Dr Sudhir Bhave is a renowned psychiatrist in Nagpur who has been in practice for more than thirty years. He has also been teaching at the Department of Psychiatry at NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Nagpur for more than 20 years. If psychiatry is his profession, music is his hobby and he has been seen taking to the stage to regale Nagpur music lovers many times. In an interview with Nation Next, Dr Sudhir Bhave talks about psychiatry, music therapy and stress adaptation in men and women.
You are one of the leading psychiatrists in Nagpur. How has the journey been so far?
My father was a central government employee and it’s because of that, I did my schooling from places like Delhi and Calcutta. After my MBBS, I did my MD in psychiatry from Chandigarh and then I went to UK to specialize in child psychology. Since then I am practicing psychiatry and I think I have done justice to the profession so far. The journey has been highly satisfying. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamt of helping people both physically and psychologically and bringing them out of difficulty.
A lot of psychologists are doubling up as psychiatrists in Nagpur. How does one differentiate between the services of both?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in psychiatry whereas a psychologist is a counsellor who can provide you with the psychological therapy without any biological treatment.
The gap between number of doctors amongst men and women is closing. Do you think we are finally beginning to see gender equality in medicine or is there still a long way to go?
Yes, female practitioners are increasing day by day. In fact, more females have been joining the field lately. Even in the Department of Psychiatry at Lata Mangeshkar College, Nagpur, we have more number of female students than males. Earlier there was a prejudice that only ‘mad’ people consult a psychiatrist, but now these stereotypes are rapidly changing. Any person suffering from day to day stress or depression is now consulting an expert for motivation and support. Our field is expanding at a much greater pace and more number of people are taking up this subject to explore the dimensions of human behaviour.
Usually it is seen that a doctor’s children too opt for medical field, as in your case. Is it majorly because their parents have already set up a ‘family business’? Don’t you think that some doctors pressurize their kids to enter the rat race for medical seats?
I agree that some parents want their kids to pursue the career they have made a foundation of but there are some parents who do not want their kids to take up the careers that they themselves are involved in. Parents pressurise their kids as they want a secure future for them, which is justified. But they should make sure that their concern does not make their child insecure. Kids of doctors who pursue a career in medical field out of obligation are often not happy at later stages of life. So, I would advise parents to let their kids choose their career and support them.
It must be very stressful for you to deal with many complicated psychiatric cases on a daily basis. Have you ever felt the need of counselling for yourself?
Yes, sometimes it becomes very hectic and exhausting. Every person needs a break from routine and I need it too. Some people have a misconception that in the process of dealing with depressed or stressful patients, a psychiatrist gets affected too. But that’s not the case at all. As we know the therapy and the technique, we apply it on ourselves too. Being a psychiatrist, I have an added advantage of dealing well with the stress levels.
Is stress adaptation gender biased?
Men and women both are prone to stress but women can deal with stress better both biologically and psychologically. For example, if a male dies in a family, his female better half will try to get involved in the house hold chores and will try to overcome the loss. But if the husband is left behind alone, it becomes difficult for him to deal with the pain. Though men are perceived to be strong, they are a little more sensitive to emotional ups and down, whereas women are way stronger psychologically.
What are your views on mercy killing? Does psychology has a role to play in this?
Yes, psychology has a great role to play in Euthanasia (mercy killing). Very often, we are called to counsel patients suffering from cancer. The thought of cancer depresses them to such an extent that they lose all their hopes. So we encourage them to keep a positive and strong mind and try to reduce their mental stress. But sometimes death is more peaceful than severe pain and that’s where Euthanasia is recommendable. It’s a rational suicide just to get rid of the intolerable and unalterable pain.
You’re also involved in a research in music therapy at Lata Mangeshkar College…
People often relate their favourite songs to the moments in life and this habit of people can be exploited in this therapy. I am the first person in the world who has suggested that film music as a therapy will be effective in treating patients.
What is your message for a stress free life?
A hobby can have a huge impact in a person’s life. In life punctuation marks are important and hobby is a punctuation mark. When I go home after work, I pursue my hobby which is music. It relives me of my stress and helps in muscle relaxation. It can induce both mental and physical recreation even in diseases like diabetes and hypertension. So, every person in his/her leisure time should pursue something they are passionate about.