Sarah and the ways to cope with her problems

Sarah had worked for fifteen years as a driver with the Greenline Bus Company .But she had to give it up because of her back-pain. That means ,it is almost certain that she would have continued as an efficient driver even now if such inconvenience did not come her way ,incapacitating her! It might have left a streak of frustration at some corner of her mind, perhaps in the subconscious layer!

Psychologically speaking, Sarah is a woman with serious manic-depressive syndrome which hardly surfaces. This again is coupled with outer insouciance and inner feeling of insecurity. Psychological imbalance may be the joint results of chronic suppression of a feeling of exhaustion and bipolar disorder . The latter drives her to swing between action and inaction, thus making her excel in some areas of her duties and fail in some others.

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Sarah is now a trainer and she is admired by her boss for her adaptability and amiable disposition. But the problem is that she cannot be declared as an efficient assessor as she shows poor ability in interviewing and even if the trainers come and point out her inefficiency she cannot admit it. She tends to forget the previous lessons though she does well with the recent lessons. She lacks in concentration or she has a poor memory to remember the lessons imparted in the previous classes. But she does not understand why she is being undermined . She finds no problem with herself. Perhaps, she has been overconfident about her capabilities. This is again perilous!

Sarah might even be in difficulty with the methods of teaching the skills. the lesson-kits should have been concise and easy-to-remember. After giving up her regular job as a driver, she might have suffered from a sense of insecurity along with frustration . Every moment she feels that she might even lose the job of interviewer even. This inward tension keeps her on tenterhooks of which she is unaware outwardly.

We are assuming all the possibilities so far. But, one thing must be kept in mind that Sarah is able to take up all the lessons taught for the nonce. If she had less intelligence could she ever take up such intricate lessons? NO! That means, while she is taught her lessons she applies al her gray cells to assimilate it. But, along with passage of time or lack of its application, the knowledge acquired fades out . It is due to lack of retentive power. Of course, it has a connection with her willingness to remember. As she is in the good book of the manager , she is complacent in some way. But, as her inefficiency as an interviewer is pointed out, she falters and feels insecure.

But, again she may develop the willingness automatically if she finds the teaching process interesting. It may be that she strains all her intellectual faculty to absorb the lesson imparted at a time, either because of its lengthiness or of its drab, dull nature. So, though she remembers the present lessons , the previous lesson slips off her memory.

The learning method that she follows may not tally with the teaching process. Perhaps the teaching method demands learning by rote, which she because of her certain incapability may not always adapt. That may be one reason why she tends to forget the previous lesson. Karen Horney in her Neurotic Personality of our Times thinks that a person become neurotic and panic-stricken when he/she finds a secured position in life standing threatened. As Sarah knows well that if this job of an interviewer stands jeopardized and if always she is informed by her instructor that her performance level is poor, her future may be bleak. Hence this fear-psychosis leaves her trembling and she tends to forget the previous lesson. Naturally, while she goes for taking an interview everything goes awry.

On hearing repeatedly of her failure as an interviewer, she grows recalcitrant and feels that keeping her boss in good humor will only solve all problems. She therefore looks adaptable, undemanding, amiable to him. But all the faults lie in choosing and applying her  interview-techniques that she learns in the specific classes. It may be that as thee is fault with her learning method, she cannot remember the nitty-gritty and hence comes out a cropper while application of the techniques come. So her learning methods must be supported by practical application of the theory simultaneously with the teaching of the basic tenets of the same.

While interviewing the others a strange inferiority complex too might creep in to play foul. Even if we take it for granted that  she remembered all the interviewing skills she had been taught , she might forget all the tenets while seeing a prospective interviewee. It is simply because of her past designation which had come to a close quite pathetically for a sudden deadly back-pain. In her unconscious , she keeps thinking that she could easily be in her confirmed challenging position of an efficient driver but now she is NOT! For the nonce, she forgets all reasons behind her relinquishing, and feels irritated that she is now an assessor whose ability is constantly suspected and questioned. Naturally, she develops some sort of withdrawal symptoms that ultimately results in alienation and she keeps cutting a sorry figure as an interviewer. May be that for this reason he is internally aloof from the lessons and this lack of deep involvement erases all that she learns from that lesson immediately after the interaction. But as I have already said, exerting all her strength she tries to assimilate the immediate lessons.

Whatever the case may be, there can be no doubt about her predilection rather fixation with the past. Here, Sigmund Freud in his well-acclaimed book  Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis writes, “But on the subject of fixation to a particular phase in the past we may add that such behavior is far more widespread than neurosis. Every neurosis includes a fixation of that kind , but not every fixation leads to a neurosis , coincides with a neurosis or arises owing to a neurosis. A perfect model of an affective fixation is provided by mourning , which actually involves the most  complete alienation from the present and the future.”[cf Freud, 1991,p-316]

Naturally , if  Sarah’s plight is judged minutely, her previous occupation will be seen to come to intervene .Sarah’s learning too gets impaired  when she learns that her performance as an interviewer is very poor . She tries her best to adopt the lessons minutely but all the efforts go in vain when she is reminded of her loopholes.

