Stirfrymba in conversation with Kavita, Psychologist, Relationship coach, and blogger.
What can a ‘mind suggest’ to an individual?
The mind can suggest anything as per the mindset it is operating out of. It is important to understand the role of the mind and its influence in our day to day life. The mind can influence our body in ways unimaginable. This can be both good and bad. It all boils down to what we think throughout the day, repetitive thoughts turn into habits, and those can be hard to break. Whether the thoughts are positive or negative, anything in excess is never healthy for it could lead to other psychological issues.
If you want the mind to suggest the right stuff, you need to feed it with corresponding thoughts which are backed by strong emotions. Decisions that are made after careful consideration also tend to backfire at times. Why is this so? Simply because the mind operates from where you left control over it and not from where you are currently. Then, it becomes more important to declutter the mind periodically so that it retains only what works for you. In fact, the mind can create illnesses in the body due to faulty thinking and creating negative belief systems. Be it panic attack or fear, the mind could get you killed due to triggering a constant stress response in the body.
The way to build a healthy mindset is to feel good about yourself and your life so that the thoughts you think are conducive, effective and help in creating the life you want.
How does psychology play a role in an individual’s growth story?
The role of psychology in an individual’s growth is about cultivating and operating from the right mindset. Growth is about learning from the past and implementing those in the present to create a better future.
Learning and unlearning play a huge role in achieving an ideal mindset conducive to growth in all areas of life. It is when we accumulate past baggage and find it tough to inculcate anything new that stagnation sets in. For the mind to work effectively, it is important to balance feelings, thoughts, speech, and action. When these function from the same space, a person is said to possess the all-important quality of integrity. Integrity is an integral part of the growth mindset.
Considering all the plusses and making the minuses work in your favor is another essence of the growth mindset. The ability to understand another person’s mindset and where he/she is operating from help in all areas of life. This would help in choosing whether to react or respond to a situation.
As reactions are usually impulsive in nature, responding works better where one is looking to diffuse the situation. Behaviour is an integral part of all setups.
What is success for you?
When success goes to the heart, it can earn you well-wishers and positive connections but when it goes to the mind it may attract unhealthy competition and negativity. I strongly believe in the above lines. Success is about staying stable with the mind and heart focused on the next goal. While is it good to celebrate every small achievement, it is not wise to stay there for longer periods of time as passion needs the drive to succeed which may become stagnant should one bask in past glories as a habit.
True success is said to be achieved when one’s dreams see physical manifestations. It is not enough to plan big and leave it at that.
Success is the best way to seek solace from hurts and disappointments and the way forward is to transform pain into an achievement. Discipline, dedication, and devotion create success in the mind and in physical reality.
Q. Relationships are causing tremendous stress in today’s world. Have we become intolerant to accommodate people’s views? What needs to be done to address this?
Relationships are based on attachment styles, Inner child hurts, past baggage and fear of uncertainty. It has less to do with tolerance and more to do with the ability to invest in another person to achieve a healthy equation that works for both partners. Added to this are the external influences, media, friends, society, past experiences, hurt, pain and risk behavior. There are three attachment styles, Secure, Insecure and the avoidant. The equations would differ in intensity and outcome when different styles are paired together.
The way forward is to first deal with one’s baggage and accumulations before seeking a relationship. Even the best of people would end up exiting your life if you are incapable of accommodating them in your life. When one is too much in the head and less in the heart space, connections struggle to take roots. Uncertainty is a fact and maybe that is what people fear when entering relationships. As for the ones in committed relationships, if there are compatibility issues, they need to be addressed. It is not like good relationships just happen.
It’s better to choose your partner with care, backgrounds, attachment styles, baggage, fears, goals and the degree of investment matter. Intimacy can be hampered due to many factors, but respect is by far the most attractive thing that works both ways.
Parenting is now getting into reading and training..whether today’s kids are difficult or yesterday’s parents were smarter?
Parenting has more to do with imparting familial values, training kids on using freedom responsibly, choosing what’s good for them individually as each child is different. Inner child hurt and the mother wound are restricting factors when it comes to effective parenting. Many a time, parents fall short of providing love and security to kids because of the above which they may come to realize much later or maybe never at all.
