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MGM Hospital New Bombay
Dr. Rakesh Ghildiyal with our coordinator Sudipta and 2 psychology students
MGM Hospital New Bombay
MGM Hospital New Bombay
MGM Hospital New Bombay
MGM Hospital New Bombay
Avalon Heights international school
Avalon Heights international school
Avalon Heights international school
Avalon Heights international school
Avalon Heights international school
Dr. Reena Bhansali:
Dr. Reena Bhansali
Dr. S.D. Singh:
Dr. Singh
Dr. Singh
Dr. Singh
Psychology/Psychiatry/Psychotherapy internships in India

In India we can offer internships for students of psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry at various organizations. The internships in Navi Mumbai can also be combined.

MGM Hospitals Navi Mumbai

The three hospitals of MGM (Mahatma Gandhi Mission) in Navi Mumbai, which are located in Vashi, Kalamboli and Kamothe, all have mental departments.

The director of these departments is psychiatrist Dr. Rakesh Ghildiyal, and there are also psychologists, working under clinical psychologist Neelanjana Mathur.

As an intern you will be based in one of these hospitals where you can get to know the treatments being performed. You will take part in the counselling and treatment of patients (in India the whole of the extended family of the patient normally join in with this treatment), and you will get explanations should the consultancy not be done in English.

In India, psychotherapy doesn't have the status yet as it has in the West. As in many developing or emerging countries, the focus when treating mental disorders is on psychopharmacology.

Dr. Rakesh Ghildiyal, who is also director of the psychiatric society of Mumbai, has however recognised the importance of the inclusion of psychotherapy and is supporting it.

He also runs his own private consultancy at Vashi Plaza at night and on the weekends, where, if interested, you can join him. There is the possibility of joining the clinical psychologists in counselling sessions for children and elderly people, at other organizations in Navi Mumbai.

Please see below an extensive internship report of Anna from Germany.

ACE Academy for Counseling and Education Navi Mumbai

Psychology internships are also possible at the centres of ACE (Academy for Counselling & Education). ACE is a counselling method which has been developed over 17 years by clinical psychologist Ms. Salma Prabhu. Since the start, more than 75,000 people have been counselled at ACE. The focus of ACE is on career counselling, remedial education, individual and corporate counselling services, and HR training/intervention programs. ACE is also an authorized training partner for Pearson Clinical Assessments.

The ideology of ACE is the result of the observations of Salma Prabhu from the 1990's, when due to changes in Indian society, many people were facing difficulties addressing social life, carrier and social status. This made her develop ACE, the goal of which is to increase the happiness quotient in the lives of the people.

Salma Prabhu is widely known in India as a psychologist. In Mumbai and Navi Mumbai she is operating 5 ACE centres which employ further psychologists, and which are open 7 days per week. Salma is regularly writing columns for leading Indian newspapers such as Mumbai Mirror, Times of India and DNA, and she has published several psychology books and an audio CD. She has developed the MA program in Counselling for the TATA Institute of Social Sciences where she is also lecturing, and for SIES Mumbai she developed the postgraduate program "Guidance and Councelling". On Saam TV she runs a television program every Friday at 4 pm where people can call in to get advice about topics such as Parent-Child-Relationship, positive thinking, time management and stress management.

The services offered by ACE include "Young ACE", which centres around an assessment test for children called ICL (Integrated Career Logic) to find out which career decisions to take for the child. Around 50,000 children have done this test at ACE. 

"ACE Therapist" targets children that suffer from a lack of concentration, day dreaming, learning deficiencies, laziness, poor writing skills and a lack of motivation. The weaknesses are being identified and worked upon; also including parents and teachers. 

"ACE Personal" stands for personal psychological counselling including parent-child-relationship, marriage problems, IQ tests, behavioural anomalies, and personality assessments such as 16PF, MBTO, FIRO-B etc.

"ACE Training" assists parents and teachers with education; especially focusing on remedial education, career counselling, leadership counselling. ACE is an authorized training centre for Pearson Clinical Assessments, carrying out workshops about Wechsler Series, Dyslexia Screening, BAYLEY and Vineland Adaptive Behavioural Scale II.

"ACE HR" targets corporate clients and consults them in the subject areas of organizational psychology, recruitment, engagement, PMS, Assessment-Based Competency Mapping, Leadership Development and conflict management/team dynamics.

Interns can participate in the ACE sessions. We always have very good feedback about psychology internships with ACE.

