Between the stimulus and response, there is a space and in that space lies our freedom and power to chose our responses. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor Frankl

OUR VISION

We hope to help create a society free of stigma — where persons with mental health concerns and their care givers can live a life of fulfillment, with support, acceptance and care. Mpower envisions a future where everyone receives the mental health care that they need to facilitate recovery, without facing discrimination or shame, whilst simultaneously bringing change to policy and public life.

OUR MISSION

To empower individuals and their families dealing with mental health disorders by raising awareness, alleviating stigma, advocating prevention, fostering education, and providing world class holistic services, so that they can lead meaningful and productive lives, with respect and dignity.

To Create Awareness

To Advocate Prevention

To Foster Education

To Provide Service

To Create Awareness

Mental health is a subject riddled with stigma, sensitive issues and concerns. The discrimination caused by stigma can only be eradicated through continuous efforts to create awareness. This in turn will encourage acceptance, and help those suffering from mental illnesses to gain freedom. Because of stigma, mental disorders are viewed as weaknesses. By creating awareness, we hope to reinforce the fact that most conditions are treatable, just like any other medical condition.

Lack of awareness is caused due to lack of knowledge. We also hope to assist those who seek help or information about mental health by creating a body of knowledge, information and expertise with regards to treatment modalities and therapeutic options.

In order to ensure that those suffering from mental illnesses aren’t subjected to a hostile environment, it is essential to promote awareness among caregivers, parents and loved ones. This will enable them to guarantee timely intervention and treatment, without any misconceptions. It will also enable them to cope with patience, competency and positivity.

Education begins at a primary level. By creating awareness in schools, colleges, workplaces, hospitals and other healthcare providers, we will be able to create a deep-rooted knowledge base. This in turn will enable a flow of information and aid in the prevention of mental health problems.

To Advocate Prevention

Mental health disorders are inextricably linked to human rights issues. The discrimination and human rights violations faced by individuals and families affected by mental health disorders are intense and pervasive. Awareness about mental health leads to effective prevention; altering these perceptions by changing the way mental health is looked upon by society. These preventive measures should be harmonious with principles of social equity and compassionate care towards those in need. Implementation of social and health policies, as well as collaborative social efforts towards prevention can go a long way in sustaining improvements effectively, and reducing relapse rates.

Positive Psychology is one such method that can be used to advocate prevention. Rather than just treating mental illness, Positive Psychology emphasises on effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life. Focusing only on the disorder or illness may result in a limited understanding of the person’s condition. Thus, a practical application to prevention is to assist individuals in identifying and focusing on strengths, so as to increase and sustain overall wellbeing.

Advocating prevention restores faith, trust, hope and self confidence in individuals and families suffering from these conditions.

To Foster Education

We aspire to spread awareness through education, in order to encourage acceptance and strengthen treatment modalities. Education expands scientific knowledge, while adding value to evidence-based research and treatment modalities. This empowers professionals, mental health workers, counsellors and therapists. Education also helps accelerate recovery and rehabilitation by broadening intellectual, social and psychological understanding.

An important aspect of recovery and rehabilitation involves not only getting better, but also achieving a meaningful and productive life with respect and dignity. Our endeavour is to be a world-class educational hub which brings together professionals, experts and authorities in this field to impart knowledge and training through workshops, lectures, seminars and certified courses.

To Provide Service

At Mpower, we hope to establish a world-class, multi-disciplinary, holistic healthcare centre for children, adolescents, young adults and their families.

In order to empower professionals, teachers, parents and families of the community, we are working towards creating a body of knowledge, expertise and specialists in the field of mental health. By providing those in need with resources and information, training and guidance, diagnostic evaluations, therapeutic interventions and psychological counselling, Mpower offers world-class healthcare, all under one roof.

This ensures that each and every psychological, emotional, social, educational or behavioural need is catered to with compassion, empathy and dignity.

