Dr. Deborah Khoshaba is a doctor and specialized in Psychology, She is also writer and Blogger, recently we talked to her about her life and different Psychological issues….
Al-Rasub: Tell us some of your childhood memories, Your schooling/college life.
Dr. Deborah: One of my best childhood memories was that the weekends always involved family and relatives. We would go to their home or they would come to our home. We would listen to our aunts’ and uncles’ talk and laugh and share stories from their childhood in Tehran. Mom would set up the Samovar and use her glass tea cups with beautiful intricately designed tea holders. There would be so much fruit and Assyrian pastries, like Chada and I’d play with my cousins. It was always a very happy time, no matter what was going on in our lives. I learned a lot about life for my parents growing up in Tehran, Iran as Assyrians. They told me how on warm summer evenings, they would all sleep on the rooftops and children would giggle. I imagined them sleeping under the stars in Tehran. It sounded so magical to me. And, my mother told us that even though Assyrians were Christian Middle Easterners in Tehran, everyone lived peacefully and happily during this time. I learned much from these wonderful stories about peaceful living, acceptance, and love. Also, my parents mentioned God daily. They always said, in hard times, “Don’t worry, God will help us.” God as my guide in life has never left me. And, like my parents, today, I live for well being of other people, as well as my own.
Al-Rasub: With regard to schooling and my educational aspirations and what inspired me to become a psychologist.
Dr: Debora: I wanted to become an opera singer from the time that I was very young. Teachers in school discovered that I could sing. At 7-years-old, I was selected to sing a solo in the holiday school program with the choir. I sang the song, These are a Few of My Favorite Things. In my late teens, early twenties, I attended the American Conservatory of Music, where I took opera singing lessons, piano and music theory courses. At 21 years old, the Chicago Lyric Opera hired me as a company singer, which was a major opera house in the United States.
But, over time, my desires changed because I could not support myself to become a singer. I had to work to support myself, which was very difficult on me, as my health was not always good. I had an artistic nature and a very sensitive biology. This was always my gift and my curse because it made me sensitive to people’s needs, desires, and problems but also wore on my health, if I did not take care of my physical health.
I wondered what could I do. At the time, I was reading books on psychology, philosophy and religion; I really liked thinking about the emotional motivations of people. What makes people tick? This fascinated me. In particular, I was reading a book about Carl Jung’s theory of analytical psychology. It was called the Portable Jung. I found that although I wasn’t schooled in psychology, philosophy and religion that I knew what they were talking about. I thought, “Maybe I have a talent to become a psychologist?” My intuition guided me to return to school. This set me on a 12-year course of study to become a Clinical Psychologist.
Al-Rasub: What is Psychology.
Dr. Deborah: Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour, mental health and well being, and adaptation to living. Psychology underlies and influences every area of daily living that include family, work, and spiritual life, education, and intimate relationships. Thus, you can find psychologists in a variety of settings, like scientific research, hospitals and mental health clinics, child development and educational agencies, and work settings. Throughout its 100-year history, the field of Psychology has become recognized as a science grounded in much research and practice.
Al-Rasub: What kinds of psychological problems are people facing today and how is Psychology dealing with it.
Dr. Deborah: There are problems today that are unique to the time that we are living in, such as worldwide terrorism, job uncertainty, and shifts in religious, spiritual, and relationship ideologies. This is especially stressful for young people, themselves, who have the added job of defining the meaning of existence. It used to be that we let God and social structures guide us as to life’s greater meaning and good. We adjusted our behaviour along these lines. But, today’s youth is uncertain about the overall good and utility of these structures, like marriage, for example. I see them struggling to understand the meaning of life. My concern for the youth of today is that they reject ideas and structures that give them a solid base from which to grow, develop and examine their beliefs and values. Without set ideas and structures, there is no anchor from which to examine who we are and the meaning of life.
Throughout time, people of different cultures and religious and social customs have always struggled to understand each other’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. But, we are in a time, right now, where these struggles are more apparent than ever. Humankind may be advanced technologically, but still struggles with understanding that we can be tolerant of differences in others without losing our beliefs and values, personally. Seems easy to say, right? But, this is an on going psychological dilemma for human beings.
Al-Rasub: Do you think psychological problems are increasing, what are the important factors/reasons.
Dr. Deborah: That’s a very interesting question. I don’t think there are actual statistics on the rise of psychological problems in the United States and in countries throughout the world. However, there are signs of changes in the types of psychological problems that appear today. For example, the recent unspeakable, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and 7 adults is one of the worst events of this type in the history of the United State. It would be easy to surmise that psychological problems are on the increase because of this event, especially since it followed a mass shooting at a shopping mall just one week before. Rather than psychological problems increasing that lead to violence of this scale, I believe that greater access to information (television, internet, and social media networks) and to guns and weapons permit more wide scale violence and destruction by mentally ill people. Rather than murdering one person, a person like Adam Lanza who was the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School had the ammunition, so to speak, to murder 26 people and then take his own life.
I do believe more people throughout the world are exhibiting disorders of stress that include anxiety and depression and post-traumatic stress related to unemployment, terrorism, and the living problems that characterize life in the world today. You see more and more people asking for information about such disorders.
