The Silver Lining for a Good Therapist Is Having Exemplary Observational and Paraphrasing Skills - Arouba Kabir

1. Tell us about your background and journey and what led you to take up this career path?

I am Arouba, A Mental health therapist and Founder, Enso Wellness. I was born in a small village of Kashmir and I live with a rare and chronic illness called Cystic Fibrosis, it’s a progressive genetic disorder which affects multiple organs. Though I was always a sick child but it was only diagnosed at the age of 21 when I got too sick and got admitted for a long time.

Getting diagnosed with 
Cystic Fibrosis - fore mostly made antidepressants my bedside essentials. The doctors didn’t expect me to live beyond 27, and I was 21. When one is supposedly so close to a terminal date, one should feel weak or depressed or despondent or pessimistic, or more likely, ALL of them together. The fact is, I felt all of these! 

They say when you find yourself trapped in something; you turn to God. That’s what I started doing. My pilgrimage was an attempt to find answers to heal myself physically and more importantly mentally. After spiritual awakening I decided to explore the scientific arrays as well. 

I had a background in Psychology, so I graced as an intern with a psychologist to learn the practical aspects of human mind. I started assisting counselors in India and abroad, took a lot of internships, did courses in mental health. I even undertook courses in Yoga, Pilates and Meditation and Physiotherapy. 

Within two years I was doing well, my psychiatry medicines were gone, lung function had improved and I learnt to understand my body and what it needed, which resulted in a career change to a mental health and wellness specialist. I chose a holistic approach which not only helped me heal myself but applying it to my clients today, gives results which would be tough with an isolated form of therapy.

2. What are some common myths in society about psychology?

The most common myth about psychology is that psychology is a very easy going field and people can easily understand it but one needs years of education and training to be an expert in it. The entire field of the psychology is same whereas the truth is there are different branches of psychology. 

Psychology is all about common sense and reading minds of people while observing their faces whereas it is much deeper than that. One can be called a clinical psychologist after he/she has been pursuing psychology. If you have done psychology, you can be a therapist and even write medicines that only a psychiatrist can do.

3. How can people practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment. It’s a technique which can be done at home, office anywhere in any action.

It’s all about returning your attention again and again to the present moment. One needs to sit in a quiet place if they aren't being able to quiet their mind - to begin with and slowly and gradually it will become a habit and one can practice it anywhere. 

Setting of a time limit is important for beginners. The emphasis should be on noticing and feeling the body/senses, that's the most important. One should be kind to themselves. You should try that your focus doesn't wander. So keep a distraction sheet and write down the thoughts which might distract them when you sit for the practice.

4. What are your tips for people who want to practice this profession?

This profession needs certain things like being the right amount of empathetic and sympathetic. It's important as a therapist to understand what your client would need and work accordingly. Another requisite, the most important would be to be non-biased and non-judgmental - that is the core value of any psychological service that one provides. 

It's important to create a safe space for the clients and you can do that only if you have worked on yourself for years. You should be a good listener as often people will let out their emotions and you have to be understanding, you also, however, need to hold command when required and possess good oratory skills. 

The silver lining for a good therapist is having exemplary observational and paraphrasing skills thus sets you apart and makes your client open up! 

5. Is work-life balance a myth or reality according to you?

Its a reality and its no magic. One needs to work on it every day. Set your priorities right and take responsibility for your actions.

6. How according to you can one manage stress?

Stress can be managed through various things, techniques, and strategies.
  • Practicing Mindfulness
  • Seeking professional help
  • Indulging in physical fitness, in forms of light exercises, Meditation & Yoga.
  • Medication
  • Having indoor plants
  • Deep breathing
  • Guided imagery
  • Eating a balanced diet

- Interview by - Chamanth Krishna

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