The anecdote dates back to the time I volunteered in the Social Welfare department of the IFSD (Initiatives for Sustainable Development) organization that held the training of grade-17 Psychologists from all over the province. The motto of these instructive sessions was to train the mental health faculty with a set of skills to ameliorate the effectiveness of trauma-focused therapy on the survivors of various incidents like sexual harassment, trafficking, and domestic abuse.
An activity was held by the lecturer who directed the therapists to disclose and cross-tell the weaknesses and strengths of each other’s personalities in front of the whole class.
Excited, and looking forward to hearing insightful and enlightened psychological remarks, I sat amongst the experienced experts of mental health and the ice-breaker went like this:
Miss so-and-so is prone to cry, or to sleep excessively. But she is also sweet, and caring, and kind..
A comment so laid-back and impromptu would have made sense If it came out of a layperson’s mouth. But to observe how amateur psychologists, who claimed to having been gained experience of almost a decade, both academic (in the form of advanced degrees) and on the ground- sounded was almost painful for my soul.
Appearance matters, when it comes to the Psych world
Psychology or even Psychiatry is considered a field where the appearance of the therapist- his dressing sense, communication skills, body language, the manifest charisma- is the pillar upon which the foundation of his career stands; for the victim of severely agitated mentality is prone to quick judgments and a psychologist who lacks the capability to draw the world towards himself at the first sight, will most probably lose face of the client or even worse, urge the victim to close up and become passive to cure.
Book knowledge is not as productive If the potential for therapy does not exist deep within the heart. Without the calming and soothing disposition of the therapist, without the power to positively seduce and ensnare coupled, of course, with pragmatic solutions, all therapeutic interventions are not but diversions from a massive nervous breakdown.
Integrating Essence and Culture among the therapists
Essence is the matter, the potential an individual is born with while culture is all the world grants us.
Beth Harmon, the fictional chess prodigy of the Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit” is shown to be orphaned and abandoned by her adoptive father. As lost as ever, Beth comes to know about the game through the janitor working at the orphanage she lived in, and instantly develops an unbreakable fixation at the expense of acute drug addiction. Beth attains the peak of her performance at such a young age, a quality often accorded to individuals with severe childhood trauma.
Vasily Borgov, on the other hand, was a Russian grandmaster elevated and enriched in dynamic chess culture. He possessed extensive peer and cultural support accompanied by a deadly amount of experience, but what the gentleman lacked was the ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘singular’ factor of the soul.
There’s an excellence that a child inherits from the society in an emotionally secure environment, he is encouraged and well groomed. Then there’s a type of excellence that finds its way to to the feet of true sufferers, in almost an esoteric fashion which If interweaved with the mores of a society, would be no less than coup de maître- “a master stroke” that devours the whole world with its burning passion.
The pivotal perspective of the show exhibits that If essence (the totality of Beth) becomes congruent with the values of society (something that Borgov stood for), the upshot of this experiment results in an invincible, complete human being and vice versa.
Through this fusion and by letting go of the edge (the dependency over the drug to perform extraordinarily), Beth, a mere teenager of poor upbringing but subject to horrible circumstances of life, beats the international grandmaster Borgov, who ultimately couldn’t help but feel humbled by her victory.
Watch how Beth, sober during the final game with Borgov, begins to visualize chess board (something she could accomplish only under the influence of drugs). This moment portrays the consummation of her legacy as a chess marvel.
This similar concept can be applied to the field of psychology in a sense that just because book knowledge and a vast amount of experience is gained, it does not guarantee success in the said field, for therapeutic potential is not something that can be captured by a mere accumulation of conventional knowledge but is ultimately a product of one’s personality.
To sum up, a person’s curative ability is not entirely the product of the extensive education he may have received, a stack of valuable degrees is not enough to do justice to the life-saving marvel that is this profession of mental health, be it psychology or psychiatry. Therapy is an innate quality one learns to possess as an outcome of the joyous or painful experiences he faced over the course of his life.
Furthermore, the outer aspects of a personality may not be as important in other professions, but it is a deal maker or deal-breaker for mental health advocates because their prime duty is to hit and maneuver the core of what makes a human, human..