Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
I was brought up in Delhi, and went to Amity International School, Saket. Academics have always been my strength, and I was awarded excellence certificates and scholarships at various levels in school. I had decided that I wanted to be a psychologist way back when I was in my 9th Standard in school. The zeal to understand the human mind combined with my inclination towards serving people drew me towards this subject.
What did you study?
I graduated in Psychology (Honours) in 2005 with a first division from the elite Lady Shri Ram College for Women (L.S.R.), Delhi University. It was like a dream come true to have studied under the guidance of excellent teachers along with students from different parts of the country, all bringing in their own cultures that intermingled and helped me broaden my own outlook towards life.
After this, I went to South Campus, Delhi University for my post graduation. I completed my M.A. in Psychology, with a specialisation in counselling and social psychology in 2007. By this time, I was completely in love with my subject. I underwent a lot of experiential and group exercises as part of my masters program, and was fortunate to be a part of a class of students who completely accepted each other for their similarities as well as differences. I could see myself growing tremendously as a person, and developing increased understanding of others’ perspectives over these two years. I topped my masters program in the 1st year and stood 2nd overall.
Soon after completing my post graduation, my thirst to further delve into the intriguing world of psychology led me to start off with a PhD in Delhi University in 2007. By then I had also qualified the NET examination, and I was awarded the prestigious UGC Junior Research Fellowship. I shifted to Mumbai post my marriage in 2008, and since I was not residing in Delhi anymore, I was not permitted to continue with my PhD there. I was taken aback, but being perseverant and getting tremendous support from my husband, I started off with a PhD from Mumbai University in 2010. I am still working on my PhD thesis titled ‘An exploratory study of emotional and psychological needs of couples undergoing treatment for infertility’, under the excellent guidance of Dr Anuradha Sovani, and intend to complete it sometime this year.
Apart from my formal education in psychology, I have also attended various workshops on counselling, in order to hone my skills further. I have undergone extensive training in REBT (Rational emotive behaviour therapy). Along with REBT, I have an inclination towards humanistic and existential models of therapy.
Tell us about your career path
I started off working as a trainee trauma counsellor in 2006 with an NGO in Delhi called Swanchetan, where I worked with victims of rape and abuse. In the same year, I also worked as a trainee school counsellor in my own school. As soon as I completed my post graduation, I started working with a training and development organisation called Confluence Integrated Services Private Limited. I was into behavioural and soft skills training where we conducted workshops and group sessions on topics such as Attitude at work, Building Self confidence, Interpersonal Skills, Emotional Intelligence, Transactional Analysis etc. for students, teachers, and corporate organisations.
After moving to Mumbai, I worked with ‘Drishti’ as a counselling psychologist. My work included carrying out psycho-educational assessments, child counselling and counselling at Podar International School (IB and SSC boards). In my one year at Drishti, I was awarded the title of the ‘psychologist of the year’ for having delivered consistently.
Soon after, in 2010, I set up a small private practice as a counselling psychologist. Somewhere then, I developed interest in working with couples and families. Reading for my PhD thesis helped me gain in-depth knowledge about therapy with couples. Alongside, in 2011, I worked with Dr Mandakini Parihar (Mandakini IVF centre, Chembur) as a counsellor for couples undergoing treatment for infertility. In 2012, I was counselling in the IVF department of L.H.Hiranandani hospital, Powai as part of my PhD research work. The private practice has been slowly growing meanwhile.
I was increasingly developing a need to reach out to more people for counselling and therapy; and Inner Space has helped me do so.