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Essay: Mental illness among South Asians

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  • Subject area(s): Health essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
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  • Published: 11 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 558 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 3 (approx)

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In reality our body and mind connected evenly as much as our body need attention our mind need the same attention for complete well-being without healthy mind one can not have healthy body. According to an article published in ‘India West’ by Sonia Parikh, MD (August, 2014),
Indian culture tends to conceptualize symptoms like depression and anxiety as emotional reactions to external circumstances, rather than as internal problems that require professional treatment. The mentally ill are often called “crazy,” “mad,” or “weak” within our culture, which makes those with psychiatric problems all that more reluctant to seek not only emotional support within one’s family but also professional treatment in the community.’
Many South Asians see mental health issue as an issue that individuals should learn or know how to just ‘get over’ and when the issue or topic is talked about mental health the issue is habitually brushed away or derided as an over-exaggeration. Many people see it as a symbol of failing, weakness, anxiety and afraid that people will call them ‘crazy’ or ‘unstable.’ Another myth commonly found in South Asian population is that why do I need to be pay attention to stress symptoms, stress is not serious or damaging to health, its part of everyone’s life and these symptoms can not be associated with anxiety or depression. However, many of these stress symptoms overlap with depression and anxiety. One of the biggest myth in this society is that mental health issue which need attention need to be serious in order for to seek professional help and if someone decide seeks support or help then it is humiliating or shameful and brings disgrace to family. However, in reality, paying attention to these symptoms and by seeking help can save many embarrassing or shameful event wich could happen if the person stays untreated.
As I did my research I gain more knowledge and understood the stigma and now biggest challenge was for me to what theory to use to bring awareness in South Asian population. I realize that I need a theory which can bring ‘awareness’ and has ‘holistic approach’ to bring change. However, change is difficult but inevitable. My understanding about how people make changes in their lives has been greatly influenced by the Gestalt therapy class I took over the summer. So I decided to use Gestalt for my modality and started exploring. In this paper I will discuss about brief history of Gestalt theory, nature of humans, nature of pathology, nature of change, nature of treatment, nature of technique and limitation of Gestalt theory.
History and Fundamentals of Gestalt theory
Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman formed Gestalt therapy in 1940s-1950s. According to Perls (1951) gestalt therapy is described as an existential and experiential psychotherapy. Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapy model that sees the conflicts and inappropriate social behavior as painful signals created by polarity or two elements of psychological process. Conflict can be internal in nature to the individual, or it may manifest in interpersonal relationships. Regardless of its location, the treatment consists of inconsistent or bipolar confrontation between elements of personality or interpersonal relationship. Emphasizes the integrative experience, the experience, not intellectual discussion; therefore, the transmission of the Gestalt principles are made through an experiential approach. This approach focuses on present behavior and requires the active participation of the therapist.

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