There is one more important insight that I want to share with you today, about a growing need that I see in the world today. Through my publication and its Facebook page, PsychologyinEverydayLife.net, I have gotten to know people throughout the world, from South Carolina, New York City, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Indeed, I feel privileged and blessed to learn, from the people who follow me, about their daily lives, their concerns and needs, and their passions. One very important thing has become very clear to me. Everyone, everyone, wants to be understand, valued for his or her cultural and religious beliefs and accepted by each other. I see more and more people yearning for this relationship connection and understanding and respect. Thus, if I see anything on the rise—it is a deep need for understanding, respect, and emotional connection with humanbeings worldwide.
Al-Rasub: How does psychology play a role in building personalities.
Dr. Deborah: From infancy to adulthood, we are developing as psychological human beings capable of complex mental and emotional functioning and problem solving. At each stage of development, there are developmental tasks that a toddler, young child, teenager, and, then young adult must accomplish to be ready to participate in mature relationships and in family and work life. Parental interaction and genetic and biological factors influence how well a person is able to develop along these lines. For example, between the ages of three to five years of age, children must learn to cooperatively play with each other. This is their first experience with socialization that readies them for going to school. If a young child has a genetic contribution to a learning or attention-deficit disorder then it may be difficult for the parents to teach this child about cooperative play. This may create a developmental delay that negatively affects following stages of development.
In addition to developmental requirements that lead to people’s personality styles and adjustment to living, there is the relationship that people have to their parents that also influences emotional adjustment. Overly strict parents, for example, can inhibit a child’s creative self-expression and initiative. As a adult, this person may grow up self-conscious and fearful.
Al-Rasub: Can psychology help to increase IQ level. Can you give some tips.
Dr. Deborah: Psychology cannot actually increase a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ). But, psychological issues, like learning disorders, mood problems, attention-deficit disorders, and personality conflicts can make it more difficult for a person to access the intelligence abilities that he or she already has. Thus, psychological help for these types of problems can make one appear more intelligent because now they are functioning to their full capacity. If I had a tip, then, it would be to get the help that you need for a psychological problem, as you may be able to use your intelligence better.
Al-Rasub: We often read a word, brain washing. Can psychology help someone to know what other are thinking or can we change someone’s thoughts or let me say, control others’ thoughts.
Dr. Deborah: Unfortunately, there are psychological techniques of combat and war, and also styles of parenting, that can alter one’s motivations, beliefs, and ability to thrive. Deprivation, fear, and physical and sexual abuse can alter one’s will to thrive greatly.
There is an area of psychology that emphasizes paranormal, mystical experience, although it’s not a mainstream area of psychology. In fact, I cannot think of a conventional educational institution that includes paranormal psychology in its course work. Let me say that you can understand better what someone is saying in meaning, but this differs greatly from being able to read people’s thoughts, as in being a psychic, or to control people’s thoughts as in voodoo or other practices, of which I know nothing.
Thus, conventional psychological communication and relational training and skills can, indeed increase your ability to hear better what people are meaning to say and to emotionally sense what other people are feeling, but it will not make you more psychic.
Al-Rasub: What is the role of Psychology in business too especially in marketing advertising.
Dr.Deborah: Psychology and marketing go hand-in-hand. Marketing specialists are educated in the psychological motivations of people. They study research that shows the buying behaviour of people and emotions that increase one’s tendency to accept what is being marketed. They know exactly who they are marketing to and the emotional buttons to hit to get a certain group of people to buy their products. We don’t like to think of ourselves as so gullible that we’ll respond to their marketing strategies and tricks. But, we are. The brain will take information and form quick opinions as to what it means, for efficiency. You will tend to categorize and sort information, quickly, so that you can understand it, form an opinion as to it being good or bad, and move on to other things. And, your opinions are predictable according to your economic and social status. Marketers know us very well and market their products based upon the predictability of our opinions.
Al-Rasub: Do you think people have awareness about their psychological problems.
Dr. Deborah: I think many people have some understanding of themselves. They know what they like and do not like, and have a general idea as to what motivates them and why they feel, think, and act as they do. They’ve learned over time, what their tendencies are through observing themselves in a variety of situation. But, there is a big difference between knowing yourself because of what you have done and understanding deeply why you keep choosing certain situations over others. I find that unhappiest people choose what they desire versus what they really need to grow psychologically and spiritually. It takes courage and wisdom to choose what you need emotionally over what you desire. What you want and what you need can be very different things.
Al-Rasub: Can you give some health tips that people should follow in their every day life to avoid the Psychological issues.
Dr. Deborah: Yes, I love this question, because our mental health is very tied to our physical health. Get good nutrition, exercise relaxation, and sleep that you need to feel well emotionally. The saying, for example, “You are what you eat,” is so true. Behaviour is biologically determined, to a large degree. If you eat the wrong foods, or too much or too little, you may not be getting enough of the nutrients you need to make brain chemicals that strongly affect your mood, thinking, and behaviour. I always ask my patients, “What do you eat?”, especially if they are depressed or have anxiety. Food or lack of it can increase anxiety, phobias and panic and also depression.
Al-Rasub: What do you do in your free time.
Dr. Deborah: I play with my two Maltese dogs, go on long walks with my husband of twenty-four years and I love to cook and sing. I also love television.
Al-Rasub: Your Message for the world.
Dr. Deborah: I have quote Rumi, here, as this wisdom speaks to my heart and soul: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ? Rumi