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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014
Filling the gap
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 29, 2013
First Published: 16:51 IST(29/1/2013)
Last Updated: 17:51 IST(29/1/2013)
Guiding light: A child psychologist provides counselling on issues related to family, relationships and career

The lowdown

A child psychologist provides counselling support on relationship problems, family-linked depression issues, exam-related anxiety and learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Assessing a young person can be an extremely complicated task and psychiatrists have to depend on multiple sources such as parents or other care givers to get to the root cause of the problem faced by their patients. Family and academic matters often cause commotion in a child’s life. Therefore, counsellors often need to counsel parents. They have to work with paediatricians too at times to see if physical ailments are the cause of the mental problems. Child counselling is an upcoming field and one of the biggest areas that can facilitate and compliment routine education. Counsellors should have empathy and the ability to balance the parents’ viewpoint with the child’s viewpoint. Far-sighted vision and sensitivity are also important attributes.

10.30am: Attend cases in OPD
12.45pm: Break
1.30pm: Administer psychological tests
3.00pm: Break
3.30pm: Conducting supervision/ training for students/juniors
4.15pm: Set up new appointments/ follow-up appointments
4.30pm: Make notes on complicated cases handled during the day
5.00pm: Pack up

The payoff
A senior counsellor in school, with an MA degree in psychology and a PG diploma in guidance and counselling can get Rs. 17,000 a month. With three years’ experience, one can earn about Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month. In a private hospital, a fresh clinical psychologist with an MPhil degree can get Rs. 30,000 a month. However, with experience and skills one can earn more than Rs. 1.5 lakh a month

* One should be a good listener 
* Interpersonal skills and empathy
* Open-mindedness and objectivity to deal with the child neutrally
* Sensitive and non-intrusive

Getting there
You can opt for any subject in Class 12 to be eligible for a bachelor’s in psychology, but it’s preferable to take science with psychology. Then you can go for master’s in psychology. For better career prospects, you may do MPhil/PhD. Although training programmes in India do not include in-depth self-analysis, it is important that one should undergo counselling and psychotherapy. This enables a person to sort out his/her own personal issues

Institutes and URLs
* University of Delhi 
* Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
* Ambedkar University, New Delhi

Pros and cons
* Widening scope
* Job options still limited to big cities
* Initial salary is not high

Counselling is a tool to understand the human mind and achieve the best possible self-growth -- Pulkit Sharma, consultant clinical psychologist & psychoanalytical therapist, VIMHANS, New Delhi

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