Find out what happens when two psychologists unite to pen down stories from within the therapy room!
Join Tara and Michelle in conversation with Yashodhara and Aruna about their book ‘And How Do You Feel About That? Breakdowns and Breakthroughs in the Therapy Room’, in which they reconstruct and deconstruct the therapy process using fictionalized stories. What are some of the myths about therapists in India? What kind of population groups are going to therapy in India?
Books mentioned in the episode:
•The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
•Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom
•Anxiety: Overcome It and Live without Fear by Sonali Gupta
•Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Dr. Julie Smith
•The School of Life: An Emotional Education by Alain De Botton
•The Course of Love by Alain De Botton
•Born to Win by Muriel James
•I’m Okay, You’re Okay by Thomas Harris
•Games People Play by Eric Bern
Produced by Aishwarya Javalgekar
Sound edit by Kshitij Jadhav
‘Books and Beyond with Bound’ is the podcast where Tara Khandelwal and Michelle D’costa uncover how their books reflect the realities of our lives and society today. Find out what drives India’s finest authors: from personal experiences to jugaad research methods, insecurities to publishing journeys. Created by Bound, a storytelling company that helps you grow through stories. Follow us @boundindia on all social media platforms.
It's not a process of just going in according blame to someone else. So it is a process of accounting and taking responsibility. And in fact, we think that this idea that it's just about blaming your parents is just one of the many myths that keep people out of therapy. And our attempt through this book is to actively tackle these myths.
Welcome to Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara kendaraan. I am Michelle D'costa. And in this podcast, we uncover the stories behind some of the best written books of our time, and find out how these books reflect our lives and our society today. So tune in every Wednesday to enter a whole new world with a new author. And a new idea. Yes, and after three years and 2 million listens, we are back with all factories and five with hard hitting questions and life changing books. So let's dive in.
Hi, everyone, Tara here. So today we have a little bit of a hotkey interview, because we usually have two hosts and one guest. But today, we have two guests, and one host. That's me. And I really, really wanted two guests here today because they're not only accomplished therapists who help people with their problems, but they've written this amazing book, and how do you feel about that? They've compiled 50 fictionalized stories and included them we learn a lot about therapy. It D stigmatizes what people think therapy actually is who therapy is followed. And in the book you'll need you know, the woman who sends secret messages to her husband during arguments. The towering Tattooed Man who realizes he can't save his sister, the teenager whose life is revealed in the tale of a lonely bear, the divorced man angry with his ex wife are starting to date again and all sorts of people whose lives we can relate to everyday problems. More than that. So our guest today are Aruna Gupta, coma and Yashoda LOL, and the book destigmatize therapy. So let's get into the therapy room. Welcome. Thank you, Tara. joy to be here. Thank you, Tara. And the subject of psychotherapy is fascinating for us. So thank you. Yes. So yeah, so you know, as psychotherapy is one of the career choices that I always wanted to do, you know, and in college, I actually studied psychology. And then I realized, Oh, who's going to go to therapy? You know, I mean, I thought, who's going to go to therapy? And boy, was I wrong? Because I think, you know, books like yours. And nowadays, it's a much more open conversation. You know, how did you guys become therapists? I know you you met in sort of I am Bangalore, and you've had sort of other careers before becoming therapists. And then how did you decide? You know, okay, let's do this book together. So we are both from I am Bangalore, we didn't need there. So I'm many years older to Yashodhara. So I was from a much earlier batch. My introduction to psychotherapy was through transactional analysis, I attended a introductory program to TA and I was extremely drawn to the way in which ta makes complex ideas simple. And I joined the long term training, which in and I specialized in the field of psychotherapy. Yeah, so I was practicing it in parallel for a long time to like qualify, then I felt that it was more fulfilling for me. And I slowly phased out my corporate work. And Yash was drawn to it again, through a common friend, she joined the training group that I was running, and I knew she was a writer. And we were talking about ways in which we could make the ideas of TA and possibilities with therapy more popular, and we thought about a variety of ideas. And one of those ideas was this book, and yeah, it took off and it took shape. Want to add anything to this? Yesh? Sure. I'll only say that. Tara, like you said, you know, psychotherapy as an area of interest was with me for a long time. Maybe since the time I was a teenager, the kind of books I would read. I remember in my early 20s, also buying a copy of Freud's interpretation of dreams, but not really making head or tail of it at the time. So transactional and analysis was kind of a godsend, because I discovered that one can study it at any age, and it's a very beautiful systematic framework for doing therapy that doesn't pathologize that gives equal power to the client and is eminently teachable. So there were so many things that attracted me and I'm sure attracted Aaron also to this particular form of psychotherapy.
