not as far as interpreting words in their full meaning within a context and then application of that data is concerned. Discussions, with people, with the human, compassionate and empathic touch, focusing on daily application of the insights gained- either by rejecting, expounding or accepting the views presented in the book- that helps in moving beyond words and for a book to live and enrich lives than lying like a thing on a shelf somewhere..

A book is a medium. Not the process! The process of any learning would require a good discussion- before purchase, during reading, and after..

Best wishes 🙂

 

 

 

Q & A : “Psychotherapy”

An Introductory talk on Psychotherapy was held at the HELP library’s Patient Doctor Community’s Meeting in the month of May. Quite a few questions were raised and discussed, some of them are shared below:

Q.1    How come meditation itself doesn’t cure things?

A.     There are many kinds of meditation. If by meditation, relaxation and calm state of mind is referred, then within that state one may feel.. well- calm! If problems are requiring to be looked and dealt with, and instead, we tend to ‘escape’ under a false calmness, it may obviously not ‘cure’ anything. It’s important to differentiate between false calmness, and being at peace with oneself. (For more on this- https://psychdom.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/relaxation-a-solution/)

Q.2  When does one reach a stage to REQUIRE it?

A.   ..when regular support systems- family, friends, physicians, etc. have been tried but there continues to be dissatisfaction, problems have remained unsolved, unresolved, or they keep appearing, disappearing, only to reappear again. So yes, once the methods that we typically are using, are not satisfying us- that’s when generally people consider Psychotherapy & Counseling. Having said this, one can go to a psychotherapist at any point. The therapy is to facilitate our journeys too, not just problem-solving.

Q.3  Does Psychological counseling or psychotherapy “draw from within”?

A.    Insight-oriented counseling means drawing from within! There are different kinds of counseling. Long-term insight oriented therapy, Rogerian counseling, etc focus on drawing out insights from within..

Q.4   How long does it usually take? Are there a fixed no of sessions for therapy?

A.     There is no fixed number. It entirely depends on the nature of concern, with which one goes to a Counselor, and the kind of counseling or psychotherapy one opts for. What I do, is depending on the client’s awareness regarding counseling, ask them to see how they feel during the process after completing 3 sessions- This is after they’ve decided to enter counseling, after they’ve found it comfortable with me. Additionally, I tell them if they require to recheck, to check for shifts if not changes, after 10 sessions. Psychotherapy and counseling process may be from 4 sessions for someone, to sessions spanning over years- it depends on the client’s goals and working style.

Q.5   How does one, seeking psychotherapy, come to know or decide what form of therapy to choose??

A.     Considering that its going to be a little uncomfortable at times, as it is the Unconscious aspect of mind being dealt, choosing one where one finds self comfortable, helps. There are several types- art, “talk” or “couch”, play, drama, etc. Some therapists are specifically trained only in one while others employ many kinds. So if you want versatility, seek one who picks several forms and mediums. If only one form is found comfortable enough to focus on the unpleasantness that may need a way out, then a more specific therapy can be opted for.

Q.6   If the environment is affecting a child negatively, will bettering the environment be enough or will the child still need therapy?

A.     Will it help? Absolutely. Will it be enough? That depends on how the child is feeling and what he/she has understood out of the change. Overnight things cannot be changed. Permanent change takes a while- and digesting, adapting to the change- be it good/bad does take time as well. Counseling will definitely help you, your child and your family to communicate effectively. By being open and not acting out of fear, one can look how well-adjusted the child is or isn’t objectively, and can take a call accordingly (One e.g. of finding out if our actions are based on fear is if we catch ourselves doing this: to quickly make things better and communicate “quickly” everything to the child).

~