- A psychologist’s work involves counseling people, treating minor emotional problems and issues, and advising people on interpersonal issues.
- Mental health care system is an unorganized sector in India. One has to face a lot of professional isolation. Therefore, you need to be self-motivated to work effectively.
- I suggest getting your own therapy done before entering the profession. If you’ve your own unresolved issues, you won’t be able to do this job effectively.
- The cost of education is very low.
- The salary in the profession is good, especially when one does diagnosis and assessments.
Name – Meeta Verma
Profession – Private Counselor and Psychologist
Age – 43 years
Gender – Female
Industry – Healthcare
City – Greater Noida
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Delhi and raised in many places in India. I lived with my parents when I was really young, then at my grandma’s house. Then I stayed in the hostel. I spent most of my life in West Bengal.
My father was a manager in the tea garden of Jalpaiguri, while mother was a homemaker. I belong to an upper-middle-class family.
Who influenced you to become a counselor and how?
I got the motivation to become a counselor after undergoing counseling myself. I was so impressed by my therapist that I decided to pursue it as a career.
Please give a summary of your career as a counselor/psychologist.
After completing my training as a psychologist, I did a 6-month internship in VIMHANS, New Delhi.
Now I’ve opened my own clinic “Empowered with Meeta” and work privately.
Which institutes are best for the training/education of this profession?
In my opinion, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore is the best institute for psychology in India.
Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Delhi is also worth considering.
How much does it cost to become a psychologist?
It wouldn’t cost you more than INR 30,000/- to 40,000/- in any governmental institute. There are private institutes which may cost up to 2 lacs per annum.
What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?
Graduation can be done in any subject, but a Masters in Psychology is a must.
If your goal is fixed, then opt for PCB with an optional subject as Psychology in your school. Then you’d have better career options in the field like becoming a psychiatrist.
What is the expected salary of a psychologist?
It depends on the level at which you are practicing. If the person starts assessments and diagnostics in his/her own private practice, then s/he would earn more. The average salary is as follows:
5 years’ experience — 9,00,000 INR per annum
10 years’ experience — 12,00,000 INR per annum
15 years’ experience — 13,00,000 INR per annum
20+ years’ experience — 20,00,000 INR per annum
Please describe your work as a Counselor.
I treated clinical cases of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders during my internship in NIMHANS.
As I started practicing independently, I dealt with similar cases of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. I also acted as a counselor to people facing interpersonal issues in their daily life.
In yourdost.com, I worked as an online counselor on similar cases and also dealt with relationship issues.
In the school, my job was to help students facing self-esteem, academic, communication and parent-child relationship issues. I helped those facing problems with their classmates, teachers and parents and those facing examination stress.
Now, apart from this, my work also includes referring cases, out of my sphere, to a psychiatrist. I work 35 hours a week. I receive clients especially on Sundays, so I keep a weekday off.
What are the benefits of becoming a psychologist/counselor?
- Being able to enable people to move further in life gives work satisfaction with the job. You feel that you’re capable of building lives of your clients.
- The work-life balance is also good. Your profession would never come in the way of your personal life. Strict professional assertiveness is carried out which doesn’t allow your profession to become a part of your personal life.
- If you are able to successfully diagnose and help your patients, you will be able to earn quite well. This job is a perfect balance of providing social service and earning a modest income.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering Counselor as a career?
- The biggest challenge is that there is a great degree of isolation in the job. Mostly you’re practicing privately. You have to stay self-motivated and work on your own all the time.
- Psychology and counseling is an unorganized sector in the country. It’s a very new subject and there is less scope of this profession in India.
- There is lack of regulation and licensing in the profession. There are many pseudo-psychologists, which are plundering people and deteriorating an already underdeveloped sector.
- Mental health issues have low acceptance and lack of awareness among people. There are more than 60% of people in our country who need help but unable to access these services. Making people understand and creating awareness is a huge challenge.
What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are considered a premium for a psychologist/counselor?
One should have therapy skills, counseling skills, communication skills, empathy etc. In-depth knowledge of the subject is required. Being able to perform behavioral analysis, projective techniques, and self-reporting measures are also highly required in assessments and diagnostics.
What kind of a person would be happy as a psychologist/counselor?
A self-driven person who is kind and endeavors to help would be really happy. S/he shouldn’t be materialistic and should be interested in helping others out.
It’s often said that a psychologist has something of his/her own to resolve. So, yeah, that applies too.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
No. I left the job as a CA due to my emotional issues. After being impressed by the effects of counseling, I took it as a profession myself.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?
Concentrate more on getting in-depth knowledge of schools of therapy. I suggest getting your own therapy done before entering the profession. If you enter when you’ve your own unresolved issues, you won’t be able to do the job effectively. Professional assertiveness and perseverance are also required in this job. Ensure that you are completely fit for the job before opting for it.
You may also like to check our conversation with Dr. Amita Puri (Clinical Psychologist).