Repeat. So that's very glad to have discovered it. Yeah. So I really liked you know, the portrayal of transactional analysis in because there's so many different sort of areas with which you go into when the fictionalized stories also cover that, you know, one is sort of the role play a role reversal using lots of action methods. So for our listeners who might not know what transactional analysis is, can you sort of quickly just give them some context. So it is a set of theories and methods that explain how people became who they are today. So it looks at recurrent patterns that we may experience in adult life that we believe are dysfunctional, and traces their origin back to early life, where it was predictive in some way. And it offers plentiful models and theories to understand what's going on for us, and also offers a lot of tools and techniques for practitioners to work with others. Its underlying philosophy is that of okayness, that we are all born, okay. But we may sometimes let go of our okayness in the process of socialization. But these are decisions that we've made, and we can reclaim our okayness, or our autonomy back with a little awareness and support from others. Yeah. Eric Byrne, who created it in the 1960s, had the idea that it should make sense to an eight year old child and a farmer and have the blessings of the scientific community. So he intended to create something that was robust, and yet popular appeals. Thank you. Yeah, that's great. So you know, the fact that it's a co written book, right, I found that very interesting. And the chapters are divided based on each of your cases. But what I also found very interesting was that these stories are fictionalized. And it made me think of another book called maybe you should talk to someone which is also about stories in a therapy room. But those are sort of, you know, based on real life case studies. So what was it like to sort of fictionalized, the stories, I'm guessing it was a little difficult? And could you really sort of is it like 100%? fictionalized, I'm sure that a lot of it is things that actually happened in the room is what were the challenges when it comes to respecting your clients anonymously? And what are the cases in which your clients sort of like, could recognize themselves? Was that a problem? What was the process? So co writing a book was entirely new to me. I've written several books before this myself, and it was a very enriching process with actually that's its own story. But to your specific question about the fictionalizing, the stories, first of all, we've actually dedicated this book to our clients, because we've written to those adventurous souls who are brave enough to look within, we're referring to our clients. And we've written that in our forward as well, because this book polls, it's based in reality in what actually transpires in the therapy room. So while of course, the stories are anonymized, there are a lot of details changed, they are fictionalized. And the way in which we handle that was we would take maybe two or three clients and merge that case study into one, we would take lots of aspects of our own life and what we know to be true in our personal lives, bring them into the stories. So we insured the enormity of our clients through these means. And wherever we felt there was even a slight chance of a client recognizing themselves, we made sure that we reached out to that specific set of people and took their explicit consent that we were doing this and people were very happy to support us.
I think it is this combination of having taken what really happens in the therapy room and converting it into bite sized chunks which can be consumed is what is appealing to people because they are able to see the issues that we brought in as very real. And as pertaining to them. You had reviewers saying, oh my god, I saw myself in all 50 of the stories, which sounds unbelievable. But if you read the stories, and you see the kind of day to day issues that we have tried to cover, it's understandable that people can actually see themselves in the stories. Yeah, it's interesting that you said day to day issues, because a lot of times, you know, when people think of therapy, they think that there's a stigma around it, right. And it's sort of like, Oh, if you sort of having everyday issues, you can't go to therapy, but that's actually not the case at all. And what you guys show is that you know that everybody has certain patterns in life, and we can always work to sort of get ourselves better. And one of the stories that I really liked is the story, you know, for family, and the woman in the family basically mispronounces the word fridge, she says fridge, and everybody in our family sort of starts making fun of her and instead of participating in the, you know, the comedy, she starts feeling really bad. And sort of maybe to you and me, you know, we wouldn't feel bad about that. And then in the therapy room, you explore, you know, why she might be feeling bad and what sort of, you know, in her childhood sort of caused her to always feel
he'll sort of sensitive towards people making fun of her. So there's sort of small issues like this, which have sort of repeating patterns throughout our lives that I really, really like a lot. So interesting, you pick that story, because that is an example of a story which took place in a way in front of us in one of our donors, training groups. And we had the consent of the lady who was actually the hero in that story, to use this story. And I combined it with elements of my own life as well. And you know, this thing about day to day issues, we made sure that we've also covered issues which are like child abuse, child sexual abuse, intersperse them with stories like this for a reason, which is that ultimately, you know, we may not recognize the kind of difficulty that somebody has emotionally with something, but a child is defenseless and vulnerable. And as children, we make meaning out of what happens to us. So what may look like a little thing, you know, someone making fun of my mispronouncing a word can actually cut very deeply, because I may take it to mean that I am not worthy, I'm not important. I don't deserve respect. And then subsequent things that happened in my life, I just take another confirmation of that basic beliefs. So it may start out with something that looks small, but it can have a lot of repercussions. So this book is an attempt to have people recognize that that it's not really small, because we make meaning out of different things. Yeah, I like some of the sort of theories that you also put across in the book, which are very interesting. It's sort of, you know, one of the things that you say, is meaning making, right, like what do we assign meaning to, and one of the methods that you use that I really loved is the roleplay, one where there was one client who sort of came and said, I'm addicted to eating chocolate biscuits, right. And that was sort of his guilty pleasure. And he said that I don't know why I'm so addicted to eating these things. And even even though I have diabetes, so then in the therapy room, the action was that, you know, he would become the chocolate biscuit. And he would sort of talk to himself as the chocolate whiskey, which I found really interesting. And it was so effective. And these sorts of methods that you tried to show are very, very interesting for a lay reader, I must congratulate you for being such a fantastic reader of the book, you're, you're the kind of leader that you want to have, Tara.
