“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

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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).

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