Ameeta Sanghavi Shah
Ameeta is certified in Family Therapy from Washington University at St Louis, U.S.A and has a double Master in Social Work from Mumbai University and Washington University, St Louis. She has an NLP Master Practitioner’s and Trainer’s Certification from National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, U.S.A. & has done certificate courses in NLP from U.K. She is trained in clinical hypnotherapy, regression therapy, somatic experiencing and in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Ameeta has been practicing as a psychotherapist and trainer using the family therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, rational emotive therapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), meditation, creative visualization and hypnotherapy. She has written a weekly column for Pune Times for over 2 years and was on the Zee TV show Sangini.
She has conducted workshops for organizations on Self Development and Positive Living – adopting a proactive attitude to life and work, Strengthening Motivation, Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Assertiveness, Conflict Management, Managing Relationship Stress, Empowered Parenting, Reducing Co-dependency in relationships, Stress management and Relaxation Techniques.
She shall answer your questions on dealing with the emotional problems of life.
Ask Ameeta Sanghavi Shah
Question 141. My son aged 16 yrs aims to become a MBBS doctor and has joined institute for clearing the exam in 2013. But I find he has low self esteem and poor concentration and observation. More influenced by his friends. What has to be done to rectify these defects, so that he gets his desired fulfill as he is my only child. - Archna Nayak On 11 August 2011
Dear Archna, You may first need to connect with your son and rather than telling him his
weaknesses. You could explore how he feels about the career he has chosen and how keen he is.
Your son needs guidance and the first step to encourage him to explore what he wants in his life,
what challenges does he see for this, how his peers are handling this challenge, what alternatives
he would think of if he did not get the needed scores in the exam. You need to be non-judgemental,
relaxed and open-minded to hear his genuine thoughts and feelings. This is the stage he will be
influenced by peers so this is not a defect. Many of the defects you mention are just states in
growing up and becoming responsible. Only then will he be able to share.
Concentration goes and so does confidence if the stress is high. Stress here is not only of doing well
in the competitive exam it is also of the future at stake and the fear of letting you down. Encourage
him to set his goal but after that focus only on the efforts he needs to put in – his studying. If he
does not get in he can be prepared by thinking of good alternatives in other careers even with
accepting if there is loss for a year in the process. Let him know something will work out. This will
help him feel less insecure for his future and of letting you down as he has options that are ok
with him and with you. He can know definitely that he can get success in life either by getting into
medicine or with any other of the alternatives he has chosen. This will also increase his confidence.
The fear of “what if he will not get in” can reduce self confidence.
Learning to do relaxation exercises such as ‘shavasana’ in ‘yoga’, connecting with nature can be
rejuvenating with the arduous study he has to do. Co-ordinated breathing and movement exercises
that are part of tai chi and yoga increase brain functioning. He can practice any sport too on three
days a week to keep up his energy levels. Planning his study methods, creating notes and managing
time for study and break timings will help him get his desires fulfilled.
Make him aware he has chosen a career that can feel very purposeful and fulfilling. However it is
one that needs a lot of studying and this also for many years. The rewards from this career are far
off and your 16 year old would need to be prepared to delay gratification in the now and for his life.
The study period is intense, lot of hard work and medical studies takes many years too. Check with
him that he is not feeling forced by anyone for this choice and whether he is prepared for this kind
of study and the sacrifice of fun and pleasure he may have to do. Encourage him to know how peers
who are also trying for the medical CET exam. Let him talk to seniors and how they studied and what
they planned. Finally consulting a counsellor can also help him increase focus and confidence.
