Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

The School of Human Ecology (SHE) uses the term ‘human ecology’ to refer  to systemic approach in human behaviour;  human experience and everything in the environment that defines quality of life is human ecology. Therefore SHE has a broad, holistic view of the psycho-social adaptability of individuals, the relationships between individuals, their societies and the environment. The approach of SHE is interdisciplinary and applied, drawing from the fields of Psychology, Human Development and Family Studies, Sociology and Anthropology. The emphasis of the School is on education and training of human development professionals (counselling, psychotherapy and clinical work included), with a focus on developing skills for interventions for the well-being of individuals and families. Such education and training is addressed largely through the post-graduate programmes, short-term programmes, collaborations with NGOs, the Government and larger policy-making and programme implementing bodies at the national and state levels, collaborations with universities abroad, extension and outreach activities, research and publications.

The Master's programmes in Applied Psychology with specialization in Clinical & Counselling Practice attract students in good numbers (we receive about 1200 applications for about 50 seats).  The M.Phil in Applied Psychology with Specialization in Counselling & Clinical Practice, introduced in 2017 is on the way to be established as a course of the SHE was offered in 2018 as well.  The development of the School continued on all fronts, and in the year 2019, scholars for Direct Ph.D Programme in Applied Psychology in Clinical & Counselling  Practice were admitted.  Short term programmes in Couple and Family Therapy, Short Term Programme in School Counselling; and Fostering Strengths: Working with Adolescents and Young People and Career Counselling have also made a mark and continue to attract students. Over the flagship programme, the MA in Applied Psychology on completion of 10 years saw about 380 students graduate.

She students have generally found employment in the field of psychotherapy practice, employee wellness, rehabilitation, psychometric assessment and testing, child development and education. Organizations like Apnishala, Poddar, Brainability, Teach for India, Aseema and Akanksha Foundation, 1-to-1 Counselling, Manas, Vishakha, Apnishala, Mindler, Zyego Wellness and Hopecare India. The pay scale offered ranged from 3 lakhs to 5 lakhs per annum.

Extension and out-reach are at the heart of the School’s activities. Some of the extension activities are through the Telephone Helpline of the iCall Centre, and intervention research for  Sukoon – Counselling and Research for Individual and Relational Well-Being. The objectives are largely to provide emotional support and foster emotional wellbeing in litigants within the court and demonstrate a mental health service model in Family Court which can be replicated in other family court settings and to conduct a research study to explore litigants’ and counsellors’ views on the nature of marital concerns and stressors experienced by litigants and to articulate effective elements of the counselling interventions offered to address the same. Evaluation of knowledge gaps and strengthening of 104 - Mental Health Helpline, Maharashtra (Commissioned by State Health Resource Center (Directorate of Health Services), Maharashtra) and the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK, Adolescent Health Programme) - Commissioned by UNFPA), Madhya Pradesh; Mental Health Interventions for Women in India: A review of the landscape (supported by Maharashtra State Commission for Women). Development and training activities in the larger context are coming into the academic world and Psychology’s contribution to the development are being recognized. We were invited to be a part of the of business entrepreneurship for women, an initiative of the UNDP with the National Institute for Business Entrepreneurship (NIESBD) and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) a government of India Initiative to develop an interdisciplinary syllabus (including a training manual).

Significant contributions have been made by a faculty member to the school mental health programme locally and at the national level. The ‘School Initiative for Mental Health advocacy (SIMHA)’  was launched as part of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Centre of Excellence on Adolescents and Youth (CoEAY) to advocate for adolescent mental health in schools. SIMHA outcomes have been adopted by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), under the theme of ‘life skills’ to propose for a whole school mental health approach in November 2019. With the launch of Ayushman Bharat, MHRD and MoHFW, Govt. of India, together with the NCERT and UNFPA came together to launch a ‘School Health Programme’ and life skills programme. The faculty member’s participation continues as SIMHA has been acknowledged as a partner for the 'Smiling Schools Project - a Mental Wellness initiative for adolescents in MCGM schools ', with Project Mumbai, a not for profit organisation. 