Our Team

The Mpower movement is spearheaded by our core team, who actively champion our message of change.

nirja

Neerja Birla

Founder and Chairperson

The Founder and Chairperson of the Mpower movement, Neerja Birla has a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Derby. Mpower, her brainchild, is determined to bring about a positive change in attitude towards mental health. She is very passionate about children, education and mental health, and is actively engaged as the Chairperson of The Aditya Birla World Academy and The Aditya Birla Integrated School.

Ananya

Ananya Birla

Co-Founder and vice Chairperson

A successful entrepreneur, Ananya Birla studied Economics and Management and is an alumni of the University of Oxford. She is the Co-founder and Vice Chairperson of the Mpower movement. She is spearheading the awareness campaigns for the brand and is adamant on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. She is also the chairperson and Managing Director of a successful startup, Svatantra Microfin Pvt. Ltd.
Website: http://ananyabirla.com

Advisory Board

Dr. Mahesh Balsekar

Dr. Mahesh Balsekar

Consulting Pediatrician

Dr. Mahesh Balsekar is a consultant pediatrician with 3 decades of experience, with special interest in newborn care and public health. He is an honorary pediatrician at Breach Candy hospital & Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre.

Mr. Nayan Patel

Nayan Patel

Member - Advisory Board

Mr. Nayan Patel is a member of the advisory board at Mpower. A specialist in Risk Banking, Mr. Patel studied International Banking from Manchester Business School. He has over 35 years of experience in the field, having held a number of senior leadership positions in the financial services industry. Being a committed social entrepreneur with the ability to engage a wide network of contacts, Mr. Patel has expertise in building strategic links between organisations.

Art Based Therapy

Zill Botadkar

Zill Botadkar

Founder and Director, Lighthouse -Creative Arts Center, Mumbai
Certified Arts Based Therapy Practitioner
Certified Autism Movement Therapy Provider

Zill Botadkar has worked for over a decade in the field of therapy and counselling. She is also a Counsellor and an EQ Educator, with knowledge in Educational Therapy and Handwriting Without Tears Program. She facilitates many art workshops for therapy. Her expertise lies in behaviour interventions, counselling and designing plans for children and adults with different abilities in individual and group therapy.

COrE Team

zirak

Dr. Zirak Marker

MEDICAL DIRECTOR -
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST
(M.B.B.S., D.P.M., D.N.B.)

Dr. Zirak Marker is a renowned child and adult psychiatrist and psychotherapist with clinical training from the Westchester Medical Centre, New York University. Dr. Marker has over fifteen years of experience in Educational Psychology, and is currently the CEO of the Aditya Birla Integrated School; for children with learning disabilities and psychological/emotional problems.

Bethsheba

Bethsheba Arsiwala

Head - Outreach and Management Services

Bethsheba is the Head of Management Services at the Mpower Centre. She has Special Education and Counselling experience of over 11 years. Bethsheba has a BEd in Special Education from SNDT University and a Master’s degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling from the Institute for Psychotherapy and Management Sciences.

Nishat

Nishat Parwin

Head - Case Coordination Child and Adolescent Psychologist

Nishat is the Head of Case Coordination and a Psychologist at the Mpower Centre. She has a rich experience in therapy and research in the field of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services with NHS, UK. With an MSc. in Development Psychology and Clinical Practice from the Anna Freud Centre, University College London, Nishat champions the importance of attachment and early intervention in Children’s Mental Health.
 


shachi

Shachi Dalal

Psychologist

Shachi Dalal is a Psychologist at Mpower- The Centre. Having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, she has moved back to India with the aim of addressing the dearth of mental health services in India. Shachi has worked at institutes such as Montefiore Medical Centre, and Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, where she received training in a pediatric behavioural integrated care set up, and an eating and weight disorders clinic. Apart from being interested in working with children and adolescents in a clinical capacity, Shachi is also interested in researching and disseminating psychoeducation to our society at large in order to address the general lack of awareness regarding mental health.

Nitika

Nitika Gupta

Licensed Professional Counselor
(M.S.Ed., M.Phil.Ed.)