Question 142. I am 45 year old having 7 years old son, passing through very rough relation with husband as he is facing unexpected problems in all direction of life and bleming me for all this. i really do not know how i am responsible. he is mentaly haressing me too much by taunting, hurting whatever the way possible. it is not temporary . it is happening since last 6 years. but i can not leave him. what to do at this age . I am not expert in any field just a simple housewife. i can not live but even can`t die dut to my innisent son. what to do ? - Sonia Taneja On 6 September 2011
You are truly going through a tough time due to your husband’s negativities. You have
taken the decision that allows you to support your son and yourself since you do not have
vocational skills or financial resources to meet the physical needs. Turn this situation around
in your mind first. Believe that this experience is here to teach you... maybe empathy for
those who are harassed. It could be teaching you to train yourself to have the mind power for
inner peace and keep confidence even when being harassed and blamed! It is surprising when
we choose to look at a situation this way we stop being the victim that the person is making
is be. We can recognize we are not helplessly here but because it is the best choice for ourself
today with our total given circumstances. We are doing what we find possible to handle with
Practice discounting the idea that you are to blame and know that this is something he
is doing to manage his frustrations and not face his sense of failure. It is his weakness
and you are ok. Having an inner voice that recognizes this clearly helps. He may pick on
your ‘mistakes’ to blame you and you can have an inner bold stance to the fact that you are
ok and human even with the mistakes and cannot be perfect. Feel a strong belief, acceptance
and appreciation of yourself and your strengths. Practice appreciating yourself at times when
you do something well or notice a good quality of yours. His harassment will have less and
less effect though it will remain an irritant.
Is this taunting and hurting only verbal or physical too? If it is physical you can make a
complaint with the police or an NGO, leave a note about it with a close friend and let him
know that others know and he cannot harass you physically as this will go against him. If it
is verbal the above practice can help. In addition do not think of separation and instead plan
on a study course, it is possible to do online short courses or self educate oneself with reading
in a chosen field. In the modern world no age is too old to start anything. Build your physical
health with exercise and right nutrition. As you study some skill or subject that interests you
it can offer possibility for a small vocation. Even though this may not financially be enough it
will build your self esteem and happiness for life.
Notice times at which you have the have the harassment and time you do not. Maximize the
use of your time without his presence to rest, have fun and build yourself. This will make
his harassment lose its power over you. Build your friend circle, volunteer to build skills,
network and confidence. When you have a reputation outside that’s strong your husband
cannot spoil it much. Build your relationship with your son, let him know that when his dad
insults it is wrong action though as a father he is fine in other ways.
Lastly are there any things your husband does right, then it will help to appreciate those actions. When his self esteem is better he may behave better. Do not flatter him else he
will behave more egoistic. Make small casual comments and also try to have conversations on neutral topics. Also if he remains negative and you are able to stay out of the house for
errands for your child or for any other reason without his objections you can reduce the time you have to be around him. Be creative in thinking how you can cope and experiment with
possibilities. Keep faith in yourself.
Question 143. How to make a commitment towards any goal or target we want to achieve so that we dont break our commitment and achieve it at any cost. Thank You. - Monu Tripath On 28 September 2011
To make a commitment to any goal and not break at any cost is something every person
struggles with. Goals need to be self maintained first and foremost. That is when the
action for them is in your hands not in other’s hands. Thus if you say my goal is that mysister should care for me, or that my family should be happy then these goals are not self
maintained! They will run into trouble. Better goals would be “My goal is to persuade my
sister to care for me” or “I intend to do things that my family feels good about.”
The quality of our goals sets our commitment. Are we setting up a goal from the heart and
with a strong belief in its vision? Do we see full purpose with it? Goals need to be examined
for anything that stops one achieving them. There could be beliefs or fears or conflicting
needs that can block our commitment that we can recognize when we ask ourselves “What
stops me? Is there any discomfort with achieving this goal that I envisage?” Clearing these
fears and changing these beliefs can release the energy for the goal. Fears are often based
on beliefs and these can be sorted out. E.g. someone wants a promotion but they feel it will
be too much hard work. This is a belief and can be reflected on and one would realize that
the work may be manageable depending on being organized.
