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Lights, Camera, Relax!

Rohit is a young life coach and Intuitive therapist, with a special interest in using the medium of movies to have a therapeutic and transformative impact. He is based out of Bangalore. Read on our interview #7 below - 

Keshav: Hi Rohit. Thanks for meeting me here. First of all, tell me what exactly do you do? I know you have a company for life coaching and then you conduct workshops. So what is the main thing you do between these two and if there's anything else?

Rohit: I have always been interested in people, I have always wanted to be close to people and talk to them, not just at a superficial level but in a much deeper way, to know about their pains, joys, their journeys, their suffering, and contribute something to that in my own way, if possible. That has always been the genesis of everything I have done to be able to just be a loving presence to people and learn with them, learn from them. In the life coaching context, you're sitting one to one with people and they share from their lives, where they are stuck, so I just listen to them, take that in. Even in a gathering of people, we always dialogue around something which is very true to us, very genuine, very authentic, what is real for us, what is the thing that is burning for us. How can we improve the quality of our lives, how can we live a life we are grateful for, we are fulfilled with, we are inspired by. That is the base of the kind of work that I do.         

Keshav: If I talk about the life coaching business first, did you study to become a psychologist or a certified life coach or you're doing it only informally?

Rohit: I think it is a great question and it also brings to the point the different paradigms of looking at things. I think psychology, psychotherapy, and others are different perspectives of looking at things. I didn't like the whole clinical psychology approach because I felt that it started out with the notion that there's something wrong with you, there's an illness, and we need to fix it. The minute you start looking at somebody like that, it immediately dampens their spirit. The ability to heal, rejuvenate and open yourself gets blocked. So I was never drawn by that. Not that there's anything wrong with that and I'm sure there are really good psychologists but I was not drawn by it. I wanted to be in this field of human behavior, understanding people’s behavioral aspect but not in the traditional psychology way.

Keshav: At the same time, if you think from an individual's point of view, don't you think he will be much more comfortable going to somebody who's a practicing psychologist, a certified member and he'll be sure that, whatever he shares, nothing will go out of the room? On the other hand, even if you are informal and much more humane than a psychologist but from an individual's point of view, what draws him to you?

Rohit: The question of trust is primary. I have the necessary certifications and credentials. The route that I have taken is of NLP and ontology, which are different sciences, about understanding people deeper in a more intimate way. NLP is Neuro Linguistic Programming and Oncology is studying your being. So I have trained with people in this and understood how to work with people in this. In the paradigm of psychology, there are patterns and behaviors. In this paradigm, you're here, and I'm here. I don't need to refer to a pattern and I don't need to refer to any theory. I can stay with you and understand you, your behavior. There's a guy called Fritz Perls who was a psychologist, he broke away from psychology and then started doing his own thing. He said, 'I don't need a file to describe my patient, my patient tells me everything.” I loved that approach. I have been certified, trained and I have undergone extensive research and I have developed myself in this space a lot. So I've been doing this for 8-9 years.

Keshav: One thing I am still failing to understand is, how do people know about you? If we talk about a psychologist, a patient may be referred to him by a hospital or other doctors but how do people know about you? What kind of people do you get and from where do you get them?

Rohit: This is a fantastic question. Since I have been in this domain for quite a bit, I have learnt under many people. I started at a very young age, and made a lot of mistakes. It started off by just me, sharing my own stories with people and then somebody comes and says "I really like what you share. Can I work closely, one to one with you?" So then you have one person with you, a client. Then I start working with them and then they start referring. Through word of mouth things start spreading. I share that I have my company which is about learning and behavior, this is more about bringing about some kind of transformation in your life and through that some people come in.

Keshav: In the life coach part of things you do, do you deal only with individuals on a one to one basis or you also go to companies or corporates and train employees in a group?

Rohit: So there's are two primary elements - the company I am running right now is Mithrandir. The tagline is Walking with a wise friend, because essentially we all need that space, that friend. If you see, you are most unguarded with a friend. Even if you go to a doctor or a psychologist, you're guarded. Even when people come to me, they

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Rohit is a young life coach and Intuitive therapist, with a special interest in using the medium of movies to have a therapeutic and transformative impact. He is based out of Bangalore. Read on our interview #7 below - 

Keshav: Hi Rohit. Thanks for meeting me here. First of all, tell me what exactly do you do? I know you have a company for life coaching and then you conduct workshops. So what is the main thing you do between these two and if there's anything else?

