Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#psychosocial - Life struggle with the truth By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

This is a case of a teacher who stood in front of her 6th grade and told the children that she loved them all the same. That was impossible, because in the first row, was a little girl named Bren. Bren was her daughter. In the school where the teacher taught, she was required to review each child's performance. The teacher wrote that each time I reviewed my daughter's report, I was surprised, "Bren is an excellent student, well liked by her classmates, but is troubled because her mother is her teacher and she must perform well." Bren is second in the birth order. Her elder sister also studies in the same school. Both the children are very close to their father. However, Bren always felt that her father was missing a male child. When she remembered this she cried and cried and cried. Both parents paid particular attention to both the children. The more they encouraged them, the faster they responded. By the end of her education, Bren had become one of the smartest in the group. She was her father's pet child. She graduated from college with the highest of honors. She found a job directly from the campus. A few months later, her mother found a note in her dressing table, from Bren, telling her that she was grateful to her mother and that she was the best teacher she had ever known. The story doesn't end there.  Bren is married to a young and handsome boy. She hugged her papa, and she wisphered in his ears, "Thank you, dear papa, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important."  Her papa whispered back, "You have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me to be a father and it made a difference. I didn't know how to parent until I met my children.  Treasure every moment that you have. Time is a coin you can spend only once. Use it, invest it, make it count, and treasure it because you will share it with someone special. Wish you a happy married life..." The story doesn't end there. Bren is very anxious at workplace. She decides to quit her job. Her family decides that she meet a counsellor and discuss her hidden issues if any.

Counselling session 

a] This is a picture of me as a child.

b] This is a picture of me and my sister reading.

c] This is a picture of my papa and me.

d] See how my mother's doing such a good job. I am proud of her.

e] This is my husband. He loves me and he can understand me.

f] Yet I feel cold and clammy, my heart is pacing and I have tight pain. I often feel like this under stress and they happen out of the blue. These are constant symptoms at workplace -- tightness across my face.  I obviously feel that I am not good at my job. Situations like this happen day in and day out. So I have decided to have a look at what I would really like to do, apart from the fact that I can't afford to leave my job. My boss tells me that I am the best candidate. Then I almost feel like every one is writing my script for me. 

Therapist : What is the benefit of leaving your job? Do you want to think and write out the benefits? Let's think about what you are going to say before you start writing.

Bren : It is exciting to watch a child begin to write and it is easy for the teacher to provide positive encouragement for the efforts of the child. So what is the level of exictement of the teacher when a child cannot write?

Therapist :  The teacher and the child will have an effective vehicle to accomplish the goal of learning involvement. The teacher will continue to provide positive encouragement for the better efforts of the child.

Bren : Some of these children are fearful before or in the classroom?

Therapist : 1] Some of these children can feel fearful.... Encourage exploration and experimentation with words and language and thoughts and at the same time facilitate communication. 2] For the benefit of all, teachers and children increase familiarity with the other teachers and children. This will free the children of fear at the beginning and they continue to interact with comfort. 3] They learn to greet and say 'hello' and share their experiences by talking and writing. 4] When they imagine new possibilities they learn to transform existing thoughts to construct new visions. 

Bren : Some modifications in my mind can help me?

Therapist : With little creativity, major modifications can be made. 

Bren : I can see numerous 'come-in' benefits into my life. This is a new literary experience....

#Mentalhealth - When you've been hurt By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

2012 : For Grace this moment of being away from her parents and studying abroad was a journey of self discovery and progress on. Her parents encouraged her to never be afraid to embrace newness and happily witness it unravel. "You will always be in our thoughts and prayers, wherever you are, whatever you do...." her parents said. She confidently marched ahead, head held high... She believed in herself and the test of each moment. She was a very loving and selfless person and shared all the sweetness from within her. She majored in Economics and was nominated for an award saying she was hard worker and pleasure to be around. She completes all her work in a timely manner and always brings positive attitude to her environment. We are excited to see what her future holds? They were extremely proud of Grace. Her focus and emphasis on doing well in the classroom and outside was a great example. Her friends believed in her and they wanted to last with her for a lifetime. 

2016 :  Madam, It is though I am fearful and scanning a desert with a pair of binoculars. I feel very isolated and decayed. I can see all kinds of devastation ahead of me. Why did I begin that journey? The one reason why I got into this relationship was because I watched my parents marriage, and I was sure I knew I could keep one together. Our marriage was scheduled to be held coming December. One evening when I came back from work and met Sam coming out of the door with a suitcase, I did not realise that he was leaving me. I have not seen him since! It is 11 months now. I can't say he was unfaithful. We were so focussed on our careers. He does not communicate even by email or messages and his phones are on an answering machine now. My neighbours told me that they heard sounds of some strangers arguing in my home while I was away at work. They heard some crash and scream. A lady with a little girl child and police officers were seen leaving from the home.....

