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Communication gaps cause psychological problems in youth

By Muhammad Ali and Bilal Naveed

Terrorism, social media, emotional attachments and communication gaps with parents causing psychological problems in Pakistani youth. This was stated by Punjab University Institute of Applied Psychology (IAP) Director. Dr. Farah Malik during an exclusive interview with The Educationist. Following are the excerpts of our discussion with her:

THE EDUCATIONISTS: First of all, please do tell us about your education.

DR. FARAH MALIK: I got early education from Gujrat. I topped in school and got 6th position in board. My MSc and Advance Diploma in Clinical Psychology are from Punjab University while I completed my M.Phil and PhD degrees from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Furthermore, I did two post doctorate, one from USA and the other one from UK.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What about your professional career?

DR. FARAH MALIK: In 2003 I started my career from gC University Lahore. I served as lecturer as well as the Chairperson and I was the youngest chairperson. Then I joined Punjab University Institute of Applied Psychology (IAP) as a professor in 2013 and remained director in 2016. Now I am also serving as a Director of IAP.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Second time you have been appointed as the director of IAP what reforms you have brought to this institute so far?

DR. FARAH MALIK: When I took over in 2016 my first concern was to provide the quality education to my students. There were combine classes of morning and replica, the number of students were 80 to 90 and we cannot do it at higher level. I did split the classes. In previous tenure 2016 when I was the director of Center for Clinical Psychology (CCP) as well, its research journal was not recognized then I got it recognized by heC. So many changes I have brought here.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What are your future goals regarding this institute?

DR. FARAH MALIK: My first concern is about infrastructure and I am working on it. We want to build an auditorium and a committee room. We want to introduce different programs like MS Cognitive, MS Developmental and MS Forensic Psychology as well. I want to provide facilitative environment to my students and want to provide all that facilities to my faculty members as I am enjoying here. My aim is to provide the quality education and produce positive psychologists who would contribute in the society. I want to inculcate positivity in
students as much as I can.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What challenges you faced while heading this institute?

DR. FARAH MALIK: Acceptance remained a big issue even when I was Director in 2016 and still by few faculty members may be there can be one or two. But I strongly believe in my creator that when you are at right path, Allah is always with you.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What is the current status of IAP regarding number of students and PhD teachers?

DR. FARAH MALIK: There are 505 students in MSc and BS programs, there are 20 students in MS and MPhil, there are 10 students in PhD we enroll every year. We have more than 12 teachers, 2 have submitted their PhD theses and 2 are abroad on the Post Doc fellowship, there is only one non PhD Lecturer.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Do you consider the degree programs of IAP market competitive and what is the employment ratio of your graduates?

DR. FARAH MALIK: I have never seen our graduates searching for a job, employment rate is very high because we are providing quality education and it is improving day by day. With the passage of time community, govt. and private sectors are recognizing the importance of psychologists because the mental health issues are increasing day by day. Our graduates have been employed in rescue 1122 and due to my efforts 47 seats have been announced by the Punjab government in prisons departments as well. Our graduates are working with Punjab government in different projects.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Why females are more likely students of psychology as compared to males?

DR. FARAH MALIK: It is not the trend only in Pakistan, it is also an international trend. I have observed the ratio is almost same in every country, it is believed that women can understand problems better.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What are major reasons behind psychological problems in Pakistan?

DR. FARAH MALIK: So many problems we have, starting with the family system parents are not well educated, not aware of how to develop child personality and how to talk to a child. Poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and finance are other issues. Children are not given warmth and nurturance by the parents, it is also a big issue because in our society father figure is taken as a bread winner and not for the nurturance and warmth to the child. Mother figure is for affection and love that creates dissonance. When a child goes to school he feels Parental, social peers and separation anxiety and a lot of pressure by the school. Young youth’s emotional problems are not being addressed by the parents and the adolescents have their friendship issues. Terrorism also cause frustration and insecurity in people. Cyber, social media, friendships, emotional attachment, examination anxiety and friend’s loss, anxiety transform into different disorders. Political scenario is unstable and it cause insecurity and fear of future especially in youth. Psychologists’ ratio is very low in Pakistan.

THE EDUCATIONIST: Why the psychology department has more rifts and conflicts as compare to other departments of university?

DR. FARAH MALIK: (While laughing) every department has rifts, leg pulling and professional jealousies. We are pointed up because people do not expect these things from us. I have personal experience in other countries regarding professional jealousy and rifts.

THE EDUCATIONIST: What is your message for psychology students?

DR. FARAH MALIK: There should be tolerance, pick up the positive role model and follow them. Work hard because there is no short cut of getting success.

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