Two national  networks, Association for Early Childhood Education (AECED) and  the International Play Association – India Chapter (IPA-India) have their secretariat at the School of Human Ecology. Conferences and workshops are held through these fora. Recently a collaborative effort resulted in a joint National Conference on every Child's Right to Early Childhood Development Evolving Inclusive Practices” with Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Ambedkar University, Delhi and the Association for Early Childhood Education and Development, in November 2018 in Delhi.

Faculty members have been invited by various Institutes, NGOs, Govt. bodies to contribute to mental health (therapy) mental health (therapy) training and be a part of policy making bodies (e.g., Ayushman Bharat advisory body) & Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Goa.

Faculty are routinely invited to be on fora to discuss issues of mental health and development of children, to conduct workshops in national and international conferences. Researches through student and scholars’ work, funded and collaborative researches are a part of regular activities of SHE faculty.

Research, utilizing qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods are in the area of: counselling and psychotherapy, socialisation and emotional socialization of children, father’s role in creating learning environments in children, positive psychology, spirituality and spirituality counselling, learning disability, couple and marital counselling, adoption processes positive psychology, exploring the varied factors influencing mental health, explorations of emerging phenomena like bullying, alternate sexuality, cyber-bullying, body image, binge-watching, digital addiction, issues in romantic relationships and other concerns of emerging adulthood. Following are some of the titles of current work:

Evaluation of knowledge gaps and strengthening of 104-Mental Health Helpline, Maharashtra (Commissioned by State Health Resource Center (Directorate of Health Services), Maharashtra) and the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK, Adolescent Health Programme) (Commissioned by UNFPA), Madhya Pradesh, Mental Health Interventions for Women in India: A review of the landscape (supported by Maharashtra State Commission for Women); Standardisation of Tools for the Assessment of Learning Outcomes for Pre-school and Grades I & II, with the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development, Ambedkar University, Delhi.

Some of the published work has been on the following topics: Counselling in India, Stress among students: A study of coaching centres in Kota, Rajasthan. Effect of occupational therapy as part of a multidisciplinary intervention, on functioning in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; Marital Dissolutions through Family Courts: Data Trends and Individual Experiences (in collaboration with the Department of Marriage Counselling, Family Court, Bandra, Mumbai); Occupational therapy as part of a multidisciplinary intervention, on functioning in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Marriage counsellor’s reflections on the counselling process in Family Courts in India, Spirituality and Psychology, Emerging Perspectives; emotional socialisation and adoption processes in India. 

International collaborations for research, faculty exchange and other support in the recent past and some currently active are with the Department of Clinical Psychology, School of Health and Bahavioral Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonberg, Virginia, USA, Department of Early Childhood Education, Department of Education, University of Bath, UK, the School of Psychology, University of Chicago, USA, & Department of Psychology at University of Kabul and also the University of Herat, Afghanistan.

The School also took the initiative in responding to the Mental Health Bill 2018.  A Maharashtra level consultation was held on 18th February 2019 in Mumbai, and the recommendations were sent to the Rajya Sabah and other networks to create pressure in advocating for the education of mental health professionals. SHE though the network, AECED, has also been in the fore-front of development of policies and guidelines in early childhood and education issues.

Forthcoming Events - Conference in counselling being aimed at for the next year 2020-21, an international conference in counselling with the International Counselling Association & the Centre for Equity and Justice for Children and Families, School of Social Work, TISS, Mumbai in 2022-23, April 13 to 17th (inclusive of pre- and post-conference workshops). As a part of the AECED network, biennial conference will be held in 2021.

Faculty and Administrators:

1.     Prof Rajani M Konantambigi, Dean

Center for Human Ecology:

2.     Prof Sujata Sriram

3.     Dr Chetna Duggal, Associate Professor.

4.     Dr Aparna Joshi, Assistant Professor.

5.     Mr Budhadeep Gondane, Assistant Professor.

6.     Ms Sukanya Ray, Assistant Professor.

7.     Ms Swarnima Bhargava, Assistant Professor.

8.     Dr Ketoki Mamzumdar, Assistant Professor.

9.     Dr Richa Khanna, Assistant Professor.

10.   Dr Harsimarpreet Kaur, Assistant Professor.

11.   Ms Anahita Bhandari

12.   Mr Aziz Salim Mukadam

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