Dr Sai Joshi is a psychologist in East London and online

What attracted you to become a therapist?

The field of psychology was introduced to me by my mother, a child psychologist. I've grown up seeing the difference that therapy can make in the life of a distressed child or parent. 

I had a strong inclination towards a career in mental health and I found that its just my thing, an absolute source of contentment and satisfaction when you can help a person to put finally drop their masks and be themselves.

Where did you train? 

I have completed my Bachelor's and Master's in Clinical Psychology from Fergusson College, Pune, India, and my training in REBT, CBT, and person-centric humanistic approaches as well from Pune, India

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

As a psychologist, I employ an integrative therapy approach, combining elements of both person-centred therapy and behavioural therapy. This approach allows me to create a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan that meets the unique needs and preferences of each individual client.

Person-centred therapy, also known as client-centred therapy, emphasises the importance of creating a supportive and empathetic therapeutic relationship. In this approach, I strive to provide a safe and non-judgmental space where clients feel heard, understood, and accepted. I place great value on building a strong therapeutic alliance, as I believe it is the foundation for meaningful change and growth.

Within the person-centred framework, I focus on fostering self-awareness and self-acceptance in my clients. I encourage them to explore their emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a compassionate and non-directive manner. 

By providing a warm and genuine presence, I aim to empower clients to gain insight into their own feelings, values, and goals. This self-exploration helps clients develop a deeper understanding of themselves, promoting personal growth and improved self-esteem. 

I also integrate behavioural therapy techniques into my practice. Behavioural therapy emphasises the role of behaviour in shaping emotions and thoughts. By adopting this approach, I work collaboratively with clients to identify and modify maladaptive behaviours and replace them with healthier alternatives.

I would like to highlight that I always curate a personalised mind care plan for each of my clients to provide them with a daily mind care routine based on their age, gender, profession, and issues.

How does your style of therapy help clients?

Integrative therapy offers effective support for individuals dealing with relationship issues, depression, and anxiety management

By combining person-centred and behavioural therapy approaches, the way I work addresses these concerns in a comprehensive and tailored manner. 

In the context of relationship issues, integrative therapy emphasises the importance of creating a safe and empathetic therapeutic space. By fostering a strong therapeutic alliance, clients can explore their emotions and experiences, gain insight into relationship patterns, and develop healthier communication and coping strategies.

When it comes to depression, integrative therapy focuses on both the underlying causes and the immediate symptoms. Person-centred therapy helps individuals explore their feelings and values, fostering self-awareness and self-acceptance. Behavioural therapy techniques, such as goal setting and cognitive restructuring, help clients challenge negative thinking patterns and develop healthier behaviours that contribute to improved mood and overall wellbeing.

In anxiety management, integrative therapy combines person-centred support with behavioural techniques. The person-centred aspect provides a non-judgmental and accepting space for clients to explore and understand their anxieties. Behavioural therapy techniques, such as psychoeducation and exposure therapy, assist individuals in developing practical strategies to manage anxiety symptoms and gradually face their fears.

Overall, my integrative therapy addresses relationship issues, depression, and anxiety management by combining the empathetic support of person-centred therapy with the practical tools of behavioural therapy. This holistic approach empowers individuals to gain self-awareness, develop healthier behaviours, and enhance their overall psychological wellbeing.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I generally work with the issues such as identity crises, body image, and relationship issues with adolescents. 

Stress, anxiety, and depression management with all age groups and relationship counselling with individuals and couples. 

I also work with immigrants and ex-pats dealing with adjustment issues.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

In today's rapidly changing world, young people often face a multitude of options and opportunities, which can sometimes lead to decision overload and a sense of being overwhelmed. Social media and digital technologies may also contribute to information overload and comparisons, which can affect decision-making processes.

However, it is essential to approach this topic with caution and avoid generalisations. Indecisiveness can be influenced by a variety of factors, including individual personality traits, personal circumstances, and the specific environment in which young people find themselves.

It is worth noting that seeking support from mental health professionals, such as psychologists or counsellors, can be beneficial for individuals struggling with indecisiveness or other related concerns. These professionals can provide guidance, help explore underlying factors contributing to indecisiveness, and assist in developing strategies to make decisions more confidently.

In conclusion, while there is an increasing focus on mental health and a recognition of its importance in society, it is important to consider that challenges such as indecisiveness can be multifaceted and influenced by various factors. It is crucial to approach the topic with nuance and recognise the individuality of each person's experiences and struggles.

What do you like about being a therapist?

That at the end of the day, I feel I have no problems in my life as compared to the clients I see. and I am grateful to be in a position to help people and humbled by being in this profession.

What is less pleasant?

Sometimes, the feeling of helplessness when you cannot help a client beyond your limits as a therapist.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

I have my own podcast which gives insights into daily life mind care rituals: https://open.spotify.com/show/4TxdwEYW6a0fqgNebQAC5f

I sometimes recommend clients read books, watch movies, explore ideas that might give them insights into their own situation. It completely depends on the experiences of the client.

What do you do for your own mental health? 

As a therapist, I prioritise my own mental wellbeing by following a regular mind care routine. This routine includes several important elements to ensure I maintain balance and self-care in my life. Here's an outline of my mind care routine:

  • Sessions when necessary: As a therapist, I understand the importance of seeking professional support when needed. I prioritise my own mental health by scheduling therapy sessions for myself when necessary. This allows me to process my own emotions and challenges with the help of a qualified professional.

  • Mindful venting: I recognise the significance of emotional release and processing. Mindful venting involves finding healthy outlets to express and release emotions, such as journaling, engaging in creative activities, or simply talking to a trusted friend or colleague. By engaging in mindful venting, I ensure that I acknowledge and address any accumulated stress or emotional burden.

  • Working on burnout: To prevent burnout and maintain my wellbeing, I actively work on managing stress and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This may include setting boundaries with clients and colleagues, taking regular breaks, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and self-care.

  • Physical activity: Incorporating physical activity into my routine is essential for my overall wellbeing. Regular exercise, whether it's going for a walk, practising yoga, or engaging in other forms of physical activity, helps me reduce stress, improve mood, and maintain physical health.

  • Socialising: Social connections play a vital role in maintaining mental wellbeing. I make it a priority to engage in social activities and spend time with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether it's having meaningful conversations, participating in hobbies together, or simply enjoying quality time, socialising helps me feel supported and nurtures my mental health.

By incorporating these elements into my mind care routine, I am able to prioritise my own wellbeing and ensure that I am in a good mental state to support my clients effectively. 

You are a therapist in East London, and online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?

I am an Indian therapist, who worked mostly with Indians and now that I am an immigrant in the UK myself, I am also seeing a lot of immigrants as clients. 

Issues like cultural disparity, adapting to the climate, and language barriers are the major issues I have seen within the expat clients of mine. I am extremely motivated to work in this area as this remains an unexplored area for a long time.

What’s your consultation room like?

Currently I am working online, clients can access therapy with me from the comfort of their own home.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

That the only secret ingredient of therapy is you need to trust your therapist!

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

I have explored myself and my personality traits on deeper levels through my therapy sessions as a therapist. I have a habit of reflecting on my sessions and drawing conclusions about my personality. 

One of the greatest insights was to realise that with age, I am less able to relate to adolescent issues and more to the mid-life crisis. This wasn't the case earlier and it has changed my perception of myself as a therapist.

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