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“Please be very careful when addressing a child’s future. Because the current me, by the guidance teacher in secondary school, “You’re a person who can’t be successful at anything.!” I am the grown-up version of that child.
Burcu Yarapsanlı ZAYİM
People have life stories, but not corporate stories about how workplaces were established? It definitely will. Happy Life Psychological Counseling Center also has a full story. The story you are about to read is the story of the existence of the institution through the eyes of the Founder of Happy Life Psychological Counseling Center & Expert Clinical Psychologist & Author Burcu Yarapsanlı Zayim.
How does a child called “You’re a person who can’t be successful at anything” become a psychologist?
The year is 2000. The year of the millennium in the world… Those years coincided with my teenage years. In that year, I was a student who moved from Edirne to Tekirdağ and successfully completed the 7th grade. When I was in the 8th grade, all my friends started to have mobile phones and because I was a good student at that time, my mother bought me a mobile phone to keep me motivated while preparing for the high school entrance exams. Of course, it is debatable how right it is to buy a phone for a child who is preparing for the exam period, but the Nokia 3210, which is known as the Iphone of that period, was bought for me ☺
It was September… School had just begun. Since it was the first week of school, even the teachers did not teach the lessons intensively. My mother, on the other hand, has always told me since the day she bought a cell phone, “No taking your cell phone to school. Both the school administration does not allow this, and I do not allow it.” he would stop. I, on the other hand, as an adolescent who felt very cool with the Nokia 3210, one day broke the rule that my mother set for me. Because all my friends were secretly bringing their cell phones to school with their crazy, adolescent and funny ways. I must have been tempted by them because that day I secretly took my cell phone to school in case nothing would happen to me, and whatever happened, it happened that day…
From childhood, which is contrary to the word, to female entrepreneurship…
At that time, while I was showing my cell phone to them among my group of friends, a mischievous boyfriend from the lower classes started to run away with my cell phone, supposedly to make a joke. I said “Give me my cell phone, if the teacher sees it, he will take it!” she did worse as she shouted and ran after him in fear. He took my cell phone and hid it in the men’s room! Of course, since I could not enter the men’s restroom, I waited in front of the toilet for my friend to come out. I was just shouting and knocking on the door every now and then for him to open it. Finally the mischievous friend came out of the men’s room and handed me back my phone. And I thought to myself, “My mother was right. I will never bring a phone to school again.” I entered the classroom thinking. Whatever happened, it started exactly one lesson later, when the student on duty knocked on the door of the classroom and entered. To my teacher, “Burcu Yarapsanlı is calling a student named assistant principal to her office.” said.
I was so scared… Because for the first time in my life, I was called to his room by the assistant principal by being taken out of class. The assistant principal was also a very tough man. I went to the room in fear. When I went to his room, he said that the toilet door of the school was broken and that I was the one who broke this door. He started talking to me in an accusatory and frightening tone about my constant breaking on the door. I didn’t know anything about the door. I was just listening to what the vice principal had to say. Because all I knew was the truth that I didn’t break that door. After we entered the class, the assistant principal, who saw that the door was broken in a way that I still do not know how, said that he asked other students about who broke that door. A few students who had seen my hastily running in front of that door a lesson ago also told me that they did not see the person who broke the door, but that they saw me running in front of that door. As a 34-year-old woman, the only thing I know, as I was 14 years old that day, is that I was not the one who broke that door. Thereupon, the news spread among all the teachers that I had broken the toilet door. My teachers, who used to look at me with a smile, shook their heads when they saw me and said, “Behavior appropriate for a girl like you? What did it mean to break a door?” they began to respond. When I tried to tell them that I wasn’t the one who broke the door, “Don’t lie, Burcu. You were not such a student. Who are you influenced by?” They got even more angry with me. I was called into the assistant principal’s office almost every day for 2 weeks straight. For 2 weeks, I was made to tell the same things over and over again to confess that I had broken the door by being kept standing in the assistant manager’s room for 1 hour. All I know is that I violated school rules by bringing my cell phone to school, but I didn’t break the door. In addition, in my adolescent mind, I did not understand why this issue was raised so much and why my family was not called but only me. When things developed like this, I started to think that I had made a big mistake because this incident had grown so much in school. I believed that I shouldn’t have told my family such a big mistake, I was crying in my bed at night by myself. One day, after being kept up for 1 hour and being interrogated, I came out of the assistant principal’s