Back in 2010, when I was about to make radical changes in my life, my brother Karim offered me Anita Papas’ book "The Positive You!". I was totally impressed by this book and I felt so encouraged and optimistic to make the changes I wanted in my life. I felt no fear and saw a positive and smiling world coming to me. Moreover, what was great about that book is that it is easy to read with a very light style. And every time I feel down, I go back to the bookshelf of my house and read a bit of it: It boosts me a lot!
Meet the author of this great book (as well as others).
- Who is Anita Papas?
To the outside world Anita Papas is the conscientious clinical psychologist, the passionate author and the motivating public speaker. In her own home, she is the devoted wife and mother. To her parents, she is the loving daughter and to her friends she is the loyal comrade.
I love each and every role. I find countless amounts of joy in each one of them. One is not more important than the other. When done with passion they are all meaningful and rewarding!
- How did you choose the psychology field?
I have always been a curious person, I always cared about how others thought and felt and reacted to things. As a child, I was not aware that this could be something we could study in schools and universities. The day I discovered that Psychology was the scientific study of the human mind and behavior, I went for it! Psychology intrigues me! Human beings intrigue me! We are the most complicated and yet the most simple of creatures. Psychology is in our everyday encounters, it is in every single thing that we do and I find it truly fascinating!
- In your opinion, how is psychology evolving in Lebanon? Are people accepting it or do they still feel ashamed of consulting a psychologist?
The idea of consulting a psychologist is only recently becoming accepted in Lebanon. We are witnessing a huge and positive change in the past five years. In my books, I have tried to demystify the clinical process by allowing the reader to realize that it is a very healthy way of addressing one’s problems. I have noticed that people shy away from therapy but could very easily pick up a self-help book and read it. Even though books are helpful, nothing can really beat the experience of having a one on one encounter with a psychologist if you need to resolve a certain issue in your life.
- How do you diagnose your patients?
As a psychologist, I do not use the term “patient” because I do not consider them as such.
The assessments I make for my clients are very individualized. Every case is unique and every course of treatment different. My approach is geared towards short term, solution oriented and highly interactive therapy whereby the client will internalize the techniques and approaches which are introduced in these sessions. The main aim is to help my clients learn to help themselves.
- What pushed you to write the book "The Positive You!"?
My clinical practice is what motivated me to write my first book. I realized I was making a big difference in so many people’s lives. I was helping them find ways to use their personal strengths, to bolster their weaker areas and to always look at the positives in their lives. It felt amazingly wonderful to be able to turn lives around.
The number of clients I could treat in a given week was limited. This is why I decided I needed to reach out to more people, turn around more lives, and let more and more people see the positive aspects of their life. This was only possible via writing a book. In 2009, my first book “The Positive You!” was published. I was the first Lebanese psychologist to publish a self-help book. It occupied best-selling lists for a very long period of time in all major bookstores in Lebanon.
- What about “The Positive Us!” and “Go for it”?
My second book “The Positive Us!” was the natural continuation of “The Positive You!”. The relationships we form with our family, friends and significant other are of tremendous importance and value. This is what I tackle in “The Positive Us!” which once again enjoyed huge recognition. In 2012, my third title “Go for it!” was published. It is highly motivational and inspires us to follow our dreams and to never give up! Due to the huge demand of the public, two of my books have been translated to Arabic under the titles: “Anta al Ijabi!” and “Hayya Entalek!”.
- Many social problems are arising in the Lebanese society. Some link them to the fact that women are working and getting more and more independent. Do you agree with this?
It is a well-established fact that working women become more confident, competent and fulfilled in their lives. This by no means suggests that their financial independence should have negative effects on the couple and society by and large. On the contrary, by joining the workforce, a woman will be joining her efforts to that of her husband’s to give a better quality of life to her children and family. I consider this is as a build-up of families and society rather than their breakdown.
- In your opinion, how could a woman balance between her career and her personal/family life?
The best advice I can give to working women who are trying to keep the right kind of balance between their career and family life is to let go of the guilt. I have come across women who are handling full time jobs brilliantly, keeping a wonderful home and raising great children and yet they are so full of guilt when any small shift of balance occurs whether at work or at home. I believe women have to realize that there cannot be the perfect balance at all times. There are days when our priorities shift and we have to learn to make exceptions. To keep a workable balance, my big advice is: Don’t take work TO home and do not take home TO work.
I always try to remind working women of their own needs too. “Time for myself” is most of the time overlooked as they try to give all their time to their work and home often neglecting their own selves. I tell them that it is detrimental to their emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing and that they have to create some time for themselves and their spouse in their busy schedules.