For what are young people mainly seeking therapy?
There is a difference between the presenting issue, which they believe they have, and the real issue, the underlying trauma that could either be an early childhood issue or a more recent one that has caused the presenting issue. Young middle-class people, in the age bracket of 21 to 41 come to me for issues ranging from depression to dealing with stress at the workplace, relationship issues and marital problems. Several come seeking help on how to interact with their children.
What kinds of therapy do you provide?
I provide something called Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing therapy, which is a specific trauma resolution method that seeks to neutralise past traumatic events that are contributing to and maintaining current presenting systems. It uses the premises of cognitive, Freudian, gestalt and behavioural therapies, but goes beyond talk therapy. The client focuses on a disturbing image or thought and the concomitant body sensations, while the therapist facilitates a type of eye movement by having the client follow the movement of the therapist’s fingers across the field of vision.
I’ve worked with people who had nightmares after experiencing the 2006 floods, and after working with them, they no longer felt traumatised by their experiences.
Is therapy becoming a part of young, urban Indians’ lifestyles?
They are certainly more open to approaching a therapist than the previous generation. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is now a part of their lifestyle, which is something that we do on regular basis, such as going to the gym or using the Internet. Having said that, there is much more awareness among this group. Nowadays, by the time clients approach me, they are already aware of the issues they are facing.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that once your basic needs are met, you can focus on higher needs like happiness and emotional fulfilment. The basic needs of this section of our society have been met.
Does this suggest that youngsters cannot deal with problems that the previous generation addressed in other ways or are the problems themselves new?
It’s not as though the earlier generations didn’t have problems. They had their own resources to deal with them, which were just as valuable. This generation has therapists to help them deal with their issues. The goal of therapy is to create self-reliant, independent people.
When people can’t cope with issues that are troubling them emotionally and this is hurting their relationships, and they have tried everything to help themselves but that hasn’t worked, that’s when they approach us. It doesn’t make them dependent. In fact, it’s a signal of their will to resolve a problem that they are facing.