Avalon Heights International School Navi Mumbai

Besides the hospital internship, you can also - at least twice per week in the afternoons - be at the Avalon Heights International School, which has a program of psychological support for students who need it. The school has employed two psychologists who are running several small groups for children that have problems such as ADHS. You can lead one of these groups on your own and do activities with the children who are aged 3-16. All classes at this school are being held in English.

Internship with Sambhali Trust and Dr. Reena Bhansali in Jodhpur

It is possible to do a mentored psychology internship with Dr. Reena Bhansali in Jodphur.

Dr. Reena Bhansali is working closely with Sambhali Trust, an NGO located in Jodhpur and Setrawa, which has the aim to strengthen the position of underprivileged women and girls in the society of Rajasthan. Many of these women belong to the caste of the "untouchables". Some programs of Sambhali Trust are carried out in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare, dealing for instance with girls from broken families, and sexual abuse.

Besides this, Dr. Bhansali runs her own clinic "Smile Juncion", offering general psychological counseling, and additionally focusing on children with learning disabilities. She holds a PhD as a Counseling Psychologist, a MSC in Human Development and a diploma in criminal psychology.

Students of psychology can participate in all activities of Sambhali Trust, which are presented here in detail. They will get an introduction into the work from a psychological point of view by Dr. Reena Bhansali and a daily tutoring of 2 hours every afternoon.

For reasons of privacy, interns cannot join the sessions with the patients at the clinic, but Dr. Bhansali will discuss the cases with the interns within the daily 2 hours of tutoring, and will give interesting tasks.

For Dr. Bhansali's tutoring a fee applies, depending of the duration of your internship (please see below). Additionally there are daily transport costs (auto-rickshaw) of 140 Rupees (around 1.60 EUR/2.20 USD) to Dr. Bhansali's clinic and back. Please see a comment of intern Sonja:

"I am doing a 50% internship with Dr. Bhansali and spend the rest of the time volunteering in the different projects of Sambhali Trust. There is plenty of work for psychologists and Dr. Bhansali is kindly giving me advice on how to address the specific issues of the children and women in the projects. Also, I am working on the Sambhali No Bad Touch Project which is a prevention campaign dealing with sexual child abuse. This covers a standard 8 hour work day. 

At her clinic, Dr. Bhansali treats children with learning disabilities and she is a counselor for private clients with diverse psychological issues. Interns are not able to sit in with the therapy sessions as this disturbs the privacy policy of her practice. However, she will discuss her cases with the intern and provide interesting writing tasks. I am doing this internship right now and I strongly recommend it for psychology students who are interested in learning about the life of a psychologist working in a private practice in India. It was very inspiring to meet Dr. Bhansali and I thoroughly enjoy the professional and cultural exchange with her. In spite of this, interns who specifically want to do direct practical work with psychological clients (in the way it is done in psychiatric hospitals) should choose another internship as this is not possible with Dr. Bhansali.

I am gaining very valuable working experiences here and I am very thankful to have found this internship with Sambhali. I hope that future psychology interns will be able to go through the same experiences thanks to the support from World Unite.

Kindest regards and thank you very much for bringing me to this wonderful organization.

Internship with psychiatrist Dr. Singh in Cochin/Kerala

Dr. Singh who is around 65 years old, is a psychiatrist and specialist for drug rehabilitation. On different days every week, he works at different hospitals in Cochin, including KIMS Hospital, Sudheendra Medical Mission and Gautham Hospital. He has given up his own private clinic in 2012 for age reasons.

Dr. Singh specializes in general psychiatry, persons with suicide attempts, alcohol and drug addiction, and adolescent mental health. Dr. Singh was a founding member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) in California in 1998. He has published many texts about the topic of addiction and developed a 4-step-rehabilitation program that he wrote a book about.

Interns can join him at the hospitals where there are also group therapies for addicts. Additionally, Dr. Singh wants to put interns in contact with former patients and give them insights into their medical records. The interns can then visit the former patients at their homes to see their current situation. Some of the former patients might require further therapy, but don't attend any counseling sessions for various reasons. Often, patients only seek treatment in particular circumstances such as the loss of a job or a divorce due to their addiction. In consultation with Dr. Singh, the further proceeding about these cases will be decided upon.

In the year 2000, Dr. Singh has carried out a research project, asking 10,000 youth from 16 schools of Cochin to fill a survey. They were asked whether they had ever been sexually, physically or mentally abused and whether this has happened at home, at school or in public. This research was done as a double-blind study, without previous announcement and without the presence of a teacher. One student of each class was trained how to conduct the survey with his classmates. Training the student took 30 minutes and 10 minutes were given the students to fill the survey. Dr. Singh wants to repeat this research and compare the results with the results of the first research. Therefore, the students have to be trained, the whole project needs to be organized, and the surveys need to be evaluated. This should happen in 2014 with the help of foreign interns/volunteers.

