Stress Management Session for MBA students


Invitation for Stress Management for MBA Students of NITIE:

I was approached by final year students from a renowned MBA college in Mumbai, Nitie to conduct a short 1.5 hour session on stress management before their placements. Stress being a vast topic, to cover it in one session was next to impossible. So I thought it best to narrow it down to what exactly in the given situation they perceive as stressful. As we all know any situation is experienced stressful if we do not have adequate coping mechanisms to deal with itstress-management-mba-students-negative-thoughts

Feed Back sheet prior to the session to assess stress inducing factors:

Given the short notice, I felt that the best way to begin with was to seek feedback on stressed the students the most. So a short questionnaire, in the form of a checklist, about issues that they perceive as being stressful was sent across to the students. The results of this questionnaire were collated and we decided to tackle the top two which were haunting the MBA aspirants viz

stress-management-mba-students-questionnaire-checklist

  • Negative thoughts, andstress-management-mba-students-negative-thoughts-demons
  • Mismatch between the aspirations and job profile

stress-management-mba-students-job-profile

Pre session discussion on issues surrounding placement:

On the day that we conducted the session what I discovered while chatting up the students (prior to the session) was that the general environment surrounding the job market was extremely grim.

stress-management-mba-students-career-planning

  • Fewer companies were coming to campus for recruitments

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  • Pay packages were being revised downwards

stress-management-mba-students-placement-interview-speech

  • Students were disenchanted with the job profiles being offered
  • What’s more, a sizeable proportion of the students had left high paying jobs to pursue the full time MBA course with the expectation that an MBA would fast track their careers.

stress-management-mba-students-job-finances

This disillusionment coupled with the sour economic scenario led to additional burden from

  • the finance strain from educational loans and high course fees
  • time investment in the 2 year MBA, and
  • social and peer pressure from
    • not getting the right job profile,
    • insignificant jump in salary or having to work for equal pay or less than their previous job

Apprehensions about future prospects a reality or mental fabrication?

Their fears were real and not a fabrication. So given the limited time at my disposal I thought the best was to work on the top two identified factors. I decided that the best course of action to relieve their stress was to

stress-management-mba-students-job-fears

Sessions activities and the logic behind it?

  • Work on their self-trust to counter the negative thoughts, and
  • Through an exercise that would make them self-aware of their leadership qualities and hence better their chances at the personal interview and group discussion stages undertaken during campus recruitments.

stress-management-mba-students-coping

Both these issues were dealt with through activities using group dynamics (group of 9-10 students) to maximize learning and sharing during the session.

Activity 1:

The first activity catered to rediscovering their inner strength and the positivity arising from self-trust in times of stress and difficulty (after all, self-help is the best help) and the second activity was a role play which would bring to the fore their leadership skills which were then analyzed.

In the first activity the group was blindfolded and they were asked to perform certain tasks using only their feelings as a barometer to achieve success. At the end of the activity the group was pleasantly surprised that just on the basis of their feelings and relying on themselves they knew exactly what to do and do it well.

stress-management-mba-students-activity-blindfold

Second Activity:

The second activity was a role play where the group had to make decisions on which member should be allowed to stay on board and who should leave. The purpose of the activity was to identify one’s personal strengths and weakness using group dynamics. The second activity highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of each individual in his / her interaction with the other. This would then give them the ability to choose any action irrespective of the given emotion.

stress-management-mba-students-activity-leadership

During times of stress it is safer and more reliable to draw on your strengths rather than spending energy trying to control the environment or worry about future. The later draws you into the spiral of negative thoughts, reactive behaviour and drains you out of any possibilities, whereas the earlier option will help you to remain calm, composed and in a free mental space to be able to accurately evaluate and choose your action steps. This freedom to be able to choose any action without spending energy to change the emotions or outcomes helps people to stay focused on the given task (placements in this case) without getting stuck in future anxieties (job profile or financial logistics) is the power of self-awareness.

stress-management-mba-students-successful-interview

Key to success lies in self-awareness:

This kind of insight and awareness oriented work is possible only with psychotherapeutic understanding and by and large remains untouched during soft skills taken up by most colleges and corporates. Insight oriented awareness when worked along with soft skills has proven to be more effective in bringing about positive results during interviews.

stress-management-mba-students-successful-interview-key

Empirical evidence on first impressions being a primary factor driving to choosing a candidate for the job:

A lot of research has been conducted on what is the basis of choosing a particular candidate. What strikingly comes across is that most of these decisions are based on first impressions rather than logical evaluation of the individual. Though it may seem unfair for a hiring manager to make a character judgment within the first seconds of meeting a candidate, record-breaking application volumes in the job market right now mean that hiring agencies don’t have the time or resources to move forward with job prospects that don’t impress them out of the gate.

