Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Healing and renewing marriage relationships By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Case: Amaira has been yelling at her husband. It doesn't matter about what she would like to communicate. He feels threatened when she picks up a conversation. After being together for eight years, Bose feels as though he is dying inside. He has seen his parents yelling, his neighbours yelling and now his wife. Bose is upset about his wife's behavior. Bose and his wife are talking about having kids, but Bose is afraid that she will yell at the kids too. He loves her immensely but he does not understand her given way to handle conflict. Amaira is asking Bose to seek psychological help since according to her, she is able to externalize her feelings but Bose she feels suffers from more agitated depression that makes him moody, irritable and blaming.... 

Therapist: He has no idea what he said, but he could see his wife's face tense up and then snap. Pretty much every time they were together, she would fly off the handle and the fights would end with her screaming, crying and abandoning him. He would keep apologizing , lest he be forced to walk on eggshells all the time. For a while he started to think carefully about his own behavior to see if he may have done or said something to cause his wife's behavior. He really internalized this and thought he was a bad husband. After some more experiences he realized that she was not logical and a reasonable person and that he was held hostage by her intemperate emotions. No matter how deep the psychological problems and the way the couple feel, identify effective and ineffective ways to communicate. No matter how deep the trouble we find ourselves going through, we can still find much for which to be thankful...Thessalonians 5:16-17, Always be joyful! Always keep praying! 

My wife screams -- non stop for hours By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Case: Reshma and Bhola feel their marriage has gone to hell. It is Reshma's second marriage and according to Bhola his wife is sad and gloomy for the majority of their marriage. Reshma often revisits an issue from the past  and discusses the issue for hours at a stretch. She also tells her family and friends about how horrible her husband is a  long with the parts they want to hear about him. They all hate him. He feels alone and horrible. 

Therapist: Let us examine a case where X has a nasty encounter with his colleague. The words echo and echo and echo in the brain and X cannot hear his own thoughts, only the words. These words rattle in the head for weeks. How can X help his brain to let these words go. The brain is artificially hanging on to an experience and this can drive X mad. X and Y simply can't live this way. Her husband Y along with X will have to review few response styles to enhance positive thinking, problem solving, social support, instrumental behavior. You can love each other anyway. You will get through at some point.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Into the mind of a serial killer - Article in Sakal Times

Prior to the release of thriller Raman Raghav 2.0, Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, occupational psychological counsellor, sheds light on the social conditions, psychological disorder and other aspects related to a serial killer, which is the film’s premise

His look, body language, and his gaze — all look dreadful in the trailer of the film Raman Raghav 2.0. The Anurag Kashyap-directorial, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is based on the life of psychopathic serial killer Raman Raghav, who spread fear in the mind of Mumbaikars in 1960s, especially among slum dwellers and others who slept out in the open.

We thought it would be apt to take a look at the pathological behaviour, social conditions, past incidents, psychological makeup and other aspects of serial killers. The exact reasoning and point of aggravation that leads a person to commit such cold-blooded murders can only be studied by criminologists and psychologists. Studies have revealed a close link to childhood abuse, be it mental, physical or sexual. Also, people who come from disturbed families have been associated with such crime.

Mumbai-based Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, occupational psychological counsellor (specialised in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling), says, “Serial killers are psychotic.

Psychosis is a complete loss of one’s senses. They may suffer from delusions and hallucinations. It is associated with a range of mental conditions. Therefore one should expect some abnormality in the brain. There is a good reason to think it’s grounded in the killer’s DNA.”

There is little information about Raghav’s past to conclude what triggered him to commit so many murders, assaults and other crimes. Psychopathy is 60 per cent heritable.

According to case studies, it has been observed that serial killers are efficient manipulators, can come across as charmers, and most are psychopaths. Says Dr Ajinkya, “The candidate can be associated with decreased connectivity between the amygdala and the central medial prefrontal cortex. Disorder can also partially be due to social environment. Childhood abuse can also be a contributory factor.”

