Debasmita Phukan has an M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology from the LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health, Assam. She completed her Master's in Applied Psychology from Delhi University and has a wide range of work experience, ranging from working in a mental health NGO to being a freelance writer.
Debasmita's ideas about psychotherapy are rooted in her faith in humanity and the belief that we can all change to lead better, more authentic lives. She thinks of psychotherapy as providing a safe space from which such growth can be possible. Considering herself a lifelong student of the human mind, Debasmita believes that psychotherapy is one of her best teachers. She finds contentment through the activity of learning from and listening to many diverse lives in this small but very cosmopolitan campus town. When not at work, she enjoys movies, books and music from all around the world. She likes spending time in solitude and can often be found pottering about the house.
Kangkana Bhuyan has an M.Phil. degree in Clinical Psychology from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. She has completed her Master’s in Psychology from Delhi University, North Campus. She worked at the LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health in Assam before she joined the Student Support Centre team in Manipal.
Shafeer K V
People and the stories that they narrate of their own lives have always interested Kangkana. She finds that getting to know people is like getting to know herself. She thinks of listening to people as a way of active thinking. Kangkana has always felt drawn to psychotherapy and perceives it to be her calling. Student Support Centre is a welcoming space for the students of MAHE and Kangkana sees the opportunity to work with these young, dynamic people as a collaborative and fulfilling way to learn, grow, and progress together. She believes that psychotherapy is a shared experience, and one discovers oneself through it. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and traveling. Despite being allergic to cats, she loves spending time with them.
Shafeer K V has an M.Phil from LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur, and he completed his M.Sc in Psychology from Pondicherry Central University. Prior to joining the Student Support Centre team in Manipal, he worked at a private clinic in Kerala for three months.
Bhavishya A Kalyanpur
His interest in psychotherapy stems from his love of reading and listening to stories. As he sees it, every individual is an amalgamation of their life stories. His role as a therapist, he would say, is to edit the difficult stories in one’s life to make it more reader-friendly. Books, music, and movies constitute the three pillars of his life. His other areas of interests include photography, poetry, and discussions and debates with people about a wide range of topics. Shafeer considers himself to be a curious mind—always eager to learn and know more.
The difficulties he faced during his M.Phil years have been instrumental in his awareness of the challenges that young adults encounter on a regular basis. It is this awareness that motivated him to become a part of the vision of the Student Support Centre. In fact, he prefers working with college students because he believes that he is able to empathise more easily with them. Through this, he hopes to help them achieve a sense of balance and understand the importance of mental health.
Bhavishya Arun Kalyanpur has an M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology from the LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health, Assam. She completed her M.Sc. in Applied (Clinical) Psychology from Pondicherry Central University and has lived in different parts of India, never tied down by singular identities or geographical attributions. Having considered several career choices since childhood, a love for language and challenges, and a commitment to the Humanities drew her to psychotherapy.
Bhavishya finds each day to be a new opportunity for learning, and it is this same spirit that she brings to her role as a therapist. Perceiving it as a two-way process, Bhavishya finds that the therapist is as much a learner as a facilitator, as people cannot fit into profiles and constantly reshape categories. Bhavishya likes the analogy of a marathon for therapy - she finds that each person she engages with is running their own marathon, and she hopes to run alongside and be present in whatever manner of reassurance is needed. She is enthused about working with young people in Manipal, finding the space as well as the atmosphere likeable and moldable.
Prafulla Ragireddy holds a M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University, Pittsburgh, USA. She began her career in the field of genetic counseling, and while offering counseling to her clients she realized the importance of mental health and the need to focus on the psychological component. This led her to pursue additional training in psychology. Since then, Prafulla has worked with diverse age groups and volunteered in several organizations that deal with mental health and wellness. She worked as a crisis counselor in the U.S. before relocating to Manipal.
At SSC, Prafulla regularly avails her earlier experiences of organizing and leading group therapy sessions. Her work here is closely aligned to the principles of holistic living, which she applies to her own life. Being a certified yoga practitioner, Prafulla is keenly aware of the reciprocal relationship between the mind and the body and seeks to help clients develop a healthier lifestyle to achieve overall wellbeing. Prafulla enjoys making pots, listening to Indian classical music and watching period dramas.
Shobhana Balasundaram has an M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology from the LGB Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur, Assam. Before SSC, she was an Assistant Professor at a Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur, Chennai.
Shobhana recalls that her decision to study psychology came from being amazed at what could be achieved in less than an hour when she was a youngster in crisis. For her, therapy is collaborating with her client in identifying patterns and making meaning of them to complete the story the client brings with them. She believes that psychotherapy is a unique and important experience in one’s life, and as a therapist, is committed to being a part of an individual’s journey.
Shobhana’s after-work ritual is centered on time with herself that includes an eclectic playlist of music and a cup of extra gingery tea. She takes a lot of interest in keeping abreast with social justice. Shobhana draws energy and strength from her quiet time every day.
Sushma DSouza is the Office Associate at the Student Support Centre and is integral to the everyday functioning of the Centre. She has completed her Bachelors in Commerce from Poornaprajna College, Udupi, and is now pursuing her Masters in the same field through distance learning.
From sorting out the different appointments and maintaining monthly reports, to keeping track of all the meetings in the SSC and the requirements of the therapists, Sushma is a big part of keeping the Student Support Centre up and running. She finds the work environment of the Centre calm and peaceful. She is fluent in four languages and enjoys cooking. Having grown up along the seashore, she finds solace in visiting the beach.
Nagaraj is SSC's General Duty Worker. He is responsible for carrying out everyday tasks, from filing and data entry to taking phone messages, integral to the smooth functioning of the centre. He likes that everyone at SSC work together, accommodating each others' work-styles. He feels that the best part about working here is the contentment he experiences when the clients who come to SSC seem less distressed when they leave.
After completing his SSLC from Government College, Udupi, Nagaraj worked at Sikkim Manipal University. Carrying out his duties according to his work ethic is of great importance to him. When not at work, he enjoys reading, watching and playing cricket, and going to the movies. Nagraj aspires to someday build his own house.
Gayathri Prabhu is the Coordinator of the Student Support Centre and Associate Professor at the Manipal Centre for Humanities, MAHE. She received her PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and her MPhil from Swansea University, Wales, UK. She has served as a member of the Insitutional Ethics Committee, Kasturba Medical College and Kasturba Hospital, Manipal (2014 - 2018), and as the Dr TMA Pai Chair in Indian Literature (2017 - 2019). Gayathri is the author of a memoir, four novels, a novella in prose poetry and a study of black and white cinema. She teaches literary studies and has written regularly on Medical Humanities. Increasingly convinced about the merging of teaching and advocacy, the Student Support Centre is a project that is close to Gayathri’s heart and she attributes its existence to the combined efforts and goodwill of several people in the University. Outside of work, she finds joy in yoga, birding, long walks and rainy days. As the Coordinator, Gayathri's work at the Student Support Centre ranges from designing the centre’s ethos, to execution of outreach programs, to ensuring that the Centre remains a warm and trustworthy space for students. If you have any feedback or thoughts, please write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org