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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 106-107
Psychotherapy research in India – A distant dream

1 Clinical Psychologist and Research Associate, Desousa Foundation, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Consultant Psychiatrist and Founder Trustee, Desousa Foundation, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission09-Apr-2019
Date of Decision27-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance05-Dec-2019
Date of Web Publication3-Jan-2020

How to cite this article:
Lodha P, De Sousa A. Psychotherapy research in India – A distant dream. Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:106-7

How to cite this URL:
Lodha P, De Sousa A. Psychotherapy research in India – A distant dream. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Oct 23];62:106-7. Available from:


This letter highlights pertinent points about psychotherapy research in India. Studies have focused on symptoms, medical treatments, and neuroimaging, but there has been a dearth of Indian studies on psychotherapy and case studies on psychotherapy reported from India.[1] Some of the reasons for the same are as follows:

  1. We have noticed that there is an immense lack of psychotherapy training in Indian settings in postgraduate courses both in psychology and psychiatry.[2] At the same time, there is also a definite lack of supervision and tutoring when psychotherapy is taught at training courses[3]
  2. The role of psychotherapy as a treatment is not emphasized enough during psycho-education sessions. There is very little emphasis on the need for psychotherapy in both the recovery phase and long-term rehabilitation of psychiatric disorders
  3. The lack of psychology and psychotherapy courses available is also another reason. Trained and experienced faculty to conduct these courses are also a lacuna that has been observed. There is also a lack of specialized training in child and adolescent psychotherapy, which needs special expertise and techniques
  4. There may be a cultural element where it is believed that psychiatrists are medical doctors and medicine is a cure. Many Indian patients may feel how could a therapy where talking and expression are the main components, bring about cure. Also, many patients are sole breadwinners for their families and may not be able to find the time or take off from work to come for regular psychotherapy sessions[4]
  5. Psychotherapy is often misunderstood as guidance, suggestion giving, or brainwashing, which is usually not the case; there is a requirement to promote psychotherapy as a modality of management of mental illnesses as opposed to mere counseling[5]
  6. Psychotherapy training in many courses in India has not looked beyond cognitive behavioral therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy.[1] Thus, therapies that are far more effective and probably deeper rooted such as psychoanalytic psychotherapy and gestalt therapy receive far less attention. There is a need for eclectic practice of psychotherapy as it benefits in the management of mental illnesses as the best practices from different schools of therapies can be tailor-made for the patient[4]
  7. Postgraduate students must be encouraged to take up research in psychotherapy as single case studies, case series, and even treatment-based interventional studies. Evidence-based psychotherapy is a coveted practice in the developed countries and holds a promising management modality for various common and severe mental illnesses[5]
  8. There are no journals in India that focus exclusively on psychotherapeutic interventions, and it is essential and imperative that journals that are open to the transcultural and Indianization of psychotherapy be developed where Indian researchers may publish their work.

There is a dearth of postgraduate training in psychotherapy in various postgraduate courses as observed by us personally. We hope that the scenario changes in the coming years as we would not want the art of psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic care to become a dying one.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Manickam LS. Psychotherapy in India. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:S366-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Sharma S. Postgraduate training in psychiatry in India. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:S89-94.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Bhola P, Sinha A, Sonkar S, Raguram A. Ethical dilemmas experienced by clinical psychology trainee therapists. Indian J Med Ethics 2015;12:206-12.  Back to cited text no. 3
Chadda RK, Deb KS. Indian family systems, collectivistic society and psychotherapy. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55:S299-309.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sparks JA, Duncan BL, Miller SD. Integrating psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy: Myths and the missing link. J Fam Psychother 2007;17:83-108.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Avinash De Sousa
Consultant Psychiatrist and Founder Trustee, Desousa Foundation, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_240_19

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