She further adds that such serial killers do not feel embarrassed or sad when other people suffer. Besides, they don’t carry any feelings of guilt or remorse. She remarks, “They do not suffer emotional hurt and do not follow moral rules due to blunted emotions.” However, extensive training and medications can prevent such killers from further committing the crime

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Counselling Changes Lives ........... By Dr Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya


Sarah 41,  has no reason for suspecting her husband. She accuses her husband of infidelity. It is a devastating way for Sarah to live  viewing the world and her marriage through a hyper vigilant lens. The couple are seen in counselling for a couple of weeks to overcome her fear and build intimacy with her husband. In therapy Sarah admits that she was cheated in the past by her boy friends. She also mistrusted her father who cheated on her mother for years. 


Suzanne 22, is seen in counselling to regain normalcy after the death of her close friend. She has just returned home from a funeral where she saw her close friend dead. She finds herself terrified most of the time, even at home and college. This stops her from enjoying life and performing even her daily routines. 


Jai and Gauri are seen in counselling for conflict resolution. They are engaged in conflict and they slash words at each other like swords. Their relationship is injured and resentment builds.


Subash and Surabhi are seen in therapy for explosive conflict resolution. The couple stop all discussion with each other. The assumption behind this approach is that talking about the problem will cause an argument. They feel that time is the healer and soon it will cease to be an issue. Unfortunately, the emotion associated with the unresolved conflicts accrued over time and this set them in an explosive conflict.


Suma and Bijoy were married in the middle of turmoil in a small village. Her mother agreed to get them married but she dictated every term to Bijoy. He followed her orders since he wanted to marry Suma. After a few days Bijoy realised that both the mother and daughter were authoritative. He was so scared of losing his wife that he would bend on one knee and silently obey. One day Bijoy was seen crying and restless. His wife told the counsellor/therapist that her husband was always so calm and patient. She was  surprised to see her husband turn unreasonable, sullen, withdrawn and emotionally unavailable now.


Sakshi and Joe have difficulty in dealing with their disconnect. They take it as a sign of an unhappy and unhealthy marriage. The couple decide to address their issues in counselling before deciding to meeting a legal counsel.


Bali decides to tell Sweetie that he will end his relationship. Sweetie abuses and threatens Bali emotionally and makes him feel lesser than a human  being. Tired of her nasty behavior Bali takes a ton of courage and prepares for the possibility of leaving the relationship. Sweetie decides to alter her offending behavior.  Bali ignores her call and decides to come to terms with his decision for himself and nobody else.


Rathi's in-laws do not support her. Her doctor husband is an alcoholic. She believes that she has a right to stand up for herself. Rathi believes that she is the only one in this abusive person's  life and if she leaves, he may commit suicide. She is of the firm opinion that she does not want to terminate the relationship. She may want to put her needs first but her in-laws feel that it is never the right thing  to do and this is a selfish act. 


Vineet : I thought that Shuba's bad behavior was a result of something I did. Every day I was  told about all my personal details and dairies of the day. I would be called a bluff if I did not listen to every horrible thought she had about me. She would hold things over my head. And I would apologize. I felt crazy. One day, I told her,   “So what”?” and “Who cares?” and “Go ahead.” Do what you like. Keep stalking me, you crazy woman..... I broke out of the relationship. I said no more. I said, I had enough.  I learned new ways and I did new things and I learned to stop and be healthy. I had to learn to not give the same knee jerk reactions and to stop and think and say something/do something differently. It was hard work but not as hard as continuing to be beat down by the same old behaviour extended to me. I grew healthy and learned to march to my own dreams and live in my own life in my new tune.

