On February 27 in Bangalore, Laxmi Parmeswar, a US-based clinical psychologist and counselor, and president and chief executive of Positive Outcomes Inc, held the first of 25 proposed workshops for teachers and parents across India. “The objective of these workshops is to empower parents and teachers to create nurturing environments at home and in school, to help children develop into emotionally, socially and intellectually stable and successful adults. Moreover we want to help teachers and parents identify children with learning disabilities and offer early intervention to enable them to attain their trapped potential,” says Parmeswar, a postgraduate in applied psychology from Bombay University with a second Masters in clinical psychology from Emporia State University, Kansas, USA.
Also a licensed family therapist, Parmeswar is keen to share her 24 years of expertise in child development, family therapy, counseling and institutional leadership in the US, with people and educational institutions in the country of her birth. Positive Outcomes, a New Jersey-based company which offers counseling services and teacher training programmes to schools across America was promoted by her in 1995, and is currently working intensively with six high risk schools in the New Jersey area offering teachers, students and parents counseling and guidance to overcome emotional crises.
Pursuing her Indian objective, in 2007 Parmeswar established the company’s first-of-its-kind counseling centre in India at the Paddington Preschool of SGKM International School, a CIE-affiliated K-12 institution in Ghatkopar (Mumbai) with an aggregate enrollment of 1,400 students. “This is a compre-hensive family and learning resource centre offering career guidance, clinical assessment, family counseling and life skills education to students. Our professionally trained clinical psychologists and counselors also offer advice to teachers and parents on a variety of issues such as healthy discipline strategies and how to cope with children suffering from learning disabilities,” says Parmeswar.
Encouraged by the enthusiastic response the counseling centre at SGKM International has received, Parmeswar has made ambitious plans to expand Positive Outcomes’ operations across India. “Though India’s private schools are among the best in the world in terms of curriculum and infrastructure facilities, a large majority of them fail to address students’ emotional and behavioural problems. There is an urgent requirement for school managements to recruit independent, qualified clinical psychologists and counselors to offer students guidance and support, and train teachers and administrators to cope with children who are emotionally disturbed, perceptually impaired and/or suffer from learning disabilities. Positive Outcomes hopes to address this lacuna by partnering with like-minded organisa-tions to set up family counseling and learning centres in schools across the country,” she says.
Summiya Yasmeen (Bangalore)