Aparna Ramaswamy, a visiting assistant professor in counseling and human development at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, has been appointed to the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists.
Ramaswamy, a licensed clinical professional counselor and clinical supervisor in the State of Maryland and District of Columbia, said she felt a “quiet moment of validation” when notified of her appointment.
“As a woman of color, as an immigrant, I always wonder how much my objectivity and integrity are valued to a profession that is not as diverse as we’d like,” said Ramaswamy, who stepped down from the Maryland Counseling Association to avoid a conflict of interest. “There is a sense of equity and fairness, because I pride myself on my integrity.”
The Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists issues licenses and certificates to, as well enforces a code of professional conduct for, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, art therapists, and alcohol and drug counselors in the State of Maryland.
Ramaswamy is also a nationally certified counselor, national board-certified clinical hypnotherapist and distance-credentialed counselor. At the School of Education, she teaches several foundational courses on counseling theories, counseling techniques, appraisal and career development, as well as classes on supervision during field placement in practicum and internships. She also provides clinical supervision for graduate professionals working toward their licensure in clinical counseling.
Her passion is to combine multiple healing traditions in order to create an integrative approach to psychotherapy. “I like to blend the constructs of Western psychotherapy with other approaches that are authentic to us and make sense to us,” she said.
In addition, she has developed several elective courses that reflect an integrative approach to counseling to train students in incorporating alternative methods, such as exercise, arts, movement, nutrition, mindfulness and spirituality, in cultivating mental wellness.
She has published research on the effectiveness of meditation in offering relief to people diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. She is presently researching the correlation between mindfulness and multicultural competence. Combining conventional counseling interventions with alternative practices, she has a thriving private practice in Germantown, Md., and Washington, D.C.
Ramaswamy said American society has become a “mosaic” of varying cultures, ethnicities and gender orientations that is reflected in the School of Education’s counseling program. “Multicultural counseling is not a separate addition to our program,” she said. “It infuses everything we talk about. We have a superb program.”