Breaking Taboos: How Anna Chandy Crafts Normalcy to the Act of Counselling in India

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Anna Chandy, Chairperson at The Live Love Laugh Foundation, is one of the first few adopters of this niche career path of being a supervising and training transactional analyst. Anna today leads the foundation, founded by Indian movie actress Deepika Padukone in India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru.

Anna Chandy

When Anna decided to take up this profession, it wasn’t one of the most common career choices made by people. When I started, for the first one year there was not a single-client, she said but keeping that aside she continued to work at a not-for-profit NGO for a year and during this period she unravelled her own story as a professional.

From the time I started, I had decided to make my counselees to not feel ashamed. Some of that was done by modelling them, for example I was often asked by clients if I had issues is life. I would say yes, and shared with them. In that way I encouraged them by telling them that I may be your counsellor and yet I take help. I was able to model that to them, Anna said.

Today what Anna considers to be her success is the fact that her counselees are not shy to seek help. There is no hide and seek when they come here and today I proactively encourage my own family members and friends to seek help for any sort of life issues, she adds.

Indian Silicon Valley issues

Bengaluru, being home a number of entrepreneurs and tech workers, Anna has had the experience of young entrepreneurs seeking advice on various niggling work life and family-related issues. “ I have a number of successful entrepreneurs who come to me and say that they need a space where they do not want to be judged. Once they experience a phenomenal amount of success, there is an internal reconfiguration going on in their life’s journey; not only in their business journey but also their personal and social journey,”

Being in a city, one of the consistent problems I see is with migration. Say a Bangalore, or any other metro, one of the outcomes I see is that yes we need the work, along with it comes a sense of loneliness. It takes time to build relationships in a new environment and context. I also see a lot of cultural issues. For example, when I come from a smaller town and I come into a metro, which is culturally a little different to me, I feel the need to become like the inhabitants of the metro so that I become a part of the group. I also see a lot of relationship issues in the millennial generation now, because I believe there is a difference between equality and equity in heterosexual relationships. I think very often they are asking for equity but the language they use is equality. I think there is a difference in that.

In terms of job stresses, there seems to be a far quicker burn out or boredom as you would say. I don’t see a psychological satisfaction in doing what you want to do. A lot of us do things because of certain existing generalisation. I don’t think we can function because of some generalization. All of us have uniqueness about us, and I think before we make those decisions we need to understand ourselves more. I somehow feel we miss that link.

Working with a celebrity entrepreneur

Deepika Padukone, is one of Anna’s counselees, is also the founder of this foundation. According to Anna, she considers Deepika have more of an influencer status on the foundation, than a celebrity. With this influencer status, Anna believes that her core component of her profession continues to remain intact. She still has clients, who she had counselled seven years ago, call her back and revisit her for help even today.

(Read more about Anna’s views on Women Dealing with Professional and personal challenges in the March Issue of Entrepreneur Magazine 2017)