Dr.Peter Kranz on Psychodrama at Roshni Counseling Center

Exposure, that’s what I think about every time there is a workshop in the city. Seminars and workshops held specifically for the people of psychology field help us in building network, sharing our knowledge and learning a tonne of new things along the way. I was super excited when Dr.Jayanti shared the invite of a session on psychodrama hosted by Roshni Counseling Center by Dr.Peter Kranz (professor at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) who is visiting from USA.

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Having done storytelling, I was all the more interested, I want to explore how drama, and storytelling can help in healing. Psychodrama is mainly aimed at bringing about insight by enacting past behaviours. It is a spontaneous technique of psychotherapy, and can help people of all ages.

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For me the experience of being in a seminar like such helps in building insight. It’s not just for the purpose of learning, as psychologists or therapists/counselors it’s important to constantly be on a journey of developing insight about yourself. We are complex, ever evolving creatures, a mystery for us to resolve forever. Me being interested in research, I make a conscious effort to observe people around me, understand myself. Psychodrama helps in that, as a group therapy technique it’s interesting fun and has a seamless approach to addressing issues which otherwise would be difficult to deal with. Psychodrama was founded by Jacob L.Moreno.

The most insightful moment for me was through a simple activity wherein we were to pick an age where we were the most happiest. Chairs were placed in a line, each representing an age  (10,20s,30s,40s etc). And for me the happiest and fun was 10 and most difficult was the 20s. Well I am still in my 20s so don’t have anywhere to go beyond that, but hearing the peoples reasons for choosing the age groups they did made me realise there’s a long life still for me to lead. The lovely women, so empowered who were present in the session were talking about how satisfied they are in their late 30s or 40s, and for most 20s has been a period of struggle. So I am not alone!. And now I look forward to growing older and experiencing my 30s and learning more, and achieving more in life. Don’t know why I had created this mental block that the 20s are the time to achieve everything, and that everything in life will go downhill from there. The beauty of it all is that this activity was not a true session, we were all strangers, and it was Dr.Kranz’s demonstration of initial activities, and but how it helped me, and many others is phenomenal. This shows that psychodrama in its essence has a lot to give to participants.

Will definitely be exploring psychodrama and also a person to mention here is Susan Perrow who is a storyteller and writer who helps parents, teachers, and psychologists in healing patients through stories. It was through Deepa Kiran that I came to know about her, and am going to learn more about her techniques of healing. Her website has plenty resources and information on what she does.

If you’re a therapist, there’s another session on the 3rd of June, hosted by Roshni Counseling Center at 9AM, led by Dr.P.Kranz on stress management. You can simply register yourself by calling the centers numbers: 040 66661117/1118.

Himalaya Prickly heat baby powder Review

Another product that will help your baby from Himalaya Baby Care! The heat is at peak and while we wait and pray for the monsoons to shed some rain, Himalaya brings a soothing product for your baby to battle the heat.

 

The Prickly heat baby powder was sent to me by the Himalaya team, a generous 200gm pack at that. Before I give you a review and overall rating let’s acquaint ourselves with what’s on the products packaging; the prickly heat powder is described as ‘ A gentle formulation that relieves prickly heat and keeps the baby’s skin cool and fresh’ There are several herbal contents in the powder that enable it to fulfill the purpose of the powder.

Yashada bhasma is the anti-inflammatory which helps reduce excess sweat and soothes irritated skin. Karanja helps reduce the itching sensation, Khus grass refreshes the skin and finally neem helps in protecting the skin from infection through antimicrobial action. Usage is simple as any powder just sprinkle on the baby’s skin liberally after baby’s bath, or during nappy change or before bedtime. Powder has to be kept away from nose, eyes and mouth of the baby.

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The 200gm container retails at Rs.125, the product is available in 50gm and 100gm sizes too. Manufacturing date is very clearly mentioned at the bottom of the package and the product can be used within 2 years from the date of manufacture.