Yeah, but I think what you're talking about is really what we call action methods where we concretize inner worlds by
asking people to become a part of themselves, essentially, separating out the dialogue in parts of the warring parts, often people say there's a battle going on, in my head, we externalize the battery and make it very concrete. So we can see where the stuck point is. And then people can work through that stuckness and get some resolution for themselves. So these kinds of action techniques are very common in psychotherapy, and they make psychotherapy fun and creative. So people are often amazed by the wisdom that comes from within them. And they begin to see that they have those resources within them that they haven't fully utilized and a lot of clarity, in a very engaging way. Yeah, absolutely. And coming to, you know, the stories themselves. I like, why sort of 50 stories, why not more? Why not? Less? You know, why not? Take a few characters and go deeper into those? And how did you ensure that, you know, the story is don't get repetitive? And also, you know, have a distinct voice between you two? Yeah, so I can, you know, give you a sense of how we came about that. So we actually had 60 stories, because once we got started, we enjoyed the process so much, we were writing a story each week, sharing it with each other, you know, getting each other's feedback. And we ended up with the problem of plenty. So that's one that we actually had to edit it down to the size of a book that our editors at Penguin thought was a good size, which is roughly around 75 to 80,000 words, and that involves letting go of some stories. So that was a painful trimming process. How are we ensured a similarity and tone of voice I think part of it happened organically because that's how we wrote the book. Since we were sharing the stories with each other in a way we sort of imbibed and came up with a way of writing that was consistent, but we really gave ourselves the permission to let our own personalities and our own style of presentation also shine through. So we didn't try to have one voice. So there are two voices in the book, which are fairly consistent, and why 50 And why not, let's say a fewer stories with a more complex set of case studies. You know, the whole idea here for this book, and we really think of this as a first book, it really was to showcase a range of issues. And we felt that there are so many things that people will resonate with from the work that we've done that we wanted to have a breath in the stories
And at the same time, we also felt that for first book and for a lay reader, having it in a format where they can even read one story in five minutes and get a sense of what a process is like or what a session is like, that was also useful. And we have got that feedback from people that were able to read it very easily, they're able to put it down when they feel they've read enough stories for the day, pick it up, again, another time without any loss of continuity. So it really worked for us as a format. Yeah, absolutely. I like that. It's the first book, I can't wait to read more books by both of you, you seem like a great team as well. And one of the things that I liked as well is that, you know, you can sort of dip in and dip out, you can obviously see a lot of your self within each of these cases, because you know, they're very relatable. They were also very diverse, you know, you covered people across all age groups, you covered people, you know, from different genders, different kinds of families, you know, divorces, single women, issues about children, all of those things. One thing that I was just wondering about is that people who can go to therapy, often people who can afford to go to therapy in the book, the fact that we are looking at sort of a diverse range of clients, but only from sort of certain sort of class boundaries.
That's something that you thought about, is that something that you will want to address in later books? Or is there a reason sort of why it's the way it is? I think it's the way it is this way, because much of our work is with privileged people. So understanding of conceptualizing psychotherapy right now is available only to the privileged in our country. Otherwise, it's not an idea that doesn't exist in people's imagination outside urban life. So it will take a while for different kinds of audiences to get to understand psychotherapy. And we're also thinking it's an important question to ask, because if you look at it philosophically, scale is a challenge. And, yeah, so currently, because this reflects our work and the groups we work with, and as that changes, you will have plentiful, more books coming from us.
