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Honey Oberoi Vahali

Professor
E-mail:honey[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

PhD in Psychology, University of Delhi

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Affiliation

School of Human Studies,

Centre for Psychotherapy and Clinical Research

Centre of Development Practice

Honey Oberoi Vahali is a Professor of Psychology at the School of Human Studies. She was the Dean of the School from 2012 till 2015. Since 2013 she is the Director of the Centre of Psychotherapy and Clinical Research at Ambedkar University Delhi.

Education & Research

Honey Oberoi Vahali did her Master’s in Psychology from the University of Himachal Pradesh in 1990. Subsequently she completed her training as a Clinical Psychologist (MPhil in Medical and Social Psychology) from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore in 1993. Her PhD is from the University of Delhi. Her PhD thesis, A Psychohistorical Reconstruction of the Tibetan Self in Exile was later on published as a book, Lives in Exile: Exploring the Inner World of Tibetan Refugees (Routledge 2009). Using a psychoanalytical sensibility in this work she had explored the inner world of three generations of Tibetans living in India and had also worked extensively with Tibetan torture survivors. Her research efforts were geared towards studying the intimate manner in which culture and psyche are interwoven with one another, also how Buddhism functioned as a creative force in helping the Tibetans to work through their losses that displacement and refugeehood had imposed upon them. Some critical reflections on Chinese Communism as a political movement heralding social change are interwoven in her research, which attempts to find a way of bridging models of inner and outer change and possibilities of transformation.

 

Subsequent to her PhD she went to pursue her training as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist and then as a Psychoanalyst with the Indian Psychoanalytical Society, Kolkata. At present she is one amongst the few fully accredited psychoanalysts in India. She is also a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

 

As a teacher, her work has also been geared towards looking at the processes- both cognitive/intellectual and emotional/experiential –in the field of higher education. Her efforts have been to provide a place to a reflexive and empathically attuned form of teaching, which attends to the life history and emotional struggles of students as well. She believes that an experience-near pedagogy should be given equal significance to the intellectual pursuit of knowledge in institutions of higher education where by “sensing their subjective feelings and also by being touched and recognized in their core” students can eventually become reflective social subjects in the various contexts of their lives.

 

Her research interests focus on studying dreams and other subtle articulations of the unconscious As a researcher and a psychotherapist, she is also interested in forging bridges between psychoanalysis, human suffering, spirituality and models of social justice. Her attempts have been to link visions of psychotherapy with those of social and emotional justice and for several years she has been advocating for in-depth low cost psychotherapeutic and mental health services to be accessible to all in need of help, irrespective of their economic capacities. A concern with disadvantaged lives has been a running theme in her psychological and social explorations and engagements She looks at psychotherapy as a humane and deeply attuned spiritual process of reaching and caring for the suffering of the other. She has written on all of these issues as well as on the practice of psychotherapy, psychoanalytic pedagogy, visions of engaged spirituality, the history of psychology and insanity and that of psychoanalysis in India. Presently she is writing on models and possibilities of psychoanalytic research, the psychosocial clinical perspective, on psyche and literature and on the mother daughter dyad. She has an active interest to pursue research and to develop perspectives of care in asylum contexts in India. In her research work she has been advocating for a place where the larger formulations of thought are routed through the subjectivity of the researcher. The value of attending to the callings of the unconscious marks her intellectual and research oriented interests.

 

Past Employment

Honey Oberoi Vahali started her academic carrier at the Department of psychology, University of Delhi in in 1993 as a research Associate. She became an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the same Department in 1996 and worked there as an Associate Professor till 2010 when she moved on to join Ambedkar University Delhi. From 2005 onward, she was instrumental in setting up the Centre of Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Delhi along with her senior colleague, Prof Ashok Nagpal.

