The magical touch of Kavitha | Sunday Observer

The magical touch of Kavitha

Kavitha Amaratunga
Kavitha Amaratunga

Beauty, brains, poise and elegance are key in young Kavitha Amaratunga – a clinical psychologist by profession. A vivacious personality Kavitha is essentially a ‘people’s person’ and has been so from childhod. People have always interested her but it is certainly not a curiosity driven interest – it is a genuine, concerned interest. So, it was only natural that she chose a ‘peoplecentric’ profession.

As a clinical psychologist Kavitha does not prescribe medication but has one on one sessions with her clients and uses guidance and therapy to heal them. If necessary, she will recommend that they seek medication. According to Kavitha at times, it is helpful to combine clinical psychology methods of treatment with medication. But Kavitha brings the magic touch of warmth and caring to her clinical sessions for she is the epitome of compassion and concern.

Kavitha’s aim is to make people realise their self worth and feel good and confident about themselves.

Being a woman she is committed to inculcating self worth and confidence and empowering them to create a better quality of life for themselves and their families. She is firmly opposed to gender discrimination and believes that women can excel in male dominated spheres. This confidence in Kavitha is rooted in the fact that her father Gerard Amaratunga always treated her as an equal and her mother Roshini also supported this.

‘Arnaha’ is a mental health center/practice where people can reach out and find solutions to their problems –it is a step in Kavitha’s quest for good and practical search tools people could utilise in their times of need.

The word ‘Arnaha’ comes from Sanskrit and means water. As water is so closely knit with human life in many ways and has healing power, Kavitha felt ‘Arnaha’ would be a suitable name for a mental health practice which seeks to heal the emotional wound of people.

For instance, a girl may be humiliated and traumatised if her mother keeps on at her about her size and be too embarrassed to discuss it with her peers or anyone else. But ‘Arnaha’ will help her find a solution online. The whole concept of ‘Arnaha’ is to find viable solutions for people’s emotional problems while safeguarding their privacy.

Kavitha’s peers also extend their support to her in this worthwhile cause. They hold weekly discussions to update themselves on what is happening, new trends, important cases and other relevant matters in the field of clinical psychology.

Next year, Kavitha plans to expand activities at Arnaha to include talks and mental health training programs, and mentorships .

Young Voice asked Kavitha about the rising rate of suicide among the young.

“Media is to be partially blamed for this” she said. “They sensationalise suicide and unethically report and show in graphic detail how it is done. Vulnerable people find courage to follow through with their ideations this way. For example, the movie 13 Reasons Why shows how a young person went on to commit suicide. A depressed or troubled person exposed to this type of media can be encouraged and motivated to commit suicide himself. Media should have disclaimers, information on support lines and other outlined guidance by psychologists when they do report on topics related to suicide,” she said.

Kavitha cites parental and peer pressure as another major cause in suicide among young people as well.

Among other causes are depression, relationship and family conflicts, drug addiction and mental illnesses.

“However, though Sri Lanka has a high rate of suicide much can be done to minimise this with the necessary governmental, social and psychological support. The Sri Lankan Government has done a lot by way of censoring certain movies which sensationalise suicide and the control of the sale of poison. But a great deal more must be done.” Said Kavitha

What are Kavitha’s thoughts about marriage and living together? “You should do what you feel is good for you. Sri Lankan society does frown on living together but if you feel it is good to know your partner before a final commitment then it is up to you to make the choice. ‘Each to his own’ she said.

Social Media she feels is a mix of the good and bad and you should use it discerningly. She appreciates the wealth of information the internet brings us.

Kavitha Amaratunga had her secondary education at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya and Ladies College, Colombo 7. She was involved in many extracurricular activities in school. After her A/L’s she went to the University of Hertfordshire, UK, to read for her degree in Psychology.

Then she obtained her Master’s from the prestigious King’s College in London. Currently, she is reading for her PhD also from the University of Hertfordshire and her doctoral thesis is on ‘Mental Health Training for teachers in Colombo, Sri Lanka’.

Living abroad has been an enjoyable and informative time for Kavitha though initially she missed her parents and friends in Sri Lanka.

As a naturally, friendly person Kavitha is great at putting people at ease and establishing rapport and empathy. Her lovely, warm smile radiates sunshine and concern. Kavitha is quietly planning her January 2020 wedding to Nuwan Perera, a marketer and entrepreneur, and plans on an event filled with family and friends.

He is a friend of her cousin and therefore has always been in her family scene but what kick started and forged the relationship was their meeting at her cousin’s wedding. As a non believer in mega events, she intends on having an elegant, close knit medium range event. Music will play a major part as Nuwan is the son of Nihal Perera of the legendary ‘Gypsies’.

Asked about commitment to marriage, Kavitha said that in today’s fast paced life one must find the time to relax and talk things over. She and Nuwan have talked over all difficult and serious matters and have arrived at a mutual consensus.

A couple must be together but must have their individual spaces says Kavitha. An avid reader she also enjoys travel, having been initiated into the joys of it at an early age by her parents. Music and hanging out with friends are other past times often indulged in.

Kavitha and Nuwan’s latest enterprise is ‘shop.cuban ‘ an online clothing retailing business. Kavitha uses her artistic talents to design the clothing satisfying the need for creativity in her. We wish the lovely, talented and warmhearted Kavitha all the best in life!