It’s now become known to most K-Pop followers that while the industry may look glamorous, behind the scenes, the journey to get there is far from easy. Every idol that graces the stage has gone through intense training, years of practice, and numerous auditions. But what about the ones who don’t make it to the spotlight? What do they endure mentally and emotionally?
Jo Han Ro, the CEO of the Mind Psychology Counseling Institute, who has been working with trainees for over four years now, gave fans an insight into the mental toll on those who remain in the shadows through an interview with Hankook Ilbo.
Many of these trainees begin their careers at a young age, pouring years into their dreams of becoming idols. When they’re suddenly removed from their debut groups or face unexpected contract terminations, it often feels as if the ground beneath them has shifted, says Jo.
As a trainee, I’ve developed loyalty to the company. I don’t think I have anywhere else to go but this company.
— Jo Han Ro
They’ve not only invested significant time but also forged strong emotional ties with their companies. So, a sudden change can lead to a sense of loss and uncertainty about the future. Han Ro emphasizes the daunting challenge of starting anew at a different agency. Beginning from scratch after years of commitment can be as overwhelming as standing on an unstable ground, with the fear of what lies ahead.
Even if I go to another company, it’s daunting to think that I have to start all over again.
— Jo Han Ro
In dealing with such emotional upheavals, Han Ro adopts a compassionate approach. He walks alongside them, helping them navigate their feelings and encouraging them to find strength within themselves. While in certain acute cases, medication might be deemed necessary, Han Ro often champions behavioral therapies.
Simple activities like meditation, walks, and self-reflection can offer solace and understanding, helping trainees realize that they’ve grown and adapted, even in adversity.
Despite the initial despair, it’s heartening to note that many trainees find alternative paths that lead to personal and professional fulfillment. After the initial setback, they often discover an internal drive, a sense of control over their destinies that perhaps was subdued earlier. This newfound freedom perhaps gives them a will to chart their own course.
It’s essential to note that the trials faced by these trainees aren’t just obstacles but also catalysts for personal growth. Han Ro believes that more than external support, it’s the internal strength and change in perspective that guides individuals through the toughest times.