Nitika Gupta has received her professional counseling license in the U.S. after having completed her bachelor’s degree at University of Southern California and master’s degrees at University of Pennsylvania. She has over 5 years of mental health experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. Her multifaceted approach incorporates person-centered and cognitive behavioral techniques with strengths-based principles to help individuals achieve their goals in treatment. She helps individuals stabilize their moods and maladaptive situations by teaching skills that encourage awareness, mindfulness, and positive change. Nitika’s counseling style can be described as collaborative and compassionate, empowering the individual to be the ultimate expert, while nurturing a healthy therapeutic alliance.

Nitika

Dr. Purvi Sharma

Occupational Therapist

Purvi Sharma is a post graduate from Maharashtra University of health sciences and has been specializing in sensorimotor intervention techniques with children for more than 6 years. The populations with which she has particular interests include children with autism, developmental dyspraxia, cerebral palsy with sensory issues, developmental coordination disorder and learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders and their families.
Dr.Sharma has completed her Sensory Integration Praxis Test certification from the University of Southern California /Western Psychological Services. She specializes in treating children with feeding and oral-motor difficulties using Sensory Integration techniques to meet the daily living challenges of children with autism, learning disabilities, sensory integration dysfunction and neuromotor disorders.

Nitika

Tanya Vasunia

Psychologist

Tanya Percy Vasunia graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from The University of York and a Masters of Science in Psychoanalytical Developmental Psychology from University College London. Tanya has worked with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services with the NHS. Post the NHS, Tanya has worked as a Therapist and a research assistant in Mumbai. A published author, Tanya is passionate about research and public health, she has worked with individuals, groups and schools. Her areas of interest include Sexual Health, Anxiety and Sibling relations. Tanya describes counselling as "a collaborative journey which creates a balanced and practical thought process."

Kajal Vasa

Kajal Vasa

B.Sc. Occupational Therapy

With 20 years of clinical experience, Kajal’s specialty lies in using multisensory approaches, by correlating and intervening brain function with clinical presentation, leading to better integration of multisensory information. She has woven mindfulness into perceptual disorders, visual and auditory, by creating various programs.

Purvi Gandhi

Dr. Purvi Gandhi

Occupational Therapist, G S Medical College
Certified in Sensory Integration, University of Southern California.

Dr. Purvi Gandhi uses Brain Gym, Handwriting Without Tears, and a listening program as part of her treatment. She has 18 years of medical experience, treating paediatric clients with learning disabilities, dyslexia, sensory processing difficulties, autism, and developmental delays.

Rukaiya Harianawala

Dr. Rukaiya Harianawala

M.Sc. Occupational Therapy, Nair Hospital

Dr. Rukaiya Harianawala is associated with Prince Aly Khan Hospital for the last 18 years, as a Senior Occupational Therapist, handling all neurology and paediatric cases in IPD and OPD. She also works closely with The Aditya Birla Integrated School for Sensory Integration Therapy.

Occupational Therapists

Hemal Somaiya

Hemal Somaiya

B.Sc, Occupational Therapy

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Hemal is a specialist in Advanced Assessments and Brain Integration Therapies. Her forte lies in using integrated multidisciplinary approaches towards individuals with special needs. She keeps herself updated with current research and evidence based practice.

Kajal Vasa

Kajal Vasa

B.Sc. Occupational Therapy

With 20 years of clinical experience, Kajal’s specialty lies in using multisensory approaches, by correlating and intervening brain function with clinical presentation, leading to better integration of multisensory information. She has woven mindfulness into perceptual disorders, visual and auditory, by creating various programs.

Purvi Gandhi

Dr. Purvi Gandhi

Occupational Therapist, G S Medical College
Certified in Sensory Integration, University of Southern California.

Dr. Purvi Gandhi uses Brain Gym, Handwriting Without Tears, and a listening program as part of her treatment. She has 18 years of medical experience, treating paediatric clients with learning disabilities, dyslexia, sensory processing difficulties, autism, and developmental delays.

