Is cocreation a hopeful approach for contemporary individuals to feel a sense of belonging?
A recurring question that leaves an individual with varying feelings of confusion, perplexity, being frozen, agitated and so on, is an outcome of the need of all humans to make meaning of their experiences, their lives, their journey. In the play ‘Life”, we assume and enact so many characters and roles commencing with being a child, sibling, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, spouse, supervisee, supervisor, and the list continues… Each character and role has specific tasks, needs, goals, and requires support and guidance to accomplish a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment.
This constant pondering on the question ‘Who am I?’ promoted me to probe various elements of my psychological structure. I was born and brought up with certain values, beliefs and attitudes which were evident when I engaged with professionals, who very often triggered discomfort in me, as I experienced my frame of reference being different. Simultaneously, I experienced discomfort when I was in the midst of my family, as in this milieu my frame of reference also seemed different. I experienced a sense of belonging nowhere but within myself.
To anchor and belong within myself and my contextual setting, I began the search for the elements of culture that I was forming and disseminating to the individuals who engaged with me, as undoubtedly transference and countertransference were in play.
In the hierarchy of existential needs, recognition is a validation of an individual’s existence. This begins in the family – the primal system. Therefore, in the need for recognition the individual follows the implied social norms and expectations of the system to which they belong. The fear of being excluded is paramount. These social norms are the values, attitudes, prejudices, that govern the daily life.
Geert Hofstede a well known sociologist defined “Culture as a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one group from another” This programming of the mind is acquired by individuals who grow up together in the same Forest. Culture is an integral element of the Human Mind’s Operating System.
As TA practitioners in a global context, diversity is immense. Is it not important to question or probe an individual’s cultural framework prior to evaluating their behaviour as restrictive or promoting? Awarely or unawarely, do we not enact the role that the client or student subtly hands to us? Enquiry of the other’s culture, possibly will be a channel to be sensitive so that growth is potent and self sufficient for the person in their social context.
In todays’ world, diversity in its various forms is obvious …yet acceptance of diversity is so challenging! Exploration of cultural frameworks will be the process to understand some of these questions.