Hello, I am Prateeksha Sharma- b. April 1972, and everyday ever since- for every day is a new day, with immense possibilities which can take you in any direction.
On this page, I share where I come from, what I do, how I got trained for it and what are my value systems about the work that I do. This is all as per the present moment- there are no future plans here, just the NOW reality.
Experience : Life kicked me into the domain of experiencing the bipolar side of my mind in serious ways, and I remained in that haze for at least two decades tossing between extreme mood states of psychosis and depressions. I hope to write about that someday. But for now, I am just celebrating in a quiet way, my exit from that torment, and trying to configure the various pathways that I trod, via research. This was also the starting point of my interest in seeing how recovery outcomes could be achieved in more and more people- so that is what I do nowadays, as part of my counseling work. In addition to this, since the July 2016 I am also studying towards a phd degree, examining ‘recovery’ in the Indian legal milieu. (Oh, and ever since the start of this journey, I seriously feel the need to define recovery, and what is the philosophical stance I have on that. But more of that in another location)
All lived experience fortified theoretical knowledge I had in counseling (via a diploma), further augmented by my own analyst’s worldview of Jungian analytical psychology. Before these my academic degrees were in Economics (bachelor’s) and Political Science (master’s).
If I had a choice, I would call myself multipolar, which in fact most people would be, who are gifted- artistically, intellectually or spiritually. There is nothing unique in being bipolar, for the universe itself is based on the play between opposites- bipolar is everyone’s natural endowment, until it gets disordered: for then it becomes a headache!
I believe everyone has a lot of gifts endowed with, by mother nature, and if they can only learn to identify their gifts and talents, hone them, harness their creative selves which are potentially whole- this world would have a lot less of conflict and suffering. This is also one of the underlying basis of my counseling.
Work: My work lies in the domain of counseling and research (download here), though one of the key expenditures of my life, time-wise, also lies in the domain of classical music. I am a trained musician who is a bit slothful to go and network as a performer, which I am quite capable of and whenever invited for it do. But I do not have the tenacity to chase concert organizers, because thanks to that long stint with bipolar, my mind went into understanding human suffering. For now I only engage with music at a personal level- whether my daily practice, learning sometimes with my guru, or teaching a student or more. Of course a good amount of my writing also has been in that direction- which as I said above, can be downloaded from the link there.
The Meaning of Collaborative Therapy
Collaborative therapies come from postmodern perspectives, which believe in multiple realities about the same situation. Let me illustrate with an example.
Suppose there is a youngster who has a drug addiction problem. When I am counseling such a person, I do not focus on their outer behaviour of drug dependence, at all. For me the dependence itself is an indication of a suffering which is not being addressed in other ways and is finding an outlet, via an escape from reality, using drugs. So what is the reality that this youngster is dealing with and not able to manage?
Unlike a program of de-addiction whose focus is only to let the youth be off medication, cleanse his system for the time being, and try to instill in him a sense of giving up the drugs, the focus of collaborative therapy is to understand the world that the youth carries and honor his reality. Yet also bring in voices and perspectives of family caregivers, to see what is their idea of the reality, as portrayed by the youngster. There may be many conflicts that rise to the surface in this unraveling and that is the most important axis for recovery in every family.
So, collaborative therapy is not as borne out of the idea that one does not understand the meaning of therapy and merely wants to collaborate with the individual/family; but is a much more evolved system, in which every version of truth and reality finds a place, towards achieving a homeostasis for all. It is based on the assumption that people are not alone in this universe and everyone is part of a wide array of relationship which impact them and the vice versa.