9 reasons why you should take the Introduction to Self-Development Course at CPPD

Published: May 3, 2016
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Now I’ve taken the course, I am grateful to my friend for her advice. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT YOUTUBE

Recently, at the urging of a close friend, I took a course at CPPD in Karachi. For the uninitiated, CPPD stands for Centre for Personal and Professional Development. It’s a leading counselling training school in the UK. Since 2002, they have had an outpost in Karachi with regular classes and programs leading to certificates and qualifications on par with those received in the UK – so the quality standard is top notch, trainers fly-in from the UK ignoring all their country’s travel warnings and that coupled with the boundary-breaking nature of the course itself lends the place a feeling that something special is taking place.  

I took the course for two reasons.

1. To give me a taste of what pursuing a much more time-taking intensive course in counselling would entail.

2. Because my friend told me that doing this course changed her life.

Now that I’ve taken the course, I am grateful to my friend for her advice, and I am writing to encourage more people to take the course. It’s not cheap (you can get full details on course fees and dates here) but it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. Below I’ve outlined nine reasons why as many people as possible should take this course even if you have no interest in becoming a counsellor.

1. The instructor is amazing

Lynne K has been coming to Pakistan teaching this course for 15 plus years and she gets our culture and background and she helps us help each other make sense of it all.

Lynne K has been coming to Pakistan teaching this course for 15 plus years. Photo: CPPD

2. Your group

The first day I was surrounded by 15 strangers in all shapes and sizes. Divorced working women, mothers, closet-artists running a family business and a barely graduated high-school student. This diverse mix of people is rarely found together. You haven’t seen anyone before (but if you have, it’s okay, no need to panic).

By the time the last day arrived, I felt as if I had known them, and had them know me, in a way that some of my closest friends and family haven’t.

3. Learning to open up without fear of being judged

In our culture we all maintain a ‘everything is fine/okay’ attitude’ to the outside world. But things aren’t okay in reality. Not always. Spending a week with people learning to open up about how we really feel felt like taking off a shell and letting the light in. It feels indescribably wonderful to say what you feel to a group of people with no fear of being judged or shamed.

4.The learning

I thought I knew a thing or two about counselling but I had never heard of Transactional Analysis – a theory and counselling practice that is easy to learn but extremely powerful to use.

It has caused a profound shift in the way I think about my own behaviour as well as how I understand and interpret others. There’s a long way to go, but this course has laid a firm foundation on which to begin a deeper, personal journey to help me be a more understanding, useful, and an ultimately happier person.

5. Understanding my issues and changing patterns that just don’t work

I know I have issues. You probably have issues too. Some of these don’t bother me too much (I have a fear of heights) while others are debilitating and lead to a lot of anxiety and fear. I took this course to deal with the fear that’s stopping me from doing the things I want to do in my life versus the things that I think I should be doing in my life. There’s a big difference between the two in my eyes.

6. The instructor

This is point one again but bears repeating. Lynne is a fantastic teacher and guide who is patient, kind and facilitates an intimate and sacred space. She understands our joint-family systems, saas-bahu politics, and the aspects of our culture that are unique and different. And by beginning the session by chiding us not to give her any respect due to her ‘gori-ness’ it was clear that in this group, in this room, we were all equal and that no one was more or less worthy than anyone else.

7. The fact that your environment is Pakistani

I’ve gotten both my degrees from Ivy League universities in the US. Excellent academics and reputation no doubt. However, local applicability was limited. Learning a course of study here I’ve found to be totally different. The examples that came up in the group sessions resonated deeply and as a result are less likely to be forgotten and more likely to be implemented. I feel like I’ve become a better listener, less judgmental and more ‘aware’ of my own behaviour and others.

8. The investment in time and money is worth it no matter how busy you are

The week flies by with intensity and excitement and at the end of it I feel like there’s a big gaping hole in my day. I’ve been in a lot of workshops and meetings and never have I been left feeling like this. So many of my friends claim they have no time between work and family to devote to something as seemingly self-centred as a course in ‘self-development’. My reply to them and to you is not only that you can make the time – no matter how busy you are – but that a course in self-development you’ll find is a great investment in making you a less selfish and more giving person to those around you.

9. Connecting the dots

Photo: Reuters

No less a figure than Steve Jobs said,

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

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Bilal Lakhani

Bilal Lakhani

The author is the publisher of The Express Tribune, one of Pakistan’s leading English-language daily newspapers. He is also responsible for driving business growth across other media properties of the Lakson Group. He was educated at Yale and Brandeis University, where he studied management and political science. In his spare time he loves to travel, most recently visiting Cambodia, reading fiction, playing squash and the board game, Catan. He tweets as @bilalalakhani (twitter.com/bilalalakhani?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.