room and started to sob. Because the same sentences were constantly being talked about in the assistant manager’s room, but the subject was not closed. The deputy director believed everyone but me, but for some reason he never believed what I said. A group of friends who saw that I was crying a lot that day came to me and said that they believed that I was telling the truth. I remember suddenly my crying stopped and my eyes sparkled. Because the best thing I’ve heard in the last 2 weeks was that they said they believed me. He also told me that the vice principal and the teachers were not very fond of, and that the vice principal had treated them so badly. I said, “Fortunately, there are people who understand me now.” I was starting to think. But there was something very important that I couldn’t discern with my adolescent mind. That vice principal was blaming me for something I didn’t really do while I was getting angry with my friends who were trying to support me and punishing them for really showing misbehavior at school. I was really confused now. After that day, I started to think that the vice principal made the wrong decision about every student. It was very sad for me to start such an important term as the 8th grade in the first week of school that year. Towards the end of September, I was taken to a wider circle by this group of friends who supported me. They even talked to all my friends for me and helped me get along with everyone. They even ensured that I was elected class president in the class presidency elections that year. On the other hand, the family life and future expectations of all of these friends were different from mine. Due to some socio-economic difficulties, he did not understand the importance of school and did not even think of studying after secondary school. Some were truant from school and forming harmful habits. Some had started smoking and did not like to study at all. As the class president, I started to think that I should protect them from the vice principal in the face of these favors they did to me. In fact, I was behaving like them, as the class president, I did not write them down while taking attendance, I was managing and trying to protect them from administrative penalties despite their behavior to disrupt the class order. Of course, since I was the class president, I was punished by the administration as the person who managed and concealed their misbehaviors every time. In other words, no matter what I did that year, I was well known at school as a student. In my adolescent mind, I was getting even more angry inside by going to the vice principal and all my teachers. Why doesn’t anyone listen to me, why doesn’t anyone make me talk, why is there a constant punishment?” I had a situation of rebellion. Of course, I have never been a student who went so far as to bully my teachers. But I was starting to be called the troubled student of the school, even though I didn’t really want to be. Finally, I was directed by my teachers to a teacher who would not punish me and would listen to me. To the head teacher…
The role of the counselor in a young person’s life…
At that time, the counselor was in my eyes like an angel. He would come to class once in a while and give us some talks, but he never spoke to me one-on-one. Even though I was sent to his room as a problem student, I was very happy that he would talk to me. Because I was going to tell everything, understand the injustice done to me and ask him for help. Moreover, for the first time, I learned the word psychologist by looking at his title. He was a psychologist, but he preferred to work as a guidance counselor by taking formation training. The moment I entered his room, I think he was about to leave the room because he was called by someone else. “How are your grades?” asked. I didn’t understand what it was. Because I didn’t come to his room because of the notes. I said that I got low grades because my grades weren’t very good at that time. “Where do you want to study in the future?” asked. Of course, as a young girl with dreams, I mentioned a good part of one of Turkey’s best universities. He suddenly became enraged and said, “You think you can get into that school with these grades?” said. Just as he was walking out the door, he said, “I don’t believe you will be anything anyway.” he said and left. I, on the other hand, had neither hoped nor found, at the age of 14, as a naive teenager.
After a barely-there year of middle school, I graduated from that school and then went to a high school with much better teachers. According to others, hard-tempered teachers were much more moderate in my opinion and were much more trying to understand the student. Because no one blamed me anymore, and I didn’t have to manipulate someone and then get punished for anyone to like me. My successful high school life had begun. All of a sudden, my grades went up, I was complained to my parents as a very bad student at parent meetings in middle school, and I started to be known as a very good student in high school. Since I was a good student in high school, I was always involved in many projects representing the school. In high school, I hosted one of the guest foreign students from Bulgaria who was sent to the projects in the schools described as sister schools in Bulgaria and Belgium by my school. At that time, I started to get degrees in the field of writing-composition in literature. In the first semester of my senior year of high school, in addition to the certificate of appreciation, it was deemed appropriate for me to receive a certificate of honor due to good behavior and behavior as a student. So I have always been a close student to my teachers.
