Profile of the Month | Dr. Kiran Mishra
While we dedicate the month of February to love, romance and relationships we would also like to highlight the significance of mental health issues and the importance of a psychologist. Studies have shown that couples that consult a marriage counselor or see a therapist before tying the knot are much happier and have a longer lasting relationship than otherwise. Keeping that in mind Lights Camera Action Houston Society News was happy to intervene with A&E Network Show Intervention‘s Psychologist Dr. Kiran Mishra.
Over an elaborate lunch, Lights Camera Action host Ruchi Mukherjee enjoyed a conversation with Dr. Kiran Mishra who happens to wear many hats. A mother of two boys, also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Sugar Land. Managing the practice is demanding as she has been expanding and has added three additional therapists/life coaches. Dr. Mishra also does contract work for the hit show ‘Intervention’. In addition to that she is the Clinical Director for the Rudy T Multidisciplinary Pain Management Program in Sugar Land, and a consultant at the Learning Repertoire in Pearland, Texas dealing with children with autism and ADHD.
Tell us about your involvement in the show ‘Intervention’?
It was bizarre. Five years ago, the associate producer of ‘Intervention’ contacted me by phone, out of the blue and asked me if I could see potential candidates for the show on the A&E network. I have been working with them ever since. Due to ‘trade secrets’ of the show, I cannot reveal too much information of the particulars of what my job entails.
Would you like to share some memorable experiences from the show?
By far, the most fun I have had was last summer when they flew me into a really small town in California. They asked me to go, and I was on a plane within a few hours of their call. I was literally finding out my flights and work schedule along the way. I found my way to a drug dealer’s home where the entire family of three generations dealt/used drugs. Producers and other staff of the show were continually calling me to update me and to get updates from me, as the show was about to air. It’s a rush to work on such deadlines where so many people on the set are involved. It’s go, go, go with barely any time to eat or sleep. It can be exhausting, but it’s so much fun.
The overall mental health of Indian Americans living in Houston is about the same as any population. I see many Indians in my practice. South Asians typically seek me out as they believe I will be able to relate culturally to them, and be able to understand their backgrounds better. They suffer from stress related to marital issues, depression, and anxiety to name a few common issues.
Seeking treatment from a psychologist is much less taboo now than it used to be, even in South Asian homes. In the past it was more common for people to view others as having shortcomings if they saw a psychologist. Now, more people are viewing working with a psychologist as luxury, on par with having a personal trainer or nutritionist. Many of my clients have standing appointments and come in on a regular weekly basis in order to maintain low levels of stress and achieve higher levels of life satisfaction. It is not uncommon for my clients to have back-to-back appointments with their massage therapist and me.
A lot of crime is being witnessed these days, right from the Delhi rape to shooting of innocent kindergarteners, how can one prevent such incidents? As a pyscho therapist what would you suggest?
The gang rape in Delhi and the shooting of innocent children in Connecticut were both heinous and frightening. Did the shooter have severely under-treated mental illness? His alleged Asperger’s syndrome or autism does not explain the shootings. In the gang rape, group dynamics were at play and moral indifference was evident.
It is important to note that the seriously mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of violence than they are to be the perpetrators. Also noteworthy is the fact that the seriously mentally ill commit violent crimes at a rate only slightly higher than those without a serious mental illness. Alcohol and drug abuse are more likely to result in violent behavior than mental illness on its own. The majority of mass murderers are young males who are not psychotic. Rather, they tend to be paranoid loners who feel mistreated, hold grudges, and are outraged.
As a psychologist, I assess people’s risk to harm others by determining: their ideation or thoughts about committing the deed, whether they have a plan to commit the deed, their intent to pursue the plan, their level of self-control, and whether or not they have the means to pursue their plan. If someone is at risk determined by these criteria, it is the obligation of the psychologist to ensure safety to others by reporting that person to proper authorities and to the potential identifiable victim(s). Although we cannot reliably predict violence, the community at large can also report to the authorities if they have reasonable suspicion that a violent crime will occur against others.
Dr. Kiran Mishra’s background in psychology began at the University of Texas at Austin, where she did her undergraduate work later proceeding to earn a PhD. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Licensed in Texas and California as a clinical psychologist, Kiran feels blessed to work under extreme situations and certainly finds it interesting and challenging.