A group of psychologists and psychotherapists from B&H signed an open response to the advertising messages that were designed on the interior of the newly opened Sarajevo City Center. A few days ago, radio sarajevo posted a photo gallery on its site of the advertising messages that are on display inside the new wall, which can be viewed here: http://radiosarajevo.ba/novost/145634.
Some of the signs read: Who needs love when there is shopping; yes, I am addicted to shoes and I do not need help; Treat yourself to shopping therapy…
For several decades in Sarajevo and in all of B&H a quiet, but fiery struggle is being waged. Those of us who have chosen our vocation in addressing the mental health of others, have been engaged in valuable work on ourselves, our traumas and experiences, and we spend hours and hours with our clients-brave people who have the power to change-in groups or on an individual level, and we spend much of our time, energy and strength on that, and slowly, millimeter by millimeter, we awaken the people around us to the importance of psychotherapy and working on oneself.
What is psychotherapy, when do we need it, what is the difference between psychotherapy and psychiatry, what do psychologists do-these are all topics that an entire army of experts educated in schools around the world and their standards are slowly and patiently establishing on a daily basis, because in B&H these professions do not exist in the Law on Labour, now in laws on psychological or psychotherapy activities. Maybe it is time for our struggle to finally bring our struggle to the surface-to the inspirational messages inscribed on the walls of Sarajevo City Center.
It is needless to point out that our region is a difficult one, with many deep, terrible traumas and losses, how much people suffer, because of the war and life today. They are isolated at home, they are looking for alternatives in various unhealthy patterns of behavior, they kill themselves, they drink, cry, abuse animals, take it out on children, overeat, starve, receive the label „juvenile delinquent“, „depressed women“ or „PTSD“, they work hard 12 hours a day do not go home, a place they fear, they are afraid to move away from their parents, they do not separate from the grave of a dead child, but rather they live there and languish-these are all our citizens, people who are crying out for help, who now more than ever need the help of experts, but are afraid of that help or do not recognize it as necessary, or they never heard of it. A large part of the work of psychotherapists in B&H is to gradually, very slowly and carefully get closer to people and show them that there is something that could help them to regain a better quality of life.
Communication with the public and propaganda are not exactly my area. I periodically encountered it, and so I know enough the impact of an open, center to the public is very large, and one or two insulting messages is sufficient to destroy a good part of our work. I also know about the concept of socially responsible business that tends to all the worlds major companies, and whose goal is to improve the communities in which the companies operate.
Even if we ignore the extremely chauvinistic dimension and shallowness of the messages on the walls-what exactly compromises the improvement of the community if other professions that seek to improve the quality of life are degraded? What do the authors of the messages offer us as citizens of the community? What will make our lives better in society that is anyway torn between consumerism and deep poverty, if they convince us that shopping is the best form of self help?
In the end-just one short comparison between shopping and psychotherapy. First, shopping is a wonderful, fun thing, but it will not truly help you feel better. Second, I do not want to deal with things such as how much do a pair of shoes or perfume costs in Sarajevo City Center and how often purchase the same ones, but rather the price of psychotherapy-whether on fellow psychiatrists (whom I also call on because they are directly „placed“ on the wall of (shame?) or psychotherapists it is much, much smaller and leaves a lot of long term tracks-on you, your children, on the people around you. Finally, psychotherapy does not stand between you and your shoes. It can only enhance the way you enjoy them, with genuine pleasure and relaxation, loving and rewarding oneself, and not to spend resulting from pressure, with a feeling of guilt, due to the current escape from problems. Sound familiar? And so…
Thank your Sarajevo City Center for this degradation of our profession and intellectual capabilities of buyers, because due to this, maybe someone would remember that this wall is just „another brick in the wall“ that stands between us and our high quality, full life, and which should definitely be destroyed.
Tihana Majstorović, psychologist and psychodrama psychotherapist in education
Letter also signed by the following psychologists and psychotherapists:
Nerma Daut Bajramović
and other colleagues of psychotherapy in B&H psychodrama, GESTALT, TA, REBT and KBT orientation.