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    Yamini Kaul

    As I am able to understand complex sounding ideas and language better with practice- also by asking questions- I am able to make sense of ideas like post structuralism and structuralism and many other offerings of NT a little better.. I am thinking how a lot of psychology and other social scientific disciplines and maybe even some aspects of the Sciences are only contentions, ideas and discussions at best instead of the one truth that answers everything… They are perhaps constantly changing and emerging and are sensitive to the context and time they are in.. just as NT sees people as changing and emerging and even being a collection of sometimes contradictory voices.. knowledge and attempts at obtaining knowledge are also perhaps fluid.. I am also seeing how sometimes western psychology tries to sanitize and compartmentalize life.. experiences ..and interactions neatly and taking away the context and humanity of it WITHOUT ANY MALICE THOUGH!
    I am remembering how people I have worked with and will work with are people and not taking away humanness of these interactions.. some ideas in western psych and other psychologies can make us forget what it means to be human and take very seriously the roles that we are in (often called the professional and the personal divide). I am particularly taken by the idea of the fluid self and experiences and the choices we make. A line from Chris Wever’s write up stayed with me : “My responses to situations as steps I am taking rather than mistakes I am making” I also liked her questions… For e.g. “Have I too starkly contrasted white western psychology with folk psychology?”. Her non linear offerings.. dimensional offerings… and putting the origin of her offerings on the table was something I took away for myself..
    I remember how I have done the same once and thought it to be too academic a practice maybe.. when I mentioned to a young person I worked with the framework that “the problem is the problem- the person is not the problem”- she liked it so much that she put it up above her bed in a heart shaped cut out as so many of her internal/ external dialogues were around experiencing or solving anxiety. This helped us to talk about things from even a western psychological point of view wherein there was a distance between her and the anxiety in our reflections.
    If we don’t speak of the influence of culture history- the culture of implicit and subtle blame operates in therapy more strongly i.e. “why do I do this to myself?” “what is wrong with me?” which often becomes an unhelpful, hateful and tiring position.
    I have also considered an idea that sometimes life and experiences started seeming much more painful with the introduction of the discipline of psychology in my life.. the lens felt so deterministic and rigid and sad that it sometimes takes away the living from life. This psychologization can be painful instead of helpful..
    A lot of the work that I have done.. people seem to be struggling with failing to live up to the non anxious.. non depressed linear singular normal. The kind of person who goes for therapy…. what is an unproductive conversation in therapy..A lot of the conversations I am having and the worldview that I live with @ moment is trying to negotiate with post-structuralist ideas of the fluid self and identity and questioning dominant discourses of the normal life.. the normal progression in life.. decisions I am taking as a person.. the conversations I am engaging with in my family and peers and any people I engage with in a personal/professional capacity. I resonated with Chris’ questions with Georgia about how to respond to her ideas about the helpfulness of diagnoses for her daughter and how to take that rather than simply calling it as “being captured by western psychology”
    Some of my peers have been struggling with negotiating diagnoses and taking medication for their conditions. It would be easy to only see the protest side of such discussions.. having struggling with such decisions for a long while- I felt it important to open it up and see the relevance of such long running dilemmas in their lives by opening up these discussions. We looked at how non linear these decisions can be and how ‘safe’ professionals/therapists will allow them to traverse between different dimensions of their lives by delving into the diagnosis sometimes and sometimes stepping away from it .. to create room for aspirations .. problem solving rather than just discussing the pathology… i.e. what is useful over what is true..
    In my other conversations that I don’t prefer to divulge in this reflection- I have been examining loaded ideas of illness and failure and how we make meaning of our experiences and put it into stories for us to live by and how we see ourselves and what is and isn’t possible for us. My friends and I have been cherishing such multilayered ideas.
    This way of looking at things is taking away the “force” and sometimes an even “violence-like” undertone and vibe to conversations and the goals we are trying to meet in such conversations. This again reminds me of Georgia’s feelings in Chris’ writings that how such (post-structuralist) ideas are making her cry as she is being soft and caring and listening to herself instead of being hard and seeing what she did wrong.
    I have also started feeling how dominant western discourses see the individual as a reservoir of infinite resources and mental health as being able to be in touch with these internally located infinite resources all the time… the goal being to overcome all problems on one’s own to get back to this idea of the infinitely internally resourceful person.
    I have one question and dilemma that is coming up again from my previous reflection- Can a clinician take decisions in the service of the person while keeping an NT lens in mind while the client doesn’t initiate it ..or refuses it? E.g. Can a clinician trust their “diagnostic acumen” and predict its helpfulness while holding on to aspects of justice, power and ethics of this relationship and healing practices?
    I am also wondering about the value of compassion and the imperfect ally as a narrative thinker while trying to live up to the values of justice and trying not to be oppressive..

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