- Mental health practitioners (MHPs) have recently been approaching therapy with a desi touch.
- Such therapy methods are linked to better treatment outcomes for mental health issues like multigenerational trauma.
Western Therapy Vs. Therapy With A Desi Touch
Experts contend that the therapies used in India draw heavily from western concepts of psychology and so they cater limitedly to the ‘issues’ of the upper class or the privileged few. They are not much effective for communities of lower economic and social backgrounds.
Because of this, Indian MHPs look to ‘decolonize’ therapy with approaches rooted in ‘desi’ society’s family and community structures—taking into account factors such as class, caste, gender, inequality, etc. They have also drawn recognized ideas of self-empowerment and healing from ancient Indian texts (like the Upanishads and the Buddhist philosophies) and included them in treatment methods.
MHPs recognize that only a thoroughly decolonized and ‘Indianized’ approach to western therapy methods (like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), family therapy, etc.) can successfully address Indian issues.
In recent years, a new form of therapy called decolonial therapy has become popular in treating ‘brown’ mental health conditions. These include multigenerational trauma, commitment issues, religion-related conduct disorders, and trauma from systematic inequalities and oppression. Neha Bhat, an art-focused therapist in Chennai, elaborated: “Decolonial therapy is a humanistic approach to consciously put the power in the [suffering] person’s hand.”
The experts also recommend stress management and mindfulness strategies that inculcate familial and societal support in mental health treatment. These include art, music, drama therapy, etc.
‘Mental Health For All!’
However, aside from the concern of therapy approaches, MHPs in India agree that the lack of an accessible, affordable, and resourceful psychiatric infrastructure has led to skyrocketing cases of mental health conditions in the country.
They sincerely hope that Indian citizens will view mental illness as a ‘social problem’ and come together to make mental health services available to all sections of society—including the marginalized, down-trodden, and rural communities.
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