stress-management-mba-students-selection

In order for candidates to best prepare themselves for such a high-pressure situation, it is valuable to understand the psychology behind first impressions, how that opinion is generated and how it can be used for strategic advantage. These researches served as the basis of our first activity. Given below are some of the links to some researches on first impressions:

stress-management-mba-students-first-impression

http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/first-impressions.aspx

http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/03/09/brain-response-to-first-impressions

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2009/11/03/impressions_personality/

http://www.futurity.org/first-impressions-sometimes-say-it-all/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110415104544.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/02/fashion/02skin.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1384878383-VSLcxLX5ZG5gJIf2dmFr4A&_r=0

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/11/13/first-impressions-count-even-online/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200407/the-once-over

http://www.infusivesolutions.com/blog/bid/87721/First-Things-First-Understanding-the-Psychology-of-First-Impressions

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/05/science/nalini-ambady-psychologist-of-intuition-is-dead-at-54.html?_r=0

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118113445.htm

http://ambadylab.stanford.edu/pubs/1992Ambady.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/02/fashion/02skin.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1384881768-Oq0rEsP5O4W2h66nBqZN7w

http://ambadylab.stanford.edu/pubs/1993Ambady.pdf

http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar05/slices.aspx

Other interesting reads:

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/surviving-cancer-2/

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/02/

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/dealing-with-rejection/

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/to-watch-or-to-be/

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/relationship-break-up-living-in-the-void/

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/using-play-therapy-as-a-treatment-for-an-autistic-child/

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Dimple Shah,                            

Director founder of Revival.Life, a Therapeutic Aids and Resource Centre.

I am a Consulting Psychotherapist, Play Therapist and a Work life Consultant of over 18 years.  I have worked extensively with Psychiatrists, educational institutes, corporates and NGO’s conducting individual sessions, group therapy sessions, workshops, lectures and training programs across Mumbai and Pune.

At revival.life we offer consulting services for clients and organisations and training programs for aspiring psychotherapists/ counsellors both online and offline. We believe in substantiating our work by complimenting it with extensive research.

Our expertise extends from working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, families and organizations.

Contact details:

Mobile # 91+9960900363

SMS / Watsap # 91+9960900363

Email on revival.life@gmail.com

Linked in :http://in.linkedin.com/in/revivallife

Blog:

http://www.revivalife.wordpress.com

http://revivalife@blogspot.comrevival.life@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/Revival.life

 

 

Depression Treatment Options


However the client should be aware of the treatment options so that he /she can discuss with the consultant. Broadly speaking, the treatment of depression rests on two factors Medication, and Psychotherapy or Counselling.

  • Medication is required for moderate and severe depressive disorder cases.
  • Counseling and psychotherapy serves as an edge in treating depression and need to be started simultaneously along with medicines.
  • You should continue the full course of psychotherapy even if you are feeling better to prevent a relapse.
  • Suddenly stopping antidepressants can precipitate a relapse. Medication needs be tapered gradually under your doctor’s supervision.

more>>

Varsha Bhosle’s Suicide….A psychological perspective


Warning bells for depressed clients:

Person turns recluse
Shows little or no interest in the on-going activities / personal care
Has a history of previous suicide attempts or talks about wanting to end life
Has recently met with disappointment or failure
Has lost a loved one or moved away from a loved one
Changes in food and / or sleep habits
Increased physical complains
All the above mentioned signs were present in Varsha Bhosle. With a series of disappointments and failures in her life, losing a close friend and associate might have been the last straw which led her to end her life. However how does a caretaker determine in such a long standing case history of a depressed individual and repeated suicide attempts, when is she most likely to commit suicide? Often it so happens that the people around them take their depression as a routine and do not find anything unusually wrong in their behaviour that particular day.

more>>

Surviving Cancer


For all cancer patients, life after recovery is never the same. Although they step out of the shadow of cancer physically, many remain tied to it mentally for the rest of their lives unless they make a conscious effort to get out of it. The words ‘cancer survivor’ is inspiring during the treatment and boosts up your spirits at the end of the treatment however do you really want to be labelled a cancer survivor for the rest of your life? Ever wondered why other terminal illnesses (hepatitis C or Asthma or diabetes or cardiac arrests or other traumas such as earthquake) haven’t got such survivor name tag to them? Pause and think before you go any further….What is actually the role of the patient here in the recovery? Apart from the physical pain and mental trauma, managing the illness is the work of a doctor, like in any illness.  Then why glorify it for the rest of your life? Why make it the centre of your existence. Don’t you feel that you need to move on with your life like one does with all illnesses / traumas? Because if you don’t are you not subtly and surely wallowing in self-glorification of something that you haven’t really worked on? Is this then another way of portraying yourself as a victim and wasting time wallowing in self-pity? This is the conscious decision that you need to make at the end of the treatment which in turn will shape up your remaining life. Will you be known as cancer survivor or someone who has achieved more than surviving a trauma in his/ her field? Just being just a cancer survivor does not help to regain confidence in oneself. But if one goes on further to make his dreams come true then it does help.

