this calcuttan moved to Australia for a better life a decade ago, and ended up bettering the lives of thousands. The once mechanical foreman became an engineer of emotions, repairing battered lives with clinical precision.
“I always knew psychological therapy was my calling. But there were no job opportunities in this area in India at that time, so I left. I had to come back though, because Calcutta is my home,” he smiles.
Sandip Bhattacharjee became a counsellor, with an MA in couple and family therapy from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. From handling machines to men, it has been an intriguing journey for the 37-year-old. “Human psychology and relationships fascinate me. If my father is to be believed, I started counselling at the age of 13 when I baffled him with a solution,” he says.
Among the leading family therapists in Sydney with a success rate of 80 per cent, Bhattacharjee is the only non Anglo-Australian on the rolls of Relationships Australia, the leading organisation providing family therapy and other psychological services Down Under. He is also a clinical member of the Australian Association of Marriage and Family Counsellors, has been associated with various NGOs working for child development and protection, and a regular lecturer at organisations like the South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE and New South Wales Department of Community Services.
The man on a mission now wishes to address the present-day Indian society. “Couple and family therapy is fast emerging as an effective means to curb relationship difficulties in the West. In India, it is yet to find hard ground, but the day is not far when families will opt for this methodical and specialised way of dealing with distress,” he offers.
The Australian passport holder now plans to set up practice in the city, consulting for individuals and organisations, from corporate houses to NGOs. “Here, couple and family therapy is virtually non-existent. I am not aware of a single institution offering courses on the subject and it’s high time somebody did something. It can do wonders for society. Marital discord, even in this country, is a rapidly rising problem and pre-marriage counselling can prove an effective speed-breaker.”
Bhattacharjee addresses a variety of issues — couple conflict, domestic violence, jealousy, sexual dysfunction, love and attachment problems, anger control, abuse, extra-marital affairs, child-parent discord, sibling rivalry, adolescence-related issues, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, grief and loss issues and even eating disorders.
Call it a job, but converting tears of sorrow to those of joy is what he aims to do. And at the end of the day, Bhattacharjee is a happy man.