Rohit: I have always been interested in people, I have always wanted to be close to people and talk to them, not just at a superficial level but in a much deeper way, to know about their pains, joys, their journeys, their suffering, and contribute something to that in my own way, if possible. That has always been the genesis of everything I have done to be able to just be a loving presence to people and learn with them, learn from them. In the life coaching context, you're sitting one to one with people and they share from their lives, where they are stuck, so I just listen to them, take that in. Even in a gathering of people, we always dialogue around something which is very true to us, very genuine, very authentic, what is real for us, what is the thing that is burning for us. How can we improve the quality of our lives, how can we live a life we are grateful for, we are fulfilled with, we are inspired by. That is the base of the kind of work that I do.         

Keshav: If I talk about the life coaching business first, did you study to become a psychologist or a certified life coach or you're doing it only informally?

Rohit: I think it is a great question and it also brings to the point the different paradigms of looking at things. I think psychology, psychotherapy, and others are different perspectives of looking at things. I didn't like the whole clinical psychology approach because I felt that it started out with the notion that there's something wrong with you, there's an illness, and we need to fix it. The minute you start looking at somebody like that, it immediately dampens their spirit. The ability to heal, rejuvenate and open yourself gets blocked. So I was never drawn by that. Not that there's anything wrong with that and I'm sure there are really good psychologists but I was not drawn by it. I wanted to be in this field of human behavior, understanding people’s behavioral aspect but not in the traditional psychology way.

Keshav: At the same time, if you think from an individual's point of view, don't you think he will be much more comfortable going to somebody who's a practicing psychologist, a certified member and he'll be sure that, whatever he shares, nothing will go out of the room? On the other hand, even if you are informal and much more humane than a psychologist but from an individual's point of view, what draws him to you?

Rohit: The question of trust is primary. I have the necessary certifications and credentials. The route that I have taken is of NLP and ontology, which are different sciences, about understanding people deeper in a more intimate way. NLP is Neuro Linguistic Programming and Oncology is studying your being. So I have trained with people in this and understood how to work with people in this. In the paradigm of psychology, there are patterns and behaviors. In this paradigm, you're here, and I'm here. I don't need to refer to a pattern and I don't need to refer to any theory. I can stay with you and understand you, your behavior. There's a guy called Fritz Perls who was a psychologist, he broke away from psychology and then started doing his own thing. He said, 'I don't need a file to describe my patient, my patient tells me everything.” I loved that approach. I have been certified, trained and I have undergone extensive research and I have developed myself in this space a lot. So I've been doing this for 8-9 years.

Keshav: One thing I am still failing to understand is, how do people know about you? If we talk about a psychologist, a patient may be referred to him by a hospital or other doctors but how do people know about you? What kind of people do you get and from where do you get them?

Rohit: This is a fantastic question. Since I have been in this domain for quite a bit, I have learnt under many people. I started at a very young age, and made a lot of mistakes. It started off by just me, sharing my own stories with people and then somebody comes and says "I really like what you share. Can I work closely, one to one with you?" So then you have one person with you, a client. Then I start working with them and then they start referring. Through word of mouth things start spreading. I share that I have my company which is about learning and behavior, this is more about bringing about some kind of transformation in your life and through that some people come in.

Keshav: In the life coach part of things you do, do you deal only with individuals on a one to one basis or you also go to companies or corporates and train employees in a group?

