Local author turns stress to joy

Apr 19, 2019

After five years of gestation, in July of 2018 my neighbor, Dr. Rozina Lakhani, finally delivered her book to her publisher, and since July this self-help book has been well received.

This psychiatrist, a well-established Mill Creek citizen, of course is delighted her words of wisdom are helping individuals and family members, but it’s also being used by Behavioral Health professionals to help themselves and their clients.

One of Dr. Lakhani’s aspirations is that her book will help take patients away from her practice, and this will be because they have developed their own ways to turn their STRESS to JOY.

Dr. Lakhani’s thought-provoking book has many ideas to help us maneuver from being hurt by words to laughing at our creative image of the person who verbally attacked us.

Due to limited space, I will share just one technique Dr. Lakhani has incorporated into her therapy sessions. It’s an approach that, unless her patient has a major and chronic traumatic stress reaction, Dr. Lakhani has found to be an effective and humorous technique in helping a person go from a state of stress to a state of joy.

In her chapter “Choice: How to make new habits by declaring your choices,” she discusses “A Camel’s Face,” her thought-diversion model.

As the good doctor pointed out, it wasn’t the verbal demeaning per se that affected her patient “Rene,” but rather it was Rene’s continuous replaying of those demeaning words, which added to the negative response her verbal attacker intended to have on his/her victim.”

Through her psychiatrist’s guidance, Rene realized it was she who had the power to choose or not choose to allow her attacker’s dehumanizing words to hurt her. With that realization, Rene was ready to use my neighbor’s therapeutic “Camel pictures deflecting technique.”

By using the Camel image, or really the use of any animal, mineral, vegetable or so forth, Rozina demonstrates that the patient has the power to choose to stop themselves from repeating an attacker’s hurtful words.

For example, let’s say that since her adolescence Rene had been called stupid or some other dehumanizing words by a family member, and then even today when she hears those triggering remarks, they still “sting.”

To redirect those stressful mental darts, Dr. Lakhani would first ask Rene to think and feel the full impact of those degrading words. At this point our Behavioral Health professional would have Rene visualize the name caller’s face “... as that of a funny animal, like a camel with a drooling face, on the body of that person.” The doctor has Rene continue with her vision, and then “watch” as the aggressor’s demeaning words continuously sputter from the camel’s drooling mouth.

After, or even before, this exercise, the psychiatrist re-enforces that her patient can use her own creativity and make the image even funnier, by putting funny sunglasses or a polka dot dress on the camel.

As Rene changes the facial features of her attacker into a less threatening and made-up image, Rozina will then tell her patient to ask herself, “Really now, can I truthfully take this camel’s hurtful words seriously?”

The psychiatrist’s next step is to instruct Rene, “Now, imagine the camel saying (those words) very fast as if you are fast-forwarding a video. Now imagine the camel saying it very slowly in a funny voice while walking backward. Now make the camel run backward while saying those words. See the camel becoming smaller and smaller until it disappears.”

After going through the above steps with Rene, the doctor has her answer this question: “Does your tormentor still hold the same power over you as before?”

Dr. Lakhani has discovered that “most of the time, you will find that either the statements will stop bothering you, or (they) will make you laugh. Either way, they won’t have the same powerful hold on you as before.”

Darn right, to help promote our local talented women’s achievements, check out Dr. Rozina Lakhani’s self-help book, “Stress to Joy,” since her words might become your guide towards having “… peace of mind in minutes.”

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