As a Counseling Psychologist in Jaipur, helping first generation of young adults who are seeking help for mental health issues
The decision to return to Jaipur, my hometown, after my M.Phil in Bangalore, was a conscious one. I have always been acutely aware of the social issues plaguing the youth in the city, which in turn adversely impacts their mental health.
Although, on and off, I have had long conversations about issues of gender inequality, lack of opportunities, the rigidity of the traditional family structure — that stops the youth from pursuing their goals — with my friends and family, I wanted to do something more concrete to help my people.
Through my one year of practice in the city, I have managed to help over 70 young adults. My attachment to the city also helps them get comfortable in my presence and relate their stories without the fear of being judged.
Counseling incorporates effective therapeutic approaches to help spot, process and resolve psychological issues pertaining to everyday life problems, which are often ignored by millions, leading to severe crises in the future.
Jaipur, a budding city in the western state of Rajasthan, India, has a large population of first generation, young working professionals, whose traditional families mostly hail from the rural hinterland of India. Most of my clients are torn between the traditional values they grew up with and the demands that their new, ‘modern’ life is making on them.
This new ‘culture of excess’ in spheres such as technology and entertainment coupled with a high-spending power has led to major mental conflicts and clashes.
I have helped several young men and women – most men are expected to join the family business, while the women are to recede to the confines of their homes, despite good education – make peace with the dichotomies in their lives, and move ahead.
Their problems, in a way, hold a mirror to the issues confronting the youth of the Indian society at large, and helps me as a professional in understanding my country better.
In India, a first generation of young adults are acknowledging and seeking help for mental health issues. This includes financially independent women, who are strong-willed, empowered and are looking for help to lead meaningful lives; youngsters in depression because of difficulty in coming to terms with their aspirations, adults battling marital discord, poor performance at work, severe anxiety disorders, inferiority complex and aggression. This section has very few means to tackle the issues they are confronted with. There is almost no family or previous reference to rely on.
Counseling gives me an opportunity to bring a difference in the lives of people who are experiencing difficulties in dealing with everyday challenges. I want people to understand that these are not ‘mentally challenged’ people, but normal individuals, who are strong, brave and courageous enough to understand that there is nothing wrong in consulting a professional in dealing with an emotional issue. In India, most people are uncomfortable in disclosing their identities while dealing with mental health issues because of the fear of being stigmatized. I wish to work towards eliminating the stigma and creating a support system for the afflicted, educating people about mental illnesses and help bust the misconceptions around the subject.
(I even conduct outdoor sessions using different therapeutic techniques , depending on the client’s problems)