I think it's an important question, because we recognize that even something like language, right, when you have these concepts, they are understandable to somebody who is at least relatively fluent with English. So that itself is a barrier. So I've had someone saying, When are the translations for this book coming out, I want to gift a copy to my mom and have her read it. So there are many things that limit access to therapy. But having said that, I think even amongst the set of people who can afford it, and who can access it and should access it. There are so many myths, so many taboos, so many barriers to just even considering therapy, that there's plenty of work to be done even at this top of the pyramid if I could use that term. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, that is something that, you know, that even I've been thinking about a lot is when I was reading this book, you know, how do we make sort of therapy accessible, but that's a whole different conversation, there is a lot of work to be done at the top of this pyramid, I have people still come to me and sort of, you know, like gossip and say, oh, did you know she's going to therapy, I find that you know, absorbed, you know, especially sort of like, they're all educated here. They're all sort of, you know, Minnesotan circles. So there is a lot of sort of D stigmatization to be done. Absolutely. One thing that I really liked is in the introduction of the book, you said that, you know, blame the parents, and that's become a catchphrase. And you said that,
you know, there is a reason why we always go back to childhood to childhood experiences. And then in the stories themselves, I saw a lot of, you know, a lot of the patient's experiences the their behavior patterns, war, because of, you know, something that had happened in their childhood, maybe sort of, there was a relationship in their childhood that they were mirroring. In their adulthood, for example, there was one client who sort of had a very harsh, you know, critical voice. And then through the therapeutic work, we realized that, you know, that's because her mother was really strict, and that was sort of that voice coming through. What do you have to say, when people say that, you know, it's all about sort of via we sort of always going back to childhood, and it's all about the parents. Well, our personalities are a result of the million experiences we've had. The earliest experiences we've had are sometimes even outside our conscious awareness before we learn language. So much of our exploration in therapy is about finding the origin of some of these. And how do we learn we learn by watching parent figures so we don't say parents we say parent figures parents figures could also include older siblings could include neighbors could include teachers could include neighborhood bullies, anyone
Then who held some power over you may have shaped your personality in some way, you responded to their power in some way. And some of these entrenched patterns have their origin quite early in life. So we're not blaming parents, because parents are also a result of they are who they are as a result of the culture, and they have imbibed certain things in their childhood from their worlds, it is an important part of exploration. Sometimes people get so stuck. Why am I like this, and they say, I don't want to go back, because I don't want to blame my parents. And we understand that there's a very strong cultural message that says, Be grateful, parents have made a lot of sacrifices, we're also we're not denying that. We're also saying that parents are also flawed, struggling human beings who are trying to make meaning of their world. And sometimes they are overwhelmed and are not able to protect children the way they should have. And it's okay for us to see that and acknowledge that and find ways to make meaning of it and let it go, the healing happens there. Because parents are very powerful influencers, they keep coming up in therapy, but it's definitely not to blame them. And often as people express their anger or they hurt, they need to do that they need to access their painful feelings, and then they are able to move to some kind of understanding and compassion, which is which is real, which is not, I won't be angry with them, I will force myself to be compassionate, which is something we often call a spiritual bypass. Yeah. So they are able to process their feelings and let go of it and really start life afresh, rather than being pulled back into the old patterns. Yes, you want to add something. So I can add, you know, this whole thing about blaming the parents, we often encourage our clients to see this as taking responsibility for your own meaning making, and looking with bravery and honesty at what you might have missed. Because there are plenty of theories that suggest and in fact, have proven that the level of attunement, the kind of parenting that we got, it does determine a lot of things for us in later life. So it's actually scientifically proven fact. And some of this goes beyond the reaches of conscious memory. It can even be data as far back as how we were welcomed into the world. You know, were you did you were you received as a child as a baby, who was wanted, were you held enough? So these are the kinds of things which a person may not even be able to directly answer. And that's where our intuition as therapists are stepping into the relationship with them begins to give us some sort of a clue as to what is it that they missed, what kind of mirroring what kind of holding and today is an opportunity for us to actually look at those deficits, which are actually understood to be relational deficits. So it's a fact that a lot of our emotional problems arise because of relational deficits. And the idea of exploration in the here and now and focusing on the relationship with a therapist is to see how those deficits can be made good
today, so it is a process of accounting and taking responsibility. It's not a process of just going in according blame to someone else. And it's, it's a very responsible and adult act. And we do wish that more people would see that. And, in fact, we think that this idea that is just about blaming your parents is just one of the many myths that keep people out of therapy. And our our attempt through this book, and through a page we started on Instagram called in the therapy room, is to actively tackle these myths. So we've made a list of myths, and we address them quite actively on that page. Yeah, there's so much myth busting to do. Um, so one of the stories that I already liked is you know, about sort of the therapist in the therapy room, because you know, you're talking about your client's feelings, but the therapist is also a human being, and they have their own feelings and their own reactions to things of which they cannot help sometimes. And there's this one story of a lady who has been asked to draw her child's self. And it's a very disturbing drawing. And I think your shoulder, that was your story where you sort of, were a little shaken up and taken aback. And I wanted to know more about, you know, how therapists handle their own emotions and therapy, and what to do in situations when, you know, maybe you've heard something disturbing, or maybe it brings up a trigger for you, because, obviously, you know, we would all have our own triggers. So yes, that story was an example of, you know, something that pops up and causes a reaction in the therapist. And, you know, we're actually meant to use our reactions in service of the client. So first of all, when we work in the relational style, we are very much
