Good health is like a pleasant shower of blessings! For living a healthy and happy life, you may need to make choices in your regular routine. Go for the things that support your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healthiness is the key to a happy life. It is necessary to pay heed to all aspects of health for sound mind, body, and spirit. In today’s era, where everyone is rushing towards their struggling life, everyone is trying to maintain their position in the cutthroat competition, everyone is involved in rat races; it is a prime need to consult a health psychologist. You can visit their hospitals, clinics, public health agencies or in their private clinics. They will definitely help you out and will make you learn how to create a balance between physical and emotional health.
A health psychologist may help you to get the link between physical, spiritual and emotional health. They will make you understand the emotional effect of diseases and illness on patients. Health psychologists work in the field like addiction treatment, chronic pain management, oncology, eating disorders, physical rehabilitation and several others.
Here, we come up with an exclusive interview of well-known health psychologist, sociologists, and a wellness and fitness expert- Dr. Swati Chawla. She is specialized in this field with an experience of almost 15 years. Swati helps her clients and teaches them the tricks of being healthy and fit. Apart from this, she also takes lectures and workshop on health and wellness. Swati talks with the team of Vaidyanath and decided to share her fitness mantra with our readers.
1. Introduce yourself with your name and profession?
Dr. Swati Chawla, Counselling Psychologist, wellness expert, certified clinical hypnotherapist.
I am a person who believes that everything starts from your belief system and the belief system is made either by what you are taught in childhood or later by what you experience.
Belief may be right or wrong. It’s just the way we look at it and act according to it. It’s ok to change/challenge the old belief system and create new for better.
2. What is your specialization?
I am a psychologist, sociologist, and certified Trainer. Total experience of 15 years.
But I specialize in Wellness / Preventive health for the last 10 years.
3. Tell us about your education and family background.
I have completed my School from DPS RK Puram. BA (hon) in sociology from Hindu College (Delhi University). MA (Sociology) from Jamia Millia Islamia and MA (Psychology) Amity University (Noida).
PG Diploma in NGO management and Diploma in Training and Development. NLP practitioner, Alternate medicine therapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual healer, Radical healing, Silva meditation practitioner, tarot reader, Certified HIV counselor.
I am the youngest of my 5 professional sisters and loving daughter to an inspiring mother. My mother (Prem) single-handedly raised all of us and had been one of my biggest inspirations of life to NEVER GIVE UP. my Brother in law and cute little niece and nephews are part of the world.
4. How and why did you decide to come in health and wellness profession?
Social work has always been on TOP of my mind; which I inherited and had been inspired by my late Father (Jagdish). I lost my Father due to NON-DIAGNOSIS of his medical condition. I being 10 years old felt helpless for not being able to help him diagnose his medical condition and couldn’t take care of his health.
He had been supported for many people, even to an extent to those people who are left alone in the hospital by their family because of contagious diseases, my father used to go and take care of them. Hence, healthcare has always attracted me.
Emotional wellness hit my mind when I was rejected for admission to TOP social work institute which wanted a bribe for admission. Then I realized that A DEGREE doesn’t define what you want to do and that one can help people anywhere and anyhow.
I saw an advertisement day later saying MA counseling psychology in the newspaper and felt that was my call toward starting of my professional journey as a psychologist.
Mental health has always been at the back foot in Indian society and I realized that there is also a shortage of mental health workers. WHAT could have been better than this area where not many have the skills of being a counselor?
5. Who is the one person in your life who inspires you to grow in the industry?
Mother Teresa for her unconditional love and care for everyone had been another inspiration; apart from my parents in my personal life.
Dr. Anil Bhan cardiac surgeon; who every month used to do FREE surgeries for people who cannot afford the same have also inspired me for what real healthcare service is.
6. How is the journey of your life in your professional career?
The journey had been very interesting and had a lot of learning from people lives.
In my profession, people open to real self and there are so many stories to learn from. I always say: “Every story is worth learning from.”