Until that time, everyone kept saying that I had a very bad adolescence in 8th grade. However, the best teachers should have known that puberty does not only last 1 year in the 8th grade. Because I wasn’t having a bad adolescence. But it was true that I had a bad school year. Then I decided to study law by choosing the equal weight department in high school. One day, my guidance counselor in the classroom told me that my personality structure is very suitable for studying psychology. It was very surprising to me to hear a comment about me from a guidance counselor. Because observing me as a student, the only thing left in my mind about what I would become was being told by my middle school guidance counselor that I could be nothing. After hearing this, I started to look more warmly at being a psychologist, and even associating myself with this profession even when I was in high school. When the university exam results were announced, we made the order of preference first with the guidance teacher and then with my dear sister. My sister wanted me to be a psychologist too. In fact, one of the people who was most happy when I heard that I had won the psychology department was my sister. How would we both know that after 6 years of studying psychology, we would decide to open an office together?
Afterwards, I entered the university and had good years like any university student who studied the department he wanted and loved. That is, until she did her compulsory hospital internship in order to graduate from the psychology department in 2008… It was the summer period. I finished the 3rd year of the psychology department and started looking for a hospital to complete my internship in the clinical field before I went to the 4th year. When my hometown was Tekirdag, I applied to a private hospital in Tekirdag that would accept me as an intern and was accepted. So who was the psychologist I met? If anyone guessed, they probably guessed right. Yes, he was my guidance counselor in my secondary school years… My guidance teacher had retired from public school and started to work in a private hospital because he graduated from the psychology department. I learned that day that he had a neurological disorder. I had heard that he passed out occasionally due to this ailment, and I learned that he could not remember most of his past memories. That’s why when I went to him as a trainee, it was impossible for him to remember me as it would have been years. But he could neither remember nor recognize me, mostly because of his neurological condition. On the day I completed my compulsory internship and left the hospital, I had the courage to tell him that he was my guidance counselor in secondary school. He was very surprised when he first heard it. During our conversation, the subject brought up the subject and the subject came to talk about the days that were very difficult for me at that school when I was studying in the 8th grade. I told him the sentence he said to me that day (“You are an incompetent.”!), and now we are talking to each other at levels that can be colleagues. Hearing this, he looked at me for a long time and said that he really did not remember those years. He was right. Even though the discomfort he experienced did not prevent him from working, it prevented him from remembering many old things due to fainting. He really had forgotten that school year. Since I was 14 years old, I could never forget him and the sentence he said until that day!
“You never know who that child will grow up to be one day”
Sonra stajımı bitirip hastaneden ayrılırken bu staj tecrübemde öğrendiğim çok büyük bir hayat dersi oldu. Kendime dedim ki; “Burcu, sen sen ol bir çocukla ya da bir ergenle konuşurken çok dikkatli ol. O çocuğun bir gün büyüyüp karşına kim olarak geleceğini asla bilemezsin. O çocuk büyüdüğünde belki de senin meslektaşın, belki senin doktorun, belki de çocuğunun öğretmeni olur.” Hayat bu belli mi olur?
Then, when I finished my internship and left the hospital, it was a great life lesson I learned in this internship experience. I said to myself; “Burcu, be very careful when you talk to a child or a teenager. You never know who that child will one day grow up to be. When that child grows up, maybe he will be your colleague, maybe your doctor, maybe your child’s teacher.” Is this life clear?
What happened next? Shortly after my internship ended, I heard that my teacher also left the hospital due to increasing health problems. A few years later, I had the opportunity to work as a psychologist in the same hospital this time. I was both working in the counseling center I established and working part-time in the hospital.
Because “Happy Life” would be the first psychological counseling center opened in Tekirdag…
The year is 2013… By the way, my dear and own sister gave me a lot of support, believed in me and put their hand under every responsibility with me when I was establishing the first psychological counseling center in Tekirdağ in 2013. So was it all that easy? Believe me, nothing has ever been this easy… What else happened in my life, let’s take a look at the process after I got my expertise…
At that time, the responsibility of these confidentiality principles required by the profession was very important to me. Because “Happy Life” would be the first center opened in this area in Tekirdağ. After that, in this center, in that therapy room, everyone’s very, very private would be talked about, and that private information would be kept in written form in the files. No one had to read it, no one had to wonder. I was very lucky in this regard. I set out on this road with my dear sister who supported me, and I blindly gave this responsibility to my own sister. I always say. Good thing it did.