Added to this are the external influences, comparisons, faulty learning, borrowed parenting styles, aggressive handling, reprimands, and use of foul language in states of anger. Children of this generation are aware of the inner child hurts something that the earlier generation may have been unaware of. Kids of the current generation know where the line begins and ends when it comes to abuse.
Coming to parenting, one needs patience, love, a mix of different parenting styles, understanding the psychology of each child, using effective communication, using reprimands with care, building up a child’s personality instead of walking all over it, choosing to work on themselves and the child. Parenting is a continuous process and is for a lifetime. When parenting is efficient, children turn into balanced adults, forming a healthy society.
What kind of training and certifications are required to be a trained psychologist?
To be a trained psychologist, one can begin from the school level by choosing psychology as one of the subjects, followed by undergraduate and postgraduate courses in regular colleges. One can opt for M. Phil and Ph.D. after this. There are different branches of psychology, Counselling, clinical, Rehabilitation etc. One can choose according to interest and aptitude.
Psychotherapy and talk therapy help combat life issues in an effective manner.
One can become a member of psychological associations after the basic education is done from a regular college.
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that prescribes medicines and can practice in a medical setting. They focus on medicinal forms of treatments, usually running a course. A psychologist addresses mental and emotional issues using talk therapy and psychotherapy.
Both work in tandem to help people. A psychologist may refer a client to a psychiatrist when psychotherapy may require additional support of medicines.
As such, it is better to see a psychologist before consulting a psychiatrist.
You are Rex Karam Veer Chakra Awardee for 2019 — how has your journey been in impacting people’s lives?
The REX- Karmaveer Chakra experience has been enriching and rewarding for me in many ways. I saw people with disabilities do so much for mankind. People in wheelchairs making a difference, people that were made of courage and resilience. It made me sit up and want to do more than what I have been doing. I am a leading mental health expert on many online portals, where I answer queries on life and living. One such portal that took me places is Vokal India, where I have about 32,000 followers and my answer views have crossed 1 crore 34 lakhs in number.
When I receive e-mails, messages sharing success and breakthrough stories, my heart space expands. These are people from remote areas that neither have access to a psychologist nor can they afford one.
The Rex Karmaveer chakra Award has been a fulfilling one, as it has led to many other small goals that are in progress. The entire experience was so touching and each one of us as we came empowered. Another portal that helped me touch lives even in the remotest of areas,
was Bolo-Haq-Se. Sitting at my home, I was able to reach the remotest of villages In India and converse with people in villages, farmers, students etc.
Many of them shared their problems with me, and I was able to offer them clarity. During touching lives, I have been able to avert suicides and stop impulsive actions.
So, yes, the journey has been a fulfilling one, something that is also my life purpose.
What are the criteria for becoming a great psychologist?
A great Psychologist is a combination of life experiences and education. One cannot do without the other. Even the best of education may not be enough to offer clarity and achieve breakthroughs. While life experiences enable a therapist to feel the feelings, they need to be backed by education.
The qualities of patience, listening, identifying, being able to offer clarity, where needed are important. Talk therapy should not be confused with friendly talks as counseling is structured and has goals.
Counseling can be learned in school and college but to be successful at it, one must have the passion and the drive to help people. Listening to issues day and day out is not easy but is a must in this profession. The mark of a good Psychologist is updating oneself constantly and not being bookish while addressing issues. No two situations are alike, even if the problem seems similar. It is all about the mindset, ultimately. In the end, it is always about what works and what doesn’t.
What is your motto of life?
I believe that if you can touch even one life, it has the potential to
transform many lives.
You live once and if you do it well, there would be fewer regrets. Touching lives is my life purpose, which was my brother’s (Late Major T Shyam Sundar) way of life and I am carrying the good work he did in his short life span, forward.
The aim is to reduce misery, sadness, depression, and feelings of gloom in the world. Huge task but when passion is backed by drive and dedication, paths are revealed every step of the way.
#kavitapanyam #kavita.panyam #Psychologist