Meet Asian Australian psychologist, Priyanka Malhotra.

interview mental health Feb 05, 2022
Image of a south Asian psychologist with medium length brown hair and wearing a yellow top.

Our Asian Australian mental health practitioner list continues to be a highly utilised resource for many Asian Australians seeking therapeutic support, so we're now trying to bring a bit more life to the list through these short interviews.

We know that it's not always easy trying to work out which psychologist we might like to work with. Because the decision is not just about where they're located and when they're available, but there's a bit more of a human, relational element to the decision too.

So here at Shapes and Sounds, we want to help make that process just a little easier.

Every month, we'll be introducing a psychologist from the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List to help you gain a bit more insight into who you feel might be a good fit for you or someone that you know.

This month we're excited to connect you with Priyanka Malhotra who is a registered counselling psychologist based in Melbourne. Priyanka's interests include  child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, third culture identity concerns and the experience of children and adults having attended boarding schools and its influence on early attachment, and quality of life.

We hope you enjoy reading more about Priyanka below!


1. What led you to choosing psychology as a career?

My interest in psychology as a career grew from my childhood experiences of attending boarding school from age four to the end of high school. The school itself was grounded in a British-Raj military-style system where bullying was relentless. It seemed that repressed people usually oppressed people. To survive and thrive in such an environment, we needed connection.

My life there taught me no matter our gender, sexual identity, financial status, and cultural background; we humans can only succeed with understanding, empathy and connection. Above all, it taught me the value of relationships in shaping our sense of self. 

I began to explore psychology in my early teenage years, curious to understand the behaviour around the boarding school. No one in my family understood or knew much about Psychology which allowed me to explore and create my pathway. I had nothing to lose and yet everything to lose!


2. What is your unique cultural heritage?

My family of origin is Indian. We have mixed values encompassing Indian, English, and Australian. Australia has been our home for over 15 years. 

I feel cultural identity and values are not just one box to tick. 


3. What are your speciality areas, and what kind of frameworks do you work from? (eg. CBT, schema, ACT, etc.)

I use a systemic lens in therapy that has its roots in family therapy, accompanied by other modalities such as cognitive behaviour therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care. I have also trained in couples therapy, play therapy and use a strength-based approach. I firmly believe we all have unique, innate strengths to overcome our problems.  


4. What kind of clients are you best able to support?

 I work across the lifespan, with children as young as four and adults. I have a keen interest in working with children struggling with school difficulties and, in particular, school attendance problems. However, I equally enjoy working with adults to support them in their self-discovery and develop their sense of self, identity, and growth. 


5. If you could be your own therapist right now, what do you think you would say to yourself?

A lot of things! Mainly: slow down, reflect, ask for help and never give up!


Connect with Priyanka via our Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List HERE.

Alternatively, if you feel like Priyanka may be a good fit for someone that you know, be sure to forward this page on to them too. Let us continue to not only support ourselves but all those around us too!

If you require urgent assistance, please do not contact Priyanka or any of the psychologists on this list. Instead, please call emergency services on 000 or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Shapes and Sounds does not recommend or endorse Priyanka or any of the psychologists listed on the Asian Australian Mental Health Practitioner List.

Please always consult your GP before making changes to your mental health care plan.

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You're not alone in navigating the intersections of race, culture and mental health. Find out more about our Shapes and Sounds Community, designed for and by Asian Australians.

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