Lance Armstrong, one of the cancer survivors did just that. He went back to pursue his dreams with the ferocity that drowned all the woes of cancer. Will our Indian skipper, Yuvraj Singh follow his path?

This article is a follow up on the previous article on Yuvraj Singh and surviving cancer :

https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/surving-cancer/Image

Revivallife Counselling
, REVIVAL.LIFE
email: revival.life@gmail.com
http://in.linkedin.com/in/revivallife

http://revivalife@blogspot.comrevival.life@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/Revival.life 

                      

ABOUT DIMPLE SHAH
Im a Consulting Psychotherapist  for over 15 years
Director Founder of revival.life Therapeutic Aid and Resource Center
Worked with schools, colleges, psychiatrists, NGO’s and organisations both with individuals and groups.
At revival.life we offer Certificate Courses and training to aspiring professionals apart from providing net and phone based on line consultancy services, conducting research, training programs and lectures / workshops.
Area of service extends to children, parents, adolescents, adults, patients, marital couples, organizational issues, families, specialized therapeutic groups.
Send me an email on revival.life@gmail.com if you are interested in

TU TU MAIN MAIN – GAMES COUPLES PLAY


Games are sets of ulterior unconscious transactions which are played by the couple which always ends up with each person experiencing negative, uncomfortable and familiar feelings. They are characteristically repetitive and will always contain with an element of confusion and surprise.  These games in a couple can get very destructive to the relationship however the couple is unable to disengage from the same without feeling a loss of intimacy. Paradoxical as it may sound, although the outcome of these games is negative, the process re-establishes feelings of love and intimacy which in turn helps them to e entrenched in the relationship. Ironically these unconscious attempts to get close to your partner are the very thing that takes you away from the partner. If you ask any couple about their repetitive arguments, you will be surprised to hear that both the partners know exactly how the conversation will proceed, including the partners responses and yet they have been unable to resolve these conflicts. Often these conflicts are high stakes games and involve intense emotions of anger, fear and lonely, occasionally ending up disastrously for both or one.  No one wins in this game, both are losers.

The emotions experienced by each partner are linked with their assumptions which in turn will be directly linked to a childhood experience/event where they made a decision about themselves, others and the world around them. Underneath these decisions / life game roles will be unresolved and deep rooted feelings from childhood -eg anger that no one heard them as a child; sadness that they didn’t feel important as a child; fear that their parents would leave/overwhelm them. Part of the process of couple’s therapy will be to grieve and let go of these unmet childhood needs. During the stress of game playing these assumptions about reality are perceived as facts in the minds of each person in the couple, even though they are not facts. Seeing a couple’s counsellor will minimize the game playing between you and your partner, as becoming aware of the games you play is the first step to stopping the games.

Therefore game playing in couples also confirms our game role. According to Stephen Karpman there are 3 game roles- Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer. In the Drama Triangle game we can alternate between game roles, but people usually have a preferred life position game role, where they experience familiar feelings which reinforce how they see themselves, others and the world. These life position game roles are fixed during childhood and continue to operate unconsciously until one is made aware of and one chooses a different response that will benefit him/ her.

For example the Victim concludes ‘poor me, as usual no one cares about me'(feeling familiar feelings of helplessness); the Rescuer concludes ‘I just tried to help them ‘ (feeling familiar feelings of confusion and not being appreciated)and the Persecutor concludes ‘I’ll show them ‘(feeling familiar feelings of blaming, anger and self righteousness).

All 3 game roles involve someone not taking responsibility for themselves eg the Victim looks for a partner to take responsibility for them ; the Rescuer seeks out a Victim to take care of but fails to attend to their own needs as well as minimising the Victim’s ability to look after themselves while the Persecutor shifts responsibility by blaming their partner for the difficulties in their life.

