It is a state of discomfort in the body . Symptoms that people experience during stress are actually anxiety symptoms  . If one is familiar with these symptoms of anxiety one may be able to learn how to regulate the symptoms and thereby achieve  some relief. So let’s look at how the symptoms of anxiety manifest in the body


The muscles  may experience tension and a person experiencing the tension   may complain of headache, backache, tightness of chest ,Dryness of throat, raised heartbeat,tingling and generalized aches and pains .


A person experiencing higher levels of anxiety may experience a migraine , frequency of  urination, irritable bowel symptoms, fluctuating blood pressure , blurring of vision, tunnel vision giddiness , loss of concentration, attention and blanking.


No wonder that anyone experiencing higher levels of anxiety is likely to be less productive then a person experiencing lower bearable levels of anxiety.

It is strange that  though anxiety is very commonly experienced by people  it may be highly unrecognised and untreated because sometimes it’s been such a long  duration of experiencing anxiety that the person t h i n k s that this is just the way people normally feel .


 It is therefore essential for us to pay attention to the symptoms of anxiety ,find out the causes and give remedy so that the person gets   relief.


Other than medicines which target anxiety symptoms in the body there are  multitudes of therapies which helps the person regulate his anxiety and gain control over his symptoms. The more he   is able to manage his anxiety the more confident he becomes, leading to better productivity . With practice and training , regulating anxiety in stressful situations can have wonderful long term adaptation of the body   and after a while the body itself does not respond to stressful situations in the same way as it did in the past

Sona Kakar on Supportive Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy could be Supportive by allowing people to just speak, reassure them, guidance recommending relaxation, building on interests etc.For example if a lady has a problem with her colleague at the work place,which has led to some psychological distress with symptoms of sleeplessness,irritability lack of concentration,reduced motivation,depressed mood or body aches and pains , supportive therapy offers her a non judgemental platform to talk about her problems,reassure her ,suggest alternatives to de stress and help her till she overcomes her current symptoms with or without medication.

Sona Kakar on Emotions and Suffering

Sona Kakar on Emotions and Suffering

How do I take Care of my Emotions

How do I take care of my Emotions? 

When we talk of emotions ,different words pop up in our mind . Though we all want our emotions to be understood by our partners it is strange that when asked to identify which emotion we are talking about,a lot of us struggle with different words. Words like hurt, pain, trauma, lack of validation, helplessness  etc may come up.

What are emotions ?

However, emotions are feelings we experience when some interaction takes place with other beings. 

For example, if one meets a long lost good friend , we experience happiness, when we lose someone we experience sadness,if someone says hurtful things we experience anger. Yet identifying emotions in reality can sometimes become a problem. 

Is helplessness an emotion?

Lets say a young girl gets back from her college . Her mother expected her sooner and shouts at her.The girl feels angry at her mother,but unable to express her anger at her mother fearing she will make her mother unhappy,she turns the anger onto herself and becomes helpless and unhappy. 

Why does one have trouble in closer bonds?

Here in any other situation ,if a stranger had shouted at her ,she would have responded angrily, but with her mother who she loves a lot ,the experience of anger gets covered with sadness and guilt. 

What are mixed feelings?

Feelings are never one kind. We experience all sorts of emotions towards the same people.After all we love certain people but the same people may also cause us to experience anger.Relationships after all either deliver delay or disappoint and we may experience a host of feelings towards the same person.

How then might this girl take care of her emotions? Which emotion needs her attention and how can she overcome her sadness? 

In What kind of therapy will focus on emotions ?

In dynamic therapy the focus will be in experiencing repressed feelings without hurting yourself or suffering from neurotic guilt. 

To book an appointment 9100221111 

Sona Kakar on Devaluation and criticism

Sona Kakar on Devaluation and criticism

1.Devaluation – The harsh Untruths

One perfectly lovely day may be completely ruined by terribly harsh words. Especially from people we have learnt to respect .

These words can shatter our image about ourselves or our image about them and certainly our relationships.

