There was a lecture on a particular concept of Carl Rogers that was being taught in class, when the month of September started. And you know how September is, it makes you feel like the year is about to end, but at the same time you feel this minute agony that there is still a long way to go. You want the year to end thinking that you’ve had enough and somehow right after the last day of December your life will stop confusing you, that you’ll enter this gold shrine and the sun’s rays will hit your face while you look up into the sky closing your eyes, making everything better. Nothing really changes though, does it?
Okay, now that I’ve made you think that this is an article about your feelings and your metaphysical thought processes, I’ll tell you that all of this is not at all related to what I’m going to talk about right now. Do you hate me yet?
So, there is a concept called ‘Free Will’ by Carl Rogers, who was one of the pioneers of Humanistic Psychology. He said that if you want to treat human beings, you have to think that they in fact, are human beings. With complex cortex structures, their neural processes having gone way ahead of the curve.
You, as a therapist, just have to listen, and give them the chance to talk. You need for them to figure out how to sort their own problems, and for you to just be there for them. Create a professionalized family for them, per se.
Free Will also means that a person is given a chance to self-regulate, and enrich their environment.
Now, while this lecture was going on, this professor of mine, who is on the younger side of the age-and-logic spectrum, cut the class mid-way, and said, “I’m so upset with the way the Indian Education System works, honestly.”
There was silence in the class because most people in the class did not care. No, I’m not exaggerating. They did not. A lot of people in this country (yes, I’m generalizing) are so okay with being complacent it irritates me beyond belief. Call me anti-national. Do it. Moo.
Anyway, so no one said anything, I just nodded, vigorously.
She went on, “This girl in our college, she is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She is a freshman in the Bachelor’s of Sciences. She barely attends her classes as she spends most of her time in the washroom, reason being that she is terrified she will stain her clothes with blood, or pee.”
Our professor looked at our faces, some were not listening, some were like meh, some were entertained.
She took a deep breath, raised her eyebrows, and went on, “So anyway, a round table meeting was held with the principal and all the teachers, and they decided to suspend the girl, as her attendance was falling short. So you guys tell me, do you think this is the right decision to make?”
And would you believe me when I say, no one said anything.
I stood up.
“Don’t you think before suspending the girl, the counselors of the college should be consulted. The situation should be looked into?” I said.
And my professor smiled. But it wasn’t a happy smile.
“The counselors of this college are the ones that decided on suspending the girl,” she said.
Nothing more was left to say.
“I joined this college last year, so all the senior teachers passively snub me saying ‘You are new, you don’t know anything.’ I cannot do much, and starting a petition won’t do anything. If you have a mental health issue, you don’t have an issue. It’s funny how you can have a psychology department in the college but at the same time nothing is implemented,” she said.
The people who weren’t paying attention were attentive now, as a professor was dissing the other professors, maybe even the principal, and that was the tea.
“Okay, let’s come back to Carl Rogers now, and dream of a better time. Where were we?”
It was September. There was a long way to go till the last day of December. On January first, the girl would not have OCD.
Ashmeet Jolly is currently pursuing her Masters in Psychology at Punjab University, and is in her first year. She passionately delves into absurdist and existentialist humour and at the same time strives to find the meaning of her existence, failing every now and then. She is also a Bob Ross fan and is quite sad that she will never be able to meet him.