By Ms. Kalyani Govekar Joshi –
When I candidly look back to my journey as a clinical psychologist I believe my clients are the ones who shaped and moulded me, not just as a therapist but also as a person. I made up my mind that I wanted to be a clinical psychologist when I was 15 because working in a medical setup seemed both challenging and attractive to me as a 15-year-old. All I wanted to do back then was to help people and feel great about it. Being the reason for a change in someone’s life was the aim for me. Fortunately, my motive and goal remains the same even today.
Roles of a Psychologist
After my course I realized that the practical aspect of being a psychologist needed 3Ps: Patience- To see a change happening, Perseverance- To never give up and Passion- To employ best practices aimed at client empowerment and always being there for them. Being a therapist also taught me to balance multiple things at once: developing a diagnostic understanding of the client while simultaneously setting goals to work on and also integrating the individual positive experiences of the client that makes any form of therapy successful.
Multiple Jobs, Multiple Learning
My first job was at an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center. Starting as a fresher and no one to guide the process was quite daunting for me. On weekends, I worked with an old age home under a psychologist who mentored me.
After a year I started working with a pre-school on a voluntary basis to guide them for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Working with this student helped me discover the comfort and satisfaction of working with children.
I decided to explore this further and joined a school in the capacity of a School Counsellor. Every time I saw the growth of my students and the trust put in me by families, my happiness knew no limits. To further help them I decided to attend workshops and short courses.
I have been working with children for around 4+ years now and I can say that each passing day has been an adventure and has helped me grow as a person and professional. I found so many ways of creating the impact I was looking for. Conducting guidance classes gave me the conviction that students work best when they feel that they have someone to talk to in school. My Remedial Education (RE) sessions gave me the confidence to make visible changes and say with glee: “Yes! I made a difference and how?!”. My counselling sessions helped me practice what I preach. Before saying “Have patience or keep going”, I always tried to test if it was easier said than done, thus making me a stronger person.
The biggest opportunities of my life were given to me by Drishti in many ways. My promotion as Head of Department for School Counselling across Mumbai gave me an opportunity to test my leadership skills. As a leader, I always believed in giving options to explore rather than giving solutions. The second biggest opportunity that I got was to conduct an International training workshop. I was overwhelmed with the very idea of training 300+ teachers and the enormous faith my seniors had in me. Conducting the training with the teachers was the experience of a lifetime.
Working with children has been enriching both professionally and personally. The most challenging case was when I began working with a student who had severe difficulties in the areas of comprehension, written expression, handwriting, and communication skills. The school and teachers had no hope and only sought ways for him to clear his Grade 10. He was also referred to NIOS but the parents wanted him to continue with the same school. He started with RE and regular counseling sessions. He did not join any coaching classes and completely depended on me for his academics. I kept meeting his mother at regular intervals to train her for study skills that could be applied at home. The faith which that family had on me drove me to give my everything and make a difference in his life. The teacher also worked with me and together we created the biggest success story! On the day of his result, I was extremely nervous while his mother appeared calm and collected! She said that she was confident that the results would be good since she had faith in our efforts. He passed with a glorious 81%! I couldn’t be happier!!
It feels great to receive appreciative feedback from school authorities and hear back from ex-students saying that they implement what they had learnt during our counselling sessions. The most defining part of my journey has been that I have juggled the hats of a school counsellor, an educator, a trainer, and a leader all at the same time!
So far the journey has been the way I expected it to be – satisfying and exciting. Waiting to create many more magical moments, bring more smiles and hope to the hearts that need it.