To present in the therapy room as a human being as an authentic person along with the client. And as we're exploring our relationship, we also have the task of maintaining an inner eye on our own experience. And it's almost a constant process. It can't be 100% awareness. But we do try to keep stepping back and seeing what's going on inside of me, what will be appropriate right now? How much of this am I to share with the client? How much of this am I to internally process? What might it mean in terms of a feeling that the client may be unconsciously trying to communicate to me, so it's a very beautiful process really, to be able to pay attention to what's going on inside you. And then with awareness, use that. And sometimes we do make mistakes. But it is in the process of making mistakes that we also have the opportunity to repair with our clients, and to show them that we also are human, and to work within that the realness of the relationship that we're creating together. So yes, our feelings come up. And we're meant to use them. And women to use them in a responsible way and with awareness, are also meant to be able to strengthen our capacity to contain and hold our own feelings. And for that, our own therapy, and our own self reflection, our own self care practices, making sure that we take our work into supervision, these are all things that help make sure that our inner processes don't come out in a way that could be harmful to the client. Because I find that very interesting, the whole relational aspect. Could you give an example of one of your stories in which you know, that was employed and get more of a deeper understanding of that? Sure. Yeah. So I don't know you're the one I can. I think that this is one of the first few stories in the book, where there's this client, who is very passive in her life, she seeks help, and she looks for advice, but she doesn't act too much. And I felt that growing frustration, because she would look at me wide eyed and put me on a pedestal and say you have to help me. But I found that if we were talking about something meaningful, she would zone out, or she'll say I should do something, but she would not act on it. So now I had this growing sense of irritation and wanting to control her, I was judging her in my mind for not being responsible enough for herself. Now this feeling that I'm feeling I could say I am judgmental, or I could say the client is inviting me to be judgmental, and that's why therapists need personal work, to separate the pool from what could be happening from the client, what's the client's unconscious communication to me, and we understand relational work as the client is communicating to me how people in her life were with her, by the way I experience, I experienced myself with her in the therapy room. So if I looked at her history, I found that she had a very controlled background, she was judged very often by her mother by her older sister, they did the thinking for her. So she really believed she needed someone else to think for her. So as I processed my own experience, now she's invited me into a familiar pattern, inviting me to move into a role, whereas when I'm controlling and judging her, so I decided to not do that. And I decided to trust her thinking. So completely stayed away from advice, inviting her to take charge, and make meaning and ask what she wanted to do. And it was a very uncomfortable experience for her. And the tension in the therapy room was quite palpable. One day she erupted. And she said, What are we doing here? We don't seem to be making any progress. And then when I asked her, What meaning are you making of this? She said, You're not taking charge? You're not guiding me? And I said, I'm not. And what does that mean for you? And suddenly the penny dropped? And she realized, why am I waiting for you to take charge. And she said, This is my pattern, that I wait for things to happen to me. Now, this is an extremely unconscious pattern. People giving up their thinking people giving up the agency they have in their lives believing that they need somebody else. And this was a relational process, where the we use the here and now we used what was happening between us to really help her gain awareness of that. And she was able to then now move into a relationship with me where she could own her agency on her thinking, and that was more equal with me. And that was very healing for her. Wow. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I love that story. And I think you told that really well. It's sort of like very endearing as well. You know,
what happened with her and how she sort of changed her pattern. Obviously, the stories are sort of like they're so interesting, you know, I didn't I was feeling a sad when the book got over because they were told with a lot of love
So I think you know, the clients and their issues, their problems, the kind of dialogue that you've used. So for for both of you, which was the hardest story to tell, and which is your favorite story? Yes. Hardest story.
Both are very tough questions.
It is really, really hard to choose, you know, I favor the stories, which are actually about the relationship. And some of these are, of course, drawn from actual moments in the therapy room. So you mentioned that word endearing, and I got in touch with how much our clients really do mean to us. And the connection that emerges, it's a very special thing. And I am reminded of fun story, which I can't even remember the name of that one knows what I have to say, I love the titles that you had. That was it, you have come up with a very, very pithy and very entertaining. Yeah. So angry young man, I have a story called The angry young man, it's just one, one example of something that actually did happen. And it's a story in which there was somebody who was, you know, really angry with the whole world. And it was kind of inevitable that he would also end up getting angry with me. And I liked that story, because in that I've actually acknowledged a mistake that I made in trying to get him out of his anger and push him into sadness, which he wasn't ready for. So it was really an important learning for me. And it was one of the stories that did not end in success in the sense that he actually got so angry that he left therapy. He just wasn't ready to face his sadness, the kind of learnings from that incident and the fun I had in writing about that story, the vulnerable vulnerability took for me to also put my mistake out there, I think that story pretty is pretty close to my heart for a number of reasons. Yeah, that's, that's a good one. What about you are now ah, I have a lot of the difficulty choosing a favorite.
