Webinars at NIP

Deinstitutionalisation and the Role of Eidetic Model of Growth in offering psychological supports to people with ID , mental health and complex needs

National Institute of Psychology held a webinar in memory of the revolutionary Dr. Akhter Ahsen on the 21st of December, 2021. Dr. Ahsen is known as the father and founder of Modern Eidetic Psychotherapy. Ms. Raiha started the session by welcoming the Panel members Dr.Akhtar Ali Syed (Principal Clinical Psychologist at Borthers of Charity Services), Dr. Shazia Neelofur (Principal Clinical Psychologist at Borthers of Charity Services), Prof. Dr. Asir Ajmal (Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Prof. Dr.Rubina Hanif (Director NIP).

Dr. Akhtar Ali provided a comprehensive introduction on who Dr. Ahsen was and what eidetic therapy is. He mentioned how Dr. Akhter Ahsen was ahead of his time and people were not as receptive to his work hence not a lot of fame was gathered on his work. In the imagery paradigm there are three types of imagery. Mental imagery that has a more of cognitive function and eidetic imagery that is further classified as typographic eidetic which can be understood as the special ability in gifted individuals and also is common among children where they have a photographic memory where the image is able to be retained for a long time. The second type is structural eidetic which was what Dr. Akhter Ahsen worked on, it is the way our mind stores and records any emotionally significant experience which passes through all our five senses which are visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory with no bifurcation. Dr. Akhter Ali also mentioned research that emphasized how unique and unrelated to cognition the structural eidetic definition is as well as highlighted how inclusive this therapy is for catering to the needs of all individuals as compared to psychotherapy that cannot facilitate individuals with intellectual disability and children. The eidetic therapy has no instruction, does not preach anything, is not instructional or educational it simply facilitates an individual to process experiences in their life.

Dr. Shazia then proceeded in expanding on the topic ‘Deinstitutionalization and the Role of Eidetic Model of Growth in Providing Psychological Supports to People with Intellectual Disabilities, Mental Health and Complex Needs’. She started by defining and providing historical context on institutions and deinstitutionalization. She also went into detail of her experiences and important research findings on the beneficial use of EMG. Importantly she mentioned that according to study findings the needs of individuals facing challenging circumstances (on returning back to community after living in institutions) were not known. She also highlighted that EMG supported these individuals to minimize the challenges being faced and all in all helped in returning to the community by recognizing their emotional needs. She also proposed that prospective planning should also be done here in Pakistan on serving the individuals facing challenges on deinstitutionalization.

Prof. Dr. Asir Ajmal also reflected on his research experience that how deinstitutionalization without proper planning can pose problem. He also recalled the fond memories of his stay in the US with Dr. Ahsen and how his own father Dr. Muhammad Ajmal and Dr. Ahsen shared a special bond and mentioned that few times Dr. Ajmal consulted Dr. Ahsen for support and counseling. He also highlighted the importance of collaborating and conducting proper trainings for a more comprehensive understanding of Eidetic Psychotherapy Approach.

Prof. Dr. Rubina Hanif then thanked the panel members and highlighted that the global recognition that Dr. Ahsen has is not reflected here in Pakistan especially among younger generation. She raised the hope that activities like this webinar and Dr. Akhter Ali’s visit to NIP in mid-November this year would help to parallel, the global popularity Dr. Ahsen has in Pakistan as well, at least through NIP students. She appreciated Dr. Shazia’s research work and requested Dr. Akhter Ali and Dr. Shazia to keep on sharing series of Dr. Akhter Ahsen.

At the end it was shared that Dr. Ahsen was a character whose eyes were like lion that when he was sitting in a session with a client he could see deep down into the individual. Dr. Akhter Ali regarded it the ‘Chamak’ he had in his eyes. It was said that in the coming era when people are becoming more individualized practice of Dr. Ahsen’s ideology is the need of time. Then, webinar participants asked questions and shared their views. The esteemed speakers and honorable panelists were thanked for the informative session on behalf of Dr. Muhammad Ajmal, National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad.

Ms. Raiha Aftab
Ms. Sara Imtiaz
Ms. Mariam Fateh