Rohit: So there's are two primary elements - the company I am running right now is Mithrandir. The tagline is Walking with a wise friend, because essentially we all need that space, that friend. If you see, you are most unguarded with a friend. Even if you go to a doctor or a psychologist, you're guarded. Even when people come to me, they are guarded - Can I share? Not share? But I wanted that spirit of being with a friend, being very natural and relaxed. But the thing is, here it's a more conscious space. I am really not trying to advise, not trying to change, not trying to fix you but really just allowing yourself to be just the way you are and bring change. So Mithrandir is into two main things - one is life coaching, where I am working predominantly one to one with people. It's much more intimate and warm, much more genuine and it's very tailored and specific to the person in front of me. I have to really be present to that person and see which approach works. Then there's working with groups bit. In my own background, I have worked a lot with corporates. In 8-9 years, I have worked with corporates on leadership, team building, interpersonal relationships, communication, how do you really have an effective environment to work. So I have done workshops like this for groups. And then there are workshops that I do independently which are open workshops, which are my own workshops. Like film therapy is one of them. I have one around games - using games to learn.

Keshav: What is film therapy?

Rohit: Film therapy is one of my favorite workshops. The essential name is Life Reflections through Cinema. So it is using the medium of films to be able to look into ourselves. A lot of this work is about self-awareness, understanding yourself, self-reflections, self-acceptance, or self-love, whatever you want to call it. In film therapy, we start off immediately with first people understanding a little bit about themselves. So this self-awareness is ground, ground work. The first thing I say to people is I am not here to label you with a certain thing.

Keshav: And everybody has different problems, humans are all unique.

Rohit: Exactly. Even in say for example in OCD. In OCD, there are so many variations, so much depth, there's so much width. So you can't use one approach. So in my approach, the first thing is we start off by saying you understand where you are, I am neither an expert, nor an authority. You're living your life. I am here just to show a mirror. I am here to hold a space, be as open, as non-judgmental as I can. So that is my role as a facilitator. I am not going to judge you or tell you anything. You understand yourself first. So the first 15-20 minutes is about that. Then, we play very relevant clips based on whatever the theme is. Each week there's a different theme. The theme that's coming up is Celebrating everyday moments. The last theme was The power of travel and journeys. Then we start having even deeper discussions. So film therapy is essentially that. We play these clips, use these clips as a medium and then we hopefully bring about some change, some transformation. Ultimately what I feel is, in everything I do, work wise, if I can bring about some shift in perspective, even minute, it's amazing. Have you seen the movie 'Inception'?

Keshav: Yes

Rohit: Like in Inception, he says that an idea, a small little idea, you just plant the idea and that can change you.

Keshav: I think that's true

Rohit: It is completely true. When you are six or seven or eight, just small little things like 'Oh I'd like to fly one day' and then cut to 20 years later, you see the person being a pilot. It’s one small little shift in perspective, and hopefully you know, you really see that after a while, if nurtured and given the space, that happens.           

Keshav: I'm just being curious, for your next workshop the theme is 'Celebrating everyday moments of life', tell me one movie whose clip you're going to play in that workshop. Or if it's confidential, you can tell me from earlier workshop

Rohit: No not, it's not at all. So there's this film called 'The secret life of Walter Mitty'. Have you seen it?

Keshav: It's a familiar name but haven't seen it

Rohit: It's a nice film, very easy breezy. There's a particular scene in the film where this person who goes to capture a snow leapord, very rare. He goes right to that thing and does a lot to capture that but when he is right there, he doesn’t capture it. He is like sometimes when I am deeply touched, I don't like the distraction of a camera. It's very beautiful. I play this clip and it really touches people.

Keshav: So because you love knowing people, you love dealing with people, one to one or in groups, I am guessing you don’t like fantasy movies?

Rohit: I love fantasy movies. It's actually the opposite. I remember reading this one thing - stories, myth or fantasy, is able to communicate something that you cannot in mundane/ simple ways sometimes. Have you seen Lord of The Rings?

Keshav: I don’t watch fantasies at all…

Rohit: Haha, okay. In fantasies, the author J.R.R. Tolkien, he's woven in so many beautiful elements, it really touches you because the world is fantasy but what he is really trying to communicate is our day to day thing. So, yeah I love fantasy films. Primarily because there's a safety - when you go into fantasy, you're like 'Now I don't have to worry, now I don't have to think so much' and then something comes up and touches you.

Keshav: Talking about these workshops, film workshops in particular, I was guessing in my mind when you were talking earlier that what kind of people must be coming to our workshops. On one hand, I was thinking they must be depressed, lonely souls who just want a smile and come to your workshop. On the other hand, there were just bored young people who have plenty of time and they would do anything that is available to do. What kind of people you get?

