Over the past two years we have had over 16 wonderful interns who were loved and nurtured to be the best in the field. Our interns have also loved, supported and helped us grow in ways we cannot even begin to describe! Our interns have gone on to train to become Licensed Clinical Psychologists, Certified Counselors and some have gone ahead to pursue Masters and PhD in the US. It is our hope that we nurture sensitive, ethical and heartfelt counselors who hold the light of presence with their clients.
We decided to dedicate a page for our interns starting May 2017 and here are these wonderful light-filled beings!
Ivan Ejdemyr, MA Clinical Psychology, University of Umeå, Sweden (Internship Fall 2017)
I’m studying a five-year clinical psychology program at Umeå University in Sweden, and I got the chance to do an internship at Pause for Perspective for two months. Flying over half the world to do an internship here at the clinic is a choice I have not regretted for a second. I will tell you why.
While most of my classmates did their internships at different clinics and psychiatric hospitals in Sweden, I went here. To be honest, I do not know exactly why, but it felt as an opportunity, a challenge and an adventure I would not want to miss. However, during the flight between Sweden and Hyderabad, I started to realize what I had gotten myself into. My brain started asking questions. Is it possible to be a counselor in a completely different culture? Will the knowledge I get in India be transferable to a Swedish context? To be frank, I didn’t know too much about the clinic either. So let me brief you about my experience as an intern at Pause for Perspective from a Swedish yet personal point of view.
The first thing that struck me was the great environment a the clinic, ranging from the atmospheric counseling rooms to the open, friendly and encouraging climate that Aarathi, Pooja, Ruhi and the rest of the people working here create together. I felt welcome and as a part of the crew from the first second. I noticed early that Aarathi fosters a culture where the intern learns to take responsibility over his or her own learning, and I was encouraged to reflect deeply on myself and the clients I’ve met.
During first week we went through the methods used at the clinic, including basic counseling skills, ACT, mindfulness-based approaches, IPT and CBT among others. I learned early on that Aarathi emphasizes an eclectic approach: a great therapist should not convulsively hold onto one method. Rather, the method is determined by the client’s needs, not the therapist’s. This eclectic approach requires you to be alert and willing to admit that you do not always have control. I’ve learnt that recognition of this is a major part of the process as a counselor working with clients. Sometimes we do not know what the client in counseling needs, and we just have to accept that. That has been a huge insight for me.
I was allowed to sit in as an observer, have co-therapy with other counselors and do my own counseling with clients. My experience is that Aarathi gives you responsibility in relation your own dedication, ambition and willingness to learn. You are rewarded to the degree you decide. To challenge yourself can be demanding. However, I always had a sense of security during the tough spells, when I felt I was banging my head against a wall or when I just thought I wasn’t good enough. You are not alone. Help is available, and I had the sense that experimentation and mistakes can be made as long as you take responsibility for it. Challenge, responsibility, security; these are the key concepts that made me grow as an intern at Pause for Perspective,
So, to answer the questions that worried me a bit, those who appeared in my head 10,000 meters above the ground between Sweden and Hyderabad. Oh, what I’ve learned things. When I’m on my flight home, again 10,000 meters up in the air, I have a luggage packed with insights and knowledge I didn’t dare to hope for.
From the deepest place in my heart: thank you Aarathi, Pooja, Ruhi, Preethi and all the interns! Thank you Pause for Perspective, it’s been real.
Ritika Matta MSc Applied Psychology, St.Francis Degree College, Hyderabad (Two months Internship, Fall 2017-2018)
Working at Pause for Perspective was a one of a kind experience, the work place exudes positive vibes and the learning is phenomenal. There was not a day did I go home feeling that I haven’t achieved or learnt something. I felt accomplished each day and felt that the only thing I want to do is learn in as many ways as I can and watch my clients feel happy post the sessions. I learnt such a valuable skill from Pfp that empathy is not just about putting yourself in your client’s shoes, but also to experience the varied emotions the client’s feels without having to step back from one’s own understanding of the issue. I feel that in the process I have cultivated counseling skills, which I did not even think I could do so naturally, as I always thought that these skills were inherent to one. The magic that Ms Aarathi and her team-teach day in and day out makes one channel their potential into something so beautiful that it becomes natural and organic, almost like
one’s alter ego.
Working at Pfp did not feel that I was working at all, the journey was so beautiful and important that I enjoyed what I did and never felt that it was a task. Each day I smiled and was eager to come back the next day and learn something more. I am immensely grateful to Ma’am for having me experience the beauty of therapy and watch it bloom in my clients lives. I am extremely grateful and honored to be Ma’am’s student and continue learning from her. Her pearls of wisdom of what she offers is inexplicable, it has to be experienced to understand the beauty of it.
