Clinical Exposure and Training

Originally Posted on: Jun 7, 2012

During the fifth semester vacations, the final year students of psychology were given an opportunity to receive clinical training and exposure as part of the abnormal psychology curriculum.

The training programme was offered by Manasa Institute of Mental Health, Shimoga, which is part of the Manasa Trust started by Dr Ashok Pai. The trust includes the Manasa Institute of Mental Health Education, Manasa Nursing Home, Manasadhara Rehabilitation Centre and Spoorthi physiotherapy centre and other facilities.

On the 29th of October 2012, eleven final year students of psychology travelled to Shimoga for a three day clinical exposure trip to Manasa Nursing Home. We were welcomed at the hostel by Ms Shwetha, a clinical psychologist of the hospital. On the 30th we were given an orientation on the Manasa Trust and a talk on the field of clinical psychology by Dr Ganesh Rao following which Ms Shwetha briefed us about the functioning of the hospital and the treatment of patients. We were then instructed to go out into different wards and interact with the patients and their families. This gave us tremendous insight into the variety and intensity of mental disorders and their symptoms. We were able to understand the problems more clearly and empathize with the families.

In the afternoon, after lunch we were directed to ‘Spoorthi’ therapy centre. Here we witnesses and learnt the functioning of aversion therapy for substance abuse and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy administered by Dr Radha Prabhu. Dr. Radha also gave us a lecture on the usage of this therapy for spastic children.

The next day, we were assigned to spend the day in ‘Manasadhara’ rehabilitation centre under the guidance of Dr Usha, here we interacted with numerous patients who required more long term care and observed their living conditions and routine activities. We obtained a deeper understanding in care giving for the mentally ill. The rehabilitation centre also houses several cases of mental retardation who have been undergoing treatment for years together. During our interaction we received first-hand information about the nature of mental illness and its treatment from the patients themselves which was a pleasant surprise. Some patients of bipolar and delusional disorders were well aware of their condition and cooperated willingly with the care givers. This centre focuses on self-care and constructive activity through creative art and craft classes, yoga, walks and physical exercises implemented through a regimental time table. After lunch, we returned to the hospital and were given a lecture on case history taking format and functions by Dr Ganesh Rao.

On the last day of our training we were given the task of taking the case histories of new patients, this put all our training and skills to the test as we has to practically implement all that we had learnt. By this time we were more familiar with the various disorders and were able to identify symptoms while talking to the patients and their informants. When we reassembled as a group we were able to make probable diagnosis of cases such as disorganised schizophrenia, paranoia, post par tum depression, etc. After this we revisited the therapy centre where Dr Radha gave us the opportunity to use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy on a child patient and her mother. The same evening we were called back to the hospital to witness the procedure of electro-convulsive therapy used only for patients suffering from severe mental illness. After which we were addressed by Dr Priya Pai, daughter of the founder of Man.

We returned back to Mangalore in the morning of 2nd November. We are extremely grateful to the college and the department of Psychology for giving us this opportunity. Manasa Trust and resident psychotherapist in the nursing home. She spoke to us about the importance and need for clinical psychologists in the world today in the identification and treatment of mental illness. She highlighted various career options and institutions for higher studies. This was extremely beneficial to us.