Do I? Do I not?
Being a transactional analyst practitioner in India is quite unique or different. This is specifically in relation to boundaries and multiple roles in relationships.
As Counseling and Psychotherapy is new to our country, it is often viewed with suspicion, associated with stigma and questioned. The western models of counselling that insist on individuality,boundaries and one role -one relationship are almost impossible e to adhere to in this framework.
I will highlight this in the example given below.
Recently a young lady Rekha who was coming to me for counselling specifically to deal with her move to India and its complexities promoted me to ponder on two questions Do I? Do I not?
Rekha was of Indian origin and had lived in 12 countries except India. Yet she carried many Indian values in psyche. She had been very well educated in prestigious universities like Mcgill and Harvard and had been living the last few years independently in New York. She was now moving to India as she was getting married.
She shared with me her fears, her joys, her needs and her concerns. Thereby we had built a relationship in our role as counselor and counselee. Rekha was open, vulnerable and reflective as she shared the details of her forthcoming wedding.
A week before her wedding at the end of her session she said to me ”Anna I want you at come to my wedding, please at least attend one function and bless me, this is very important to me. I know this is impossible in the west and yet it is important to me”. I was taken aback and confused. What should I do ?I did not respond immediately.
I played around with do I ? Do I not?
I though about what this means to me professionally? What does this mean to our relationship?
Finally I took the plunge and attended one function, wished the couple all the best and returned with a sense of calm. In retrospect I am sure I had taken the right decision as I saw the look in Rekha’s eyes when I went and wished the couple.
Yes, the boundary had blurred and it was not as stark as it ought to be. I knew that in my culture personal and professional roles are not well defined and yet we manage. Successful Indian Businesses have been built inclusive of grey areas.
In our culture we consciously and unconsciously accept and nurture intangibility.
I leave you with this question. Does this mean that an Indian Counsellor is less professional or less effective?