Every client has taught me something and the whole experience has taught me to better and polish my skills each day. I have learnt patience through my sessions, the importance of silence and how important it is to understand the client’s culture in a non- judgmental way. Psycho educating the client and their families can work wonders and most importantly the effort one has to put in one’s live to rediscover and become happy
internally and not depend on happiness from the external world. I have also through my experience in Pfp have realized that counseling is not a quick fix, it is commitment on both sides (the client an the therapist) and that family counseling is just as important for a change to be noticed in one particular individual as the entire family has to work together to observe changes in the client. My journey in Pfp has also taught me that a client can only change if he realizes that there is a need for him to change until that is understood by him, therapy would remain ineffective as the how’s and what to change cannot be an incentive enough, when the why is understood fully by him then the journey becomes more bearing and a good therapist will help the client to help himself identify the process for change. The different psychotherapies like Act, Mindfulness based practices, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, family therapies I have been exposed to have been very useful for me to enhance my skills. The exposure I have got from Ma’am and her team is so practical and implied that I have realized that theory is just a start and not enough as every client is different and learning is incessant. The theories will seize to help if therapies are not applied and both complement each other, hence it becomes important to keep reading, learning, digesting what is learnt and practicing each day to further the
skills. Thank you for this amazing experience Ma’am!!
The only suggestion I would want to make is to introduce group therapy for parents and helping them share their stories and learn about different parenting styles and impact it would have on a child’s life.
Fredrik Hedström, MA Clinical Psychology, University of Umeå, Sweden (Internship Fall 2017)
My home town in Sweden is now covered in snow. The quiet and the calm, the crisp air, I kind of miss it. But when I’m back home a week from now, skiing in the forest, or enjoying pitch black coffee with some friends,the one thing I will certainly miss from India is Pause for Perspective and the people who make it what it is.
Coming from a place not far from the arctic circle, about 6800 km away from Hyderabad I was curious to see if the differences between our cultures would be vast or maybe even too vast for me to grasp in therapy sessions. For sure, in some ways, at least on a superficial level, our cultures are very different. Interning at PfP, however, gave me a golden opportunity to explore beneath the surface and find what is similar, perhaps universal. Talking to clients took me to a place where the understanding of suffering, hopes and aspirations were familiar and perfectly relatable to me. Quite soon this common ground became the most important focus, and cultural differences blurred into the background. In sessions I felt that whatever cultural aspects first made me confused, they had no more or less importance than any other individual features.
I felt I was given a lot of trust from Ms Aarathi Selvan right from the start. Being thrown into the action quickly was a bit scary but mostly exciting and truly educational. Most of the time I seemed to find myself in a zone of proximal development, to use the concept of Vygotski. It was challenging but just enough. Most importantly there was always someone there to support me, validate or broaden any approach I was currently working with. Having fellow interns around me all the time was very helpful and just really fun.
Although the first week is focused on theory to ensure that all the intern’s knowledge is at approximately the same level, most of the learning is of a more practical nature. I found it exiting, and utmost educative, to take responsibility for my own theoretical learning by reading articles and books, reflect and try to find out what approaches would be appropriate for any particular client. The supervision has been invaluable and took place weekly with the whole group or on other occasions individually. On several occasions it brought me new insights, not only regarding clients, but about myself, personally and as a soon to be psychologist. That was not always pleasant but it definitely made me grow.
I really appreciate that there has been an open attitude towards my personal counselling style and theoretical preferences. Of course at times I had to explain and justify what I was doing and why and this has been very useful, both for developing my own style and also in making sure it is theoretically anchored. I felt I was free and encouraged to try different things as long as I could back it up with reason.
Thanks a lot to Ms Aarathi for the supervision and guidance, for challenging and encouraging me throughout the internship. It’s been really fun! Also big thanks to Ms Ruhi and Ms Pooja for the warm support and mentoring and of course thanks to everyone else who made my internship great!
Bhargav, BA Hons.Christ College, Bangalore (One Month Internship, May 2017)
My time at PFP was like a train ride. There were times when it was monotonous but there were times when I felt like I have accomplished the greatest thing in the world. Firstly, the office space, there is something about the place that makes you feel that whatever has happened you are safe and you can breathe. The fairly lights, batman poster and the artwork instantly put a smile on your face.
My first week has been primarily academic; I was taught briefly about all the skills that a competent counselor is required to have. The staff which includes Ruhi and Pooja with Aarathi ma’am were patient enough to clarify all my doubts. To make sure I understood the concepts thoroughly I was given reflection papers to write which were followed by role-plays with my co-interns which were supervised by Ruhi, Pooja and Aarathi ma’am. Role-plays are a great way to incorporate all the skills required for counseling.
The next three weeks flew by with all the role-plays, co therapy sessions and my very own individual session. It was beautiful and informative to watch the client open up in the co-therapy session with Aarathi ma’am, I got to observe how she approaches a client and it’s just calming to be in the therapy room with ma’am.