On to the Review:

The powder finely milled, and makes the skin extremely soft, and has a cooling effect. The good thing is that it can be applied multiple times a day as mentioned, in the ‘directions of use’. Adult prickly heat powders tend to give a tingling effect which can cause irritation if too much product is applied, but this product doesn’t have that problem. This is a plus point for new moms or just in general for caregivers who may tend to reapply a baby product several times a day. Himalaya has tested the product for baby skin; however it’s good to go small steps with any new product on your baby for safety reasons. Apart from the actual performance of the product one stand out factor I must say is the strong Khus smell, now I am not a fan of Khus in general, and was rather taken aback by how strong the smell was, especially considering that its purpose as per packaging is only to ‘refresh the skin’.  I sneezed a couple of times too, and I have dust allergy, if your baby has any dust allergy you may want to try a small quantity on yourself and see how he/she reacts to the powder. In fact purchase a small 50gm pack and see, if this product is for you. While it says to use it liberally, I wouldn’t suggest so because the smell is very strong. I love the fresh smell of their regular baby powder, so for a company that makes fresh, light products with pleasant smell, I was surprised.

I would myself not use it as liberally, but just to serve the purpose, my husband liked it too. So adults could get mild usage out of the product as well. But it does the job, and if you’re a fan of Khus you will thoroughly enjoy this! Overall I would give it a 4/5.

Workshop weekend Part 1 of 2

This weekend has been about workshops. I enjoy attending workshops for several reasons, apart from the information and the main purpose of the workshop you get to network, meet people of the same field, which is inspiring.

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It is also a great way for professional development, and helps especially if a certificate is provided. This is a two part post because I attended two, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. For me it’s all about exposure. I am going to be 27 this year and have the hunger to expose myself to as many things that interest me as I can. It’s amazing what all you can learn, and how your careers goals can get evolved.

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Workshop 1 was on ‘mindulfness’, being a counselor this concept isn’t new to me, but I wanted to know more in detail. The main reason I went for it was; it was for counselors and teachers only. It wasn’t a life coaching type of class, it was about how you as a counselor/teacher can use mindfulness, practice it and positively affect the people you’re working with.

The workshop was organised by the Hyderabad Academy of Psychology and led by Liliana Goldschmidt. I got to understand the history of mindfulness, how it helps, and the various ways in which it can be implemented. Liliana had made us experience it with short breathing focused exercises, so that we understand what mindfulness is about, and the fact truly is that we can only take a client as far as we have gone with practicing it. So the more we do the better. For me it’s extremely important to take time out and think and focus on yourself. Mindfulness helps you unwind, and it’s free!. We also paired up and practiced not just making our partners do the exercise, but explain to them the concept. Even here I believe the more you understand it yourself the better you can explain it to another person.

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The workshop was interactive from the beginning, and ended with feedback, certificate distribution, lunch and interaction with the attendees. Was nice to meet familiar faces, get introduced to new. Meeting familiar faces is a sign that you’re moving about enough in your circle! InshaAllah I hope to broaden my network with many such workshops. Dr.Diana had announced that HAP is planning for ‘continued education’ programs at HAP. It was a Saturday of learning something new, and just those exercises in the workshop were relaxing.

Finding therapy

I’ve been wanting to paint for a very long time. Can never forget the hours I used to spend as a child painting, water colors, paintbrushes, colourful art. It was thoroughly captivating. It is very important for us to revisit these simple memories that caused so much happiness in our hearts and do those things.

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I have genuinely found so much peace in painting, in fact I actually look forward to the evening, for the time I have scheduled to indulge in art. No doubt the spontaneity of childhood would never come back, and as adults we don’t have the luxury to spend hours doing such things, but I do think it’s worth our while. That’s why I am focusing on not so elaborate paintings. In fact I am also looking at working on my skills too. Maybe an art class or so would help. Right now I am enjoying YouTube videos on water colour techniques. Just watching them is also inspiring and relaxing.

So far I have done 4:

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I have done all these painting sitting on the floor. One reason for that is that I simply don’t have desk, however I avoided the dining table to really get a creative feel. A different experience. I am not blown away by my art, I was surprised though. To be able to create anything like looks decent enough to share is an achievement for me. After easy 6 years I have held a paintbrush to paint.

Used to be tempted whenever students at madrasa would be doing prep work for their exhibits and projects, I really need to re-connect with my creative side. It’s been way too long, and wrong to have just pushed it aside.

It amazes me how much we learn from life, from our past, and to know there’s so much scope of development and healing is amazing. I am glad I pushed myself to explore, and have found a good therapeutic way to be myself and zone out.