In Kerala, English is widely spoken, which makes communication with patients easier.

Info box:

Location: New Mumbai, Jodphur, Cochin (see text)

Duration: Navi Mumbai: Minimum 2 weeks; Jodhpur: Min. 2 months, Cochin min. 1 month

Special qualifications needed: yes, student or training in relevant field

Costs: Navi Mumbai: Trouble-free package (500 €) is mandatory; additionally, MGM Hospital charges a fee which depends on the duration of stay: 7-31 days – 200 USD; 32-90 days – 300 USD; 91-180 days – 500 USD; 181-365 days – 1000 USD.

ACE charges a fee of 5000 Rupees + tax around 700 Rs (in total around 72 €/95 USD) per month.

There are no fees to be paid at Avalon Heights. It is also possible to do a full-time internship at Avalon Heights.

Jodhpur and Cochin: Trouble-free package 300 EUR (up to 90 days); 500 EUR (more than 90 days); Contribution to Dr. Bhasali: 2 months: 6000 Rupees; 3-4 months 10,000 Rupees; 5-6 months 14,000 Rupees; for Dr. Singh no further contribution.

Accommodation: Not included

Meals: Not included

Included: The whole range of services which is part of the trouble-free package is included

Not included: Travel to India, health insurance

Book this placement now! 

Internship report, MGM Hospital Psychiatry Department

1. Information about the internship organization

1.1. General information about the hospital

MGM Hospital Kamothe belongs to Mahatma Ghandi Mission. It is providing services to self-paying patients, but if indigence is proved, treatments are provided free of charge. This is financed through the connection to MGM Medical College whose medical students are getting practical experience at the hospital. The department of psychiatry where I did my internship is one of the hospital's many departments.

1.2 Staff

Staff at the psychiatry are Dr. Rakesh Ghildiyal (Professor and HOD, Head of the Department), Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya (Professor), Dr. Darpan Kaur (Assistant Professor), Dr. Asma Manzoor (Chief Resident), Dr. Junaid Nabi (Senior Resident) and Dr. Swati Mittal (Junior Resident); they have all studied medicine with a specialization in psychiatry or are at the moment completing this additional qualification. Furthermore, there are two clinical psychologists: Vaishali Shelar and Pushplata Debsikdar, and of course nursing staff.

Besides patients attending the psychiatric department, it is also the duty of this department to provide psychological support to patients of other departments who might need it. As mentioned before, some patients are self-paying, while others upon the proof of indigence can get free services. The latter group is mostly from the suburbs of Navi Mumbai or from even more remote villages of the state of Maharashtra. Twice per week, clinical psychologist Pushplata Debsikdar is providing psychological child counselling at MGM Kalamboli and Vaishali Shelar, and once per week giving psychological support to the residents of an old peoples' home in Kamothe.

Besides treating outpatients and inpatients in one-to-one counselling sessions, every day there are group therapy sessions for a different target group: On Mondays alcohol, on Tuesdays child psychiatry, Wednesdays dementia, Thursday suicide, Friday psychosomatic and anxiety disorders, Saturdays schizophrenia. In- and outpatients participate at these group counselling sessions.

2. Description of activities

The idea of an internship in India in general is as follows: Unless students have completed their studies, they are primarily doing an observership/observational internship. You can observe, but generally not actively participate.

As an intern at the psychiatric department of MGM Hospital Kamothe I was allowed to join one-to-one and group therapy sessions where elements of psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioural therapy and systemic therapies could be found. I will give some examples:

* The aim was abstinence from alcohol and this was being practised in role plays simulating high risk situations to establish behavioural alternatives (KVT).
* For psycho-education, the patients were often given explanations giving disorder models based on psychoanalytic concepts

* A patient with symptoms of depression and anxiety first came to the therapy by herself. Through the course of talks, it was found out to better view her problems in context with her family situation. Therefore, Vaishali Shelar included the patient’s husband and daughter to the further therapy sessions. The patient was seen as a carrier of symptoms resulting from a sick system to be treated through couple and family therapy. At the same time, the patient was given particular attention to match her specific problems, and she was prescribed psychotropic drugs in small doses (systemic approach to therapy).

