Pooja Lalchandani   Therapist, Psychotherapy & Counselling

“I wanted to be someone whom I needed when I was younger,” that was Pooja’s clear rationale for doing her Masters in Counselling Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru.

For Pooja, “psychotherapy is a brilliant amalgamation of philosophy, art and science.” In order to hone her craft as a psychotherapist, she went on to gain experience in the fields of school counselling and educational psychology. She also worked in the area of substance abuse and rehabilitation.

At Wellnessence, Pooja works with a wide range of cognitive, behavioural, and emotional issues, including self-esteem, bullying, harassment, and physical and psychological abuse. She helps people resolve anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, substance abuse disorders, and so on. Apart from individual and group sessions, she also conducts workshops on similar themes.

“My practice at Wellnessence is grounded in the relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. I understand and address how issues in one aspect of a person can lead concerns in other areas. Working with my fellow therapists I am able to offer what works best for every person, offering healing at all levels.”

What she finds most fulfilling is the privilege of getting to know someone’s story and exploring with him or her how they got to be the way they were. Even as a trainee she had experienced how healing it could be when someone heard your story and empathised with you. “It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling when a client’s face reflects a new insight and they have had a moment of clarity.”

Like the 12-year old girl who was quite resistant to expressing her emotions. “She’d feel quite upset over being teased in class, but she could never bring herself to express how she felt. One of the emotional training exercises we engaged in required her to imagine that a group of aliens had approached her to understand human emotions. So, she began expressing and demonstrating her experiences with each emotion and feeling state. This helped to enhance her own emotional awareness. Over time, she managed to express her feelings regarding being teased in class. Some assertiveness training helped her to stand up to her classmates.”

This was one instance where Pooja used the power of drama or theatre to help a client look at himself or herself from a different perspective.

“Even when I was in school, I was more at home on stage than real life. That passion grew with my

education. I progressed to playback theatre where there was no advance preparation. You just had to perform ex tempore.”

Her passion for theatre has led her to develop psychodrama as an effective tool for role play. “It helps to draw people out and lets them see themselves in different situations from a third person’s perspective.”

As a psychotherapist, Pooja draws on different integrated models such as Person-centred Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Analytical Therapy and Gestalt Therapy.

She feels strongly about creating greater awareness about giving psychological wounds as much importance and attention as physical wounds. “Parents and teachers find it easier to deny an emotional problem until the point it manifests as a serious physical problem. There is this big stigma attached to seeking help for a psychological problem, even though the mind needs to be as strong as the body to create a well-rounded personality. And a series of classes before and after school, focused only on academic performance, may not be the right solution and can cause serious long-term damage.”