1] Is there anything that can be done to ensure that Sam is safe?

2] Did he stray Madam because of sex?

3] Is it cheating or a sign of a deeper problem?

4] I am not able to handle this.............

5] I don't want to lose Sam. To think of him makes me cry to this day.

6] Since his leaving, I have inevitably found myself in conversation with many other similar cases. They tell their tales with an oddly matter-of-fact air.  

7] I remember one evening he sat down to tell me something important. He was beginning to say, "I am sorry..." but he got busy on a call... Something fatal must have happened. In my relationship with Sam, I had experienced emotions and possibilities I never knew existed. Never mind whether my relationship with Sam continued or not, I know I will never feel the same again and about what a marriage could be with someone other than Sam.... 

8] How can I accept that my central relationship is dead?


Experiencing any kind of loss  and finding yourself in this state can completely turn your life upside down. You can keep blaming but the reality is that the closeness and daily interaction in your relationship that once made sense, no longer does. In a partnership you may have dreamt of bigger homes, shared the financial burdens, enjoyed evenings together, read out life stories to each other, and a lot more. Hence the pain feels unbearable, and you are suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar territory. You were not aware that a sudden separation was near and you are never mentally and emotionally ready for this type of life. People with whom you discuss may not know what to say and how to approach the problem. No getting isolated in any manner is important. You should find and adopt practical tools and nurture yourself as an immediate help and timely solution. Learn to honor this void and gather comfort and strength. Find a new passion while you reclaim the existing one. Join a group of people with strength and purpose. Your sorrows can make it difficult to eat and stay hydrated. Avoid gravitating towards unhealthy passions. Drink plenty of water, take long walks and also find some joyful time in a park where you see all age groups of people. It will help you to adjust with different kinds of people and age groups. When you take care of yourself physically, this also will affect your mental and emotional state. If you are having difficulty getting in or out of bed, ask a trusted member to help you in accomplishing the self-care acts. This is considered a huge step towards healing and you deserve it. 

It's an open secret : He left to save his life. Ironically, in an ideal situation whether you are preparing to leave, or threatened to leave,  it's good to write in a small note, if you have difficulty in talking with your partner, and do some planning, before leaving.....  And finally you can't wait for someone to come back. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

#Mentalhealth - Rising above difficult circumstances in a marital relationship By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Rakhi is married to Abhi for almost two years. Friends who knew them and connected them remarked them as a touchy-feely couple. They were an intimate couple and would try to link hands and sit side side by side where ever possible. They always remembered to gift and please each other. It was an expression of love and a gesture of intimacy. They found their mutual friend a trustworthy connector. The in-laws found that Abhi and Rakhi shared similar interests and cultural values. They also spoke the same language. They were raised in the same city. They were both pious. Their conversations with the family were pretty lucid and all of them seemed to share the same sense of humour. All this added to a wonderful experience of getting to know someone and courting someone and the families. So the chances for a relationship and maintaining it in the long run became the common ground for each and everyone. Both Abhi and Rakhi were financially very well off. Rakhi was also well established in her career, knowledgeable about the outside world. Everything was good. The couple were blessed with a baby girl. Mother-in-law became nanny to the grand child. The baby for sure was in the most loving and safe  hands. However, one evening the very logical Rakhi was found weeping. She told her husband that his mother would spoil her baby to death. Abhi was shocked on hearing this. She further said that his mother was helpful to the point of being intrusive and opinionated. This sounds crazy shouted Abhi. Rakhi continued saying that she was worried about being steam-rolled as a parent as his mother would become too possessive about her child. The mother-in-law too heard Rakhi accusing her of getting too close with her baby. "You should see how she is with my baby. I don’t want her tendencies to rub off on my baby as she gets older, Abhi...... yelled Rakhi.  I do not want to braod cast any further details, Rakhi concluded. I just don't want her to nanny my child! "You are not talking about infirm elders who have to stay with their children due to ill health. They are financially well off and healthy in mind and body and capable of living by themselves" said Abhi to his wife. Everyday became a struggle. Parents guided Abhi to find happiness. "What is wrong if she wants to move out with you so that she gets the much needed personal space?" asked parents.  "I fail to understand how an independent and caring woman in her professional life can manage the contradictions in her personal life?" replied Abhi. The family arrangement came to an end. Like many mothers of her  time, Rakhi felt she is a good and bad mother. She will not abandon her child whatever the circumstance. Abhi shuts down emotionally and is predominantly negative, and lives with excessive fears and worries. He isolates himself from Rakhi. Rakhi reminded him that she loved him deeply recommending self-giving in the trustworthy marital relationship. She came back to her in-laws for help. Parents supported Rakhi. Abhi refused to seek help and take advice. Finally Rakhi encouraged treatment with counselling and medication for severe depression ....... "Abhi has been like this for some time. He is withdrawn from everything. There is no intimacy in the marriage. I tried explaining to him about spending some quality time together and stay connected in the marriage and he says he understands but refuses to get close with me. He keeps saying that the marriage is a failure." she told the counsellor.    