2.Effects of Devaluation

Devaluation can be devastating for people who love such people due to various forms of relationships they may have formed with them. In order to save the relationship they may allow this devaluation, sometimes believing the harsh untruths and trying to improve themselves to match up to the exacting demands of the other person . Ones own identity is lost and one lives a life pleasing such people  who can never value themselves enough to value people who love them

3. Why Devalue

Often people who were devalued while they grew up will continue to devalue others to make themselves  feel good.In any conflict it has to be someone’s fault and in order to save the guilt of facing their role in the conflict they may rave and rant and pin the blame squarely on others. The concept of you are bad and I am  good  helps them save themselves from a terrible negative view of themselves.

4.How Does one Cope With Devaluation

It is important to look at evidence about how one really is.So if someone calls you dumb , it’s important to recognize how true or false the accusation is in the context of the reality about our capabilities in general .

Possibly such a person may have been fairly incapable of even recognizing our capabilities.



Will I be judged?

Will I be judged?

Will I be judged?

Great question.


Here the thought of being judged is terrifying but in reality this is just a critical thought that  pops up  in the head and sits judge on us without factoring in the reality that the counselor may or may not judge us . One would never know unless one interacted with the counselor. Yet often this thought is good enough to destroy our wish to help ourselves ,to collaborate with another person in order to seek a resolution to our emotional difficulty.

This thought does another thing

It puts the counselor on a pedestal. It also generates enough anxiety which does not allow any opening up.So the counselor is a know all and yet knows nothing about us . Where might this therapy go eventually ? Not too hard to guess.

And therefore the first important step in therapy is to ascertain how to deal with this debilitating destructive mechanism of harsh and critical thoughts , which dis balances the relationship with the therapist we want to work with.Only a relationship of equals with an equal stake in the process can work. Any inequality is bound to lead to failure just like in our relationships .Here both are  needed to bring something into the therapy. A zero percent from either would lead to zero results.

Psychological counselling

Psychological counselling

psychological counseling by sona kakar Psychological counseling is done using different methods. Basically it is the target that determines the kind of psychological help chosen

In fact, counseling itself implies helping people find alternative solutions in the external world. So a young teen who is not aware of the kind of courses available for him to opt for after his schooling may go for  counseling where information is imparted regarding the choices available.

A young expecting mother may want counseling on what she must eat or what she must feed the baby or how to organize her routine with her infant.

The difference comes in when the problem is in the internal world. So now the same teen says he has two options available to him and he has researched the pros and cons for each option but is unable to make up his mind. Here the problem is not external but internal as there is undermining of his capability at deciding what works best for himself.   The kind of therapy depends on the choices people have about what they want and also on the technique followed by the therapist


Psychotherapy could be Supportive by allowing people to just speak, reassure them, guidance recommending relaxation, building on interests etc.For example if a lady has a problem with her colleague at the work place,which has led to some psychological distress with symptoms of sleeplessness,irritability lack of concentration,reduced motivation,depressed mood or body aches and pains , supportive therapy offers her a non judgemental platform to talk about her problems,reassure her ,suggest alternatives to de stress and help her till she overcomes her current symptoms with or without medication.


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is transformative and allows more awareness into ones personality helping the person use this awareness to strengthen himself leading to personality growth and expansion. It provides insight into unconscious conflicts which have led to the suffering of the person so that he can make positive choices to free himself of his suffering.This form of therapy is less directive though the therapist may use suggestions to strengthen the clients ego from time to time.A lot of attention  is given to the relationship built with the therapist and the dynamics constantly playing out in this relationship to understand the difficulties the client experiences in his other relationships and help him work through those with empathy.This therapy is particularly useful where symptoms of sadness,somatic pain symptoms leading to chronic headaches, body pain,migraines decreased motivation, anxiety,stress,indecision,helplessness,self blame,excessive guilt may be causing the suffering. For example an individual who in his early years grew up with criticism may continue to criticise himself leading to sadness and excessive anxiety. It is also useful for people living a life where their actions have led to excessive guilt,sadness or detachment but they are unable to stop the vicious cycle because they believe their actions define them.Therapy helps them see that the difference between them and the actions they have chosen over many years which has made them believe that both are inseparable.For any therapy to succeed the will and motivation of the client is the driving force.

This therapy enables the person to work through some of these destructive mechanisms and alleviate his suffering and to enable him to live his life without fear

Sona Kakar on Yin or Yang | Relationships

Sona Kakar on Yin or Yang | Relationships

Who shall I choose to be with?