Here are some common—albeit negative—games many couples unwittingly play with each other:


  1. Argumentative and oppositional.
     Some people tend to be argumentative and oppositional, picking on their partners to get a rise out of them.  One or both parties are driven to turmoil, so there is often a battle going on in the relationship, and things are frequently on edge and volatile.  Your mate—who knows every hot button you have—intentionally pushes your buttons, and does so on a regular basis.  Frequently, what is really going on is that one person needs reassurance or calming—and asks for it in the seemingly contradictory way of being contentious and oppositional.
  2. Complaining a lot. Some people are experts at picking out the most negative thoughts possible and staying focused on them for prolonged periods of time.  If ten good things and one bad thing happen, most of their thoughts are focused on the bad thing.  These people complain, disagree, find fault or undermine their partner, and are anxious a lot.  Few people are drawn closer to people who are negative, complaining or filled with anxious thoughts.  Therefore, many who unknowingly play this game end up isolated, lonely, depressed and even more negative.
  3. It’s your fault. The person reasons that s/he has little, if anything, to do with the problems in the relationship.  Any problem is, therefore, the other person’s fault.
  4. I’m going to blame you for the same things you blame me for. In this game, one person blames the other for the very things s/he does.  For example, if your spouse complains that you do not listen to him/her, you deny it and say that s/he does not listen to you.  Whenever someone has a complaint or criticism, the other adopts the complaint as his/her own.
  5. Fighting as foreplay. In this game there is an intense fight, then a period of making up.  The swing of emotions is quick and dramatic.  One minute, you are fighting, thinking about divorce and ready to leave, the next moment you are making mad passionate love.  This is because the fight creates adrenaline and is stimulating.  Once stimulated, you are ready for love.
  6. You owe me. I do so much for you and/or our family.  You do considerably less.  You are therefore indebted to me, and whenever I decide to call your debt due, you must perform to my satisfaction.  But perhaps I will prefer not to call the debt due—so I can always have something to hold over your head.
  7. Guess. Guess how I feel, what’s important to me, what will make me happy, what will make me unhappy.
  8. I call the shots. I decide what we’re going to do, and if you cross me, there will be hell to pay.  Therefore, don’t ever cross me.  I am stronger than you.Image
Revivallife Counselling
, REVIVAL.LIFE
email: revival.life@gmail.com
http://in.linkedin.com/in/revivallife

http://revivalife@blogspot.comrevival.life@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/Revival.life 

                      

ABOUT DIMPLE SHAH
Im a Consulting Psychotherapist  for over 15 years 
Director Founder of revival.life Therapeutic Aid and Resource Center 
Worked with schools, colleges, psychiatrists, NGO’s and organisations both with individuals and groups.
At revival.life we offer Certificate Courses and training to aspiring professionals apart from providing net and phone based on line consultancy services, conducting research, training programs and lectures / workshops.
Area of service extends to children, parents, adolescents, adults, patients, marital couples, organizational issues, families, specialized therapeutic groups. 
Send me an email on revival.life@gmail.com if you are interested in  

Why is Sachin still far from 100 not out? Is the psychological self sabotage at play here



While Sachin has dismissed the hundredth 100 as just another century, the Indian diaspora is keenly awaiting this one. And with the over zealous aspirations of 1.2 billion riding high on the bat of this young master, pressure is bound to build on him? Suddenly Sachin is out of form and the runs off the bat have abruptly dried up. In our opinion, we do not believe that the lack of form is at work here but certain certain self sabotaging behaviors are preventing him from achieving the much awaited milestone. In this article we explore the psychological impact of self sabotaging behaviour and how it emanates in daily walks of life.

Consider the following self-sabotaging behaviours which are commonly observed: Why do we wait till the last minute to leave for a place? Why are some people perpetually late for something important that they have really desired? Why do we remain employed in a company although we know we deserve and can get a better job? Why do we repeatedly get into an abusive relationship? We’ve all seen this in our friends and even, regrettably, in ourselves.

However bizarre as it may seem, we must derive some benefit from these problematic behaviours of ours. These problems may appear maladaptive on surface but if we give it a closer look, we will realize that in some way, we benefit from them. In other words, in some way we are protected by our problems. One can’t usually explain the “real” reasons for ones behavior because the reasons are outside of their conscious awareness. So although we may consciously strive for something, it is possible that our unconscious mind works in direct opposition to it, self-sabotaging our resolves leaving us frustrated and helpless.

This is precisely the reason why an obese person is unable to stick to the food diet regime. Maybe unconsciously becoming fitter would draw more attention from the opposite sex or make the person more successful than his loved one and thereby lose love of her spouse. Or getting into an abusive relationship is ones way to remain in agreement with the unconscious belief that one is not worthy of love. Or becoming more successful than ones parent will in some way unleash the wrath of the parent who may abandon them. These fears of abandonment or of a loved one getting angry are deeply rooted in one’s childhood experiences and are extremely anxiety provoking. They continue to strongly influence our current behavior unless we bring this conflict into consciousness to be worked on in therapy.