I like the story, a world where facts are welcome. Because it really, I was very fascinated with the work I did with teens. That was the group of teens that I worked with. And sometimes I think they were one of the best groups I've ever worked with. And we use very visual ways they constructed a, they made a cartoon based on some prompts. And then they had to see their own life patterns in what emerged in the cartoon, how what of themselves was revealed in the story. And the way they enjoyed the analysis, and came up with very interesting meaning. I was fascinated by the process. And therefore I liked the story. The story is also funny. So yeah, so that's, that's, I could say, that's one of my favorite stories. I also like Yash, like the stories that there's no need finish, one of the big jobs as a psychotherapist is to help people face their losses, that if they've had some part of their childhood was they were deprived of love, or attention or importance or celebration, it is a loss, or if some relationship is not working out currently. So not everything can be resolved in a neat way. So where people make peace with the imperfect lives, I like those stories, because then we decide to say, well, let me see what is in my control, and focus on on that more than struggling to make it all fit neatly. Yeah, yeah. Because in life, you know, there are no sort of neat endings. I really like that a lot. And in terms of your readers, I'd like I also wanted to know which stories do they most resonate with? Have you got any reader feedback? One feedback we got from the pinwheel team, who were our first set of readers right when the editor has shared it with the sales team. And they said the first few chapters, I remember them telling us that they read a story called bath time battles, which are on has written about a guy who's very, very disturbed because his little son just refuses to have a bath in the mornings, and the whole family gets behind him. And there's this major drama that takes place every morning.
Until I don't know, as a therapist asked him to question where did this come from this idea that a bath must happen in the morning, and he was able to trace it back to his mother and grandmother and grandmother before her etc. And so the feedback from the editor was that one of the senior sales leaders actually read that story and said, Oh my god, I do this too. This is the same thing that happens in my house.
House. So that's standard for me. And we've had many people say, I have this aha moment, and just oh my god, this is how I also behave. So it's been very heartening to hear that kind of resonance.
Yeah, absolutely. And actually, that brings me to my next question, because a lot of times in these stories there, you know, I, at least, you know, relate to a lot of them. And I was already looking back at my own patterns. And I was like, you know, maybe this is what triggers me for this reason, you know, and maybe, you know, because my relationship with so and so on my childhood, you know, was like this, maybe that's why I'm acting like this. So is it okay to do that, you know, as your reader sort of reading the stories, and then sort of like, doing a sort of self diagnosis, or introspecting? Or is it sort of dangerous to do that? And instead, you know, one must only sort of engage in that kind of thinking with the therapist, like, what is it? You know? So I can answer that. I think transactional analysis was created to make these ideas of repetative patterns and the pathologizing difficulties, we say that we had difficulties as a child, and we reacted to the difficulty in some way. And we carry that same coping pattern on to other flights, where it's no longer relevant. So the idea is that if you understand this, your awareness grows and you yourself able to make sense of a lot of these patterns. And it is, okay, it's okay to do that. Sometimes, it may not be very clear, and not very straightforward and not as simple. You might benefit from health. But the idea is not to position the therapist as God. I in fact, I had a I have a trainee who said, she every evening, she and her husband read a story together, and they discuss what of us can we see in the story? And what do we get from this, I think it's a wonderful way to use the stories to make meaning of your life. But sometimes you may not see it may not be fully clear. And if it's not fully clear, of course, you must take support of whatever kind, it's great if people are able to make sense of their patterns with these stories. Okay, that's great. That's great to know. Because I think, you know, like, I entered with this whole loophole after that, and then after reading the stories, and because they were so relatable, as well. And it just got me thinking, you know, about how therapy and therapists are viewed in popular culture, because there's so much more nowadays about TV and book representation of therapists who need TV shows, you know, we have love using the GI with Shahrukh Khan, who was the therapist in that. And then there's a new TV show called shrinking, you know, with Jason Segel on Apple TV, which I really, really liked that show. And it's about how a therapist goes rogue. And then there's a lot of like, psychological thrillers so much, you know, representation. So I just wanted to know what you think about all of this? And do you think that the way that therapists are represented nowadays in popular culture? Is it accurate? Yeah, we've been talking about that. It is great, on the one hand, that there is no representation, but we do find ourselves often wishing that it was really rooted in ground reality, in an actual knowledge of psychotherapy that it was presented more responsibly, I have seen examples
of therapists being portrayed as the ones who are just out there to give advice, and, you know, quote, lots of age old proverbs with an air of wisdom, there is a show called in treatment, which we quite enjoy. We've seen that. And the thing with that, one is that in the process of dramatization for TV viewing, there's a lot that is a that's missed out. So for example, the tendency to bring in a lot of anger, bring in a lot of involvement, sometimes sexual involvement, things which are against the code of ethics for any therapist to actually be practicing under. There is a lot of more thinking that is required. And it's sort of a dream, I wish that around and I, you know, keep sort of banding about between us that can we do something someday to actually bring about a series that represents therapy the way it really is, but till now, I wouldn't say I've seen a show or a movie where I can say that yeah, wow, this is it. And I don't know I don't know if you have a different point of view on that. That one. Yeah. See, it's it's it is simplified. So for instance, there's in the gay is act was actually a very good movie. I enjoyed it, when he makes a connection to her early childhood and she's able to feel the feelings that she had pushed away. And she does a cathartic release and then
He's able to look forward, etc. So it's very simplified. Often the portrayal is one cathartic release. It starts typically with aggression, suspicion, and there's some moments of trust, and there'll be a cathartic release, and then the person is all fine. Again, it's not that simple. There are so many dynamics between the therapist and the client. And yeah, but I suppose movies have to be made in a simple way.
