Friday, May 24, 2013

RITWIK (TRAINEE PSYCHOLOGIST) shared his experiences in Shafa....

To be honest, I was apprehensive in joining any of the NGOs for my summer training. I was introduced to Shafa Home to join as an intern and that is where in the first week of my internship, I found the place to be promising. The general perception that comes to mind regarding NGOs is that most of them are just for the namesake, but working in Shafa for month (15th April to 15ht May) changed my opinion. Here, in Shafa, people are willing to work hard to achieve the goal.
The job that I was assigned, was to be involved in psychological area. I worked with their clinical psychologist. For a week, I was made to do intense observation of the place and the programs that are followed. During this period , I realized how complex and multidimensional an addict’s personality is and later in this period, I even started understanding the treatment process and the reasons behind certain treatments. Also, coming of doubts was inevitable at this initial phase, like causes behind confronting un-acceptable behaviors of an addict and on the other hand patiently listening to them during their counseling sessions.
The staff at Shafa Home helped me to overcome my doubts which were emerging in my mind. This phase of initial observation helped me in understanding the structure of the program and the stages involved in behavior shaping. I was also made to study the relevant material about counseling and treatment of the addicts. I had three days of training where I learned techniques of counseling and doing psycho-social evaluation. This was very practical as I was directly made to deal with the clients. This was the time when I learned different approaches of psychology. This was new to me as I had just finished first year of graduation and my training in the discipline is limited.
Being new to this practical side of psychology, the clinical psychologist helped me a lot in bringing out my interest and planning out work for me on a daily basis. She used to assign me clients to deal for counseling sessions. It was during this time (my third counseling to be precise), I faced some difficulties for the first time.I was in a fix, whether I should really carry on counseling but her timely guidance helped me in gaining that confidence back.
Then I started with psychological testing tools like sentence completion test, addiction test and mental health battery. Here also, being a fresher, I faced doubts but again her help came at the correct time. In fact, I had certain myths regarding few psychological tools, like behavior modification tools but here the structure inspired by behaviorism and therapeutic community facilitated me to demystify my assumptions.
The Director kept motivating all the staff members with his ‘loud’ voice. The staff works as a close knit team and even share lighter moments but when it comes to work they even correct each other to increase the work efficiency. I developed cordial relationship with the staff and residents of Shafa, especially those whom I met during counseling sessions. While leaving Shafa, I am left thinking about their future and concern about their treatment. This is a good enough reason for me to come back to this place!
At Shafa, apart from learning tools like counseling, behavior shaping tools, psychological testing etc., I got to know myself and critically analyze my own behavior. It was an enriching experience and a platform that transformed my understanding at the beginning stage of my academic career.
I would like to acknowledge all those who helped me here, especially the clinical psychologist for being my guide and Mr. Ranjan, for firstly allowing me to work here and secondly correcting me for my own good that helped me in improving my understanding.

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