I was approached by a manager at a very senior level for marital counseling. The couple was batting infidelity in their marriage. While his outward behavior seemed very protective and caring towards his wife, his unwarranted affair had a devastating effect on his marriage. During sessions when I enquired about how the affair started and what the other woman meant to him, I was not surprised to hear that she meant nothing to him and that he himself couldn’t justify the need to get into this one night stand and risking his marriage. Worse still he made no effort to hide it from his wife and in fact seemed relieved when she got to know about it. This seemed to fit the bill of the maladaptive behavior perfectly and we looked for further clues on the possible benefits. As we explored the childhood and some of his current behaviours things crystalized further. He was a neglected child and grew up with a feeling of not worthy of love. This feeling remained entrenched in his unconscious although he gained good marks and then went on to become the most successful of all his siblings, taking care to help them settle in life and therefore much adored too. When he got married he started facing difficulties in developing intimacy with his. His wife found him very appropriate however lacking in demonstration of love and affection. She however was deeply in love with him and found his aloofness disturbing. This became an issue when she discovered that he had had a one night stand with a woman. What was disturbing her further was that he could not furbish any justifiable excuse nor did he even attempt to hide the truth from her. It was almost as if he wanted her to find out and thereby punish him by withdrawing her love. This was in line with his unconscious belief that he was not loveable and now he had proven to himself once again that he is not worthy of love.

Sachin Tendulkar too seems to be having this mal adaptive behavior which appears repetitive wherein he gets out just as he is touching his century or when there is tremendous pressure on him to perform. It’s almost as if, if he does meet with the expectations of the country then something terrible will befall on him. If he is successful then maybe he will be abandoned / not loved? Or worse still he will become somehow bigger and stronger than the father whose oedipal complex may still haunt him. It isn’t uncommon to be unable to perform at peak capacity or self-sabotage once life and career to tag the line of one’s unconscious oedipal fears of the opposite sex parent or the belief system of not being good enough/ not loveable/ not worthy of. Our actions are mainly governed by this unconscious dictum and efforts are made to keep it unconscious and seeking more and more proof through experiences that match these beliefs. It is kept unconscious precisely for this reason that it produces anxiety while conscious life experiences seem to fall in line magically with these beliefs.

Most people find the notion that all behavior, no matter how self-destructive, has an adaptive function difficult to grasp. So, how do you go about learning more about the advantages to maintaining your current (purportedly unwanted) situation? A first step is to examine the advantages to maintaining the status quo. To do this, ask yourself the following questions.
Describe a longstanding difficulty with which you have struggled. Describe the ways in which it is maladaptive. How does this difficulty hurt you or hold you back or make you unhappy? What is its impact on your relationships at work, at home, and socially? Ask yourself the following question:

1. Have you attempted to change this difficulty? If not, why not? If so, describe the nature of your efforts?
2. In what ways have your efforts been successful? If they have been unsuccessful, why?
3. In what ways have your efforts been thwarted? How were they sabotaged?

Most people never come to the stage of seeking out professional assistance because they are not aware that they are sabotaging themselves. Those that do seek help often wait until well into adulthood. In life, we all aspire to both conscious and unconscious goals, but often there are psychological barriers that we may cling to and be haunted by, which block our aspirations. Projected envy and terrors of the actual envy of others can block motivations to succeed, when dissociated and/or repressed primal rage intensify the intimidating power of projected hostility and envy, and of perceptions of others as rivalries in areas of competition. Desire can be blocked by oedipal level fears of rivalry and hostile completion, but more primitive and primal fears of abandonment can also be at play, when developmental arrests have taken place in the preoedipal years of separation-individuation and self-integration. How we address these psychological blocks in a clinical situation is critical to helping patients to overcome all their inhibitions and intimidations, as they attempt to motivate themselves to succeed in life.