Rukaiya Harianawala

Dr. Rukaiya Harianawala

M.Sc. Occupational Therapy, Nair Hospital

Dr. Rukaiya Harianawala is associated with Prince Aly Khan Hospital for the last 18 years, as a Senior Occupational Therapist, handling all neurology and paediatric cases in IPD and OPD. She also works closely with The Aditya Birla Integrated School for Sensory Integration Therapy.

Physiotherapists

Benita Togani

Benita Togani

B.A. Physiotherapist
Certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment (C/NDT) (USA)
Certified in Sensory Integration and World Psychiatrics Society (WPS) (Module 1 and 4), University of Southern California
Trained in Aquatic Therapy.

Dr. Benita Togani has been working with differently abled children for the past 6 years. She treats children with cerebral palsy, various syndromes like Hunter’s, Downs, etc., Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorders. She is also trained in Aquatic Therapy for children with neuro-motor dysfunctions. She works closely with children with feeding difficulties, including motor and sensory system disorder.

Speech & Language Therapists

Preeti Seth Bafna

Preeti Seth Bafna

Masters, Speech Language Pathology, United States, completed at Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai.

Preeti Seth Bafna has been practicing for over 9 years in India, alongside paediatricians and at early intervention centers. Her expertise lies in Developmental Language Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Childhood Apraxia, as well as Alternative and Augmentative communication. She is keen on innovating technology and products for therapy, providing services that are optimum and quality-based.

Anuja Katrak

Anuja Katrak

Certified MRCSLT, HCPC
Speech, Language & Dysphagia Therapist

Anuja Katrak is an alumni of Northwestern University, USA, and UCL, UK, and has worked in Toronto, Chicago and London. She deals with children, adolescents and adults with various speech, language, communication disorders and dysphagia. She is the founder of ‘SPARC’, a centre specialising in a broad range of therapeutic treatment. Anuja is also a Hanen Certified Therapist, a Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment Mediator and a Certified Dysphagia Therapist. She is also a consultant at some of the leading hospitals in Mumbai.

Zarna Shah

Zarna Shah

Bachelor Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Topiwala National College
Masters Clinical Psychology, Global University.

With 8 years of experience, Zarna currently works as a consultant at Saifee Hospital and at The Aditya Birla Integrated School. She has also worked in the NICU, for hearing screening.

Fatima Kassamnath

Fatima Kassamnath

B.A. Audiology and Speech Language Pathology
VITALSTIM Certified

Fatima Kasamnath is a renowned speech language pathologist and audiologist, highly skilled in the therapeutic management of communication and dysphagia. Her vast clinical experience of 15 years includes her work at Wadia Children's Hospital. She is responsible for initiating the ‘Neonatal Hearing Screening Program’ at Saifee Hospital, and ‘Neurorehabilitation’ at Prince Aly Khan Hospital.

Ruchita Mehta

Ruchita Mehta

Speech Language Pathologist
M.Sc. Ithaca College, New York.

Ruchita Mehta is a registered SLP with the Rehabilitation Council of India and is also internationally affiliated with the American Speech and Hearing Association. She advocates early intervention in speech and language development for children. Her areas of specialty are cognitive deficits, voice disorders, dysphagia, neurological speech and language disorders.

Nayomi Kothari

Nayomi Kothari

M.S. CCC-SLP
B.Sc. Psychology, University College London (UK)
M.Sc. Speech-Language Pathology, Columbia University (USA).

Nayomi Kothari is a Speech and Language Pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is also a certified provider of More Than Words® – the Hanen Program® for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or social communication difficulties.

Special Educators

Bethsheba Arsiwala

Bethsheba Arsiwala

HEAD OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES
BEd in Special Education, Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Institute for Psychotherapy and Management Sciences.

Bethsheba is the Head of Management Services at the Mpower Centre. She has worked in the field of Special Education and Counselling for over 11 years.

Benaifer F. Khaisy

Benaifer F. Khaisy

BA Psychology (Hons)

With over 13 years of experience, Benaifer F. Khaisy is a Special/Remedial Educator specialising in profiles like Down’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, SPDs, ADD, ADHD, Learning Difficulties, Developmental delays and Slow Learners. She currently works at JBCN International School and is involved in identifying, assessing and working with affected children across grades 1 to 8.