 

Publications

Books

  • Lives in Exile: Exploring the Inner World of Tibetan Refugees. New Delhi: Routledge, 2009. (over ten reviews have been written on the book so far from scholars from different countries)

Book Chapters

  • “From Wild Grasslands to Nurtured Gardens: The inward journey in Buddhism, Psychoanalysis and Engaged Social Activism”. Chapter contributed to the volume of Culture and Psychoanalysis. Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 2013.
  • “Landscaping a perspective: India and the Psychoanalytic vista”, chapter as part of the Vth I.C.S.S.R. review in Psychology in India. Pearson Publications, 2011, p. 1 to 99

Research Papers

  • “Could I Become Human by Engaging with your Un(der)stated Life? Struggles from a Psychoanalytical Perspective on Listening to the Mentally Ill Poor Person and the Homeless Poor”. Psychology and Developing Society. 272 (2) Sage Publications 2015, p. 211-233
  • “Building Broken Castles: Explorations in Play Therapy with a Sexually Abused Child”, Journal of The Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Psychology 2014 10(2)P. 132-144 (Co-authored with Meghna Singhal)

     

  • “Rethinking Tibet”. Economic and Political Weekly. May, 2008
  • “From a researcher’s notebook: scattered thoughts on Research and Researching”, Psychological Studies, 2003, 49.
  • “ From Affirming Silence to Finding Voice: Psychology and the Circle of Human Protest,” Psychological Studies, 2002, 47, 4-10.
  • “ Explorations in Play Therapy with Emotionally Disturbed Children,” Journal of Psychological Researches, 2002,46, 40-44 (with Renuka Dutta).
  • “ The Spiritual Potential in the Psychoanalytical Terrain: The Use of the Analyst,” The Journal, 2002, 4.
  • “Rethinking Refugee Trauma,” The Journal, 3. 1999.
  • “Voices from the Dark Cellar: A Psychological Exploration into Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground,” Punjab University Research Bulletin, 1995, 35, (Co-Authored with Diamond Oberoi Vahali)
  • “Interventions with Hyperactive Boys in the School Setting” NIMHANS JOURNAL, 1996,16,21-30.
  • “Mental Illness: The Law and Institutionalization” in the Monograph “ The Dance of Madness,” Edited by K.Shirali. Himachal Pradesh: ASK Publishers, 1995.(Co-authored)

Forthcoming

  • “And Then Darkness Descended: An Empathic Reading of Krishna Sobti’s Eh Ladki” in a special volume of Bahuvachen devoted to the life and writings of Krishna Sobti
  • “Psychology: In Search of Home- Could the Psychosocial Clinical Perspective be a Possible Resting Enclave” in the Sixth ICCSR review of Psychology
  • Hundred years of Psychology in India- Contributed a chapter on the Biography and Works of Ashis Nandy, forthcoming Sage, 2017

Professionl Activities/Awards

  • M.V. Govindaswamy Memorial Award for Clinical Psychology in 1993.
  • Nehru Memorial Fellowship for Doctoral work 1998-2000.
  • Awarded Gold Medals for securing Ist postion in the University at the level of B.A. Honours, M.A. in Psychology and MPhil in Medical and Social Psychology.
  • Awarded State and National Level Scholarships as an Undergraduate & Post-Graduate Student

Membership of Professional Bodies:

  • Member, International Psychoanalytical Association
  • . Member, Indian psychoanalytical Society
  • Member, Executive council and Fellow, Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists.
  • Member, Indian Association of Family Therapy.
  • Member, Psychological Foundations, Delhi.
  • Member, Indian Association of Women’s Studies.
  • Member, Social Studies Board, N.C.E.R.T., Delhi.
  • Member, Indian Psychoanalytical Society
  • Fellow, Indian Association of Clinical psychologists

MEMBER OF ADVISORY BOARDS AND APPEALS COMMITTEES

  • Member, Appeals committee for the prevention of sexual harassment, AUD 2016
  • Member, MPhil Committee, Clinical psychology programme at IHBAS, Delhi 2006-2011.
  • Advisory Board Member, Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists, 2008-2011
  • Advisory Board Member, Snehi Foundation, 2007-2010
  • Advisory Board Member, Centre of Psychoanalytic Studies, Delhi University, 2005-2008

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