The other day I was reading a book that was written by M.Scott Peck, and this caused me to think about a number of different things. For some reason, I started to think about doing some kind of course at college.
As a result of this, I had a look at what courses were on offer at a college nearby. One of the courses that interested me was an introductory course on counselling; this seemed like something that I would enjoy.
A Closer Look
So, the next time I was in the area, I headed over to the college and spoke to someone about the course. I was told that it would only be for a few hours each week and that it would last for ten weeks.
But in order for me to get onto the course, I would have to come back for an interview. At this point, I was in two minds; I wasn’t completely convinced that this was something that I wanted to do.
The fact that it was only going to be for a few hours a week made me think that this wouldn’t be enough. However, while this was something that I wasn’t too keen on, there were other things that interested me.
I would be meeting different people and I would be able to find out more about what counselling was all about, amongst other things. When I came back in a few days for the interview, I still wasn’t sure if this was the right thing for me to do.
The Big Day
At the beginning of the interview, I found out more about what kind of things I would be doing on the course. And although it would only be a few hours each week, there would be a lot of work that I would have to do in my own time.
Once this part was over, I was given a load of forms to fill in, and this was when it started to get interesting. This wasn’t a time when I just had to write down my name, address and what kind of grades I had, for instance, there was a lot more to it.
A New Experience
One of the forms that I had to fill in had about six different boxes, and in each box was a mental and emotional experience. There were three options available for each box, and these were: yes, no, and in the past.
And, if I ticked the yes box, I then had to explain the effect that it was having on my life. When I saw what was listed in these boxes I nearly fell off my chair; it was as if I was seeing things.
Part of Life
I couldn’t believe that I was being asked I had ever experienced anxiety. I turned to the person next to me and said that it was a bit strange that we were being asked this question, along with a few of the others that were on their.
It was similar to being asked I had ever eaten food or had something to drink – I found it hard to take it all seriously. After all, being able to experience anxiety is part of the human experience and not a sign that something is wrong.
Yet, the fact that they had to mention anxiety shows that it is seen as a problem, as opposed to a normal part of life. At the same time, it could be said that they have to ask these questions due to the kind of course that it is.
This is understandable, but then do they really believe that there are people out there who have never experienced anxiety? If someone was to tick the box that said they have never experienced anxiety, would they be lying or would they be unable to experience emotions in general?
Making the Normal Abnormal and the Abnormal Normal
As I look back on this, it makes me think about how what it means to be a human being is being redefined. Being anxious or depressed, for instance, from time to time is no longer seen as part of life; it is seen as a sign that someone has mental health problems.
Now, clearly there is a difference between being anxious or depressed from time to time and always being this way. When someone is unable handle life because of something like this, the best thing will be for them to reach out for the right support.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.