Dealing with rejection



What makes Priyanka Chopra rejected by the wives of her co actors? Is there really a flaw in her character or is she a victim of the wives’ insecurities. Decide yourself in the article dealing with rejection.
Rejection is experienced as a deep blow to self esteem as it involves blaming you as a person. It is difficult to deal with it because it conveys the message of non-acceptance and that there is something wrong with you and you are not good enough or worse still there is something wrong with you, that you will never change and that you do not belong to this group and you’ve done something wrong or unacceptable. This leaves you with a deep sense of helplessness. There is nothing that you can do to change another person’s biases and perceptions and you are left to deal with all these emotions yourself. More often than not, these perceptions are often backed by societal or religious norms justifying the persons rejection.
Often people who are a victim of rejection keep going in circles feeling victimized and angry and are unable to get over it easily. Psychotherapy helps such individuals to differentiate between what is intrinsic to themselves and that which is not. This goes a long way in handling difficult emotions of rejection. By understanding ones ownself and how one uses psychological defense of projection and introjection one realizes that the emotions thrown into him by the person rejecting actually form the dark and unknown side of the rejecting individual’s personality which is unfortunately being flashed onto your character screen. Although not aware, the person has sense that he can succumb to these very biases and therefore fights it externally whenever he sees it. Unfortunately in the process does not cure himself and accumulates greater fear of the same biases. Therefore no logical argument is able to convince the person to give them up. The reason being, if they give up these biases, maybe there is a fear that he will have to face it within himself. After all isn’t it much easier to fight the devil on an external screen than to have him within yourself.
Equipped with this understanding by experiencing it within ones ownself, the individual is able to detach oneself from the influences of these negative emotions projected on him by the world and is able to restore his self esteem. Of course talking about these emotions forms the initial part of the cathartic therapy but psychotherapy does not stop at that alone. In fact if the therapist is unable to take the client beyond catharsis, the client keeps experiencing the wound in his mind but is unable to come out of it.
Understanding the mechanisms of rejection and knowing that it is never, and I repeat, never warranted or earned are the most fundamental keys to safeguarding your self esteem and sense of self worth. This is a choice. You have to make a choice about how you are going to understand the messages of rejection you receive everyday, and how you are going to, or not going to, integrate these messages into your psyche.
Remember that facing your fears, expressing and sharing your experience, no matter how shameful, is vital in overcoming the aloneness that rejection creates and which sustains its impact.
Make a choice today to focus on the dynamic you and your untapped potential and you will be unscathed by any experiences of rejection.

TO WATCH OR TO BE



With the recent incident of the Ministers, watching pornographic film has brought about much ethical debate in the media; however the psychological impact has not been discussed. Sexuality is an issue which profoundly impacts not only an individual but also the family at large. In my experience, with only several exceptions, pornography has been a major or minor contributor or facilitator in the acquisition of their deviation or sexual addiction apart from complete psychological isolation from family. Treatment (psychotherapy) of the same is necessary as it tends to recur as all other means of control used by individual and society fail without an insight into the urge.
I found four factors common to nearly all of my clients, with almost no exceptions, especially in their early involvement with pornography.
1. Addiction
A porn movie becomes an addiction as the material provides a very powerful sexual stimulant or aphrodisiac effect with powerful imagery as a base of further fantasies, followed by sexual release, most often through masturbation. Once addicted, they could not throw off their dependence on the material by themselves, despite many negative consequences such as divorce, loss of family, and problems with the law (as with sexual assault, harassment or abuse of fellow employees). Interestingly my clinical experience, education is positively correlated with sex addiction; that is to say higher the education and intelligence greater is the person’s vulnerability to sex addiction. Reason being, their finer ability to use their intelligence to fantasize.
2. Escalation
Like drug addicts, sex addicts with the passage of time require rougher, more “kinky” kinds of sexual material to get sexually aroused. If their spouses or girlfriends were involved with them, they eventually pushed their partners into doing increasingly bizarre and deviant sexual activities. They often preferred this sexual imagery, accompanied by masturbation, to sexual intercourse itself. This nearly always diminished their capacity to love and express affection to their partner in their intimate relations. In many cases, this resulted in a fall out in the relationship when the woman refused to go further-often leading to much conflict, separation or even divorce.
3. Desensitization
Material (in books, magazines or film/videos) which was originally perceived as shocking, taboo-breaking, illegal, repulsive or immoral, though still sexually arousing, in time came to be seen as acceptable and commonplace. There was increasingly a sense that “everybody does it” and this gave them permission to also do it, even though the activity was possibly illegal and contrary to their previous moral beliefs and personal standards.

4. Acting Out Sexually
There is alarmingly increased tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography including compulsive promiscuity, exhibitionism, group sex, voyeurism, frequenting massage parlors, having sex with minor children, rape, and inflicting pain on themselves or a partner during sex. This behavior frequently grew into a sexual addiction which they found themselves locked into and unable to change or reverse–no matter what the negative consequences were in their life.

