“Ella’s Choice is a children’s mental book about consent and boundaries, that allows parents to discuss these topics with their children at a very young age (3+). The book guides parent through these discussions and instills a sense of responsibility to practice what they read together. It allows kids to think about emotional and physical boundaries, how to ask for permission around touch, and also learn about empathy.  The book helps families answer questions that children bring up, with the help of a reader’s guide at the end of the book and start thinking about new ways of behaving at home. “

What made you decide to become a psychiatrist? 

My curiosity was always to understand the human body inside out, which is why I went into medicine.  Ultimately I was drawn into understanding the mind and the human psyche. I have been exposed to so much intergenerational trauma from a very young age, so it is impossible to pinpoint when exactly my curiosity was sparked. As a child I was left confused by the unimaginable ways the war affected us as refugees. I was terrified by the domestic violence and suffering I witnessed. My curiosity deepened with the psychology courses I took in university and during my medical school year.  That was just the start of understanding mental illness. 

Why did you decide to focus on PTSD & Trauma Therapy?

This relates to the previous question. As I started to specialize in psychiatry, I starting focusing on PTSD because of the stories I heard about civil war in Sri Lanka since I was a little girl. My mother always said that we as the diaspora have the responsibility to give back to those that are caught in the war. She instilled a sense of responsibility in me at an early age. I want to help women and children because they are disproportionately more affected by interpersonal trauma (i.e. trauma caused by one human to another, instead of the trauma of a natural disaster or accidents). Risk factors for trauma really start in childhood and it is important to remember that  we need to intervene at an early age.

Congrats on the launch of your book “Ella’s Choice”!  What made you decide to write this book?

In both in my professional and personal life, I have had to support children and adults that were victims of childhood abuse. So after spending years treating trauma patients, and seeing how trauma affects people’s ability to trust and attach to others, I really started to think about how to intervene at an early stage, and at a larger scale. Working on a preventative model is so important. That’s how Ella’s Choice came together.  

Ella’s Choice is a children’s mental book about consent and boundaries, that allows parents to discuss these topics with their children at a very young age (3+). The book guides parent through these discussions and instills a sense of responsibility to practice what they read together. It allows kids to think about emotional and physical boundaries, how to ask for permission around touch, and also learn about empathy.  The book helps families answer questions that children bring up, with the help of a reader’s guide at the end of the book and start thinking about new ways of behaving at home. 

I am very fortunate to be able to combine my personal experience, my understanding of attachment and trauma and my desire to help children and pour it all into this book.  But truly, motherhood and my little girl’s boundless personality, is what gave me the confidence and motivation to finally make it come alive. 

***Read the rest of interview at TamilCulture.com.***

Recommended Posts