After a long gap, we’ve finally found the next candidate for our #include <women.h> segment, which aims to bring the leading ladies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, to light.
Say hello to one of our cherished women in psychology, Gurleen Khokhar, who is a Counseling Psychologist, a Pre-School Principal, a Writer, a Model, and a powerful Women’s Rights Advocate & Speaker.
As is quite evident, Gurleen is a multi-talented and highly ambitious woman, who holds expertise in diverse fields.
She is a Psychology post-graduate specializing in Applied Counseling and Organisational Behavioral Psychology from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India’s top-ranking government institution.
She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Dev Samaj College in Chandigarh, following which she enrolled for a post-graduate diploma in Guidance and Counseling from Punjab University again.
She’s a member of International United Educationists Fraternity and the International Network of Psychotherapeutic Practice.
Be it writing for national magazines, editing the book – How to Live a Tension Free Life, Featuring in the book – Million $ Second, aiding NGOs like Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness or modeling for a local fashion label, she has done it all.
She has also founded Soch Ki Udaan Desh Ke Naam (Flight of Thought, Named to the Country), that aims at curbing depression in her community.
She currently runs her own Counseling Clinic in Panchkula and serves as the Principal for Windsor Pre School.
Now, that you know her briefly, let’s get talking to her!
What motivated you to choose Psychology as your career?
It was and has been a passion-lead drive, that encouraged me to become one of the women in Psychology.
Study of human behavior is something, I would say, “intriguing” for me, and for a long time, I wanted to utilize it towards the betterment of humanity.
Being a psychologist gives me the chance to do so and further feeds my curiosity about the science. It’s an ongoing learning process as each person that I come across, is different from the other, and I get to explore more things about our species as I practice the profession.
Above all, I truly believe that serving as a counselor, I can constructively contribute to our society, which is one of the most important motivations for me to delve into Psychology.
What, in your experience, is the biggest myth associated with Psychology or counseling in general?
The biggest myth, according to me as a counselor, would be,
“The presumption that counselors know everything.”
I believe that when someone seeks help from a counselor, they shouldn’t bear presumptions that the counselor will have answers or solutions to everything they ask.
They should seek help from a counselor as they would from an educated friend, who can analyze their problems and offer meaningful suggestions.
If you’re not satisfied with the advice, you should try talking to a different counselor and see how things go.
The second biggest myth I believe to be is that psychologists or counselors are trained to pull off capers like face-reading, Vastu Shastra, or profiling the other person by just looking at them.
These things are not inherently related to psychology and they may or may not come to counselors as they develop their expertise.
At the same time, you can learn such techniques with adequate training, but then you’d be delving into different domains, that are exclusive to psychology.
What is the most challenging thing about your job, and what is the thing that you love the most?
The most challenging thing about my job is
“Rapport Building with the help-seeker.”
Because people don’t (usually) open up easily with their counselor and most of the counseling procedure depends upon how gelled you are with your client.
If they don’t confide in you early on or eventually, there would be little to no value of your treatment to them. So, I would say that building a strong rapport is indeed a challenge.
And it’s just not me, I believe every counselor initially finds it difficult to make the person comfortable. Psychologists who are not good at it often struggle to maintain the profession.
Something that I love the most about my job is,
As it’s the single most important thing that makes me aware of the effectiveness of my counseling process.
I have a very different counseling process wherein I don’t value the time spent with the individual more than the individual.
I am happy talking to fewer clients and spending time in resolving their problems rather than practicing the profession only as a business.
Treating my clients with due love, respect, and care are among the cherishable aspects of my job.
What suggestions would you like to impart to the people who are still living with the prejudice that women represent an inferior segment of our society? How can they open their minds to gender equality?
I feel, in order to open up to this inevitable concept of equality, people first need,
“to be willing to accept their own weaknesses.”
Because, I think, in this modern era… we all are trying to live with a multi-faceted approach towards life, which is bringing in more complexities, and ultimately, chaos.
If we don’t know our own self, our strengths, and weaknesses, how are we going to help the other person out?
And this applies to both the sexes.
Secondly, I believe, the women need to support the other women in their professional or personal leagues.
“A woman lifting the other woman up establishes the fact that the standards of the society are really high.”
Rather than contesting among each other, women need to step forward and set epic examples for everyone, of rising together and of establishing a stronger womanhood. I would say, in some way, the inner conflicts among women are part of the prejudice problem we face today.
My last suggestion is that I would like more people to adopt Gender Neutral Upbringing.
Mothers need to teach their sons, through the styles of grooming, that how it is to be a girl and how they can equally take up the responsibilities of the other gender while heeding to their own.
It starts by creating an equalized family atmosphere, so that children, with whatever gender they’re born with, can flourish and do well in life.
Ultimately, the youth of our country is the only one that will bring about a real change, and the opening of mindsets needs to start with them.
A Few Fun Questions
What would your autobiography be called?
Kickass Woman. I think it’d be a good one.
In a box of crayons, what color would you be?
I would be… uhh, the color of love and strength – Red.
I say that because it signifies both my loving and bold personality traits.
I splash red on people who are ready to give me the love and alternatively red as the danger line, that they may not cross.
If possible, what would be the one word, that you’d use to describe yourself?
Haha… I would describe myself in a single word as a “Fighter”.
For the following words, tell us the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear them.
GK: Time Management Tool
GK: A Beautiful Concept
Talking to Gurleen Khokhar was a rollercoaster ride! She’s bold, smart and carries a ton of enthusiasm with her, for everything she delves into. Her efforts are empowering more young women to stand tall for themselves, as she writes, speaks and spreads her psychology expertise amongst this new generation.