My experience as a Clinical Psychologist
I guess as a human tendency most of us have a desire to help others. That moment of satisfaction and ethereal pleasure when someone has a smile on his/her face due to you is indescribable. After several days of gloom, anxiety or any other disturbing emotion, when a person grabs a branch of the tree of motivation and hopefulness because of your efforts, there is a wonderful feeling in your gut. This sense of accomplishment after helping someone in distress comes itself whether you are a brother, sister, mother, wife, father, friend or an acquaintance of the person. Think of an occupation in which this is the form of serving the society. Yes, Clinical Psychology is one such field.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I have interacted with a number of people suffering from different emotional and behavioral problems viz. depression, phobia, panic disorder, dissociation, substance use disorders and conduct disorder to name a few. I have heard the plight of many. I will take the opportunity to tell about a few. A man who was brilliant, with laurels added to his academics, working in one of the best companies, but fearful of his own thoughts. A beautiful newly married female not being accepted by her family with the assumption that she has some mental illness. A child who was unable to see the ill behave of his alcohol-dependent father and this stress led to frequent episodes of unconsciousness. A brilliant kid turning to an antisocial personality as a result of neglect from family and teachers and being bullied by peers. A small girl who developed depression after her father remarried with the thought of having a baby boy. The number of stories does not stop here. Everything in life may be good, but a small thought may become a monster and create all the havoc. How much strong a person would have been, this small monster makes him feel like the weakest person on earth. A child is intelligent but when it comes to academics, he just can’t do as well as others. The feeling of inadequacy added to the pressure from parents, teachers, and peers blow out the volcano of emotions.
Not just the person, the immediate people around him/ her also suffer. A mother’s fear of her son’s impulsive abusive and assaultive behavior when his anxiety increases, the shame and anger of parents when outsiders complain about the behavioral problems of their daughter, and the misery of the wife whose husband comes home drunk and creates nuisance are some of such examples. The burden to the caregivers is great and it increases when they are not able to understand the illness properly. Mental illness is so perplexing. Outside appearance of the person may be normal, but there would be a lot of turbulence inside which cannot be directly observed. To make the family members understand about the person with psychological problems, and to create motivation for them to provide positive support void of critical comments and hostility and with less of over involvement also becomes necessary.
I feel happy that as a Clinical Psychologist, I have the emotions to empathize with these people in distress, power to support and motivate them, knowledge of the different strategies which can help bring the lost confidence and smile.
The capability to listen to everyone non-judgmentally and have a positive attitude towards self and others start developing as we start studying Psychology. The discipline Clinical Psychology as a more specific branch helps individuals to learn ways to help others to get an insight about themselves and their problems with the help of interviews, psychological assessments, and various other strategies. It teaches them the ways through which they can help other individuals to plan for themselves, increase their coping ability and make them independent to face the world. With every new client, comes new insight about self and moves towards a deeper level of understanding of life.
The subject Clinical Psychology gave a meaning to my life. It gave a platform to my wish of serving the society, to bring smiles to sad faces, to support the ones losing hope, and to revive their lost strength to deal with the world. Hope, this field becomes your way of life too.
Ms. Preeti Pandey
Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist
Faculty of Behavioural Sciences