As a woman who was always been attracted to the science of human behaviour and to find out why an individual acts the way he/she does, Trapti Gandhi has an inspiring story to offer to fellow female entrepreneurs. In this interview, Trapti takes us through her journey from being a home maker to being a counsellor and how she is helping scores of people deal with their problems through her mental wellness program called Ekagra
- You are a counsellor, how did you get into this?
I am a Commerce graduate who always had a thing for counselling. I remember, even as a young child, how my grandfather would proudly tell everyone that they could talk to me to get unbiased, non-judgemental advice. Since counselling was something I loved doing, I decided to take it up as a profession and to learn the subject in detail. I backed up my decision with an MSc in Psychotherapy and Counselling, an MA in Clinical Psychology and also trained to be a Student Counsellor.
Each person is a unique individual acting a certain way due to particular circumstances. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. It’s not an objective paper where we click or tick the right options; it is a subjective thesis that needs detailed study and explanation. I have been in this field since the past 11 years and each year and experience has been enriching, fulfilling and very informative. This is why I love my profession.
- What kind of people do you meet and what are the common problems that people face?
I have sessions for people of all ages. I’ve worked with youngsters, teenagers, middle aged adults and senior citizens. Each group has their set of issues, concerns and troubles. Each group perceives me very differently. Although in my capacity as a Counsellor I interact with them as a trained professional, but my approach is different and thankfully it works because the responses I get from them is cordial, open and friendly. Children and teenagers are comfortable with me and my approach is as a friend who is willing to listen to their issues instead of lecturing them on what’s right and what’s wrong. Middle aged couples have to be dealt with differently because we all are approximately in the same age bracket. Here a little bit of friendliness along with an authoritarian approach helps. For senior citizens, all I have to do is listen and be aware of their needs. However overall no matter what segment or age group they belong to, everyone is looking for someone to hear them, listen to them and understand them. Most of the issues individuals face comes from lack of communication. Once these channels are open, issues would get resolved automatically and there would be no need or business for Counsellors.
- As a counsellor, are there times when you want to lash out at individuals and what do you do then?
As a Counsellor, my prime duty is to listen and understand. Yes there are times when I too get frustrated, but that is when my training comes in handy. I understand that the issue is not really in the individual but in a set of circumstance that the individual is coming from. With that understanding firmly ingrained in my mind, I am able to serve the client better without getting hassled or flustered.
- What was the highest point and lowest in your career?
This is actually a funny question considering that each day is unique. I deal with people every day and have been doing so for the past 11 years. Being able to help them and make a difference in their lives gives me an immense sense of pleasure and joy. For me each morning is my lowest point because I have not yet done anything for anyone. On the other hand each night when I retire for bed I am at my highest point because that day I have been able to touch someone’s life and bring a positive change in their lives. As a counsellor what more could I ask for! The ability to help an individual attain emotional freedom and release from stress, in my opinion is a gift from God. I am thankful for that gift.
- How is being an entrepreneur different from working with an establishment?
I have worked as an entrepreneur, been employed with an establishment and again as an entrepreneur in my 11 year career. While working with an establishment has its perks, I thoroughly enjoy working individually as an Entrepreneur. For one, I am my own boss and have my freedom and secondly I am not restricted to one group of individuals. Besides being an entrepreneur gives me time to brush up on my counselling skills and attend workshops that benefit me both professionally and academically. Learning is a must in any field and once you are tied to an establishment, making time for further learning is sometimes difficult. So yes, being an entrepreneur is what gives me satisfaction.
- Has your counselling session ever caused a problem/unrest in your family life?
I would say that Counselling has enhanced my life and my relationships. As a wife I am better equipped to understand my husband. Differences do crop up (as they would in any relationship), but being a counsellor helps me analyse the situation differently and helps diffuse the situation amicably much faster than earlier. Similarly as a mother I am better able to understand my two grow up daughters. I am more of a friend than a mother to them and this makes the home environment beautifully relaxing. Together we all discuss issues, learn from each other and grow. In my house, you will come across a trained qualified Psychologist in me and mini counsellors in my husband and children.
- How do your children cope with your profession?
My children have adapted very well to my profession. They understand what I am doing and are very encouraging. Now that they are grown up, they also help me get a better perspective of what goes on in the minds of individuals their age. Together we teach each other, support each other and encourage each other. It is beautiful how they help me.
- How has being a part of MompreneursIndia network helped you?
Being a part of MompreneursIndia has opened up many opportunities for me. My business thrives on people and being a part of the network gives me the opportunity to interact with and study so many types of individuals.
- Anything you would like to give as advice to women from your field?
My advice to women not just in my field, but in any field is to keep learning, be honest, stop limiting yourself, enjoy your individuality and most importantly LOVE yourself. If you do not value and love yourself, you will never be able to accept others.
On this positive note, we ended a beautifully inspiring interview with Trapti Gandi, Psychotherapist and Counselor and a lovely human being.