The psychologist’s journey began unexpectedly but evolved into a passion for counselling and clinical psychology. She’s a “Jill of all trades”, working with a diverse population as an accomplished University Professor, a trained and licensed Psychologist, a consultant corporate trainer, an active researcher and a Leadership Coach. She emphasizes rapport-building and an eclectic counselling approach works best for a diverse clientele. Her book, ‘Counselling Interventions for Millennials,’ addresses an education gap and provides counselling and lifestyle interventions. With Harvard Certification and a PhD, their teaching approach is student-centred, emphasizing active engagement and retention of knowledge. She’s well-affiliated globally and enjoys memberships of exclusive Psychology and Health science associations.
She is a recipient of eminent Awards, including ‘Leader of Impact’ and the ‘People’s Choice Award for Excellence in Mental Health,’ which motivate her continued excellence. Her future goals include specializing in trauma therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions, and actively participating in training the next generation of Psychologists.
From Accidental Discovery to Passionate Pursuit
We started the interview by asking, “Can you share a bit about your journey in becoming a psychologist?”
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “It was a fortunate accident; a Senior Academic Leader once guided me that Psychology would give me a good base to do an MBA in HR in the future. However during my bachelor’s, as I sat through the sessions, the reading materials, and the discussions- I was hooked on the field of counselling and clinical psychology. I could understand the impact it has on people and their lives. I completed my education in this field and gathered work experiences at various organizations (hospitals, corporations, educational institutions, and NGOs). During this time, I enjoyed both my stint at teaching and found comfort in counselling. Since then, I have been investing my time and efforts in teaching the younger generation (budding psychologists) and healing the sufferers.”
The Worlds Times: You have catered to multiple nationalities. How has your experience been in providing psychological services to individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, and how do you adapt your approach to meet the needs of different communities?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “As Psychologists, working with a diverse population is both an opportunity and a challenge. I have always worked on rapport-building with my clients and followed an eclectic mode of counselling. I am genuinely interested in people and their backgrounds- they teach me a lot in my therapeutic journey as well. So, creating a culture of respect, boundaries, and transparency has helped me sail patiently through different nationalities.”
Unveiling ‘Counseling Interventions for millennial’
The Worlds Times: Your book, ‘Counseling Interventions for Millennials,’ was published in 2020. Could you elaborate on the inspiration behind the book and its key messages?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “I found a gap in the system where students with a Master’s in Psychology were having trouble figuring out the therapeutic interventions and struggled to maintain conversations with clients or sometimes even had difficulty diagnosing the clients. So, this book is mainly for beginner Psychologists as it gives the template of symptoms, behavioral symptoms, short-term goals, long-term goals and counselling interventions. This is a tool for beginners as they can refer to the book to understand and adapt to the counselling interventions and help young adults with their troubles.”
The Worlds Times: With a Harvard Certification in Higher Education and a Ph.D. in Psychology, recognized by the Ministry of Education, UAE, how have these qualifications shaped your approach to teaching and mentoring in the field of psychology?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “Tremendously helped in my professional journey. I give credit to my educational journey and experiences for equipping me with advanced pedagogical techniques and strategies that emphasize student-centred learning and active engagement. My approach to teaching and learning in the field of psychology and health sciences has been profoundly influenced by rigorous academic training and diverse perspectives and has instilled in me a commitment to fostering an inclusive and dynamic classroom environment where students are encouraged to participate actively in their learning process. I prioritize interactive discussions, collaborative projects, and experiential learning activities to facilitate deeper understanding and critical thinking among my students. Additionally, my doctoral training has honed my ability to critically evaluate scholarly literature and adapt teaching approaches to suit the diverse needs and learning styles of students.”
Advancing Psychology through Global Engagement
The Worlds Times: You’ve been involved in numerous national and international events, seminars, and community engagement initiatives. How do you believe such activities contribute to the field of psychology and mental health awareness?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “At this age and stage, awareness is crucial. It brings acceptance and then action, which eventually helps people to see a different perspective on their concerns. These awareness conversations have motivated many to introspect in their lives and look for a possible intervention to build a harmonious growth-oriented life.”
The Worlds Times: As a member of the American Psychological Association, Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists, and Middle East Psychological Association, how do these affiliations contribute to your professional development and the quality of services you provide?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “These affiliations offer invaluable opportunities for networking, continuing education, professional development resources, and opportunities for collaboration and staying abreast of the latest research and best practices in psychology. These affiliations also provide a platform for sharing insights, discussing challenges, and advocating for the advancement of clinical psychology practice in India and the UAE. They also offer unique perspectives and insights into the cultural and contextual factors influencing mental health and well-being.”
Motivation and Impact
The Worlds Times: You have received several awards, including the ‘Leader of Impact’ and ‘People’s Choice Award for Excellence in Mental Health.’ How do these recognitions motivate you, and how do they influence your approach to your work?
Dr. Sonakshi replied, “Receiving accolades such as the ‘Leader of Impact’ and the ‘People’s Choice Award for Excellence in Mental Health’ has been incredibly humbling and motivating for me. They serve as affirmations of my passion, commitment and positive impact on individuals and communities. These awards fuel my drive to continue striving for excellence in everything I do. Knowing that my efforts have been acknowledged and appreciated by peers, colleagues, and the wider community inspires me to push boundaries, set higher standards, and pursue innovative approaches to addressing mental health challenges.”
Future Goals in Psychology
Lastly we asked, “Looking ahead, what are your future goals and aspirations in the field of psychology, both in terms of your clinical practice and contributions to academia and research?”
“Clinically, I aim to further specialize in areas such as trauma therapy and mindfulness-based interventions to better serve individuals struggling with mental health challenges. In terms of academia and research, I am committed to continuing my scholarly pursuits by engaging in research projects that address pressing issues in mental health and contribute to the advancement of psychological knowledge. I aspire to publish findings in reputable journals, present at conferences, and collaborate with fellow researchers to explore innovative approaches to therapy and intervention. I intend to play an active role in training the next generation of psychologists. I hope to inspire and empower future clinicians and researchers to make meaningful contributions to the field.” Dr. Sonakshi concluded
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