How have I kept my entrepreneurial spirit alive despite my challenges as a woman?
After I opened my business in 2013 with the support of my family, as well as my relatives who made me feel their support, “What is the need to open a business?” I also had relatives who lamented.
“You can do it. You are determined. I believe you.” as much as those who say, “It is not easy to set up a business! This job doesn’t work. This is why others have not opened such a business in Tekirdag until now. Let’s see, you opened your business, but how long will you be able to manage?” There were many people who said such phrases. On September 6, 2014, about 1.5 years after I opened my business, I also established my own home. It had been only 3 months since my marriage and I had surprisingly learned that I was pregnant. Just when I was about to put my affairs in order, my workplace is now functioning, a surprise pregnancy ☺ Everything went well in the first 6 months of my pregnancy. But then I started to feel a lot of pressure from my social environment on me. Everyone stated that he was saying these oppressive words for my own good, but no one asked what I thought. There was only one place where everyone looked. And that’s my mother role… Now I was hearing sentences from everyone like, “Quit your job. Sit at home. Rest. Study. Your husband has a good job and a good income. You don’t have to work.” Fortunately, my baby helped me have a well-rounded pregnancy, as if he understood my desire to work. This docile state of his in the womb made me work for almost 9 months. Already 10 days later, he was born on the same day. But things changed even more when she was born. I realized that day that it was easier to go on maternity leave while working elsewhere. Because when I was both the employee and the boss of the business, I could not be so generous with myself. I had to go back to work after I could only breastfeed my baby for 3 months. After all, I was serving people and many of my clients were waiting for me to return to work. Until the 9th month, I was milking with a milking machine in my hand in the first space I found between 6 months and 2 sessions, and in the next space, I was trying to get home quickly from the back streets of Tekirdag without getting stuck at traffic lights to raise the milk for my baby. While I was waiting to be appreciated for my speed, there were many people who said that I was unfair to my baby, that I made a mistake in starting work, and that my priority should be my baby. My priority was my baby. But I wasn’t allowed to move on with my baby. As a mother who was afraid of early weaning due to work, I was already stuck between a work conscience and a mother’s conscience. Every day, “What am I doing like this?” I was asking myself and on the other hand, “These days will pass, my baby is very healthy. The time I spend with her is quality and above all I am a mother and working woman who knows what I am doing.” I was suggesting to myself.
This period was a crossroads for me, like every working woman. Either I would return to my home and my child and use all my professional knowledge skills on my child. Or I would learn to gather all my resources together and to use my energy in the right way and to divide my power into my family, my wife, my job and my child. The second I said was not easy. But it could be done. Here I chose the second. Despite all the things that were said on my mother’s conscience, both from my family and from the social circle that I expected support from, I continued to be an entrepreneur. Good thing I continued. In those days, there were many things that I questioned myself as “I wonder…”. But today I have nothing to wish for. On the contrary, I can say that I did it well.
How is the Happy Life Psychological Counseling Center growing across Turkey?
Establishing and growing the institution was not as difficult as providing professional service. In order to provide professional and qualified service, it was not enough just to graduate from this field. It was necessary to work very, very hard, to read a lot, to get a lot of education. I was determined to take it all.
Thus, Happy Life Psychological Counseling Center turned 8 years old today. Our team has grown and our service arms have expanded. On “Where Have Things Turned Around?” I wrote my first book called, and now I get so excited when I see the promotion of my book on national channels… On top of that, our website, which provides online psychological counseling services from Tekirdağ to all of Turkey, was launched. Our goal is to prove that we have adapted to the digital age: to provide mental health services to the whole of Turkey with Online Psychotherapy! So what else will happen? There is so much more to come… We will bring important social responsibility projects to our country. And of course we will open to the world. I will tell you all the developments on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter social media accounts. As I come to the end of the story of how the Happy Life Psychological Counseling Center came into existence, there is only one thing I want to keep in mind in the story: Be you, never give up on your dreams. Don’t give up on what you believe in. Don’t give up the power inside you and don’t let anyone consume that power.
All my love…
Expert Clinical Psychologist & Author
Burcu Yarapsanlı ZAYİM