Sunayana -- My six year old relationship collapsed. She explained that she was caught up with a friend and she would keep a watch over every move of him constantly. When he moved away, she would panick. He was honest with her. She yelled at him. She had repeated displays of the  same insecurities and maifested in stalking and touching his personal life. He became tired of always being wrong and being treated like a lesser human being. He left her finally. He hates her for stalking. She would try telling him that she felt desperate about his health and well being since he was her loved one.  And he called her crazy.  She became very restless because he refused to get back. She termed him incompetent and non trust worthy. She became anxious. She could not defend her anxiety. She felt helpless and impotent. She came to therapy. She was advised to work with effective anxiety management tools. She could not control. She would go through a series of rapid phases. She would become angry and agitated. She would repeat the same pattern again and again. Finally, she lapsed into depression and despair. 

Raj offered to help her but was clear about not getting back with her. He explained that she generated a lot of stress to him. She has a lot to say about me when she is in a power struggle. I have to just listen carefully and ask no questions. She was a skilled manipulator, artful and intimidating, and excellent in distorting reality. Whatever I did had a limited effect.I attempted to rationalize this behavior. She was so possessive. I became tired. She would tell me that I am only concerned about you. It's not you. I don't trust others.


1] It is natural to be in control of your own life.
2] Wanting to be in control of other people and their lives is threatening.
3] Can't rest until you get your way.
4] The compulsive behavior is a part of the cluster of behaviors characterized by inability to trust others and fear of their flaws exposed.
5] The behavior was there even before meeting someone.
6] You can expect the least from such people.
7] Within such people is a good measure of paranoia.
8] A comfortable distance has to be maintained so that you remain centered while you talk to them. 
9] Notice how you feel when speaking to them. Be patient and calm.
10] These people are angry and afraid to let go of you.
11] By rationalizing their behavior, you are ensuring their continuation.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Youngsters now ‘haunt’ their exes on social media - Garvita Sharma

The term 'ghosting' — where your ex disappears, leaving behind no traces of them — has been given a new spin and the latest in the heartbreak dictionary is 'haunting'. Here, goodbyes are only for the real world and the ex still follows you virtually. While you may not get calls and texts from him/her, he/she still likes your pictures, comments on your status updates and keeps a tab on your online activities.

This deliberate detached-yet-attached attitude not just gives people mixed signals, but can also drive them crazy. Nineteen-year-old student Aayushi Mishra  says the guy whom she was in touch with on a dating app went incommunicado after the first meeting. But he continued to like her pictures. "We dated for a while, and he started acting crazy after the first meeting. So, I distanced myself. It's weird that he still likes and comments on my pictures and updates." While maturity plays an important role while tackling the situation, many admit they find haunting a harrowing experience. They feel they're tricked into mind games, even if they've only dated for a couple of months. Psychologist Sadia Saeed says, "The dynamics for long-term relationships and casual dates vary. Those in a proper relationship find some consolation in the fact that the other one hasn't moved on, and so, are fine with ghosting. In casual relationships, people are not sure what they want and keep the other one on tenterhooks."

How to deal with it

- In many cases, those who indulge in haunting are the sorts who are afraid to let go off you. Counsellor Pradnya Ajinkya says, "First, remain calm. In cases like these, you need to maintain a comfortable distance. If one rationalises this behaviour, the 'haunter' will continue with haunting. If you want to keep your ex away virtually too, make it clear to him/her."

- Since many resort to haunting to keep their options open, Sadia suggests, "A lot depends on how comfortable you are on being put on hold. You can always shut the door and cut off all ties from your end if you are not comfortable, even if it means blocking them online." But psychiatrist and relationship counsellor Shefali Batra says, "There's no point in blocking stalking ex. Because at one point, you might be tempted to unblock the person and check what he/she is up to, which is worse. So, there's no point brushing the issues under the carpet. Face you ex and you'll realise you can deal with the problem in a much better way."

- If you're only in a casual relationship, it is better not to get overly involved with the person and keep your guards up.

