I am an intern with Tribeca Therapy’s internship program. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Columbia University, I believe addressing the deep-rooted origins of an individual, couple, or family’s suffering leads to more significant long-term change than simply treating symptoms. Symptoms are culturally defined and as a South Asian person, I have observed how unsuitable they can be to account for the diversity of people, relationships, and family dynamics. I understand unhelpful thoughts, patterns, and behaviors as responses to a person’s experiences and their role in various systems from their family of origin to the community in which they live. I connect with Tribeca Therapy’s approach to non-diagnostic therapy and seek to strengthen my skills in helping individuals, couples, and families grow in their awareness of themselves and how they relate to others with the rigorous support of Tribeca Therapy’s senior staff. Concerned about the ways relationship conflicts can often be swept under the rug to maintain collective harmony, I am also excited for the opportunity to train in Tribeca Therapy’s notable expertise in couples therapy.
I see helping individuals move toward better emotional health and relationships as an integral step to building stronger communities. In particular, I am passionate about using my role as a therapist to challenge stigma related to mental health. Previously working in a hospital and other mental health environments in India, I recognize how stigma can be harmful and lead to grave generalizations about relationships and emotional suffering. In order to encourage people to take mental health more seriously, I cofounded an independent initiative with the aim of making academic psychological research more accessible and relatable to a wider public. As a therapist, I not only continue to question stigma in all of its forms, but I remain aware of how stigmatization develops and how it strongly impacts a person’s interactions in the world.
Therapy provides a space for people to come to know themselves in a more intimate way. This process can bring discomfort, which can be amplified by cultural messages about what can and cannot be discussed. I build a trusting relationship with patients in which topics that are often considered taboo such as sex, sexuality, gender, race, and class can be openly discussed without judgment. Beyond simply being able to talk about challenging subjects, I am cognizant of how a therapist must be able to sit with discomfort rather than rushing to quickly fix difficult feelings. Some of my tolerance for discomfort derives from my prior work in animal welfare, which involved interacting with people in highly charged emotional situations that required me to remain empathetic to different perspectives. The compassion necessary in that work continues to inform my therapeutic practice as I seek to get close to people’s emotional experiences no matter how painful.
I am driven by an innate curiosity to know patients on a deep level and believe there is always more to learn. I grew to appreciate the importance of curiosity when serving as a part of a research team on a study about postpartum mental health during the pandemic. Though the majority of my conversations with women participants were brief, I was able to connect with them on their struggles, including high rates of depression and trauma, and was struck by the normalization of their suffering. I take these experiences with me in constructing an environment for exploration in therapy, including how life events, whether global or personal, affect an individual, couple, or family’s well-being and relationships.