Goals need to be well formulated - clear, specific, achievable and time bound. They
shouldn’t be so overwhelming that you give up. The happiness of having the final outcome
and especially the gains of a small step accomplished can be the focus. This focus can be
enhanced with imaging it and sensing it. One’s steps towards one’s goals feel strenuous so
whilst thinking of the steps its helps to bring in the energy of the image of the final outcome
with the thought “It will feel so good when I’ve done it.” One may draw in one’s team or one’s
close trusted well wishers into our goal too.
Finally we need setback strategies. When roadblocks occur it may be useful to not use
pressure as much as using persuasion and problem-solving so you keep most people with
you, as you achieve. Being quick to act helps us not to tire of the goals and we can know
that mistakes are information rather than failures that are guiding us on how to go forward.
This can keep up our optimism and bring in true learning of ideas and steps for the goal. Our
self talk about what happens and what we want to do can be positive and realistic. Generally
that is possible when during some setback, we only target our processes and habits as
needing change rather than conclude about ourselves or our life as being totally useless.
Reading stories of how people overcame setbacks to achieve their various dreams can keep
us in the right frame too. So all the best on your path to achieve your dreams and for more
fulfilment in your life!
Question 144. How to feel and act in a more confident way. Without bothering as to what others will think. - Rajesh Kumar On 23 September 2011
Confidence means believing in one’s own capability. For this adopt an attitude of
being as if you were your own best friend and check what you would think about yourself or advice yourself to say and do. One never goes wrong in getting the best friend voice that is a mix of love, acceptance of mistakes and unchangeables, appreciations and expectation of doing the right actions for ourselves.
Secondly, we need to connect to ourselves at times when we are alone and check
in to how we feel and what we think about ourselves. This is what we may call our ‘self definition’. We define ourselves against certain standards. Very often these are borrowed standards from the influences of advertisements and other’s opinions. Asking ourselves questions on what we value and what behaviours and actions would fulfil those values can help us to know our standards. Other’s opinions can be something we can reflect on and finally be the ones to accept those or reject them. So we are not dominated by other’s opinions though we may look at them and see if they make sense to us. When we have understood our choices and behave according to them whether in matters of style, presentation, ethics or life choices we can feel more confident. We are in charge of how
much to match others ideas or where and how to oppose them
One can also list out one’s self defined strengths, values, goals, abilities and past
achievements. One can do this in writing.
Then we can introspect the meaning of approval from others. We may have put
strong expectations on ourselves of being too perfect or to have to maintain a past image of
being knowledgeable or popular. In reality people around you could be accepting. We can
learn to be more relaxed about our social expectations from ourselves.
You can consult a psychotherapist too to get over past traumas of put downs or
humiliations and this helps us further be unaffected by what others may think. Learning
and practicing social skills of conversation, tactfulness and assertion helps us to feel more
comfortable with others too.
It can be an enjoyable journey to strengthen one’s confidence and feel comfortable
Question 145. Dear madam may I get training of NLP? I am also interested in ESP will you help me.? - Sharad Tamhankar On 19 September 2011
Yes surely you may be able to attend NLP training. It does not need any prior qualification
other than an interest in it. It does require an indepth study and practice of the processes
to acquire the skills. This is rewarding for personal and professional life in understanding
and motivating self and others towards excellence and getting more happiness and success
in life. ESP training requires one to enter the stillness of mind with regular meditative
practices and connecting to the senses, feelings and body sensations. It is important to be
simultaneously grounded in the practical tasks of daily living and earning as else our ESP
can be misguided. You can understand the mind as a ball of energy all around and within
us with the centre of this being our stomach and belly region. Strengthening the vibrancy
of one’s energy field happens with meditating on the chakras, and imagining white light
protection around and within ourselves. Patience is essential as people to develop their ESP
get into trusting the wrong people or using substances to make this happen in a hurry. Slow
and steady are important here with regular practices, reading and observation. Through
this awareness one can be tuned in to one’s ‘gut’ reactions, one’s dreams and messages we
receive from within whether in image form or as a voice within.