Yeah, so right now, i There are a lot of incorrect things, of course, that are for drama, everyone will be very aggressive towards their therapist, and they'll humiliate their therapist. It doesn't happen like that. Most people are very respectful and considerate. And they idolize their therapists that doesn't get shown on TV so much. One of the shows that I saw recently was very scary. It's called the patient. And it's Steve Carell in it, and it's basically the serial killer who kidnaps his head pissed.
That was like a really, really crazy show. And then the therapist has to sort of give him therapy to get out of captivity. So there's a lot of yeah, maybe misrepresentation over dramatization. But that brings me to the recommendation section. So what is the one sort of book on therapy apart from yours, that you would like to recommend? So easy for me. I'm a big fan of vinyasa alone. I think I don't only introduced him to me a few years ago, and I've got about seven of his books. And his book loves executioner. That remains a favorite for me, I read it recently. It's fantastic. It's got 10 stories. And because it's got 10 stories, it means that he goes a little deeper into each case study. And I love the vulnerability with which he writes. And he's, of course, a very seasoned psych psychiatrist and psychotherapist. And yeah, he writes with so much tenderness and brutal honesty, that I think anybody whether it's a therapist, or leader can learn a lot by reading this book loves execution, or when yellow.
And I love the examined life by Stephen grace, that's also about 10 to 12 stories of what happened in the therapy room, very realistic, very engaging very, fills us with compassion. Yeah, so that's the book, I recommend the examined life. There's a transactional analyst called Phil Lapworth. He's written a book called Tales from the therapy room shrinkwrapped. Actually, that was the first book of therapy tales that I read. And I read another book called listen carefully that he'd written, that's also fewer cases and longer ones. Really lovely stories. For those who are very keen to understand how therapy works. These are some of the authors that we would recommend, as you do as authors are just a handful, we can have a lot more writing in that space. It's just if we can count them on the hand fingers of one hand actually, amazing. That means there's a lot more sort of scope, as well. So there's a lot of sort of self help books or mental health. We had interviewed another therapist called Sonali Gupta, who's written a self help book on anxiety. So what do you think about that genre? And are there any self help books on mental health that you would recommend? Yeah, I was reading. Dr. Julie Smith. Why has nobody told me this before? I thought I found it a little simplistic, but then I realized that for somebody who's new to the space that could actually provide a very good basic grounding. So that's one why has nobody told me this before. I love the school of life and the course of love books by Alain de Botton, who really, it's not really psychotherapy as such, but it is definitely about an emotional education. So these are two great books I would recommend to anybody. I think I also like the school of life, I think there are some books on transactional analysis that gave a very good understanding of the theories. And that can offer a lot of potential for helping yourself. This is born to win by Muriel James. I'm okay. You're okay by Thomas Harris. games people play by Eric Bern. I won't call them self help books, really. But there's their books on understanding why we are the way we are and what we can do about it. So these would add to yesterday's list. Amazing. Okay, so now, it's time for our quiz round, which is a fun quiz. And we'll see if you can answer alternatively. So I'll give you three options and you'll have to pick one. So the most interesting piece of furniture in a therapist room
Is it a chair, table or couch? My answer is chair.
Because we work a lot with empty chairs. So I'd say the most interesting piece of furniture is chairs.
And yeah, Shudra I was gonna say couch.