Monday, March 28, 2016

My spouse is in love with me By Dr. Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya


This is an interesting case study about Jane and Rocky. Rocky is a 38  year old successful entrepreneur. Rocky is in love with someone else, and his wife still loves him though Jane feels threatened when she watches her husband talking to other women, like any other normal human being. Rocky explains to Jane that he has a special feeling for other women and they cause butterflies in his stomach when he hears their voice or even sees them. Rocky is still buzzing from a message he received from an office colleague who is a 30 year old stunner.  He tells Jane that he is attracted to this woman because she is good humored and confident and a bit of a handful. Jane wondered why Rocky treated her as an incomplete project and why she could not make him feel this good. Jane couldn't ensure that Rocky would stick around with the other woman in the future. Although Jane treated him great, Rocky felt very fortunate to have landed a 30 year old stunner. All the stories that Jane told the therapist reiterated how much she valued her husband, yet he was in a great comfort zone with other women.

All relationships have their challenges, and Jane and Rocky were no different. The elephant in the life of this couple was the other woman. While in therapy with Jane and Rocky through the first few weeks, I cautioned Jane not to put any pressure on her husband about the suffering relationship and the kids instead my advice was to let him fall in love with her. This worked like magic. It was no secret that Jane and Rocky wanted to be together. Rocky changed his mind a few months later. No matter how much he loved the other woman, he parted ways. True love will find you as long as you prioritize your life. Suzanne was Jane's friend, who was sad for Jane on various occasions, became very proud at how Jane handled herself in the marriage. According to Suzzane, Jane's better understanding Rocky's needs and point of view, and then creating the healthiest relationship helped him to treat her as a complete project.  Jane was convinced that Rocky bonded with her finally because she made him feel good. Rocky realized that he couldn't imaging life without Jane. And while Rocky and Jane are happy together, I was surprised when the couple actually gave a heartfelt credit to the therapy helping them. In a snippet of their note to the therapist Rocky noted that he changed and his heart was finally with Jane because he was in love with her.......Thanks....

Empowering couples to handle marital conflicts

By Dr. Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya

Jeevan and Siya, have been married 10 years. They were initially matched up by their parents.  Jeevan was Mumbai-based engineer and Siya was a chartered accountant when they met.  They were allowed to meet to get  to know each other and decide if a relationship was possible. Siya says that Jeevan met her expectations of an understanding husband, but when he started to avoid telling his parents he was with her, he made her very  uncomfortable. Jeevan says that after the initial meeting, and in between, there were daily phone calls. They would also arrange the next meeting which was continued with the next call. Things kept getting better and better. After a few weeks, parents felt that the relationship was working out. 

They were engaged. Jeevan says he wanted a few months more to know each other. However, in arranged marriages you don't wait long before that decision, the families started planning the wedding. The pair wed in Mumbai. Both agree that it was not love at first sight. But there was something and both met with an open mind and destiny played a major role. Both wanted a partner from a similar background who could be a good friend. They both love travelling and have holidays planned together. They became friends very quickly. There were plenty of job opportunities for Jeevan in India and he always wanted to settle in India. He also knew of other couples who met through college or work, so he has seen both sides. He always knew that he would settle in an arranged marriage.  Jeevan says that marriage for him was coming together of two families, not just two individuals, who suits your families. There was pressure from the families to get married. 

However, he didn't feel pressured to choose Siya. Though the families introduced them, marrying her was his choice, he said. Siya was a happy and fulfilled individual. When the proposal came she agreed to marry him. She liked him. She also would not go against her parents will. She got engaged to Jeevan. Siya was impressed by Jeevan and thought that he was serious of her and also knew that this marriage would make her happy. Since the initial meeting, she was very much in contact with Jeevan since her mother was okay with it. Siya lost her father when she was studying in college. On few occasions Siya realized that Jeevan was not open with his parents about him meeting her during the courtship. She was a little scared. But she knew that she loved him and always knew that Jeevan was a good boy. The problems began on the first day of the marriage. Instead of spending time together doing fun things, they began facing the reality of  life. They confronted with differences that seemed unimportant or non existent. They started to feel unhappy and unfulfilled. The couple rarely had sex -- and when they did it was inefficient. They both were aware what was going to happen each time they came together.

