Pragati Prasad - No One Has Ever Been Free From Stress in Their Lifetime (Clinical Psychologist)


No one has ever been free from stress in their lifetime; let it be career, romantic relationship, family, marriages, children office, academic, medical areas. Having someone who is providing unconditional acceptance, listening to you without any judgment, and genuinely guiding you is what one needs.

Tell us about your background and journey.

I come from a small town of Jharkhand called Dhanbad and grew up in a joint family. In my family, education has always been a priority and I was not good at studies till high school. I had always dreaded Maths, Physics & Chemistry. In 11th std, I opted for Humanities and took Psychology. 

I started scoring well and even topped my ICSE boards in 12th std. That really gave me a boost. I did my graduation and Masters in Counselling Psychology, landed up in a job that involved working with Autistic kids. After working for 3 years, my mother asked me to leave the job and pursue my studies. That’s when I completed my M.phil in Clinical Psychology. 

The 2 years were a roller coaster ride emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. But once I finished and got my RCI license to practice, I was at cloud nine.

But who knew, getting a job with good pay was difficult. So, I was juggling among three roles simultaneously, being a consultant clinical psychologist, a tutor helping students with their entrance examinations, and also undertaking some government projects to have financial independence. During the lockdown of 2020, I landed up in Cognizavest and since then I am enjoying my work there.



What led you to take up this career path?

I still remember my first lecture in psychology when my teacher asked the class, “What is this world to you?” I was amazed to see a varied response, some negative and some positive. I had never thought that people can dislike their lives and the world they live in! 

This sparked the curiosity of me to know more about how people have different perspectives towards different issues. I wanted to explore more on their thoughts, emotions, and feelings with the intent to help them modulate these aspects.



What are some common myths in society about psychology?

There were a lot of misconceptions about this term and this profession. Thankfully we all are growing out of it.

In the population, it is still believed that the people who seek professional help are mad or crazy.

No one has ever been free from stress in their lifetime; let it be career, romantic relationship, family, marriages, children office, academic, medical areas. Having someone who is providing unconditional acceptance, listening to you without any judgment, and genuinely guiding you is what one needs.

One more belief that I have come across is why would a psychologist charge for “only talking to me”?

Traditional talk therapy is not only one technique that we use; we are extensively trained to actively listen, be empathetic, be a facilitator rather than only be an advisor to their ongoing issues. As clinical psychologists, we are trained to use relaxation skills, behavior modification, use brain waves to control body responses, and many more. There is more than just discussing the problem of our clients.


How can people practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere while doing anything! Meditation, Mindful walking, Mindful talking, Mindful eating, and Mindful movement all require one to pay attention to the moment without any evaluation and, accept and acknowledge your values, wishes, and emotional responses.


What are your tips for people who want to practice this profession?

I always believed and still follow that if you cannot benefit someone, do not do any harm to them.

Those who want to practice psychology should have an understanding that they are not in business but they are engaging someone who has entrusted you with their emotions, their dark secrets, and their traumas. Having compassion will go a long way.


Is work-life balance a myth or reality according to you?

Well, in my training days, I would have definitely given an unconstructive response to this. As a psychologist, it does become overwhelming to absorb a lot of emotions from the clients. 

But what is the point of this professional practice, if we can’t apply it to our lives. I try to always take out some time for myself, either during meals, in-between clients, playing with my dog, and an hour before bedtime.


How according to you can one manage stress?

There are many ways in which one can deal with their stress, some of which could be spending quality time with loved ones, doing exercises in any form, dancing, watching movies, listening to songs, paintings, playing with pets, going for long drives, doing charity, engaging in some relaxation exercises and also taking small vacations, even if it is in the imagination!


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Interviewed by - Subham Biswas

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