That's because I think I still have this image in my mind, which is exactly what we're trying to dispel of a client lying there. And the therapist standing behind and sitting behind in making notes. So it's interesting, but more in fantasy than in reality. Yeah. Okay, one piece of stationery you can't live without as a therapist, your notebook, your pen, or your table lamp. Easy for me again, I would say my pen. And while I know a reader is very intuitive, doesn't need to take notes during a session. I'm often parking things for coming back to later. And I chose a pen because even if I don't have my notebook, I will write on anything including a piece of tissue.
I think I can't if i What's the use of a pen without a notebook? And so I chose a lamp because it is standalone. And I like pretty lamps very much.
Okay, yeah, show that this is a question for you. One chapter title of r&r. That's your favorite. Not my circus, not my monkeys choosing to see or the hot potato.
It will be the hot potato. Because it has multiple layers of meaning. And I think it brings in a lot of intrigue as to what this might be. For more read the story. Okay, so this is where you are now one chapter title of your show drama. That's your favorite. Tell me what to do. Come out and talk demon, or Rockabye. Baby. I like come out and talk demon. I think I remember that visual of that.
Girl with flies around her head. I've seen that visual is a very, very striking visual that stayed with me for a long time.
So yeah. And it's a very dramatic title. Come out and talk demon. It's my favorite. Yeah. Okay, so what keeps your friendship going? Is it drinks? conversations or bloopers?
I want to answer that first. I think it is not so much drinks. Although we've had some of our most fun moments over drinks. It is conversation. And yeah, we've also had conversations about bloopers, I often feel that when a donor reveals herself as a human being to me, I feel so much closer to her. I had to choose one thing but the conversation. Yeah, I think what binds us is
the passion for this work. The I think our work values are so similar. We are both so committed will show up even when we are sick. And we take challenges. So if he or she writes a story, then I have to now keep up pace with the ash, the young, energetic Yesh. And then she has to keep up pace with my experience. And then we do take these challenges and we surprise ourselves and we admire each other.
So I think we challenge each other and we've full of possibilities. So many things and the drinks.
Yeah, love it. Yeah. Okay, so that brings us to the rapid fire round, where you can answer in one word or one sentence. So the first one is if you had to write another book together, what would it be about?
It would be in depth case studies. Then in depth case studies, which involve us a lot more. And is that in the works?
I just introduced the idea right now two seconds ago.
I have been sitting on another idea on psychologically games, and we'll do both
amazing can't wait to read that. We have still got to do I think this book has to reach its potential so much more. And thanks to podcasts like this, hopefully it reaches more people. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Got to do more and write more together. Amazing. Okay. This is why your show Dre so one thing you love about Aruna. I love that she called me young. But I also love that she's the only person I know who actually uses the word delight in normal conversation. And she embodies that she celebrates and delights in the people close to her her trainees, her clients and that's very, very endearing to see. Amazing and our last question for you. What do you love most about your show Dre? I think sharpness her wit
her sense of humor, or speed, the or the zest for life or dancing, or singing she's, she's so multifaceted in so many ways. I mean, I'm surprised every day. Yeah. So what I love about you, yes. Oh my god. Thank you so nice.
See, that's what I meant. delighting people she answered with 10 things for the question, which said the one thing
you saw, okay, so one word that people most often use in the wrong context in terms of therapy, gaslighting?
I think the, the I do, it's not a word, but I think it's an idea that pain must be avoided.
Yeah, what is the most important misconception about therapy that you're busted in your book? If you have to choose one, therapy is for the weak and vulnerable only. I'll change that it's therapy is for the weak and crazy people.
Right one, and the other one is we can
heal ourselves by forgetting. And looking forward. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. I think on that note, you know, we can end the conversation, I have so many more questions. You know, I love to know, the stories behind each of these 15 stories, you know, because I just love the characters. I loved how well it's written. And it really did teach me so much about not only, you know, D stigmatizing therapy, but also who therapy is for, you know, the different practices in transaction analysis, it gave me a glimpse into that, whether it's using action or role reversal, or, you know, the relational techniques. So it was very rich in that way full of information that was easy to digest, because we're actually seeing it in these examples. So thank you very much for this conversation, and hope the book keeps reaching new heights. Thank you so much, and such beautiful, engaging questions. Really, really appreciate it and love talking to you. Thank you, Tara. Thank you, Tara. I enjoyed this so much. We had so much fun and I'm amazed that how thoroughly you've read the book and I'd be very happy to share stories behind each of the 50s
you discover a book differently. Yeah.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much.
So here we are, where the end of yet another journey into the many worlds of Books and Beyond with bound. I'm Tara can do while I'm Michelle D'costa. And this podcast is created by bout a company that helps you grow through stories. Find us at sound India are all social media platforms. So tune in every Wednesday if you live, eat and breathe books, and join us as we discover more revolutionary books and peek into the lives and minds of some truly brilliant authors from India and South Asia. And don't forget to keep your love for stories alive for books and beyond.