“From What is Wrong, to What is Strong”- AASHAYEIN: Panel Discussion

What could be a better beginning to a much awaited event than a panel discussion that enraptures the whole auditorium in the air of hope and positivity.

The panel discussion kick-started with an introductory speech by Dr Parul Bansal, Department of Psychology, Lady Shri Ram College. She presented a case of a woman suffering from cancer as told from the view of her husband, who happened to be Dr. Bansal’s father. It emphasized on the re-evaluation of life by cancer patients, how restlessness still gives way to serenity and the family gains a new perspective.

Our first panelist was Ms Harmala ji, our own distinguished alumna and Founder-Director of CanSupport, a non-profit organisation dedicated towards people with terminal and advanced cancer. Her pioneering work has resulted from her own experience with cancer that struck her in 1985. In 1996 CanSupport came into existence. She talked about the limbo that strikes a person as they get the news of cancer. The doctors work in the body but the mind and the soul are in the hands of the patient and the family. “Towards the end the doctor told me they are cutting my umbilical cord for the second time.” That’s the kind of relationship that forms between the patient and the doctor.

Our second panelist was Dr Prerna Kohli, a holistic practitioner and well known clinical psychologist. In her work she creatively blends interpersonal and relational psychoanalysis to work on the outlook of a person. “The universe is not made of atoms, it is made of stories”, clearly defines the stress she puts on individual effort. She also presented case studies, one of herself and the other of a woman who underwent breast removal surgery and suffered depression. ” I love you, I forgive you, I set you free” she suggested each person to repeat this to oneself while looking in the mirror to ‘affirm’ oneself. She ended her discussion with the quote “Share, care and play fair in the game of life.”

Our final panelist was Dr Sameer Mehlotra, Head of Division of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Max Healthcare. He reiterated that hope helps you redefine the meaning of life and accept death in a more meaningful way. Hope is multi-dimensional and ever evolving. The doctor-patient relationship is not just one-sided as many would believe, but it is also about connecting with the patient, understanding them and making their journey better. With this he recited an anecdote that brought tears to each person sitting in the auditorium. His moving experiences in the field of medicine proved that hope can be achieved even when it all seems to be over. He ended with a prayer “God grant me this serenity to accept things, courage and wisdom.”

The discussion ended with questions from the student and a note of thanks by the president of the department.

Reported By: Apoorva Gupta

Photo Credits: Archisha Bhattacharjee & Fiza Fatima

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