Martin Chautari (MC) and Central Association of Psychology Students (CAPS), Tribhuvan University jointly organized one-day workshop on ‘State of Psychology in Nepal’ on 12 February 2012 (29 Magh 2068) with the aim of bringing together researchers and professionals in the field of psychology.
Call for papers was announced in 24 November 2011 through the mailing lists of Martin Chautari and Nepalese Psychology Network. It was uploaded in Chautari website too. The deadline for papers was 16 January 2012. In between that time, only 4 papers were received out of which 3 papers were selected for the workshop. The researchers were notified about the status of their papers on 22 January 2012 via email.
One paper and speakers for panel discussion (session 2) were invited by the organizing committee.
At the very beginning, the welcome speech was given by Pratyoush Onta, MC and Sujen Man Maharjan, CAPS.
Mr. Onta welcomed all the guests and participants to the workshop on behalf of Martin Chautari. He gave a short introduction about MC whose primary objective has been to promote the culture of academic discourse based on analytically rigorous research. He also mentioned MC has opened its reference library and media centre to the public which holds about 16,000 books, theses, and reports, a quarter of which is a special-collection related to the media. The only two psychology-related journals, Nepalese Psychologists and The Inner Space, published from Nepal are also archived there.
Sujen Man Maharjan quickly welcomed all the guests and participants on behalf of CAPS.
The first session of the workshop consisted by of three papers which was moderated by Sharad Ghimire, MC. Each paper presentation was given a total of 45 minutes in which 25 minutes was allotted to the researcher to present the research and remaining 20 minutes was given for floor discussion.
The first Paper was presented by Sujen Man Maharjan, Central Department of Psychology, Tribhuvan University on ‘Historical Development of Psychology in Nepal’. Before starting his presentation, he spent some time talking about the background and what prompted him to conduct the research on history of psychology in Nepal. He gave detailed factual information about the historical development of Psychology in Nepal from 1940s to the present. His presentation was more based on facts and consisted little critical situation analysis.
The second paper was presented by Liana Chase, Fulbright Scholar on ‘Local Bhutanese Refugees in Transition: A Study of Coping and Resilience’. She is currently conducting a research in Jhapa and Morang Districts with Bhutanese Refugees exploring the ethnopsychological mechanisms of resilience. Her research is focused on community resources, cultural knowledge, and personal coping strategies which help the refugees to cope with their problems and enhance their resilience when the adversity arises. She blogs about her research at http://liana20112012.wordpress.com
The third and last paper of the first session was presented by Sanjesh Shrestha, Lecturer, Central Department of Psychology, TU on ‘Attitude towards Public Littering in Kathmandu’. Littering is one of the important issues related environmental and health concern of city-dwellers. The respondents were conscious of civic responsibility and expressed that it was unethical to litter in public places but expressed ambivalence toward littering behavior. His results showed that littering behavior was dependable on many socio-cultural factors.
It was followed by lunch break for an hour. The catering lunch was organized for guests and participants by Martin Chautari.
After the lunch, the second session consisted of a paper and the panel discussion which was moderated by Sujen Man Maharjan.
The fourth and final paper of the workshop was presented by Jamuna Maharjan Shrestha, Clinical supervisor, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal on ‘Psychosocial Counseling in Nepal’ which was based upon her long career as a senior counselor. She shared her professional and personal experiences about her work and the challenges she has faced. Meanwhile, she also shared one of the success stories related to trauma healing. View her talk here (in NEPALI).
Following the final paper presentation, the panel discussion on ‘Prospects of Development of Psychology in Nepal’ was held in which prominent Nepali psychologists were invited to give a talk on the prospects and possibilities in the field of Nepalese Psychology. It represented 3 generations of Nepalese Psychologist (early to latest).
The first speaker in the panel discussion was honorable Prof. Shrestha who went back once again to the historical aspects of the discipline. He said psychology was introduced in Nepal as a part of philosophy and it was only after a decade or so later, psychology was reintroduced as a science of behavior. He emphasized that the psychology has been confined to theoretical teaching and learning, that is the reason why it has not been popular and well-received by the people due to lack of its applicability. He said the psychologists in Civil Service Commission, Government of Nepal have not working as real psychologists but merely as administrators. He tried to make a point that psychologists there could play effective role in personnel selection which can contribute to set up competent bureaucracy to serve the people and develop the country. According to him, the future of psychology in Nepal is good if we could make it more practical and useful for our lives as the demand is increasing over the years. View his complete talk here (IN ENGLISH).
The second speaker in the panel discussion was Prof. Subba who first shared his opinions on the papers presented before. Then, he went to share his views on prospects of development of the discipline. He said, “We have to make one choice whether to make Psychology- a puzzle solving discipline or problem solving discipline. Since the very beginning, we are trying to problem solving discipline. This is because in all the developing countries, those disciplines have thrived has been relevant to socio-cultural context and national development.” He gave an example of the progress made by sociology/anthropology in Nepal. View his talk here (in ENGLISH).
Then, Mr. Jha gave detailed information about the nature of work done by psychologists at Civil Service Commission which is a part of constitutional institution to for competent personnel selection. He shared the recent progress and little things done by Nepali psychologists there despite various hurdles and challenges. View his talk here (in NEPALI).
Mr. Dhakal talked about the challenges and prospects of the development of psychology in Nepal. One of the challenges is the internal brain drain and how the field of psychology is losing the talented people due to low prospects in Nepal. Many psychology graduates have taken up the jobs in unrelated fields which is a big disadvantage. View his talk here (in NEPALI).
The workshop was closed by Devendra Uprety by giving his concluding remarks.
The organizing committee (MC and CAPS) would like to thank all the guests and participants for attending the workshop. Financial support and logistical arrangements were made by Martin Chautari. Thanks to Sanjeev Prajapati and Susheel Gurung for photography. Full audio recording of the workshop.