What defines you?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Are you someone who has ever tried to define yourself?

Many a times it’s the simplest questions that get us confused, What are your hobbies?, Who’s your favourite author?, What character from a fiction would you like to meet? etc etc.

This pause, this state of frozen mind happens when we aren’t clear about ourselves. What truly defines us? I have decided to change my job in the next academic year, and while I am in the limbo of applying or jobs, and having a zillion other ideas for generating an income for myself, there’s that odd feeling. I defined myself as a student, as a counselor at a school…that was the main focus. And now I wonder who I am. More importantly it makes me ponder about what things/people I let myself get defined by, what responsibilities, career choices, etc. I define myself with. And what truly should be the best expression of myself, because let’s face it, there has to be consistency. Change is constant, but we are the same, we evolve, truly we do, but there has to be clarity on who we are.

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This is the current struggle that’s going on in my head in the recent past. It’s a difficult phase, as it is life is pretty adventurous and has it’s own drama, and unforeseen situations, and circumstances thrown right into my face. However I am trying to find stability, the stability that comes with relying on yourself, and not another human being.

It’s almost like a greed. I am greedy to be independent, to achieve certain targets, then again they make me wonder if I am chasing the right things. Who is to know? Who is to provide clarity? A conversation with God would do me good!

So here’s maybe the easiest question you’ve ever heard, or the most difficult;

What defines you?

2016 is about priorities

It’s a new year, a chance for us to make new amends, change our point of you, just feel like some mercy is on you. For me this year is about prioritising and being reasonable. As a parent is is especially difficult to put yourself anywhere in the top 10priority list. It is a fact. We always put the needs of everyone else ahead of our own.

This is something that has been engraved in our minds and heart, to the point where we lose our own identity as soon as we give birth. It’s difficult to snap out of this zone. It is hence very important to just make a list of what you want for yourself this year, for your child/family. Where do you want yourself to be in the end of 2016. Bottom line is, if you’re happy, everyone around you will by default be happy.

For me this is the direction, no matter anyone says, all I will focus on is my priorities, and focus all my energies into that. Moving forward is crucial, no matter how many years it would take for you to attain your end goals.

What are your priorities?

 

 

The pressure of 'I'

Fact: the laziest of us believe we worked hard when we want to achieve something. And while some of us are realistic of where we slacked, it is a great feeling to achieve goals. The best feeling of the achievement is not the achievement of goal itself, but the fact that “I did it”. This concept of “me”, “my hard-work”, “my effort”, is great, no doubt, but the counter effects of it when we fail are super bad.

The concept I am trying to present is pretty simple. Most of the time when we are unable to get what we want despite the effort, there’s plenty resentment we pile upon ourselves. “I couldn’t”, ” I should’ve”. The ‘I’ and ‘me’ creep back into the picture, but leave us feeling miserable.

I have learned to be humble and accept that no matter how much effort I put in, only what’s decreed best by my God is going to happen. And if I don’t keep that faith, the negative impact when “failing” would effect me a lot. If I did it, it’s because I put in my genuine hard-work, and the lord was happy as well, and if I were to not attain my goals, in-spite of working hard, I should try to reflect and understand where I went wrong, what could be wisdom behind it, and focus on moving on, having faith that whatever happens happens for the best.

We are too weak to be expecting perfection from ourselves, our own pressures burden us. Being realistic, rational, and using our common sense helps us be the best that we can be. Pushing boundaries of achievement is great, no doubt, but what is important is to not lose yourself in the highs and the lows. We can’t spend our lives beating ourselves down, believing we are the only cause for our success and failure, that we determine our destiny completely, because we don’t. We don’t even know how long we’re going to live!

There’s too much pressure when we isolate ourselves for being the sole reasons behind our success and failure, and frankly no one wants that. And no one can make you feel that you are incompetent, and we should try hard to not get carried away by praises, and appreciation as well.

Part of being an adult is to be sane, and acknowledge that all our decisions effect others in our lives, and people around us are in some way looking to us for some guidance, and learning from our actions. Maintaining sanity poses to be crucial hence.