PORNOGRAPHY AND ITS IMPACT ON THE FAMILY
However, in my clinical experience, the major consequence of being addicted to pornography is not the probability or possibility of committing a serious sex crime (though this can and does occur), but rather it’s disturbance of the fragile bonds of intimate family and marital relationships. This is where the most grievous pain, damage and sorrow occurs. There is repeatedly an interference with or even destruction of healthy love and sexual relationships with long term bonded partners. The most important negative consequence is that it isolates one from one’s own self. The ‘real’ world no longer appears appealing and the individual prefers to be in his own world ultimately severing emotional ties that gives meaning to his own existence. No amount of ‘knowing that its bad’ helps to reverse this habit. It’s like a latent cancer, it almost never disappears on its own or reverses its course unless there is some psychotherapeutic intervention.
PARENTING ISSUES AND PORNOGRAPHY
With the explosion of internet usage parents need to keep in control on the internet usage of their young ones. Their curious mind and age is bound to take them in this direction if left unattended on the net. Pornography films are often dismissed off as ‘educative’ or seen as rebelliousness by care givers. However parents need to be aware that there is tremendous peer pressure on the young adults and they often resort to pornography to be a part of the ‘in’ group or for the purpose of self education. When parents provide scientifically correct and age appropriate sex education to the child from a young age, they squash this curiosity and the chances of their child being misinformed via porn films. In fact sex education classes are conducted in many schools for the same purpose. It is a myth that imparting sex education will increase sexual activity in young adults. Rather as parents and caregivers it is your duty to ensure that the child is well informed about the sexual boundaries and the consequences. In fact in many of the abuse cases that I have handled in my practice, children were unable to protect themselves from further abuse because they felt responsible and guilty of the abuse and were unable to convey their feelings their parents whom they thought they could not talk as it’s a taboo topic or worse still would blame them. Because the topic was never raised by their parents they have nowhere else to talk about but their peers or left on their own for further experimentation.
Watching porn movies has a far outreaching psychological impact, especially on a young adults mind. Most of the porn films are made by men and are often extremely sexist in nature often debasing or humiliating a woman. Therefore children at a very young and impressionable age learn to disrespect women in general and treat them as object of sexual pleasure, have distorted perceptions about sexuality, destroys confidence, commitment and responsibility of an intimate relationship and institution of marriage in particular and making polygamous relationship an acceptable idea. In addition, pornography portrays “unhealthy” or even antisocial kinds of sexual activity such as sadomasochism, abuse and humiliation of the female, involvement of minors, incest, group sex, voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc.
Watching pornographic films over an extended period of time raises a fundamental question of who you become as a person watching it.

SURVING CANCER



Being diagnosed with cancer affects a patient not just physiologically but also psychologically, and has a deep impact on the emotional status of the patient and his family for an extended period of time. And while there are treatments for the physiological symptoms of the patient, dealing with the psychological trauma associated with cancer is another story altogether. Cancer is an experience of repeated traumas and for undetermined length, unlike an accident. The patient may experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms anytime from diagnosis through completion of treatment and cancer recurrence.

As is seen in the case of our Indian skipper Yuvraj Singh how the misdiagnosis and then the reconfirmation of the cancer must have been a series of highs and lows. Especially for a sportsperson who works under tremendous pressure to be fit and putting out an outstanding performance, trauma such as this can be doubly difficult psychologically rather than physically. Any ones guess would be whether he will be able to return to the stadium fit enough to play his best innings. Here is a glimpse of what he might be undergoing…

Although, the end of treatment is often marked with a sense of relief, accomplishment, and even joy in having gotten through a difficult experience. Yet for many cancer survivors, it is also a stressful time filled with new routines to learn, as well as mixed feelings about what they’ve just gone through. Many people find themselves unsure of how to move forward, wondering, “Now what?” Therefore, effects of PTSD are long-lasting and serious. It does not end with the end of the treatment. It may affect the patient’s ability to have a normal lifestyle and may interfere with personal relationships, education, and employment even after the patient is ‘cured’. Because avoiding places and persons associated with cancer is part of PTSD, the syndrome may prevent the patient from seeking medical treatment or psychotherapy. It is therefore important that cancer survivors and their family receive information about the possible psychological effects of their cancer experience and early treatment of symptoms of PTSD.

