Letters To The Editor

"If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary." – Jim Rohn

Criminals – Made or born?

It is frightening to think that we live in a world in which crime is inevitable. Each and every day we turn on our televisions to heartbreaking news of crime and the victims left behind by their action. Still, we live our days and walk through the streets of our city with the constant reminder that a potential criminal can be looming close by. However, it is easier for one to deduct how the crime happened; who did it and perhaps even the intent behind the crime long after it was committed. Nevertheless, there is one question that motivates the core of psychologists, criminologists and other scientists which they can’t seem to figure out: Are criminals born or made? Psychologists have come up with many assumptions and intentions as to why individuals commit crimes. The two main clarifications lie in genetic and environmental factors, which conveys to the nature and nurture debate. Some argue that criminals are born, these are philosophers and scientists who believe that the genetics play a role in a person’s behaviour and thus, criminals are as a result of the same. On the other hand there are also studies that have been conducted to prove that criminals are made by society, these are scientists and philosophers who consider that it is the environment, such as a person’s interaction with the society that models behaviour of the individual. To conclude therefore, it can be argued that, though studies have found that both genes and environment play a role in the criminality of the individual, the environment plays a key role in stemming or spreading such behaviours. Every human being is born free and equal in dignity and in right, your fate is not pre-determined for you, however, criminals are made and not necessarily born.

Farhat Hussain,

The stigma of therapy

Counselling is a useful tool that can help people develop coping skills and process emotions and feelings. But for some, the negative stigma that surrounds therapy sessions is a major deterrent to seeking help. Despite a growing awareness of the benefits of counselling for people of all backgrounds and situations of life, this negative perception still makes some people hesitant about giving counselling a try. No one ever hears a friend say "I have a doctor's appointment" and immediately thinks that they must be rich or weak or crazy. It's generally the right and less stubborn thing to see a professional when our body is injured or feels "atypical." But if someone wants to see a therapist for their mental health, people aren't as uncritical. I talk very openly about the fact that I see a therapist. While my friends and family are mostly supportive, they, along with the general population, still ask questions or make comments that remind me that going to therapy is not as normalised or as acceptable as I had hoped. I know my loved ones mean well, and I consider myself lucky; but there's still that millisecond between saying the variation of words "I see a therapist" and the polite (albeit usually misinformed) reply where the stigma lives. All the immediate thoughts and questions translate to a slight change in demeanour and discomfort reflected in their eyes. This stigma lives in the darkness of this millisecond, along with the overshadowing fear, lack of awareness and basic ignorance. We all need to rewire our thoughts on mental health and therapy and not increase the stigma that causes some people to never seek the help they need. However, concerns about how counselling is viewed should not deter one from taking an empowering step forward in life.

Maheen Ali,