In various therapy sessions, particularly with female patients, cultural differences became evident which for instance were manifested in other forms of marital problems than in Western societies - and which often resulted in depression - and needed other means of solution than in Western societies. It was essential for me to learn about family structures in India and the importance of family to understand the patients and their problems.

Furthermore I got an insight into diagnostic processes, such as diagnosis of mental retardation of children and youth via various culture fair IQ tests. I also had he possibility to study some cases of patients’ histories as I was given access to patients' files, and I learned - even though just through observation - to do first interviews for purposes of anamnesis and to professionally take history.

On Mondays, I went with Vaishali Shelar to an old people's home in Kamothe where MGM is in charge of the provision of mental support. I also participated in various lectures: As MGM Kamothe is a teaching hospital there were lectures for small groups of college students and psychiatry students, where various disorders and test were explained in detail. Unfortunately, I had already studied most of these topics at my university, which means that participating at these lectures was just a repetition for me; unfortunately the people in charge of the department didn't understand this properly.

On the weekends I made use of the possibility to participate in Medical Camps which are being arranged by MGM Kalamboli. Several doctors of the hospital went for a day to remote hospitals in Maharasthra to treat patients, supplying a lot of medicines from MGM. Technically, I couldn't benefit a lot from the medical camps as no psychiatrists took part, but I could get to know a further aspect of the Indian health system and get in touch with people of rural regions. That's why I found these days interesting anyway. Furthermore, I could expand my general medical knowledge to a certain degree.

3. Conclusion

I found my internship a valuable experience in many ways:

One of my aims of the internship was to experience the problems you might be faced with when doing clinical psychology work in a different cultural context. About India, I can say that a problem to work there as a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist is that psychotherapy is not widely accepted as a means of treatment for mental disorders, but that sticking to medicines is still much more common than in Western societies. Furthermore I experienced that the belief in ghosts and generally in supernatural forces, particularly in the rural regions of India, is widespread, which in many cases makes the treatment of patients more difficult. For instance I got to know a schizophrenic patient whose psychiatric treatment was stopped by her family with the explanation that the woman wasn't ill, but that her condition was caused by supernatural forces that only need to be influenced in a beneficial way. The knowledge of the psychiatrists and psychologists that I worked with was not the same as what I had learn in university about many subject areas. Dealing with this was something I had to learn during my internship, and it is probably a situation many people will experience when doing an internship in another country. However this depends on the actual circumstances and cannot really be generalised.

Personally I also had to get accustomed to a certain aspect of working in India: As opposed to Germany, the power distance (as per Hofstede) is very big. As a result, the power in this country is distributed very unequally. This is something I have experienced in the psychiatric department: As opposed to Germany, it was not possible to work with the Indian doctors on the same professional level. Instead, I had to accept that those in a higher position weren't interested in what I knew and how I could benefit from the internship, but they were merely interested in demonstrating THEIR knowledge and skills. I quickly learned that when asking questions, they should never sound like criticism, but if I wanted to achieve something and get good information, I always had to point out my inferiority. This was the only way to maintain a positive work climate with the Indian doctors. Another illustrative example for the high power distance in India is that whenever the Head of Department was present, everyone had to stand up to show their respect. Also in the relation between doctor and patient, the dimension of high power distance was strongly present.

I observed one aspect of Indian culture as very positive in the context of clinical psychological work: The family has a much higher importance in India than in Germany and family ties are much stronger. Such social support is a protective factor against mental disorders. This fact shows that the family should always be considered for treatments, and should be included in psycho-education. It is very common, at least for the first interviews that family members take part, as it is anyway normal in India that family members join patients when meeting physicians.

Besides professional aspects, there are other things that I found very rewarding in India. I was staying for a month at a so-called "Paying Guest House" where besides one other German internship student, there were only young Indian women who either were students, interns or workers. I was sharing my room with two of them and we often had dinner together, as the landlord was cooking every day. This gave me the possibility to get to know Indian women more closely than it would have been possible at other forms of accommodation or travel in the country, and to get an insight into Indian everyday life of people of my age. They explained to me many cultural peculiarities of their country and their way of dealing with them. An example is the topic of arranged marriage versus love marriage.

In total, I consider my internship a truly worthwhile experience, both in a professional and personal way, from which I will surely benefit in the future. I am still very much interested in the subject area of clinical psychology. During my course of studies I want to do another internship in clinical psychology, but in Germany, so that I can really get a good comparison, and also to get to know the administrative side of the German health system. My university unfortunately doesn't offer any lectures related to international work or work in developing countries, otherwise I would love to attend them. I will keep my eyes open if in the future I can see any possibilities to join such training.