Siya says that over the years, Jeevan started coming to bed very late. He kept himself busy on his laptop. He always explained that he was working. Though Siya acknowledged that they needed to schedule time to have sex more often, but realistically, not much changed, she says. Siya says that her husband did have a history of looking at porn. Some day when she logged into her husband's computer and his Facebook was up there happened to be texts between him and unknown women. She wanted to feel alive in her marriage again and she decided to visit professional therapists to overcome the difficulties faced by her in the marriage. Jeevan claims to not do any sexting or chatting anymore. It was a brief encounter for only a few weeks, he said. Siya's question is if Jeevan can talk to other women and watch porn and gratify his sexual desires by masturbating,  what really happens to his desires when he is with her. So every time he brought up sex or talks to her about something personal, she has an uncomfortable feeling, that he is lying to her face. However, the couple decided to have a child. They are raising an intelligent and beautiful girl child who is four years old now. It took ten years for Jeevan to say I LOVE YOU to his wife. It happened in a therapy session. The couple sleep in the same bed but they don't have sex. They are so estranged. Intimacy has eroded so much and the couple decided to seek professional help again with another therapist. Jeevan is giving her all the comforts and luxuries of life otherwise. Each time they felt sure that frank discussions of their difficulties -- social, sexual, financial, could bridge the gap and they could be happy but they ended up fighting and embarrassed further damaging their relationship. In therapy the couple are showing more physical affection and concern for each other. They have also improved with their touch even if they aren't going to have intercourse. They still need to be more gentle and feel more connected. There is a growing agitation within the couple. It seems that everything has become a row. It has come to a stage where if Jeevan even makes an attempt to say anything, Siya will start snapping at Jeevan. Then they compete in the overworked stakes. Later they make lists of what they have done since 10 years, each insisting they did most. Both are sure that they are right, but selfishly don't think about how it will affect their child. Nagging is the leading cause for the discord. Case: Siya and Jeevan are renovating their new home: Siya urges Jeevan to do some chores at home. Jeevan feels there is plenty of time to do the task. Instead gets engrossed with the television for hours. Siya feels unheard. Siya repeatedly makes requests, Jeevan repeatedly ignores and both become increasingly angry. It  is exactly the type of toxic communication that can eventually sink a relationship. Siya may have a perception that she won't get what she wants from the other person, so she has a need to keep asking in order to get it. Personality contributes to the dynamic. An extremely organized, obsessive or anxious person may not be able to refrain from giving reminders, especially if the partner is laid back.  Jeevan is to blame, too, because he doesn't always give a clear answer. Sure, he might tune his wife out because he is annoyed. Jeevan says  that Siya can get very angry and scold him and he can feel like a little boy being scolded by his mother. Many times he doesn't respond to her questions because he doesn't know the answer yet, or he knows the answer will disappoint her. 

From early in the marriage, the couple reminded each other about their responsibilites and both became more demanding when they were ignored. Case a : Jeevan asking Siya to take care of something like his parents that mattered to him and Siya was blowing him off. That made him feel like it didn't matter to her. Case b: Siya asking Jeevan to care for his marriage that mattered to her and Jeevan was blowing her off. Jeevan would become silent for days, months and years... and his eyes can glaze over a thousand yard stare.  

Both are backed up with a lot of discomfort. They need help. Jeevan feels that as long as Siya is not putting pressure on him, he can respond better. There is no face-to-face interaction. There is no annoying tone of voice. Then everything is in equation. This ticks Siya. She starts fighting about fighting. Jeevan is a strategic planner who gathers facts and organizes in advance. Siya doesn't take it personally when Jeevan does not respond. 

The episodes have made their muscles tense. There is a need to soften their approach. Learn to speak in a non threatening and non offensive manner. They are stuck in a bad pattern. They both experience stress headaches. The psychological stress is repetitive. 

Siya was recently admitted to a hospital. Her blood pressure suddenly shot up. It can also be due to many other conditions?


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