Clinical Psychologists

Shivali Shah

Shivali Shah

M.A Clinical Psychology, S.N.D.T University, Mumbai

Since 2005, Shivali Shah has been practicing in the field of psychometric assessment and testing children for Specific Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Cognitive Development, Autism etc. She works closely with two schools, The Aditya Birla Integrated School and Fazlani Le Academie Globale. She is also a certified EQ Practitioner from Six Seconds, USA, and a certified EQ Assessor that uses the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Tool (SEI) to assess EQ in adults and children.

Neha Patel

Neha Patel

Masters, Clinical Psychology
Arts Based Therapy (ABT) practitioner and trainer

Neha Patel has been working in the field of mental health for over 20 years as a psychologist and psychotherapist. She works with children, adults, families and groups. She adapts an integrated approach, tailoring therapeutic processes based on the clients’ needs. She consults with educational institutes to create counseling programs and provides her expertise in the form of individual and group sessions, and workshops for the students, teachers and parents. She is the creator of The Little Buddha Program for psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and teenagers.

Mrs. Bianca Y. Parikh

Bianca Y. Parikh

M.A. Clinical Psychology

Bianca Parikh has been working in the field since the past 5 years, specialising in Psychological Assessments, Psycho-educational Evaluations, Diagnosis of Mental Illness and Psychotherapy. She has extensive experience in counseling adolescents and adults with various emotional, behavioral and pathological problems. She has also been actively involved in conducting intervention programs with parents, teachers and caregivers.

Kruti Shah

Kruti Shah

Masters, Clinical Psychology
Certified Level 1 Play Therapist

Kruti takes keen interest in using interventions/counselling strategies that are eclectic and combines approaches to empower families of children with typical and atypical needs. Apart from conducting individual and group sessions for children, she also has conducted workshops for children, parents, teachers and caregivers on various important issues.

Tanu Choksi

Tanu Choksi

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Rajasthan University,
Certified School Counsellor, S.N.D.T., Mumbai. Advanced Practicum in RE-CBT (Rational Emotive-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Albert Ellis Institute (AEI), New York, U.S.
Advanced-Applied Training in RE-CBT with children and adolescents, Albert Ellis Institute (AEI), New York, U.S.

Tanu Choksi primarily works with families, couples, children, adolescents and adults who are emotionally distressed about relationships, work settings or major life transitions. She has worked as a counsellor at a reputed South Mumbai school for many years, looking into the emotional, social and academic development of children between ages 3-16.

Ashna Modi

Ashna Modi

Masters in Clinical Psychology

Ashna Modi uses creative art therapies as a medium to heal and has undergone various training programs such as dance and movement therapy, hypnotherapy, colour therapy and metaphor therapy. This unique fusion of psychology and performing arts has led her to develop modules for children and adults. Ashna is currently a school counsellor at D.Y Patil International School, and has been working with them for the past 6 years. She is also the founder of ASA, an organization that highlights the benefits of movement, along with an amalgamation of various techniques, in order to create a balanced mind, body and spirit. They have conducted several workshops in and around Mumbai, working with people of various ages.

Behaviour Therapists

Aditi Chaudhary

Aditi Chaudhary

M.A. Psychology (Clinical), S.N.D.T University

For the past 7 years, Aditi Chaudhary has been working extensively with children with Autism, Intellectual Disability, and Developmental Delays. She is passionate about helping children reach their maximum potential, in order for them to be as independent as possible.

Family therapist/Counselling Psychologists

Alishiya Halaney

Alishiya Halaney

Master of Education
Bachelor of Education

Having worked in the USA and in India, Alishiya Halaney has 9 years of experience in psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and meditation. Her expertise lies in the treatment of adults and children with Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Body-Image Concerns, Sexual Orientation, along with relationship counselling for individuals, family and couples, and parenting.

