Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Facebook is One Big Therapy Session

Dear Sis Dolly,
I am man aged 35 and my wife is 26 years old. We have been married for three years but we do not have any children together. I have two kids from a previous relationship so I know the problem is not with me. I want more children but it seems that my wife cannot have any children because of complications. A month ago, she confessed that when she was a teenager she fell pregnant and aborted. The doctors have also confirmed that she cannot have children because of the abortion. I love my wife very much but I also want more children. What should I do? Do I divorce and marry another woman? Please help.*

If you do not know or remember Sis Dolly, then that means one of two things. Either you are not of my generation or you never read a Drum magazine in the 90s. Essentially Sis Dolly, was a columnist for Drum magazine who dished out advice on various topics to individuals. I sometimes naively marveled at the grand scale of problems people had. In a mature and objective tone, Sis Dolly would then give out her advice on the situation. Whether her suggestions were helpful, I do not know. Sis Dolly is long gone, but people still have issues. A few years ago people used to take their problems to the magazines, today people take their problems to Facebook.

Facebook has started to become one big therapy session with the wise and idiots giving their advice to the problem. Joy FM usually posts personal issues under what is called Kuseniseni and Hot FM have the Hot Issue. Both these begin with people requesting to hide their IDs and asking people for advice. Some people do provide advice that someone can use, and then there are the bunch of fools and idiots who say the stupidest things one can imagine.  Here is someone who is in genuine need of assistance and then someone out there who has nothing better to do, chooses to expose their childish and idiotic senses by rubbishing the situation or making fun of it. These are perhaps some of the things we need to live with on Facebook these days.

Maybe we should be blaming the people for airing their problems on Facebook. But if not Facebook where do people go in Zambia to discuss their issues? It’s not like in the developed countries where you have shrinks and psychiatrists where you go and lie on a plush sofa while you talk about your adulterous and lying wife. The closest I know of such is Chainama but imagine me telling my friends that I go to Chainama to see a psychiatrist; first thing that will pop in their minds is that I am mad. We do have the church but not everyone is comfortable going to church, for fear of Mulomo and judgement. I guess Facebook may just be the best alternative they have.

For the people who are fond of posting their problems and issues on Facebook, people need to realise that not everyone on Facebook is of right mind and they must be prepared to receive the junk of advice too. In the meantime, I am still trying to figure a place where to take all these frustrations that I habour.

*The above is purely fictional and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.


  1. Ah sis dolly, how every drum magazine reader loved reading that article, you are right,not many people are in the right mind to advise.If you find that place,let a sister know!
    Great post!

  2. Thank you for bringing this up. I think people who air their problems on facebook seek attention more than solutions to their problems. Proper counseling requires at least face to face interaction between the client and the counselor. This allows the counselor to ask questions, seek clarification and study body language of the client. Body language tells a story too, which might be different from what is being said. The advice dispensed on facebook is not enough as some of the problems that are aired are only a manifestation of deeper problems which could be about personality or even mental illness. i think there is a counseling council or association which needs to publicize its services so that people know where they can get help. By the way there is a difference between a shrink, who is basically a psychologist and a psychiatrist who is a medical doctor

  3. Hi Anonymous, the problem that exists in our society is that there is too much stigma against people with mental issues or even just minor problems. Imagine if I said that I was bipolar or something, probably the best place to get help would be Chainama but I would not go there because it will automatically be assumed that i am mad. I think counselors have a lot of work to do in this country, and they need to be appreciated.

  4. Hey big dif between shrink n psycharist and jus to let u know there many psychologists out there n nt jus chainama the problem is one the psychologists charge n most pipo dnt wana pay and two most people hav a mentality of solving their own problem and not wanting to seek help or just die internally....

    1. Hi Mwiz N, thank you for your comment. However, to the best of my knowledge Shrink is an informal way of referring to a psychiatrist. What is the big difference if I may ask?

      The payment maybe indeed a factor but maybe people are skeptical whether their advice will work. Then as you rightly pointed our we just love trying to solve our own problems no matter how long it takes. I would be interested in knowing apart from Chainama where else can I find a Shrink for all my frustrations?

  5. Hehe I well for one u cn go to unza or uth there r clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists or u can come to kara counseling there is a clinical psychologist (I am planing on doin my masters in counselling ) I did psychology .. N thanks for that yes u right shrink is psychiarist (embarasd look) I meant between psychiarist n psychologist nwez it can be used fo both nwez psychiarist deal with mental issues mental disorders n the like then we hav clinical psychologist , counselling psychologist who deal with other issues not necessarily mental.. Social issues bereavment issues and the like... The diference is also there in terms of education if am nt mistaken psychiarist do five yrs n r called doctors bt psychologists r not called doctors until phd level or so ... I did a google search to try n expand further http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_health_professional bt yeah that's the gist