Rohit: I am surprised actually, to be honest. I also thought there'll be more those kind of people. But people who come are very genuine. Very beautiful people.

Keshav: Not strugglers in life?

Rohit: No, no strugglers at all. This is the fallacy we have. As a culture, we feel that people who get help are idiots. No, this is a very wrong concept. I have been touched by the people who I've seen in workshops. They just come because there's no place for such people. People who are doing really well in their own lives. Last time, there was a person who was doing something called instrument design, then there are editors, from proper news channels. Sometimes there are a few strugglers. So a different mix, various kind of people. Only once I have had people, who were' We didn't know what to do. It was friday evening, we saw this film therapy thing and we thought it would be fun'. I told them 'Look this is not so much about fun, I'm glad you came but let's see how much fun we can have'. These workshops are also fun, they are not like dull, brooding and deep. I try to pack a lot in 2-3 hours. I want them to feel the roller coaster of all these emotions - I want them to feel happy, feel sad, feel Wow and expanded, feel scared and all of these because our life is a little like that.

Keshav: Do you get a lot of people who come to you on a repeat basis, on a regular basis or you get strange new faces every time?

Rohit: As of now, it's mainly new people. Some people come and they are really touched, they want to spend more time with me and they enroll in life coach thing.           

Keshav: Do people often dismiss you as being too young to be a life coach? Generally those people are imagined to be much older and with more grey hair.

Rohit: Initially, I used to struggle with that a lot, because I used to go to corporate programs and I used to go with someone who had a lot of grey hair. I think this is true for all of us, once people start seeing value, once people start seeing there's something genuine here, they accept it. The minute they see that there's no pretense, no façade. Sometimes, the most profound things are said by four year old or a five year old who don't even have real grounding in life. So, somehow, once people start seeing the wisdom and value, they take to it. So initially it used to be quite a bit of a challenge for me but now I have become really okay with it.

Keshav: When you go to these corporates, do you sometimes feel that you could have been them?

Rohit: I think it's neutral. I think everybody has their own journey, they do what makes sense to them. I just never felt it was for me. I just couldn’t fit in. 2-3 years back I tried - getting a job, being regular, but I just couldn’t do it. Something inside me was repelled by it. I don't judge anybody who does it and I also understand the reality of money. Somehow I just couldn't do it. So then I had to find an alternative and I had to create my own way. And it's very difficult. There are months I would go when I wouldn't get money at all and you have to live through that and your parents are like 'what the hell are you doing with your life?' and your friends are buying big houses, big cars and you're just stuck with a  bike. These are very real challenges. I'd be lying if I say they are not there. But I am so glad that my work has meaning. I know that it is touching somebody, somewhere. There's a satisfaction in that.

Keshav: What are your future plans with your project or your independent workshops? Do you wish to expand to other cities?

Rohit: To be honest, there's no concrete plan. Just taking in one day at a time. It's always a beautiful feeling to see work expand and grow and see more people resonate with it.

Keshav: Which movies you always keep with you?

Rohit: I think there are a few. Good Will Hunting is one movie that I really deeply resonate with just because it's very subtle, very beautiful and touches on day to day issues. A lot of people I know have been touched by it. That's one. That's the top one actually. The other one is Forrest Gump. That's one movie that I always keep going back to, there's something so deeply beautiful about that movie. Castaway - Actually all Tom Hanks films. Lot of Robin Williams', Patch Adam’s films.

Keshav: What would you like to say to a general person who may be reading this interview?

Rohit: Overall, just to be really open and live in a sense of wonder and curiosity and have that sense of openness and humility to learn from each other, to learn from life that I think will be beautiful. Also keep looking out for these kind of workshops and these kind of people that help you open your mind more, open your horizon more so that you can grow deeper in life.

 

Rohit can be reached at –

https://www.facebook.com/walkingwithawisefriend/

rohit.v316@gmail.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohit-sasvehalli-8435a822/

https://twitter.com/rohitsasve

Instagram - Mithrandir_wisefriend

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