Why does Balochistan have a dearth of trained psychotherapists?

It was an uneventful day at work when I got a query from an acquaintance asking for a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist in Quetta. I asked everyone I knew in connection to this and exhausted all my options only to find out that there were no practicing psychotherapists or clinical psychologists in the region. It came as a shock to me, after all, why did this major city of Balochistan not have a single clinical psychologist? And what about the rest of the province?  Years passed and somehow this notion remained trapped in my mind, and the requirement for referrals for ...

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Abul Hasanat – The man that was my father

As The Express Tribune bids a heavy-hearted good bye to friend, mentor and stellar editor Mr Abul Hasanat, his daughters give us a glimpse into the great man that he was, both at work and at home. The moving finger writes, and having writ, Moves on, nor all thy piety, nor wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.  Omar Khayyam My father, Abul Hasanat, after a brief illness passed away on October 5, 2019. He was a great human being. His passion for life, kindnesses and humanity were dominant traits in his character. ...

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How reliable are the mental health clinics in Pakistan?

It was half a decade ago when I started my own mental health consultancy that offered courses and other educational services related to my field. At that time, opening a psychotherapy or mental health clinic in Pakistan was not particularly common. Offering psychotherapy was not lucrative enough for beginner level professionals and only benefitted those at a senior level. Fast forward five years, and I see a significant increase in mental health services, and many of these services are also being offered over the internet in the form of Skype consultations, chats and emails. There are a variety of mental health clinics, ...

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The psychology behind sexual violence

Countless women have been murdered in the name of honour and a number of girls are being avenged through rape for the crimes their male family members have committed. Underage girls are being married off to men thrice their age in compensation of any social embarrassment faced by the girl’s father or brothers. At the same time, there are constant reports of children being on the receiving end of sexual violence. A handful of perpetrators were caught when videos were circulated on social media, but most of them roam free. Sexual crimes and violence have been perpetrated against women and children in almost ...

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Should vaping be banned in Pakistan?

An outbreak of ‘vaping-induced lung injury’ has killed 12 people and affected more than 800 people during the past month alone and the numbers are still rising. This outbreak has served as a wake-up call for major health regulatory organisations leading to numerous warnings against these products. Around the world, more than 20 countries have either entirely banned or at least restricted vaping products. In Pakistan, despite reports of the widespread use of vapes among young people, this issue is yet to be addressed at a government and community level. The idea of vaping came about after Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik lost his father ...

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Sadly, when it comes to sexual abuse, predators don’t discriminate

Earlier this month, I wrote about a case of rape against a minor in Kasur and at the end, I wrote with quite some conviction that I would be writing about a similar incident very soon. And, here I am doing just that. Last week, bodies of three minors were recovered by the police who seemed to have been murdered after being raped, in Chunian, Kasur. However, this time, the bodies discovered were not of girls, but of boys. On the Kasur incident: There will be accountability for all. Those who do not perform in the interest of the common man ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Dissociative Identity Disorder, the reality of multiple personalities

Imagine living in a helpless situation where you have no control over your life. You hold no power to transform or get out of it, where the inner world of imagination is the only escape. This is the very beginning of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder). Where a person has no conscious control over a variety of personality shifts accompanied by distinct sets of emotions, thoughts, language, accents, fashion sense and memories for each personality. The Three Faces of Eve is a classic example of this disorder which is why the movie is included in curriculum of ...

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When a reluctant hajji went for hajj

“Beta hum is saal hajj par zaroor jaen gai!” (We will definitely go for hajj this year!) This was my mother’s constant iteration since the beginning of 2019. Each time she would say this, I would inwardly cringe and make a silent prayer for this to not happen. I had heard hajj was difficult and some sort of a spiritual feeling was required from within. I didn’t possess even the slightest hint of the latter. Despite praying so much for it to be called off, on August 5, 2019, I found myself entering the Islamabad airport. Since everyone on my flight was a ...

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The indivisible relationship of Urdu and Karbala

Karbala is an event that carries no parallels and transcends beyond time and space. There have been several incidents where people have lost lives and families have been destroyed. However, Karbala is different; the events of Karbala are categorised as a climax of collective spatial and temporal oppression. At one time, in one location, all the violence that can possibly take place came together. The tale of this tragedy is never ending. Translated in different languages, it has inspired many people all over the world. However, the relationship of Karbala with Urdu is unique. As soon as Muharram starts, we ...

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When a dupatta and a nose ring become agents of patriarchy

Coming from a conservative Muslim family where your male cousins won’t even look at you if you are not wearing a dupatta, I have always felt that my body was constantly scrutinised and kept under the male gaze. Forcing clothing around my breasts and a silver wire around my nose was equivalent to patriarchy establishing its territory. My gender which is deemed to be the ‘lesser one’ was expected to wear a sexualised cloth and a ring in order to assert my cultural identity as it makes me ‘unique’ and less ‘westernised’. Women and their bodies have always been pedestalised to ...

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