Also, as a patient, they may have been so busy learning about their diagnosis, working with the medical team, and going through treatment that they didn’t fully feel the emotional impact of the diagnosis until after end of the treatment. It’s common for many cancer survivors to have a variety of complex and often conflicting feelings about their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. It is normal to feel relieved that treatment is over, yet angry or sad about having gone through such a serious illness. Or, they may feel guilty about surviving a diagnosis that other people do not. The patient may also feel anxious and fearful about the cancer coming back, or worried that the treatment didn’t work. It is normal, too, to feel confused about what they’ve been through and to be concerned about the future. Family and friends can provide much comfort and support during this time. However, survivors often feel a bit isolated from loved ones and the world around them. Loved ones usually mean well, but they might not be fully aware of all the emotional challenges that can arise for you after overwhelming, interfering with your day-to-day activities and even your health.
Another concern faced by many cancer survivors is the realization that life after their diagnosis and treatment never really goes back to what it was before cancer. Many survivors find they are not able to return to their old “normal” life but must adapt to a “new normal.” Understanding what your new normal is can take time. This process may involve: Reflecting on what you’ve been through. Identifying changes you might want to make in your life. Recognizing what you’ve learned and what’s changed about yourself. Re-evaluating personal relationships or professional goals.
Discovering new ways of finding meaning and fulfillment.
In India, we find that patients usually resort to prayer, fasting, performing ceremonies in order to deal with their illness as against proactively seeking information from the doctor, reading up on the net and medical journals, exercising, eating healthy, meditating or seeking professional help to deal with their emotions. (Stress and Coping amongst infertile women Research conducted by Dimple Shah for Mumbai University, 1994.). Although these actions mimic active coping mechanisms, in essence it is passive coping mechanisms resigning pessimistically and blaming fate for their misfortune and instilling deep fear and helplessness, therefore unable to relieve the person of stress. Patients and their family needs to be informed of these inactive and potentially stress inducing coping mechanisms and be guided to utilize proactive coping mechanisms mentioned above from the beginning.

Therapies used to treat PTSD are those used for other trauma victims. Treatment may involve more than one type of therapy. Feelings of sorrow, grief, hopelessness; coupled with mood swings, fear of losing life, leaving behind loved ones and anxiety and depression are very common amongst patients fighting against cancer. Serious psychosocial distress was seen 40% more among cancer survivors of 5 years or more than in those who have never had cancer. About 10% develop major depressive disorder; others experience an adjustment disorder. In young adult cancer survivors, one small study found that 20% of participants met the full clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 45% to 95% displayed at least one symptom of PTSD. Survivors of adult cancer are at an increased risk of suicidal ideology (having thoughts about suicide), while as many as 13% of childhood cancer survivors experience suicidal ideology.

The prognosis of cancer it is proven scientifically that an emotionally stable person reacts better to the medication and treatment modalities of cancer. This is where a person’s inner strength becomes paramount. Yet it is expected that the person who has been diagnosed with cancer will initially at least crumble under the stress of the trauma. Here the key is, the support system that has a tremendous impact to help the patient bounce back to fighting cancer is the family and friends. Psychotherapy from the time of diagnosis to surgery and post treatment is crucial in providing this supporting network. When one member of a family has cancer, the whole family is affected and, in fact, psychotherapists consider these family members to be “secondary patients.” Cancer affects an entire family, not only because there are genetic links to cancer and cancer risk, but because when one member of a family has cancer the whole family must deal with the illness.

The therapist focuses on solving problems, teaching coping skills, and providing a supportive setting for the patient. Some patients are helped by methods that teach them to change their behaviors by changing their thinking patterns. Some of these methods include helping the patient understand symptoms, teaching coping and stress management skills (such as relaxation training), teaching the patient to reward upsetting thoughts, and helping the patient become less sensitive to upsetting triggers. Therapist may also use group work and introspective art therapy help the patient express their emotions. Sometimes having someone paying attention to the painful emotions itself is healing and patients show tremendous resilience once they are able to confide in someone who can demonstrate strength to listen to their pain, which family members are unable to do so at that point of time.

Most importantly cancer trauma, like other life threatening traumas bring back the past and often unconscious hurts and losses and therefore the psychological effect appears long lasting and compounded. Often people close to the patient find the person overreacting and are unable to understand where they are coming from. They feel hurt, angry and confused. But if you make an effort to understand that these emotions of hurt, anger and confusion that you are experiencing are not really incident related or even yours; that they belong to the person who is suffering from cancer you will be better able to deal with both the patient and the emotions thrown into you. Doing this is not as easy as it sounds and this is also where the psychotherapists step in. Psychotherapists help the family to experience and deal with these emotions that are thrown into them and also help them make better response choices. Therefore the psychological treatment on which the prognosis of cancer depends is strengthened using multifaceted psychotherapy approaches. It is beneficial to start with these sessions from the time of diagnosis and continue till post treatment; as although we expect psychological reactions to emerge within the first three months of diagnosis, there is no fixed rule and if not brought into the forefront of therapy may remain suppressed and resurface later on after many years, often with unconceivable strength.
Follow up article on Yuvraj singhs recovery from cancer
https://revivallife.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/surviving-cancer-2/