So relax, and when you look back at the year, and the many goals you had set, remind yourself that you’re human, and only the best happens. Developing insight on issues, showing gratitude, and prioritising is all you need. Set new goals; realistic goals, enjoy the company of the people in who love you and most importantly appreciate yourself for making it through another year of life.

The past and the present

I have heard this many times, “don’t think about the past”,  “Live in the now”. And like many such things I have heard, I know they will make sense to me only when they will make sense to me.

We are all unique in our abilities and it takes a certain insightful moment, a certain number of days for us to “get over” anything. Grieving loss is very important, but there can never be a number on it, a duration, a perfect method, we all have the right to go about it however we want to. And the most important thing in such times is having the right kind of people around you, who let you dwell in the sadness and in the right moment pull you out a little further.

I chose (unconsciously/consciously) to stick to the past, revisit it, think about it, ponder over it, and have made the conscious decision to stop, because I realised I am losing too much of my present because of the past I didn’t even enjoy. It’s not worth it. Not at all.

Another significant realization has been that we on a regular basis don’t tend to be grateful for simple things. This happens even more when we’re sad, I have decided to be grateful for the pleasant weather in the morning, even if it lasts only few hours, for the auto guy who is happy to use the meter, the student who sees that I  have run out of water and offers to fill  my flask, grateful for warm water for a long shower in the night while the daughter cooperates and sleeps, grateful for good writers who write good books so that I can unwind even if I manage to only read 2 pages…..Truly, when these small things become a great cause of pain for us a lot, then why not appreciate them when they’re going right?

I can’t afford to mess up the relationships in my present, for the wrong people I happened to be exposed to. Our experiences shape us, the negative ones make us the strongest, but we decide what from our life will define us. And I do not wish to be defined by my past relationships. I want to enjoy and reciprocate to the ones in my present. It’s not right to be worrying about what took so much courage to end! 🙂

Everyday, is a day for us to learn about ourselves and be better as human beings. Exploring ourselves is liberating. Feel free, it’s awesome. There’s no one and nothing stopping you but your mind. Ask it what it wants, figure it out and find your freedom!

Unconditional Positive regard :)

Relationships aren’t meant to be stressful. I am talking about all the relationships we form during the course of our lives. Friends, family, lovers, spouses etc. They are meant to provide something beautiful, they are meant to liberate us.

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Your friends shouldn’t make you feel restricted, your husband/wife shouldn’t make you feel bound, your family shouldn’t make you feel contrived. In my little experience in life, I have started to value the relationships that are consciously formed, we can’t change the people who are part of our lives because they’re linked to us by biological bonds. This makes it crucial for us to create an environment around us that makes us feel free, stable, connected and liberated at every step. For this first we need to know who we are, and what we are looking for in these friends, partners, lovers, etc.

upr31344115437730Some people are not capable of giving this freedom. Avoid them, they’re toxic, they will take everything you have and leave you wondering why you even bothered. These people are in majority, I am warning you. I learned the hard way, well, at some level I consider myself stupid beyond explanation of naivete. I really was taken for a ride, but learned my lesson, learned more about myself, and while trust issues may be part of my life for some more time, I have realised that it is not wrong to stand up for yourself, and demand the respect which was supposed to be given by default. When you let go of such people, they will reveal even more of their colours. But they will never see you the way you are, they’re blind to goodness, unfortunately. And if you’re lucky and strong you will get yourself out of the environment such people create.

I am glad I have a support system that makes me feel thankful to Allah every moment. Friends who know when to do what, how to make me laugh, when to provide support, how to be blunt and honest, most importantly they are 100% welcome me for who I am. It is important to have this bunch of people, and important to reciprocate these relationships with the same respect and sanctity. Apart from my lovely friends I also have a lovely partner who is supportive and liberates me, accepts me, has unconditional positive regard for me. The freedom that comes with adding someone to your life is something to be experienced, words can not describe them. I am content. And with the sanity, and faith I believe we all can be honest, and accept people, and demand acceptance, pity those who can’t get out of their bubble and enjoy life and relationships to their best. We only have one life on this earth, we ought to make the most of it.

Let’s make a conscious effort to not judge, have unconditional positive regard for people around us, so that we can enjoy every relationship to the fullest and feel liberated. It’s challenging, but definitely not impossible, and worth your while. Trust me on that 🙂