Yashvi Prakash is a licensed psychologist who specializes in trauma and grief counseling. She is spreading mental health awareness through her Instagram handle and providing affordable therapy.
Yashvi Prakash was born and brought up in Mumbai and has completed her education in Mumbai only. The psychologist likes music and animals. She likes studying English and Psychology. Yashvi Prakash specializes in trauma and grief.
IcyTales is in conversation with Yashvi Prakash about her experience as a psychologist so far.
Q) Tell us what inspired you to specialize in trauma and grief counseling?
Yashvi Prakash: At first, I wanted to specialize in depression and anxiety, but I realized that there is a lot of depth in trauma and grief, and almost everyone experiences trauma and grief in their life, and that is what really inspired me, and motivated me to study and practice it.
I personally had a complicated relationship with trauma and grief. I suffered when it came to family, relationships, and friends.
These experiences made me realize that there are so many people who, at some time in their lives, do experience trauma and grief. That is what motivated me more to pursue it.
Q) How do you personally manage the emotional toll that working with clients who have experienced trauma or grief can bring?
Yashvi Prakash: Yes, it can be very draining and exhausting at times. I do self-care; for example, if I have two sessions back to back, I make sure that I take a gap of 30 minutes between the sessions to give time to myself.
I try to relax; if I have more time, I will take a nap, eat my comfort food, or watch a show that is comforting to me.
I often play with my pets for a while to calm myself down. I do these activities so that I don’t get overwhelmed.
Q) Can you share a challenging case you’ve worked on in the past and how you navigated through it?
Yashvi Prakash: One of my first clients had a lot of complicated grief; she couldn’t talk about the experience without crying. This occurs when you face a lot of grief, but the feelings stay with you for a long time, and when you look back, you can not function properly.
She was a psychologist, too; I was already skeptical and wondered if she would find my methods appropriate. I took advice from my supervisor about her. We saw a lot of improvement in her, and finally, she could talk about it without breaking down.
Q) How do you deal with people who have misconceptions about counseling?
Yashvi Prakash: There is this misconception that if you go to a therapist, then the person will do all the work. They might think that this person will solve all the problems.
But the reality is that we will not solve your problems, but we will give you tools and techniques to solve them on their own. So they are not dependent on us; you are able to do it yourself.
So, a lot of people have this misconception. I let people know when they start all such misconceptions that they will need to put in the work. Some people discontinue because they do not realize that they have to put in the work. But a lot of people do work with us.
Q) How do you approach building trust and rapport with clients who may have difficulty opening up due to their traumatic experiences?
Yashvi Prakash: Rapport building is very important for us during the session. Not everyone is comfortable opening up with us in the beginning with their trauma.
So first, I ask them if it is something they are comfortable talking about about the trauma; if they are not, I talk about different things like about them, about their family. I also talk about myself so that there is a bond between us and they can trust me.
As they get more comfortable, I navigate around the same questions. I always give them certain practices so that they are not anxious around me.
Q) Can you please explain how psychotherapy is different from general mental health counseling?
Yashvi Prakash: Psychotherapy is used to treat certain mental disorders, whereas mental health counseling is a general term used in daily life sessions for small triggers.
Psychotherapy has a lot of modalities and is more complex than general mental health counseling.
Q) What are some myths that you encountered in your journey as a mental health professional?
Yashvi Prakash: The first myth is that psychology is not a real science, and it is something the West has brought here. It is something for the rich, and people in villages do not experience it. It is totally wrong.
Mental health exists in everyone; everyone can experience grief, stress, and trauma. All of us can experience these mental health issues.
Another myth is that things like anorexia can only happen to thin people. I have seen people who are overweight have it. Anybody can experience it. There is no template for who can experience it.
Q) The majority of India’s population falls in the middle-class margin. Women of such families usually do not have access to a psychiatrist. What would be your advice to them as a person and a mother who has faced this?
Yashvi Prakash: The problem is that the government has not done much to provide enough funds to psychologists so that they can charge less. Although I have been seeing a lot of government hospitals having mental health services it is like for minimal cost.
I interned at a hospital for 3-4 months, and I did see a lot of people going there just for psychotherapy or for a psychiatrist. So, I think there are initiatives; it is about finding these initiatives.
Government hospitals are doing great for providing these services at a very minimal cost, even though I try to do my bit by keeping my consultation fees as low as I could so that more and more people can access them.
Q) There is the term “ADHD” disorder, and it is in trend. People are self-diagnosing it. What is your view on it?
Yashvi Prakash: Self-diagnosis is something that really bothers me because the thing with disorders is that if you read the symptoms, you might identify with a lot of them.
So, if you read the symptoms of depression, then you might just feel that you relate to it. But in reality, how these disorders present themselves is very different.
So, self-diagnosis is not at all healthy. A lot of people have started reading symptoms like they can’t focus and they get distracted and are relating to it. But that is not all; there is a lot to it.
If you feel like you have it, the best thing you can do is to go to a professional like a clinical psychologist and get yourself tested, and they can let you know if you have ADHD or not.
I have seen this trend on social media that people see the two three symptoms of ADHD and relate to it. That is something that has become widely used.
People used words like depression, traumatized, and bipolar very freely. These terms are not meant to be used lightly.
Q) What are your long-term longs in life?
Yashvi Prakash: My long-term goal is to be doing exactly “this”, I want to help people, and I want to spread as much awareness as I can because that is my main motivation for what I am doing right now.
I always want to give a certain amount of time and effort to make sure that my services are affordable so that more and more people can reach me, regardless of how many years of experience I have.
I want to be the person who gives affordable services to people regardless of how successful my practice becomes.
Q) What is your mantra in life?
Yashvi Prakash: I personally relate to this quote” Live and let live.” This is something that I really abide by. I feel like a lot of issues stem from our expectations. If we see people for who they are, it will really make us feel better and be at ease.
Psychologists can help anyone and everyone learn and cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, manage their chronic illnesses, and tests and assessments can help diagnose a condition or tell more about the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves.
Yashvi Prakash, apart from being a dedicated psychologist, abides by the quote ‘Live and let live’.