As a psychologist, I get to work on very exciting and varied areas. If one day I am preparing assessment tests for an organisation, the next I could be doing a workshop in personality development. If one day I am helping a film maker with a script, the next day I could be helping a youngster get through a rough patch in his life. Here I jot down some of the many things that i am currently involved in.
I have recently joined the Chennai Plastic Surgery Team and work with patients before and after surgery. I counsel patients who want surgery and assess whether they really need to have surgery or whether they want it for all the wrong reasons. I also counsel patients who have had the plastic surgery and who are finding it difficult to cope with the changes they made to their bodies. It is very interesting to note how most patients want to have surgeries to correct parts of their faces and bodies for their partners and not for themselves. Sometimes it takes a couple of sessions to convince the patient that having surgery alone won’t necessarily make them happier and that they have deeper psychological issues that need to be dealt with.
I write monthly columns for three magazines, apart from which I also contribute regularly to other magazines. One is a music and fine arts magazine to which I contribute articles on music therapy, art therapy, psychology of actors, personality etc. Another is a marriage magazine, in which I write about pre-marriage bonding, etiquette and possessive behaviour. I now answer an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section for a magazine on intimacy and mental health issues. I have always loved writing and every time my article gets published, I feel thrilled.
I conduct personality development workshops for young women who lack self esteem and confidence and want to improve their personality. I first have them complete a questionnaire on their strengths, weakness, qualities they love and hate about themselves etc. Then I go step by step according to each person’s requirement. I teach them basic interpersonal skills and even give some grammar lessons for those who don’t have formal education but have a lot of ambition and want to get into the right industry. I love how my patients are so dedicated and listen closely to what I have to say.
I was recently approached by a film maker to discuss a script regarding bipolar disorder (also known as manic depressive). His movie is based on a man in love with a woman suffering from bipolar disorder and he wanted to know how people affected with this disorder behave on a daily basis with their fluctuating moods. I also got to discuss a script for a film maker who was interested in making a movie about schizophrenia. It’s heart warming to see how mental health issues are becoming the focus in movies these days.
(Dr Mini Rao is a psychologist with a successful private practice.)