Accepting reality: Child Guide Clinic success
Child Mental Health
Sunita, a 16-year old girl in class 9, is from a middle class family with good socio-economic status. Her father is a teacher and mother is a housewife. She has an elder sister and younger brother. Sunita was referred by her teacher to our Child Guidance Clinic as she had a fainting problem, which affected her school attendance, academic performance and other daily activities. Sunita had also started to have other health problems, complaining of headaches, muscle pain and digestive problems, and unable to sleep without sedative drugs. She was hospitalized three times in different hospitals but her physical condition did not improve.
We diagnosed Sunita’s problem as conversion disorder, and our investigation indicated there was an underlying psychological cause. Over three months, five counselling sessions were arranged with her, and two sessions with her parents. From the second session, she began sharing her emotional problems, which were due to her relationship with her boyfriend. He wanted to leave her due to the mismatch between their castes and socio-economic status – he was Brahamin by caste (high ritualistic caste) and from a rich family. The families and neighbours were also critical of their relationship.
Counselling sessions were very beneficial for Sunita, enabling her to talk about her tension and anxiety. She realised the link between her psychological and physical problems and developed skills and tools to cope with her situation. Now, she feels much better, with an acceptance of her reality and the cultural practices in Nepal. The fainting and other physical problems have disappeared. Her parents and teachers report that her academic performance is improving and she attends school regularly.