Breakdown of support systems and the “conflict of expectations” are leading to problems in relationships, with more men now approaching counselling centres for their problems, said experts. According to Arvinder J. Singh, consultant psychotherapist, over 40 percent of people approaching the organisation Sanjivini for help are those who have emotional issues related to conflict in expectations – when expectations are not met – which leads to marital and personality problems.
“People enter into a relationship to get something – and that is the biggest challenge in relationships,” she said at a panel discussion, ‘Changing relationships, changing times’, organised by Sanjivini at the India Habitat Centre Tuesday evening. Sanjivini, a non profit voluntary organisation that has been helping address mental health needs of people since 1976, believes “in the ability of people to find their own answers”, she said. ”We give time and counselling to help people look within and find their answers – to empower them, restore their self worth, and help them move from being victims to survivors.”
More men are approaching Sanjivini for counselling, she said.
This is due to more awareness levels, and the “de-stigmatisation” of men going for counselling. “The changing power equations in the house, more assertiveness of women… for men this is an unfamiliar experience. When both partners are working, the man’s ability to handle situations is questioned… the man feels evaluated and can’t deal with it. This creates an anxiety of a new kind,” Arvinder Singh said.
“People have more choices today, the economic independence of women… all this is impacting the atmosphere,” added Rohini Singh, a practitioner spiritual mentor and author.According to her, people must “clear their emotional garbage” for a relationship to be successful.
“We enter a relationship to feel whole, and expect needs to be met… When our expectations are not met, the blame starts,” she said, adding that one has to transcend ego in a relationship. With more openness in society and the freedom to make choices it has led to creation of new pressures in relationships, said Santosh Desai, a social commentator. ”The world of Google has brought with it millions of answers for people. This is liberating, empowering, and also poses a problem on how to make choices. This is a pressure and a freedom,” he said.
The panel discussion was held to mark 10 years of Sanjivini’s Basic Counselling Skills Workshop.
Arvinder Singh said Sanjivini began with “seven people and one table and chair as a suicide prevention agency”, and has grown over the years to working with all kinds of problems. In the last 10 years, more people have been approaching the agency with inter-personal and work related issues, she said.