Delnaz Roohani

Delnaz Roohani

M.A. Counseling Psychology

Delnaz Roohani has attended numerous workshops on Family Therapy, Behaviour Modification Therapy, Creating Positive Classrooms and Importance of Life Skills. Her experience includes working with children, parents, teachers and families, to create an environment conducive to deal with societal pressures and expectations.

Counselling Psychologists

Delnaz Roohani

Delnaz Roohani

M.A. Counseling Psychology

Delnaz Roohani has attended numerous workshops on Family Therapy, Behaviour Modification Therapy, Creating Positive Classrooms and Importance of Life Skills. Her experience includes working with children, parents, teachers and families, to create an environment conducive to deal with societal pressures and expectations.

Tanu Choksi

Tanu Choksi

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Rajasthan University,
Certified School Counsellor, S.N.D.T., Mumbai. Advanced Practicum in RE-CBT (Rational Emotive-Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Albert Ellis Institute (AEI), New York, U.S.
Advanced-Applied Training in RE-CBT with children and adolescents, Albert Ellis Institute (AEI), New York, U.S.

Tanu Choksi primarily works with families, couples, children, adolescents and adults who are emotionally distressed about relationships, work settings or major life transitions. She has worked as a counsellor at a reputed South Mumbai school for many years, looking into the emotional, social and academic development of children between ages 3-16.

Art Based Therapy

Zill Botadkar

Zill Botadkar

Founder and Director, Lighthouse -Creative Arts Center, Mumbai
Certified Arts Based Therapy Practitioner
Certified Autism Movement Therapy Provider

Zill Botadkar has worked for over a decade in the field of therapy and counselling. She is also a Counsellor and an EQ Educator, with knowledge in Educational Therapy and Handwriting Without Tears Program. She facilitates many art workshops for therapy. Her expertise lies in behaviour interventions, counselling and designing plans for children and adults with different abilities in individual and group therapy.

Animal Assisted Pet Therapy

Rohini Fernandes and Radhika Nair

Rohini Fernandes and Radhika Nair

Clinical Psychologists
Certified Practitioners of Animal-assisted Therapy, University of North Texas and Delta Society, USA
Professional dog trainers.

In 2005, Rohini and Radhika founded Animal Angels Foundation, India’s first organisation in the field of animal-assisted therapy. Their team of psychologists and therapy dogs assist in helping children and adults improve various skills, speeding up the recovery process. They practice animal-assisted therapy in the areas of developmental disorders, psychiatric disorders, physical disabilities, physical illnesses, and behavioural/emotional problems.

Drama Therapists

Priyanka Patel

Priyanka Patel

Drama Therapist
M.A. Counselling Psychology

Priyanka Patel is a trained classical dancer, who has worked extensively with theatre techniques, music, movement and visual arts in therapeutic settings. She headed the Arts Academy for the Salaam Bombay Foundation, an NGO that helps children from slums build life skills, by providing them with training in music, dance and theatre. As a special educator for children with learning disabilities, she effectively uses art to combine visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning. Her work at Walsingham School involved enhancing communication skills in students through theatre games and techniques. She has also counselled cancer patients at the Tata Cancer Hospital, and at the Drug Rehabilitation Centre at Massena Hospital. Currently, Priyanka performs as a story teller for the ‘Sounds of the Sufis’, a production that is touring the country and the world.

Dance Therapists

Parinita Shah

Parinita Shah

Dance Therapist
Bachelor Physiotherapy, K.J. Somaiya College of Physiotherapy
Masters Performing Arts, Indian Classical Dance (Kathak)

Parinita Shah has produced, crafted, and choreographed a Ballet performance, ‘VIBGYOR’ – the 7 colors of a Rainbow. It is a fusion of Kathak and freestyle, scripted in Hindi, Marathi and English. This was a successful experiment in combining education and entertainment, specially designed in a way that it is understood and appreciated by all age groups. She is also an expert dance faculty with the ‘The Looking Glass’ which promotes the growth of children through art, and has conducted numerous workshops for children under the same.