It truly helps me to stay humble.
Beginning of my journey, while I worked with at Maulana Azad Medical college; working with HIV AIDS patients. They are truly very strong. They start actually LIVING after they accept the fact.
In today’s life when people are running so fast they don’t realize to LIVE life and I say don’t wait for the day when your body starts shouting to you. I realize “people actually start living once you know that their life is going to end soon”
Working with cardiac patients at MAX Hospitals also, gave immense experience with Lifestyle counseling for OPDs and counseling for IPD open heart surgery patients. Fear of Unkown is very scary for patients; but when you are aware of processes and are educated, patients are ready to accept the surgery and recover well.
As a wellness expert, I observed that people feel that they are being always judged and had to have many faces for self, family, work, social circle. Hence, they are stressed in maintaining that balance all their life.
I strongly believe if you become non-judgemental, people really open up to you because they feel accepted the way they are. If families/ parents also start doing that there will be lesser emotional issues.
I am glad I could facilitate my clients and make them feel better.
7. What is the most challenging situation you have faced in your professional life?
As a counselor, the most difficult part is transference and countertransference; where clients feel so attached with you that they start treating you as a part of their life and family. But we have to be professional and avoid getting personal with our clients. One of the clients wanted me to tie Rakhi before his surgeries and I was in double mind on the same. That was the first and only time I broke that rule and tied rakhi to that patient. And that rakhi played an important part in his recovery and his belief of becoming better. In his words “Suraksha Bandhan”.
8. What do you do to inspire today’s generation?
I create awareness on emotional wellness through my page JagPrem. I offer Free consultations to people who are confused and are seeking guidance on emotional issues.
I had been taking corporate lectures and workshops for past 15 years on emotional wellness, smoking cessations, anxiety, depression, Phobias, hypnotherapy, dance and creative therapies, body image, mental health, parenting, academic performance, lifestyle, complete wellness and many more.
I won Ms. Curvy India 2019 Beauty pageant, to motivate plus size women who feel demotivated and have low body image. I am also part of a plus size conclave and often write articles and videos take lectures for the same.
9. Who is your idol and whom do you consider as your motivation?
The non-living person is Mother Teresa and the living person is Arunima Sinha; her story is one of the most inspiring I have known till date. I am a big fan of her.
10. Do you have your website? If yes, what information or service do you provide?
My facebook page name is JagPrem: where you find all the love (unconditional and non-judgemental listening ears)
It is based on my parents’ name: (JAGDISH father’s name) and (PREM Mother’s name) since they are the ones who inspired me to where I am today.
11. What is your plan in the next 5 years?
WHO says by 2020, depression is going to be the second largest illness in the world. Create awareness as much as possible through videos, articles, workshops, and lectures. I am aiming to help as many people as I can. I am soon going to launch my own site, where people could reach out to counselors and take help.
12. According to you, what is the most challenging situation in the health care sector nowadays?
a. Even today where education is increasing, people still do not understand the meaning of “prevention is better than cure”. These words are still spoken but not acted upon. I believe, every person above 30 years should go through annual preventive health checks.
b. Limited number of certified and trained mental health professionals; psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors.
c. The taboo on mental health and wellness. Why can’t we treat Brain / Mind as equally as any other body organ? Acceptance is the first and biggest STEP to change. That lacks in Indian population for mental health.
13. What do you want to say about the current healthcare situation in the country and what do you suggest to improve them?
a. Prevention health check should be made compulsory.
b. Happiness score should be a measurement of success in a country.
c. Acceptance of mental health as one of the important area of complete wellness.
d. Mental health to be part of every student’s curriculum
e. Bigger budgets in mental health from the government and support on the same for greater awareness and acceptance.
14. Any awards which you have received?
More than awards I believe; what brings in satisfaction to me is positive feedback from your patients and standing ovations from the crowd you address and trying to motivate. I am happy to receive them often.