At BrilliantRead Media, it is our constant endeavour to bring meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world to empower and motivate our growing community. As part of this, we invited Milinder Kaur Bedi for an exclusive interview with us. She is an Entrepreneur, Leader, Counselling and Rehabilitation Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, Mental Health Coach and also, a Change Enabler. Milinder is the Founder of Healing Minds. Let’s learn more about her incredible journey, her background, and her advice for our growing community!
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Milinder:
We are aware of your contribution to the ecosystem, talk us through your background and your journey, please:
The information that is being shared here gives me an immense sense of gratitude towards the almighty and the universe, whereby, I am having a platform to share my story which could be that of many women around us. It may not be of very magnifying achievements, but yes could be inspirational to those who have left hope and feel that they have crossed their age to accomplish their dreams, passion and purpose in life.
I am currently a Psychotherapist, and Rehabilitation Psychologist, Counsellor, but to begin with I was married at the very early age of 20 when I was in my final year of graduation and had to leave my education, as in those days we never had the guts to go against our parent’s wishes. Yet I always had this thought that whenever I get a chance I would complete my education, as since childhood being the eldest sibling and an ailing mother to look after there were always many other responsibilities.
Within five years of my marriage, I had two beautiful daughters and the dream to complete my education took a back seat, but my sister-in-law motivated that we do something for our lives and I enrolled for a Diploma in dress designing and there began my passion to do something constructive with my life, I would finish my duties and keep awake till 3 at night complete my tasks for the diploma, send my daughters to school and continue my college.”
After completing the diploma where I secured 2nd position in that institute my interest to become a fashion designer was at its peak, everything was planned, but destiny had something else in store for me as my in-laws both met with an accident and a severe brain injury which pulled me back and I was again into the family with a son also blessed by then.
My husband’s work too suffered a major setback due to the care we had to take for our parents, but then again came to an opportunity this time it was in the field of education, a new kindergarten school whose foundation was laid by my father in law, the members asked me to join it as a teacher, and I agreed; it was a mere 2000 rupees p.m, but I took the opportunity as I thought it’s better to explore than sitting idle.
I had no professional degree, so I enrolled for a private Diploma in Nursery Teacher’s Training and simultaneously joined IGNOU for my bachelor’s in Sociology. I had to repeat all three years as my previous education lapsed due to 10 years of gap. I began enjoying teaching and found innovative ways of teaching and was getting acknowledged for my work, but my challenges were like climbing Mount Everest; as 3 kids and a family to look after, along with my education seemed impossible but I did not want to give up.
In those years there was a severe financial crunch, I was also tutoring children in order to support my husband and my kids education; there was a time when I was the only earning member, this continued for 12 long years in which I completed my B.ed too, but the passion to learn psychology was always at the back of my mind.
So in the year 2016, I took a challenging decision to quit my job that I served for 16 years where I was the headmistress too, to pursue my passion of learning psychology.”
I enrolled in master’s of psychology from IGNOU with subjects of clinical psychology, completed it with a decent 69%. In this journey too, I consider myself lucky to have supportive mentors and had friends younger than me as I was 47 by then, but to my surprise, I was always appreciated and motivated by my batch mates, that I was an inspiration to them, now there was no looking back. On completing my degree I had already gained experience where I interned and was absorbed as an associate counsellor for my hard work, skills and dedication.
But yet another fate was awaiting my destiny; when in 2018 I had a severe double pneumatic attack where I was critical and had a miraculous escape. I had to stop going to work, but my clients whom I had been treating were insisting that they would rather come to my place and get counselled. The thought of being morally responsible for them made me take the challenge of working independently; and there again began a new chapter of my life, where I founded this organization by the name of “Healing Minds” and began my practice; my friends helped me to establish and set up things legally and rest of the things.
The name came to my mind as I believed that healing the mind is more important than tagging and thinking that we treat a disorder or disease, the word healing itself speaks volumes and gives a soothing and calm impact, hence I preferred this name. Though today after 4 years of counselling at 52, my passion is that of a 35-year-old who wants to achieve and serve in the field of mental health well-being.
Whenever patients come to me I feel I could do more, and this is inspiring me to upgrade my education in this field and gain more experience. I am not going to stop as my goal is not looking for quantitative recognition; even if I am treating a patient or two I try to do complete justice to my profession. That’s my thought behind still continuing my education in this field. I have recently completed Post Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Psychology specializing in assessing, diagnosing and rehabilitating (treating) various disorders and disabilities related to mental illness.
