The Institute of Professional Psychology at Bahria University functions as an educational setup as well as a professional one focusing on career development. Students and faculty members alike are actively involved in community work with a dual purpose – that of serving the community and of meeting experiential requirements for various courses.
The Institute of Professional Psychology was established in the year 2000 as a small unit for PhD candidates. The campus was a small initiative inside the premises of PNS Shifa hospital and had a handful of students. Now the Institute has two campuses in Karachi and nearly 300 students.
The permanent faculty employed at the Institute also serves the dual purpose of rendering their services as professional psychologists as and when necessary. The clinical outpatient department at PNS Shifa provides assessment and a number of different therapeutic plans that are tailored to suit the individual’s needs. Students of the Institute complete their internship requirements here under complete supervision of the experienced professionals in the field. In addition to clinical practice, the Institute is also actively involved in providing assessment and counseling services to various multinational concerns. Different projects have been initiated for community welfare such as collaboration with an NGO to provide counseling services to jail inmates.
Courses, Programs and Trainings
IPP has grown in more than one way since its early days. Now it contains three different specializations of
- Clinical psychology
- Educational psychology
- Industrial. Organizational Psychology
The programs offered include B.S. , M.S. , M.Phil. and Ph.D. in these specializations.
Short training programs for internships of the students of B.S. are conducted at the PNS Shifa outpatient department during the summer semester. This campus fulfils the dual role of a clinical practice and internship centre for students of all programs.
The academic year is divided into three semesters; spring semester (February till May), summer semester or summer break after exams (June till August) and fall semester (September till December) with a short winter break after exams in January. While the spring and fall semesters are delegated completely for regular academic work, different workshops and short courses are organized during the summer and winter breaks to satiate the interest of students in different subjects such as counseling skills, positive psychology and industrial/organizational psychology.
Trainings for the professional development of faculty members and students are organized routinely during the entire year. Faculty members are encouraged to arrange for guest speakers on different relevant topics in their classes on a need basis and to attend workshops organized by the institute.
Administrative assignments performed by psychologists
The faculty members, mostly psychologists, play an active role in administrative duties assigned to them as they participate in Higher Education Commission (HEC) inspired curriculum development, report generation for improvement of facilities and the Quality Assurance Program of the HEC.
Local and International Trainings
The Institute encourages its faculty to attend as well as conduct trainings. For example, the current Director of the Institute, Dr Zainab F. Zadeh has attended an international training in Australia while other faculty members have attended and conducted various trainings and workshops at a local level. The HEC related trainings for ongoing professional development are also attended by faculty members.
As international travel is time consuming and expensive, the Institute routinely arranges for International trainers visiting Karachi on their own, to visit the Institute and conduct trainings for the faculty members and students. Such training workshops, taking place at the Institute premises by International trainers have been conducted on different topics such as Art and Drama therapy, Psychodynamic Play therapy, Cognitive Behavioral therapy and the Emotional Freedom Technique.
M.Phil / Ph.D Faculty members
The faculty at the Institute comprises of highly qualified teachers with professional experience in their chosen field. Out of the eight permanent faculty members, four have completed their doctorate and three others are currently enrolled as Ph.D candidates. The visiting faculty members also include a few teachers who have completed their doctorate while a few others are enrolled in the M.Phil program at the Institute.
Journals and Publications
The Institute publishes a biannual journal – the Bahria Journal of Professional Psychology. So far nine issues have been published since January 2007 and the journal has been indexed in World Health Organization – WHO’s Psychological Abstracts, Index Medicus for the eastern Mediterranean region. Additionally, the faculty members are actively involved in research oriented activities and researches are also conducted at all program levels. Many of these researches have been published in local and international publications.
National and International achievements
The Institute of Professional Psychology has forged both national and international links. Prominent psychologists such as Albert Bandura (Stanford University), Norman D. Sundberg (University of Oregon), Martha R. Crowther (University of Alabama) and Risa J. Stein (Rock Hurst University) are part of the Advisory board of the Journal published by the Institute.
International organizations that are on the board of different multinationals have formed a system of referral of clients to the Institute. While assessment and treatment reports are kept confidential, the Institute provides a brief summary to the referral source.
A project has been initiated with the help of a local NGO working with jail inmates of the women and juvenile section. So far, many jail inmates have undergone counseling sessions and a subtle difference has been noticed pertaining to their inner state.
While professional psychology related activities are the main focus at IPP, student life incorporates multiple elements. Students are hence encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities and have represented the Institute in various arenas and won numerous awards, shields and certificates. These include, but are not limited to, debate competitions and youth conferences.
Graduates of the Institute are currently serving in different psychiatric settings or hospitals; some have established clinics of their own, while others have joined NGO’s working for the welfare of poor patients or orphans. Educational institutions, multinational organizations, media and the armed forces are some of the areas where graduates have branched out and are doing very well in their respective capacities.The past year has been eventful. Since the beginning of 2010, IPP has been involved actively in catering to the counseling needs of a part of the Karachi Jail which houses women and juvenile delinquents. The exercise has been fruitful in providing implications for future research and therapeutic purposes.
A number of workshops have been organized by international and national speakers at IPP related to various clinical, educational and organizational psychology related topics. Topics include integrative arts therapy, and Psychiatric rehabilitation. Our faculty members have also conducted workshops and presented their work at various national forums showcasing their work on remedial therapy, child abuse – nature, treatment and prevention, anxiety and stress management, crisis management and various other workshops related to assessment.
Students are introduced to field work through direct exposure during visits and internships. Last year our students and faculty members visited Sir Cowasjee Institute of Mental Health in Hyderabad, Hyderabad University, SOS village, and Edhi village amongst several others.
Internships for senior level students of BS, PMD and MPhil programs are arranged at various locations such as Karwan e Hayat PCRC (Keamari), Karachi Psychiatric Hospital, CMH Malir, JPMC and even SOS village. A recent project involves mentorship work with the schools affiliated with The Citizen’s Foundation. This is a community based contribution of the Institute for the benefit of the population. Assessment and counseling services are provided free of cost here and follow ups are maintained.