Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Counseling in Indian Schools: Checkmating the Past

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Counseling in Indian Schools: Checkmating the Past

Article excerpt

"Don't let mental blocks controlyou. Setyourself free. Confront yourfear and turn the mental blocks into building blocks"


It is no secret that psychological well being of an individual is as important as their physical health. Unfortunately, it is something implicit about our culture that dominates our thoughts and consequently our perceptions that time and again culturally reproduces the stigma attached with psychological therapy. Even though the issue and scope of mental health has been globally acknowledged however, this reality is still a contested territory in the Indian context. The inherent orientation of our culture is to help another person. Sharing and caring are values that are so deeply engrafted in our personalities that it almost seems as a reflex to extend our support to someone in need. But, here's the tricky part.

Even though helping others seem to be an expected virtue, asking for it has been preponderantly discouraged, especially behind closed doors. This reality surfaces more vividly when we look at the tardy progress the domain of psychotherapy in India. So what is it about our culture that encourages helping other but not oneself. When will these reservations about approaching an outsider for help be put to rest? These reservations are in some sense representative of what Jung termed as the collective unconscious. Jung (Baron, 1989) described the collective unconscious to be the part of the unconscious belonging to every individual that is inherited from previous generations and connects them to their fellow humans.

In other words, the collective unconscious is the storehouse for experiences, that are in a sense, part of our biological heritage. The contents reflect the experiences our species has had since it originated on earth. This collective unconscious finds expression in our minds in many different ways, but among these, the archetypes are the most central to Jung's theory. These are manifestations of the collective unconscious that express themselves when our conscious mind is distracted or inactive; for example, in our sleep, dreams, etc. The specific expression of archetypes depends in part on our unique experiences as individuals - the mother, father sun, moon, god, death, the hero and so on. (Jung,2014).

It is because of these shared innate images, according to Jung, that the folklore of many different cultures contains similar figures and themes. Linking this conceptualization of Jung to the current discussion gives us a hint into the collective unconscious of the Indian psyche, where asking for help for emotional and stressrelated struggles, specially formally within a psychotherapeutic alliance is denounced. The stigma that is attached to seeking help for mental health is representative of the Indian collective unconscious, the very theme that Jung talks about which has been passed on through generations, being an inherent driving force affecting the individuals' attitude andbehavior (Baron, 1989).

While this stigma has been prevalent globally as presented in the historical time line of the evolution of mental health, this problem gets specially augmented by the collectivistic nature of Indian culture which fosters an others before self attitude. Our culture does not encourage asking for help. It is not something prescribed, or read, but seemed to be "learnt" over time. It is said, to know a culture better, understand its education system. It will be the most reflective indicator of how the society functions. And as mistakenly, or not, education is usually equated with schooling. So what does this school structure entail?

Counseling in Indian Schools : A Glimpse

Schooling, most simply put, refers to the teaching that is done in a school. The point of schooling, from its inception, has been education. Education may be defined as the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. …

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