Therapist : So what can Rakhi and Abhi do? They should pursue the ideal. The ideal depends on how both include open communication and friendly feelings by being firm and direct and not ruin the opportunity and ability to remain in a loving relationship. In this case Abhi's persistence could kill off any hope in the marriage. It is important to tread the fine line -- to be firm, kind, willing to listen about the needs of spouse, child and parents..... Abhi is struggling with this new "challenge" while coping with the separation from parents. If the friendship grows stronger in years to come based on this ideal both won't regret and children and parents will thank the couple for the same.  Feeling trapped on the mind about caring for mother and father is like feeling the sharp bars of a prison. Abhi is trapped in his mind. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#marriagecounselling - Predictable patterns of marriage strain - By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Predictable patterns of marriage strain
By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Here is the case study of Rinkie a 46-year old woman. Her father's first wife died when his older two children were tiny, so he remarried. She remained the only child of the second wife. She was totally over protected from the first wife’s relations and her children. Whenever she was in a stressful situation - with school, friends, relationships - she was bailed out. Few years ago, she married her childhood sweetheart even though they had split up many times. There were huge conflicts between her and him about their relatives, whose family is better and whose mother is better. A year ago, they had a baby girl. It exacerbated all of the problems in the relationship and between the two families. And it always comes back to the mothers, the families, the differences, and which is better. She can't get her mother-in-law out of her mind, and has an inability to concentrate on work because she's so obsessed with the problems she has with her family. Her coping strategy is to talk, talk, talk, while her husband's is to withdraw, withdraw, withdraw. She seems to be fully aware of the issues involved, but she also believes that she has no power to control it. She requested that she may not be labelled even after the formal diagnosis.


While in the sessions for counselling and after a period of three weeks she manages better day to day, and she's calmer. She didn't do well with the (CBT), because she was not committed to the therapeutic process. If you looked at her file and her comings and goings, you would think she was very committed. She makes notes and keeps a journal. She works hard but has difficulty in integrating it. There's still no platform for this, there's nothing for it to grow on. I feel more like a coach who's helping her to maintain. And that might be the best we can do so things are a little better for her until she is mentally prepared to change. We discuss about the extremely dysfunctional marriage and about the child who may  grow up with the same issues she has.  A sense of entitlement and a lot of anxiety is seen when I try to point this out to her. She's full of grief about doing this to her child. But it's not enough to make her change her ways or resolve the marital issues or leave the marriage. So, for her it is necessary to stay connected with a professional help to work out or maintain the marriage.

A postscript : The bottom line is that the woman never developed any coping methods. Because she didn't learn any coping skills when you need to learn them and integrate them, she can't maintain any self-discipline. There's no firm foundation for her, so to the sand, to the feeling of not being comfortable. She likes the anxiety, and it kind of initiates her tractor.

Another postscript : One wonders: what has happened to the venerable institution of marriage? The real tragedy is that in this case, marital problems are due to the accumulation of many small things, such as lack of coping skills and mindless criticisms. These annoyances were tolerated during courtship but became increasingly unbearable when the magic of romance died.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Confessions of a Tired Wife - By Dr Pradnya Ajinkya

Subeesh and Suprabha were married for 6 years. Subeesh was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict years before he met Suprabha. She was a successful professional and Subeesh was in the top management in a multinational. After several years, the couple started a business of their own which they hoped would help grow their savings and allow them to travel and enjoy life more. Things did not go as smoothly as expected, but they kept working on it and trying to deal with the stresses of a new business together.

