>Building Forts for Higher Learning


For today’s Introduction to Counselling class, we were instructed to pair ourselves with a classmate and build a fort, along with presenting a childhood photo. It was quite unreal, in that such a simplistic activity was then psychoanalyzed to determine individual strengths and weaknesses (areas for growth haha). I actually found several interesting things upon self reflection of my own fort. Probably one of the driving ideas was the open design, where we joined two forts together to produce an atrium of some sorts, where Socratic discussion and new bonds of communication could be opened. This I see in my extroverted personality, where I enjoy dialect, humor/wit and constructive criticism. However, I found that once my profs and TAs could see me through a crack in the tent, I immediately made an attempt to seal off their prying eyes, and to some extent the rest of the classroom. I found it comforting hiding behind my bedsheet roof. Interestingly enough, this reverts to Erikson’s 8 Psychosocial stages, amongst the first one, that of Trust vs. Mistrust. In this stage, the infant must develop the ability to trust the surrounding environment in order to explore it. I find it highly ironic that although I am a strong proponent of exploration of new avenues and constant novel situations to promote learning/stimulation I am absolutely terrified of the concept. Case in point, Jia and I were discussing the new situation I have now found myself in, that where my best friends have moved away from the city (as well as engorging on the new found career life style), and that I must now establish myself with new accomplices in life (this isn’t to say that I am replacing my friends- far from!- but that I will be finding new social networks to thrive in). I am a walking paradox. I love wit, and to love wit means to banter, to communicate and to volley verbal assaults like no other. And yet I find myself terrified of the outside world/strangers. How can I banter when I can’t step outside the house?

Anyways, long story short, I found myself dumbfounded that I had somehow managed to revert to Erikson’s stage which ends in early infancy. I’m quite interested in how the counselling process would work this one out.

Today I fell in a bout of recidivism, resorting to an old crime fave of mine, binge eating. I had unfortunately spaced out my dinner and lunch with a 5.5 hr span, which was way too long and resulted in an almost insatiable appetite. Fortunately I managed to binge on a large number of fruits, which to me outweighs the added calories for all their fiber/yummy contents. I still ate the same amount of calories as the day before, but with much better sources (like no steamed fatty pork goodness buns).

My readings uncovered a conversation with Jia about listening skills. He had made note that when people want somebody to listen, in general, they are not looking for advice, but rather an avenue to unleash their pent up emotions. It was interesting that Sigmund Freud in 1936, has noted this as a significant avenue for counselling, that of the Cathartic Process. In this case, there is little feedback/guidance from the counselor, other than to create an environment of trust, where the patient can essentially purge. Although the overall attitude has changed of catharsis, it is still regarded as a significant moment in patient/counselor relations.

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