To sum up, it is concluded — despite all her problems it cannot be gainsaid that Sarah has definite problems with the immediately previous lessons. It may be because of three reasons. Firstly, because of lack of concentration and poor retention power the previous lesson drops off her memory. Secondly ,as the assessors din into her brain always that her interview techniques are wrong she stays in tension and though she can respond to the immediate lessons well, the previous lessons betray her. Calm of mind, a tension-free tranquility are essential for remembering that. Thirdly, the lessons are either lengthy or boring for her.  Again, a sense of frustration  gets the better of her while taking interview of the persons for fresh recruitment in the same post [i.e. bus-driver], she had been .Her personality disorders come in the way of acting rightly.

Sarah as an assessor may face problems in taking up the lessons imparted to her. Before all, it must be seen that the teaching-learning techniques get suited to her needs.

The lessons must be planned in such a manner that Sarah must not face any difficulty in taking them up. For example, these lessons may be broken up in short modules to suit her level of understanding, concentration and further retention. The lessons may be made so interesting that Sarah feels like remembering them for a long time. An example may come handy:

A driver must have a good vision and intuition. While taking a hairpin bend on a hilly path, he must make sure to keep his ears pricked up to listen to each and every honk at each and every turn of the road. On a straight path, again, he must keep an eye on the road as well as the side -mirror to keep track of every vehicle that whisks past his car at breakneck speed. A picture is put up on the LCD projector then to show different inclining angles.

Sarah must understand and assimilate this much lesson and then the instructor should pass on to the next one. The teacher should make it sure that the short lessons must be supported by paintings, pictures, photographs r any other tool with immense visual appeal. It must enable Sarah to remember every lesson vividly. Audio-visual method of teaching is bound to be effective with persons like her.

Sarah as a person too should be analyzed minutely. In Section I , it has been said again and again that  she may have a seed of frustration and insecurity sown in her mind immediately after giving up her job as a  regular driver with the Greenline Bus Company. But why? She had given it up because of her back-pain, a veritable reason, no doubt. Again, she had been re-appointed by the same company as an assessor. But, at the back of her mind  a fear of insecurity unnerves her when her flaws as an interviewer are pointed out .To shrug the unsavory sense off, she tends to disbelieve that she has any such drawback at all.

For the aforesaid reasons, Sarah may be taken for certain psychometric tests like Rorschach test and thematic and perceptive tests to ascertain the personality disorders in her. And then of course, depending on the subsequent findings necessary steps may be taken to rectify her demeanors .Similarly, the teaching techniques may be modified according to her learning needs. For example, if it is found that she has a learning disorder she may be given a total psychotherapy treatment and then she may be given her assignments later. If she is found to suffer from a manic-depressive syndrome[bipolar disorder] ,she may be given a breather or a leave for one month or so and then she may be allowed to choose he dates of her lessons and can be lectured in brief sessions. If she is found to have fault with her retention capacity she may be given a respite with a certain task of solving a series of memory tests.

Barring all the above-mentioned possibilities, it should be kept in mind that the process of discouragement must be stopped for the nonce. Even if she has faults in her interviewing she should not be said anything blatantly. For the time being, she may be kept aside from the interviewing process. If she asks whether the interviews are being held or not, a lie may be told to deter her. For example, the fresh recruitment has been withheld for the time being or so. Later on, after imparting her short and interesting lessons, she may be tried again with the assignment of an interviewer. This time, she may even excel in her efforts.

The instructor should be understanding, cooperative, compassionate and adaptive. They must in a playful manner impart the short lessons to her and a subsequent test must be taken immediately after the completion of the lecture. Of course, the instructor must not forget to ask her about the previous lesson in a light and playful manner. If a light attitude is displayed, she may not forget the previous lesson. Another thing must be kept in mind : her former job of a bus-driver wit the same Company must never be mentioned. Let alone, speaking about her back-pain which was the reason behind her giving up the work.

Lionel Trilling in his interesting book The Liberal Imagination says, “Freud showed, too, how the mind ,in one of its parts, could work without logic, yet not without that directing purpose, that control of intent from which, perhaps it might be said, logic springs. For the unconscious mind works without the syntactical conjunctions which are logic’s essence. It recognizes no because, no therefore, no but ….”[Trilling, 1950,p-50] In case of Sarah the problem lies in the fact that she does not understand that her performance as an interviewer is not of any commendable standard.

Hence , Sarah’s problem with learning can be solved by following certain methods like:

Easy play-method: Not the child’s method of learning, but a kind ,cooperative method of teaching.

Memory games: In order to encourage her memory, some intelligent games may be given to her by way of recreation.

Psychotherapeutic measures: Some measures may be followed to help her get back a sense of security and come out of the complex, inferior or whatever, she otherwise might have  had.

Supportive attitude: The Company must proffer a friendly hand to her by not reminding her of her inefficiency of taking an interview. Rather her training process may be prolonged and shorter and interesting lessons may be provided to her.Her past involvement with the same Company as a driver should never be mentioned because she quit it owing to an excruciating back-pain, which might be the cause of her personality disorder and subsequent amnesia. She must be encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards learning .

Sarah’s personality disorder owes a lot to alienation and lack of adaptation to the compulsory necessity.   If we delve deep into the minds of a hundred persons we will find that all of them are ill in some way or the other. For each person separate therapeutic methods produce wonderful results. Naturally, Sarah’s case is not a strange or detached one. If the above methods or steps are followed, she is sure to overcome her difficulties and prove her mettle in course of time.