One on one... Dr Raj Gnanaiah

We dip into the Society member database and pick out Dr Raj Gnanaiah, Consultant Chartered Psychologist at Mindz.

One aspect of my work that I love

People are dynamic, always changing, never dull – well, on the whole at least! Building relationships with my clients and colleagues is the aspect of my work that I always value the most. It nurtures trust and bridges change in the most astounding ways. In a post-pandemic world, this has never been more important.

I often remind myself of this when logging on to yet another Zoom meeting. We are social beings and in need of each other, especially during a pandemic and all the challenges it brings to our everyday lives.  

One place I would like to visit

When Covid permits, the southern tip of India will be top of my list. It is beautiful and always brings back wonderful memories of family holidays when I was a child. Fast-forward 40 years and it is still unmatched! The location is naturally beautiful because it’s where the three seas meet: the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Early in the morning, the red fiery ball of the sunrise from these oceans is truly a spectacular and breath-taking experience to behold – it always exceeds expectation. 

I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list. It’s suitable for all ages, and especially those seeking good food, idyllic surroundings, and an adventure of your choosing. I’m confident it will lift your mood, recharge those batteries and reset your sense of health and wellbeing – in one of the most scenic places in India.

One change I’d like to see

In India, there is a shared belief that is millennia old. In Sanskrit it is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which means ‘the world is one family’. Whilst this might sound slightly clichéd, as my daughter pointed out, in practice, we should ponder on its implications when calling for ‘universal equality’ – which we are still striving to see in the world. These sentiments are paramount for effective psychology and can be so easily overlooked. For example, people want to be valued, accepted as they are, heard, and taken seriously. I have found that by prioritising these aptitudes in practice, indifferences and any unconscious bias that we too often hold are minimalised, ultimately leading to positive change and universal acceptance.

One stress reliever

Going on a drive and listening to classical music clears my head. This seemingly small habit has helped me maintain a healthy work-life balance, for which I am grateful. Be intentional about being resilient, because you can only give what you have. So, do one thing well, rather than many things in haste. This remains one of my enduring mottos in life.

One approach I couldn’t do without

They say it takes 21 days to learn a habit. I’m so glad I took the time to see joy in the little things… to focus on positives ‘mindfully’, even in the midst of negatives that my clients might bring, without minimising or invalidating their problem. We tend to underestimate our resilience, forgetting our own inbuilt coping mechanism, which is ever present within us. Take a closer look to discover your hidden strengths and make it a habit – rediscovering it again and again. It might surprise you! 

One impact the pandemic has had on me 

The pandemic and numerous lockdowns have been hard for everyone. However, I’ve found that during all the unprecedented changes, disappointments, and frustrations it has also given me fresh outlook, insight, and a renewed appreciation of human resilience. We always survive and move on in the face of death and destruction. There is always hope! 

One film 

A Knight’s Tale – who doesn’t love an underdog? However, it is love which conquers everything at the end! Love motivates us to take risks we are otherwise unlikely to take. A great movie, but also inspirational. 

One proud moment 

The birth of my kids of course tops anything. The instant transformation from husband to dad was a wonderful feeling!

Can I pick a second? Getting my doctorate had been a lifelong dream. The hard work of intensive study alongside the demands of a full-time job and family commitments paid off. Being the first in my family to get a doctorate was also gratifying, and making my family and friends proud was a wonderful moment!

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