J. N. Heredia

As young students on the cusp of adulthood, there are plenty of changes that must be adjusted to when one enters the college set-up. Pressures may not only be academic in nature, such as dealing with new and challenging subjects or hindrances to achieving one’s true potential such as procrastination, ineffective study techniques or difficulty maintaining a balance, but could also have to do with the social arenas of one’s life: family, friends or close relationships. Whatever the cause of disturbance, it affects the overall functioning of the individual.

Counseling is helping relationship with a trained professional that supports individuals to navigate these or more serious disturbances that are commonplace. Such a relationship helps find solutions to disturbances and minimize their impact on the daily life of the students. No problem is too small to be considered an ‘issue’, if it affects you, it can be addressed in the counseling relationship. It is a space to vent, reflect, better, change and grow your self.

The J. N Heredia Centre for Counseling provides free counseling services to all students of Sophia College to promote their holistic well-being and aid development into the best academic and social versions of themselves. Individual therapy sessions are voluntary and appointments for the same can be booked in advance or students can drop in to visit the counselor in case they have a pressing issue to discuss. In some cases where it is deemed that more serious help is required, the students and their guardians will be guided toward such appropriate help, outside of the college set-up.

The Centre also aims to reach as many students as possible through workshops on topics pertinent to the demographic, such as ‘Self Esteem’, ‘Time Management’ or ‘Assertiveness’. The counseling room also houses abundant self-help materials including guides to deal with common mental health problems and books to boost self-esteem, resilience, skills and abilities specific to certain outcomes. This can be a great resource to learn important life skills and to do some work by yourself.

Dr. Jennie Mendes – Counsellor

Jennie Mendes (Dalmia Professor Emeritus) is currently Coordinator of the Sophia J. N. Heredia Counseling Centre. Her area of interests is Clinical Psychology, World Cinema and the Theory of Indian Classical Dance with special reference to Kathak. Her M.Phil dissertation: A Study on the Initiation of Flight Activity in Drosophila melanogaster - An Experimental Approach to Animal Behavior and the doctoral thesis: The Phenomenology, Etiology and the Possible Clinical Significance of Certain Stereotypies represent her wider interest. She has published 31 research articles and many popular articles. She has completed 6 research projects and has presented 25 papers at national and international conferences. She has translated and standardized a Stigma Scale for Mental Illness for the Konkani-speaking population. She has edited the book: “Readings in Psychology: Enhancing Human Potential” (Allied Publishers, 2006). She was the Managing Editor of the Bombay Psychologist-A Journal of the Bombay Psychological Association (from 1997 to 2017). She is involved in the CUE-MH (Collaborative Undergraduate Education in Mental Health) to create hubs and nodes in different parts of the country for collaborative research.

Deepika Bhandari

Deepika is a post graduate in Clinical Psychology who has a strong background in psychotherapy, medical research and practicing in nonprofit organizations for last three years. She specializes in adolescent and adult counseling. Deepika is passionate about understanding the mental health gap like difficulties in accessing treatment and is working towards coming up with the most effective strategies to deal with this. She is a practitioner of Animal Assisted Therapy.

Avanti Desai

Avanti Desai is a Counseling Psychologist. She is committed to client care, offering holistic, accessible and discreet therapeutic services which include counseling, psychotherapy and career counseling/assessment. Using clinically tested and evidence-based interventions, she has worked in different settings with a variety of cases.