There is this dedicated, hard-working, conscientious, predictable but slightly boring person (no spontaneity here) and then the likeable, affable, adventurous, risk taking, fun but highly unpredictable person (doubt alert). Hey, where are all the Mills and Boons personalities? Wouldn’t we like a healthy and heady mix of all. Why do we have to choose between them?

And then we choose and how!

We decide that a little bit of tweaking for either would do the trick. Hey presto, a wonderful piece of art is gonna show up in no time!

And then we begin to create this masterpiece. We labour over it and we persevere and we read up self help books and we take tips from the internet but whatever we do, we just can’t give it the design we want to, and the more we hammer on it the more it turns into a Frankenstein, a fantasy that envelops us, just waiting to disappoints us every time reality shows up.

So now we end up looking for traits of being more grounded in a fun loving and adventurous person; and wish the hard-working one would take us on more holidays. Here we overlook who they are and persist to show them who they should be.

Is it not that this fantasy about being able to get people to be the way we would like to see them hurtful because we spend a great deal of our resources hoping to see our fantasy pan out but every time the reality shows up we are disappointed. The inability to live out our fantasy generates anger (who would like to give up on their dreams), and it can have devastating effects on our relationship, and in turn take away fun, adventure, security, predictability… just what we looked for in the first place… and bring in distance… (after all has not this relationship been with a fantasy person and not the real one).

Sona Kakar on Death and Dying | Pain

Sona Kakar on Death and Dying | Pain

22 years ago I was an intern at the Surgery department at St. George’s Hospital at VT Station, Mumbai. It was Saturday the 13th of March, the morning after the bomb blasts and as I entered the hospital I found a long queue of people wanting to donate blood. My usually cheerful surgery registrars were not visible in the OPD till late evening when they peeped into the department and told me how terrifying the last 24 hours had been. However during their absence I chose to observe the people who just waited patiently and silently to donate blood. I will never know if they were relatives or just the usual folk but it was their expressions which struck me. None looked anxious or spoke a word. They wore a complete mask over their emotions and just came in to deal with the truth of dying and death of fellow humans. Yet all their eyes reflected one single thing… pain.

Years later the so called perpetrator of the crime lost his life. Lots of people again silently and patiently converged at his burial. No emotions, no crying but the pain.

The pain of the inevitable, the pain of loss, the pain of having survived when someone else died, the pain of seeing the reality of existence… the pain of death.

Marriage Counselors

Marriage Counselors

Relationship counsellors or marriage counsellors are often substituted for judges in our society to decide who is right or wrong, and expect them to ask one of the partners who is “wrong” to compromise, to make the marriage work. Ironically, a person with no idea about the couple’s inner lives, emotions and wishes is expected to sit judge on them and decide on how they should live their lives.

However, marriage counselling is not about compromising, but about making informed choices with each partner having a stake in what they choose as a solution to their problem. For example, a wife would want to spend her savings on a holiday every year and her husband would like to invest their savings rather than go on a holiday. The wife may feel extremely depressed at not getting a relationship where a yearly holiday was something to look forward to and the husband may be disappointed that his wife cannot appreciate his efforts to secure his family’s future and this could lead to a conflict. Ideally, it would be wonderful if both could see each others perspective and there could be a give and take even though both may be still convinced about their own points or view.

For the sake of the partner or relationship, each one may give up a bit of their expectation and negotiate around a mutually acceptable process. For example, both of them could agree on a holiday every two to three years and they both may be able to accept the solution even though that is ideally not what each one would have liked individually.

However, difficulties in relationships are not so easily solved in reality. Sometimes, conflicts could be about issues where one or both partners find it difficult to give up on what they consider their belief. It may be held so strongly, that it feels like an attack on ones belief system to give up on it at all. For example, a wife may feel highly distressed that her husband talks to other women, and considers it “wrong”. On the other hand, the husband may be highly averse to his wife ever accepting money or gifts from her parents on any occasion. Sometimes, these beliefs may be held tenaciously and giving up on them may feel like giving up on the way we are.

Unfortunately, rather than attacking their beliefs which are leading to their difficulties the couple may attack each other and this relationship will bring in extreme sadness and despair. Here, therapy aims to help individuals differentiate themselves from their beliefs where we can love ourselves and others for who we are and not because of a particular belief system.