There are some who ask me why I do research? I think this may be a place where I can respond to that.
Like anyone else who researches, I also try to see what problems that are visible to me, around me, can be resolved by looking for a solution.Solutions are not always visible or ready-made, we often have to look for them, by searching or try to move towards them by researching. For me research is an attitude towards life, geared in the direction of solving problems- individual, familial, group, social, societal or ecological. Let me illustrate.
If you want to make a cup of tea in your kitchen, you need a lighter or matchstick to light the gas. If you do not put it in the same place every day,you may have to search for it in the kitchen. You know the lighter is around, but it is not within reach- you search for it. But suppose you were on a camping or hiking trip and you want to light a fire with a matchstick what do you do? There is no lighter there, no gas and no dry combustible substance around to light a fire. What are the options? In this case, you need to look around to see what can be done. Can you get some dry leaves? Can you find enough to make a mound of them? Will they burn by lighting them with a matchstick? Will the wind not scatter them? Do you need to put something on top to cook, and if so, how will be hold? To answer all these questions, you need a little research otherwise the effort of doing so much will just be wasted.
Research is about identifying the Right Questions
While anyone may start research, I believe only such research is useful which creates social good. Research that solves a problem, takes us closer towards understanding a problem without solving it, gives new insights about existing problems, or sheds light on problems which have not been considered before, count among meaningful research contributions. I believe research is not a job or career (though it may be for some), but an attitude towards life, in which we are always open to newness, learning, appreciating our and others’ vulnerabilities and the complexities that keep unfolding in every scenario.
I work in research in three, largely non-overlapping areas, and try creating overlaps wherever they are reasonable. The three areas are recovery in mental ‘illness’, music and counseling. On this page, you can see my published research, get connected to my academia page, from where you can download whatever interests you. You are also welcome to follow me to get further updates on ongoing research and publications. Younger researchers who would like to discuss research ideas with me are always welcome.
Areas of Research
Mental health/ ‘illness’
Firstly, I am interested in understanding the idea and phenomenon of recovery from and in mental ‘illness’ of any sort. Then I am interested in understanding the milieu in which people recover in India, in particular. This is also part of my current, ongoing doctoral research.
Secondly, I am interested in understanding the perspectives of people who have already recovered and who question psychiatric diagnostic categories and why they do so. If there is a new set of knowledge which is derived from those who have lived through such labeling, in what manner can their views contribute to a better future for those who currently live as ‘patients’? Thirdly, I am interested in understanding the role of families in mental ‘illness’- from all perspectives.
In music I research in understanding the therapeutic potential of music in mental health scenarios.
I am interested in the overlaps that musical engagement produces towards people’s health and educational goals, as well as in identity transformation.
I am interested to see how music can be incorporated in teacher training, and what pedagogic goals it serves in primary education; I am interested in understanding the complexities and differences of teaching classical music to different groups of individuals, observing their learning differences and working towards creating solutions where music education can be made more inclusive. In particular my focus lies in teaching children as opposed to adults. I am also interested in seeing in what manner music could be taught to adults differently than children, and why it is necessary.
I am working in Recovery Oriented counseling, whose focus lies in helping people recover from mental illness of any sort. I have written elsewhere about the sources of my knowledge for this work. This is also an area of research for me, for I am interested in writing about the recovery outcomes I observe, the obstacles to recovery that I see in different families and individuals, and in particular the problems that beset people in focusing on recovery as a goal. I am especially interested in Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration in this context.
Since I plan to train others in the method of counseling I work in, research is a constant in creating, improving and theorizing about the method. However, at this stage, research is at a theoretical, non-documented level due to my Phd research.
These are some articles written by about my recovery
Musical Progressions: A Multimodal approach in healing from Bipolar Disorder. World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review, Journal of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry- special edition on the Arts, Media and Mental Health, WCPRR, September/October 2015: 285- 297. ISSN: 1932-6270
Making Song, Making Sanity: Recovery from Bipolar disorder. Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, 20(1), 2014.
Mending the Broken Frame: Self Narration in a Constructionist Framework. Psychological Studies. 57(2), pp. 189-194, 2011
Ghazal as Bridge: Overcoming the Personal via the Universal. Available online
The Rude, Rough, Friendless Rehab Road- Chasing Mental Health, in Misra, Girishwar (Ed.) Psychosocial Interventions in Health and Wellbeing, Springer India
Power to Label: The Social Construction of Madness. Medico Friend Circle Bulletin, 363-364, pp.1-4, Jan-Feb. 2015
Music: A Path to Wholeness, Psychological Studies, Psychological Studies. Journal of the National Academy of Psychology, India, Vol.53, No 1, 2008
Music and the Muse- An Identity for Kumar Gandharva, Psychological Studies, Vol.50, no.2&3, 2005
Music, Mind and Mental Health Helpage India-Research and Development Journal, Vol.10, No.1 January 2004