One on one... with Asweeni Jansdin Raj

We dip into the Society member database and pick… Asweeni Jansdin Raj, an Assistant Psychologist at The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.

One moment that changed the course of your career
When I was in my second year of university, I started volunteering at Headway Nottingham. I am grateful that I was able to work with some incredible service users and staff who enabled me to complete two research projects and inspired me to further explore clinical psychology and neuropsychology.

One regret
Failure to anticipate the difficulties that my surname Jansdin Raj would cause. It’s not hyphenated. I don’t have a middle name, but many people assume Jansdin is my middle name and Raj is my surname.

One TV show recommendation
Anyone who is a fan of the 1960s film Psycho should watch Bates Motel on Netflix. The writers, Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore did an amazing job showing the audience how mental health problems such as Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder develop as well as other disorders. I personally found Norman’s outcome very sad and tragic. If social services were involved at an early age, it may have prevented his breakdown later in life. The example of this fictional character is very realistic to those with a past history of abuse or trauma and it highlights the importance of seeking the right support service.

One article from The Psychologist
I really like the Research Digest. Matthew Warren’s article entitled ‘When people close to us behave immorally, we are inclined to protect them – even if their crimes are particularly heinous’ is a great read. It’s difficult to say what you would do in that situation but it’s fascinating to consider what others would do, for example, Norma Bates in Bates Motel protecting her son despite knowing what he’s capable of.

One alternative career path you may have chosen
Working with animals. Since watching Blue Planet 2, like many, my awareness of plastic pollution has increased, and I would love to help animals who are helpless due to human errors.

One tool
Leaving work at work can be tough when you’re working with people with brain injuries and mental health problems. The Calm app has been my go-to tool when I need to de-stress or even practice mindfulness. The Calm app consists of guided meditations, narrated Sleep Stories and videos. It has led me to incorporate mindfulness meditation every day and I finally have the opportunity to listen to bedtime stories!

One thing you are proud of
Practice what you preach comes to mind. Applying mindfulness techniques into everyday life and activities helped me become a better facilitator of a Mindfulness Group that I designed and implemented for individuals with brain injuries and mental health problems. 

One thing that you would change about psychology
Promoting other pathways and careers to students during their time at university.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Help each other along the way. At times it may seem that there is so much competition in this field. Competition to get Assistant Psychologist posts. Competition to get on to the Clinical Psychology Doctorate course. I have been fortunate enough to know some great psychologists who are at different stages in life but always happy to help. We are all on the same journey, but we may take different paths.

One quote
‘Don’t take yourself too seriously. Know when to laugh at yourself and find a way to laugh at obstacles that inevitably present themselves.’ Halle Berry.

One interesting thing about my job
You quickly learn to be more than just an Assistant Psychologist.

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