After about a year, Suprabha found Subeesh weeping. She asked him what was wrong and he said he had to move out and "see what he wanted in life". Devastated, but left with no choice she let him go. After a week, he came back to pack up his belongings. In the meantime, Suprabha worked the business on her own. About a month later she received a call from the bank that her business account was overdrawn. She discovered that Subeesh had been funneling money out of their business account for some months before he left. When Suprabha finally reached him, he minimized the theft, but said that he would reimburse the account. A couple of weeks later, she found out from friends that Subeesh was dating another woman. Later, he stopped reimbursing the account.


What we have to analyse is whether there is much hope for this relationship. With a history of addictive behavior in the past, he could have been secretive about his feelings for some time. By the time he decided to talk, he was ready to leave. Now who was the codependent in this relationship? Who takes the lead in trying to help? Why did Subeesh betray his loyal wife? Did he make an attempt to be honest, apologise or take responsibility for his actions?

Probably there is a very strong chance he had started drinking, drugging, or gambling. This was the point where he was in a complete relapse, and it was only a matter of time before he would be found out. Subeesh bailed out with more lies before he had to face that consequence.

A postscript: She can take some steps to stay out of the codependency role by being completely honest about Subeesh’s behavior to family and friends. To do otherwise would be a continuation of caretaking, "protecting" him from having to face the consequences of his actions. By the same token, Suprabha will be extremely vulnerable to Subeesh’s "charming" side should he try to reconcile with her. Chances are also strong that he will attempt a reconciliation because addicts are very dependent on their codependent partners.

Another postscript: I don't want to give the impression that recovering addicts are bad partners. Recovering addicts who are actively working a programme can be very good partners because they have been forced to look at themselves closely, are used to talking about and listening to feelings.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Is your over possessive nature killing your relationship? by Arushi Dutt - Aricle in Femina

One of the most dangerous expressions of love is over possessiveness. Though this can sometimes be considered a form of flattery, an excessive amount of it is never healthy. Detect the signs of over possessiveness early on in your relationship to avoid problems later on. Here is our guide to help you out:

What is over possessiveness?

• Over possessiveness is characterised as a combination of emotions like jealousy, anxiety, and insecurity. 

• Those who have been overly loved, overly neglected, or overly pampered growing up are always looking for attention, according to Mumbai-based relationship counsellor Dr Pradnya Ajinkya. This translates into a domineering behaviour towards your partner later on.

Signs you or your partner is over-possessive

• Constant calls or text messages every hour or so from you or your partner is a sign.

• You or your partner restricts the other from interacting with friends of the opposite gender.

• There is an intrusion of privacy. You or your partner feels the urge to check each others’ phones, email, or social media accounts.

• You or your partner dictates the others’ terms from the kind of clothes to wear, to who to hang out with, or in an extreme case, who to hug or kiss amongst your family or friends.

Address this behaviour in a healthy way:

• Ask questions of self-introspection to know why you behave this way. 

Communicate with each other about how much you love and value each other. Similarly, discuss your insecurities or fears with each other to build trust and confidence in each other. 

• Work on yourself by focusing on your strengths, qualities, and values.

• Develop your relationship by engaging in your interests and activities. Give yourself personal goals to work towards, rather than obsessing over each other.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Parent-child communication : To know you is to trust you -- By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Case : Amira handed over her keys. Her mother wanted her car keys. She told her mother that all they would find inside her car were her novels and a pair of shoes. Amira's mother describes how she watched her daughter go from kindergarten to all her levels in college. Every minute she would be getting out to look for her daughter. However, recently she watched as her ruin seemed to unfold before her. Her daughter buckled and she was on her knees, sobbing and insisting her mother to trust her. Her mother found her secretly talking to someone in many settings. Her mother was 59 years old. As the volunteer of a classroom programme, Amira was a constant presence with the participants on the campus. But the growing distrust from her mother made her afraid of spontaneity and surprises,” she said. “I just want to be safe.” and "I just want my mother to be safe."

Therapist : In the mother, she finds a master planned city where drugs, alcohol, bars, etc. have been methodically purged. She couldn't bring herself to trust her child. She was not the mom Amira knew. She shared a natural rapport with her. The club house had given Amira's mother a desk at the front office of a counselling care, which provided an up-close view of countless parental melodramas. Amira tried to calm her down. Did she have anything in the car she shouldn't have? No. This is only temporary, her mother explained. She apologized over and over again. She now looked like she was okay with everything. “For the record, my daughter is very intelligent, mature and artistic and has successfully participated in many programmes. She is receiving good grades and has earned many awards year after year. She is not corrupt by any standard. I trust my daughter......,," she said.

We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future. - President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


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