My website www.milinderkaur.com could give anyone an insight about mental health and illnesses including true honest testimonials from my clients. When this platform came along I thought maybe mine is not a great story of achievement, yet it could inspire my womenfolk that nothing can stop you if you have the passion to achieve it, and remember age is just a number.!
How did you discover your passion in ‘Psychology’?
During the period of teaching, this profession lead me to question myself as to why when the education provided is the same, the results, understanding and capability to grasp differs from one child to another, further introspecting I found myself asking the same questions as to why under a given situation various different reactions, this actually led me to read books and I found human behaviour is actually responding to HOW we Process and Perceive what we see and understand.
This intrigued me into undertaking this discipline and study further in psychology. From where began my major transition in life from an educator to a facilitator, a counsellor, a guide.
How difficult/challenging is it to create awareness about mental health, especially in Indian societies?
In a country like ours, where the maximum population is rural, lacks basic education, it seems like climbing Mount Everest is easier than making people understand the importance of mental well-being. The lack of inclusion of psychology, as a subject in our curriculum, the sheer lack of awareness about the importance of being mentally healthy and most importantly the stigma of “MENTAL” being attached to counselling is the biggest challenge we face as counsellors.
It is very important and as this year’s theme of world mental health day relates to creating global awareness; each one of us from this fraternity should take it as their responsibility in creating awareness in their own way to contribute towards the cause. Only then will we be seeing people coming forward and seeking help.
I always make it a point for my clients to share their experiences and feedback, so that it could help someone come forward and speak for help. Though times in metropolitans have changed and it makes me feel relieved that people do realize the importance of mental health and come for help and treatments.
There is a need on a national level to acknowledge, implement and regulate bodies and a proper channel of psychological treatment bodies and it’s therapeutic methods.
Despite the challenges, what keeps you going when things get tough?
This is my favourite line given to me by one of my close friends:” WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING”, it’s unbelievable though, but this actually keeps me going in the toughest of my situations in life, I strongly believe if you really want to achieve or do something; however tough your situations are, you will always find a way, even if it is a ray of hope and your passion will always keep you going. I believe in being solution-oriented not problem-oriented, I think that’s what keeps me going.
Our Audience would love to know about your future plans?
My future plans involve regarding establishing myself as an efficient and more approachable counsellor, I am also planning to provide internships to students who would really want to learn through hands-on training and further do research studies.
Who do you believe has been the biggest source of motivation in your daily life?
My biggest source of motivation in my daily life is my purpose in life, what I want to do to give towards society, my kids are my critics, my pillars of strength, and last but not least my better half my husband who has always seen the potential in me, each day, in all good and difficult times we both have been standing through thick n thin with each other.
In your opinion, what are the keys to success?
The key elements may vary from person to person as success again has different parameters for every individual, but these are the few basic, the 3 D’s which I strongly believe in Dedication, Determination,& Devotion towards your goal leads you to success.
Along with these one needs to be realistic, practical and consistent, most importantly have a positive attitude and be a solution seeker.
What would be your message to our readers?
Taking the opportunity to spread awareness on mental health, I would love to share a few thoughts, “ always remember situations, problems and difficulties are all part and parcel of our lives, we need to understand if there is a problem, there is always a solution to it; and when you cannot do anything about it at times, we need to understand and accept that there are certain things in life which are beyond one’s control. Acceptance is the key to all situations.
If the damage is done just rebuild and begin fresh as it is better late than never. And remember it is how we perceive a situation that creates our response and reaction, so always remember to think empathetically and then react. It will; believe me solve most of your problems.
Lastly DO NOT HESITATE TO SEEK HELP IF YOU FIND YOURSELF STUCK IN ANY SITUATION IN YOUR LIFE, SPEAKING TO SOMEONE WHOM YOU TRUST OR PROFESSIONAL HELP WOULD RESOLVE FURTHER DETERIORATION AND GIVE YOU RELIEF AND IF SOMEONE COMES TO YOU, JUST BE A SENSITIVE LISTENER TO THEM, AS HALF OF THE HEALING IS DONE WHEN THEY ARE LISTENED TO”.