Ms. Zhou focuses on mental and psychological counseling for woman in rural areas. In this article, we read about her experience and counseling appointment with one of her patients who thought he needed help.
An old couple was led by their daughter in-law to come to the Counseling Room. The old man wore an outdated suit and a grey-blue hat. His wife was in a plaid jacket, newly brought by her daughter in-law, and came in with a big smile. The obedient daughter in-law supported her father in-law with her hands. It seemed that they had a very harmonious relationship. The old man couldn’t wait to talk with me. ”Mrs Zhou, I believe that you can cure me. I have seen several doctors in several hospitals and spent a large sum of money, but none of them have been able to cure me. Even one of doctors said I was not sick. If I am not ill, why do I feel so uncomfortable?” His daughter in-law told me that his father in-law cared about his health way too much. Recently, the old man had been worried and sleepless for more than a month. His children took him to see doctor, but the doctors have all said that there was nothing wrong with him except a mild Vegetative nerve functional disturbance. I asked the old man when he usually goes to to bed in the evening and gets up in the morning, and what he thought about before sleep every day. He told me that he went to bed before 8 PM and would get up at 4 AM. Before sleeping, he would mostly think about who managed the farmland and who took care of his wife. He always dreams of his parents who died a couple of years ago.
We discussed his first two questions at ease. He said yes with nodding his head. When we talked about the third question, I smiled at him and said it was a good thing to dream of parents. When we gradually became older and older, it is great to see our parents in our dreams. I did not think it was bad to see my parents in my dreams since I too, often dreamed of them. "In that case, I do not have a serious illness." "Well, what do you think?" "I know that there are sophisticated equipments in hospital but I can’t control myself in to thinking about it too much." "You are too happy. Your family loves you and many people in your village envy you because of this." "Yes, all the villagers would agree with you." He and I talked about life, health, and family. The atmosphere in the counseling room was relaxed and peaceful. He asked me, ”Do you think I won't need to do any more work on the farmland?" I told him, ”Just plant how much you want to plant, and treat it like a hobby.” "Oh yeah! It will just be my exercise then," he said loudly. Finally, I gave him some advice. First, try to take a walk outside and wash your feet afterwards. Go to bed after 9 PM. Second, while you guys are in good health, travel and go on a vacation with your wife a couple times every year. He promised that he was sure to do what I told him. I told him not to pay me since he was so clever and obedient. But if he goes back home and doesn't listen to her children, then next time you will be paying me at least 500 RMB! He got up and shook my hand, saying, "That's fair! That's fair!" As he walked down the stairs, he said to himself, "Those intellectual counselors, man, they are different!" During the over one hour counseling, I didn't mention any professional terms nor did I take up a prideful attitude. Thus, we were able to work together and solve the old man's problem. Sometimes it is important for a counselor to have a kind heart rather than professional knowledge.
Original Article written by Ms. Zhou, translated by ShiShi Ma, edited by US intern Kevin Mo.
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