Community Based Internship

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS3039026

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 3 to Semester 4, 2nd Year to 3rd Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Ms. Nikita Jain, Prof. Honey Oberoi Vahali, Dr. Shifa Haq, Ms. Shefali Singh, Mr. Rajinder Singh

Email of course coordinator:,,

Pre-requisites: Interest in Engagement with social suffering at the psychosocial and economic margins

Aim: To enable the growth of a future mental health professional who is open and flexible and has a perspective vast and deep enough to see psychological distress as emanating from the bio-psycho-social matrix, the arena where human life and its compelling realities emanate from.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Ability to relate, understand and intervene in contexts of social marginalisation.
  2. 2. Development of an ethic of social justice while working with social suffering
  3. 3. Understanding the dynamics of the community or the institution along with one’s own internalised notions of caste, class and group.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Following the theoretical orientation to community based psychodynamic work; the candidate will choose a field site in the vicinity of the University where they will continue to relate to the life of a community for a duration of one year. This, we hope will be a mutually transformative process, where one’s own ways of life too will be re-imagined, just as one would hope to bring about some change in the life of the community.

Each student is required to do a one year long community based mental health work in one or two NGOs or in some other community based setting. The definition and rationale for such work should be an inherent part of the field internship. It should be expected that dealing with obstacles and resistance, internal and external, to organizing and carrying out the clinical work itself will be an inherent part of the journey.

A second part of the field based work will be more organizational: the establishment of a relationship between the School of Human Studies and an NGO or other community-based organization, to serve as a present and future placement site for practicum students, a site for research, and a potential site for employment for M.Phil. programme graduates. This work will be done in collaboration with and the under the supervision of faculty from AUD as well as the field guides. Here too, internal and external resistance is to be studied and learned from, i.e. taken as a learning opportunity.

Our training will provide a sensibility which is psychoanalytic to the student as she sets out to relate, understand and intervene in contexts of social marginalisation. A divide which has plagued the field of psychoanalysis is that of the psyche from the social. This has led to psychoanalytic elitism and created a situation of non-communication between social scientists on the one hand and psychoanalysts on the other. In India this becomes, all the more, a pressing concern. Given the fact that a large majority of people live in situations of social abjection and poverty, it becomes imperative for a psychotherapist to relate to these states of human life as well.

Interventions in community- Engaging closely, learning from, feeling its ways and then gradually responding to the needs of the community. We imagine this to be a journey of mutual relatedness and transformation.

At the end of the fourth semester, students will present a community based internship report paper containing some of what they have learned from the experience. They will be assessed and awarded on six credits for the community based work done by them.

Assessment Details with weights:

Assessment Components are divided into the written report of community work (40%), viva voce (25%), student’s self evaluation (10%) and the supervisors’ evaluation (20%) as a continuous process.

Reading List:

  1. Altman, N. (2013) Psychoanalysis in and out of the office. Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society.18: 128-139.
  2. Altman, N. (2015) Psychoanalysis in times of accelerating change: From spirit possession to globalisation. London and New York: Routledge.
  3. Bass, A. (2007) When the frame doesn’t fit the picture. Psychoanalytic Dialogues: The International Journal of Relational Perspectives 17: 1-28.
  4. Kakar, S. (1982) Shamans, Mystics, and Doctors. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  5. Kraemer, S. & Steinberg, Z. (2006) It’s rarely cold in the NICU: the permeability of psychic space. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 16: 165 180.
  6. Langer, M. (1989) From Vienna to Managua: Journey of a Psychoanalyst. London: Free Association Books.


  1. Lipton, S. D. (1977) The advantages of Freud’s technique as shown in his analysis of the Rat Man. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 58: 255-273.
  2. Menzies, I. E.P. (1975) A case study in the functioning of social systems as a defense against anxiety. In: A.D. Colman and W.H. Bexton (Eds.) Group Relations Reader I (pp. 281-312) Jupiter, FL: A.K. Rice Institute.
  3. Sprince, J. (2000) Towards an integrated network. Journal of Child Psychotherapy 26:3 413-431.
  4. Sprince, J. (2002) Developing containment: psychoanalytic consultancy to a therapeutic community for traumatized children. Journal of Child Psychotherapy. 28 (2) 147-161.
  5. Watkins, M. & Shulman, M. (2008) Toward Psychologies of Liberation. Hampshire, U.K.: Palgrave-MacMillan