Centre of Excellence in Journalism by the department of business administration introduces the concept of ‘Stress and Coping in Journalists Findings of a Three-Year Counseling Service’ on Wednesday in Karachi. Where they provide counseling sessions to the journalists who are suffering from acute stress disorder.

Dr. Asha Bedar is a well-known clinical psychologist with 18 years of experience in this field along with the Director of the CEJ Kamal Siddiqi on 20 minutes live meeting on Facebook at 3 pm have discussed and introduced this term. Director of the CEJ Kamal Siddiqi said “This issue is not going anywhere.”

Further, he elaborated “I think the challenges are mounting for journalists. The pressures are mounting. The stresses are mounting. It has nothing to do with young or old, or your medium of work.” He mentioned that in the field of journalism some people ask for help when they think that they themselves could not be able to cope with their problem.

There is a free confidential counseling service for media-related employees that was introduced in collaboration with DW Akademie in 2018. These four clinical psychologists Dr. Bedar, Mahnoor Shaikh, Tabinda Afzal, and Zainab Barry took part in the counseling sessions and provide over 600 hourly counseling sessions to 107 journalists across Pakistan, with the majority (90) in Karachi.

After analyzing a stressful journalist’s condition Dr.Bedar quoted “We wanted to provide a snapshot, a real understanding of the impact on their work and on them individually”. According to the study here are some points:

  • The majority of the journalists need to take two or seven sessions.
  • The larger group of journalists who suffer from this situation is laying between the 21-30 years of age group.
  • Half of the anxiety diagnoses have been found within Karachi.
  • Men are largely affected by anxiety than women.
  • After factoring in overlap, a majority of clients were working in digital or online capacities.
  • An overwhelming majority of journalist clients were working full-time.
  • A total of 37 out of the 90 journalists in Karachi who came for varying degrees of counseling at the Wellbeing Centre had been on the job for one to five years.
  • Subeditors, reporters, newsroom managers, and anchors sought help the most.

Trust is the major concern in the field of psychology and establishing trust with clients is the core part to resolve the issue. For example clinic’s timings are managing in such a way that journalist would not bump into each other while coming and going for appointments.

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Dr.Bedar recalled the sessions that she has done with journalists and remembering that how she create a rapport of trust with them. She quoted that “I remember, in the beginning, clients would say, If this gets out, I will lose my job.”

As we all know that journalists’ duty is one of the toughest and risky because they have a lot of information about the multiples subjects and for them, it’s hard to trust someone. She memorized and said, “Some journalists who came were actually very open, and they went back and told people at work.”

Further, she elaborated “We did have a lot of people come in because word of mouth really matters. We were sometimes booked up months in advance. It was very well received which indicates that there was such a need for this service and if you did it properly, ethically, with professional standards you can actually run it well.”

The Director of the CEJ inquired from Dr. Bedar that when a journalist needs a high level of counseling? On this particular question, she replied “that it certainly is one of the professions that require it, and added, “but anyone exposed to stress, trauma, and people’s misery… And a lot of journalism is about that”.

She also disclosed some matters that “One of the things that stood out was how much of the work you all do is to do with sad, difficult, and stressful things that are happening in people’s lives.” However, it is one of the hardest things for social media handlers to switch of for the journalist and all journalists are used to and expect some levels of stress at the job.

While briefing about the journalists’ work and its impact on them Dr.Bedar said “When that stress becomes complex and depressive symptoms start to surface, there is so much helplessness and It takes a toll.” She also shared that these media employees seek help when they found themselves in a severe level of problems and also worry about losing a job. “Some people who were coming to therapy were not able to function, not able to cope at all.”

Similarly, on the same path, they remain in conflict with their family and friends apart from the job and also suffer from an extreme level of anxiety which is called “depression.” They remain in constant stress. Dr. Bedar felt that this study is crucial because they won’t be able to come before on minor issues due to which their problem increases day by day and let them fall helpless at the moment.

This whole study will help us to know that how we need to make them comfortable and conduct a therapy session. After all, this Director of the CEJ Kamal Siddiqi showed a thankful gesture to Dr. Bedar and other related psychologists for the services that they are giving to the community of journalist.


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