Roohi and Pooja are the best mentors if you need anything in the office. From a cup of coffee to proof reading your case notes. Oh and while you are there, don’t forget to write a message on the wall of love.
Thanks PFP for an amazing one month. Hope to be back soon!
NOTE: Bhargav was responsible for the Love Wall (Picture above)(Love wall is where our clients leave love notes for the space and some advice for others coming in). Since he did not want a profile picture here we have his brilliant love wall up here to show him how much we appreciate his creative spirit!
Sabhat, MSc Applied Psychology, St.Francis Degree College, Hyderabad (One month Internship, May 2017)
On the recommendation of my teacher, I joined Pause for Perspective for a one month internship program. I began on May 1st after signing the contract prior and learning a bit about the clinic with a personal interaction from Mrs. Aarthi Selvan. The first week of the internship we were educated about the various treatments and practices that are used in the clinic such as CBT with anxiety and depression, Ivey’s micro skills, and suicide assessment along with videos of each one. Both our supervisors Ms. Ruhi Sameena and Ms. Pooja Agarwal along with Mrs. Aarthi Selvan conducted role plays on a regular bases helping us carry out an effective practice session and giving us tips to perform better. Along with this we wrote reflection papers which we could use as tools for later on which included the summaries of the topics that were taught to us. Mrs. Aarthi Selvan also allowed us to attend classes which she conducts as a mindfulness program on dealing with anxiety and depression with mindfulness where we learned about the various breathing techniques, mindful walking, and palm the present moment, GLAD technique, and changing the history channel. We were given handouts for each tool which we could use in sessions. We were then taught to take client intakes for both adult and children and role plays were also conducted for this practice. We were then each assigned three clients each to the three interns for a co-therapy session with Mrs. Aarthi. Along with these co-therapy sessions we were also allowed to sit in with sessions that were conducted by Ms. Pooja Agarwal and Ms. Ruhi Sameena. We also wrote case notes for the respective client sessions we attended.
The Pause for Perspective Internship Program was truly educational giving me various opportunities and means to learn about the practice of counseling rather than just the traditional classroom method. The most wonderful thing about the whole internship program was the willingness and investment of the supervisors in our personal growth as trainee counselors. Mrs. Aarthi Selvan gave us many opportunities to learn, and learn practically what counseling requires and does. Both the supervisors were friendly and helpful guiding us through the entire program. I personally feel that this internship program gave me a new perspective and further validated my urge to practice counseling as my profession. I would like to thank the wonderful team at Pause for Perspective for such an amazing opportunity.
Afshan, MA Applied Psychology, St.Francis Degree College, Hyderabad (One month Internship, May 2017)
After completion of my first year of masters at St. Francis college Hyderabad ,our head of department Ms. Geeta thankfully recommended me to Ms.Aarathi selvan’s clinic of “Pause for Perspective ”for one month internship program . It was truly amazing to intern here .I express my sincere gratitude to my H. O. D for believing in me and my counsellor’s Ms.Aarathi,,Ms.Ruhi, Ms.Poojafor giving me the opportunity to learn and practice counselling and it’s vital skills needed to be an effective counsellor. The training process was an organized approach of theoretical and practical exposure and so was divided into two phases .The first phase was an intensive theoretical learning program of vital skills and approaches for therapy where we (interns ) were taught about Ivey Pyramid,Flannagan video and roles for each counselling skills, cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression ,suicide assessment .We were suppose to write our reflection papers for each of the above topics simultaneously. After thelearning session plays was conducted which was supervised by our counsellors to monitor our skills from our prior learning .Mindfulness class was conducted by Ms. Aarathiselvan where she taught us about mindfulness ,it’s core benefits, and it’s application for anxiety and depression. We learned different mindfulness tools like palming the present moment, belly breathing,G. L. A. D technique ,ground changing past ( history) channel, sensing and rating anxiety etc. In the second phase Ms. Ruhi taught us to take a brief telephonic intake and upload them on pause for perspective ‘s calendar. After which we were allowed to sit with Ms.selvan in the session with the new client as a Co-therapist where we were given chance to actively participate in the session. After the completion of each session we met with our counsellor for a time of questions and feedback regarding previous counselling session.
In accordance with the above opportunities provided by our compassionate counsellor’s and their true dedication to imbibe it in trainees working here, I highly recommend to people who are in search of a challenging and effective practice for this amazing profession of counselling . I had experienced different hospitals, clinics and counselling centers offering internship programs but here at pause for perspective had made a huge difference in my learning experience and I am sure it will make for every single intern working here. We have gained new insights,theoretical knowledge and practical approach in a real sense. I wish all the best for the coming interns to go ahead and explore yourself in a way which you haven’t done before, and grab all the valuable opportunities offered at this place .