Ph.D, MPhil

Dr. Gitanjali Natarajan is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist ( Registration No: CRR A 23488). She is Clinical Associate Professor and HOD in the Dept of Clinical Psychology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. She has been a faculty here since last 5 years. Her areas of interest are Adult mental health- Anxiety and Mood disorders, Personality disorders, Marital and Family Counselling, Adolescent adjustment issues, as well as Research & Teaching. Prior to joining Amrita Hospital, she was Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Lakeshore Hospital & Research Centre, where she started the Dept of Clinical Psychology.

She completed PhD in Clinical Psychology from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in 2012. Her doctoral thesis is on Rejection Sensitivity. She was the recipient of the Fulbright Doctoral & Professional fellowship with placement at the Social Relations lab of Columbia University, New York. She has done her M.Phil in Clinical Psychology from the prestigious National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and was awarded the Dr. M. V. Gobindaswamy Memorial Prize for highest marks in Post-graduate Degree of M.Phil. Clinical Psychology for the year 2004. She has also received the Alexander Memorial Award for Meritorious performance during graduation at Union Christian College, Aluva.

She has several articles in peer reviewed journals. She also has written a number of articles in newspapers and magazines for public awareness on mental health and psycho-social issues. She is quite familiar to the public due to her participation as expert panelist and judge in family based reality shows. She also appears regularly in the Health News of Amrita Channel to talk on various mental health topics.


  • 2006 - 2012: PhD in Clinical Psychology
    Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.
  • 2002 – 2004: M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology
    National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. (Completed in August, 2004. Best Out-Going Student.)
  • 1999 - 2001: M.A in Psychology
    Annamalai University,Tamil Nadu
  • 1992 - 1995: B.A. in Psychology
    Union Christian College, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala. (2th Rank in the University.)

Additional Qualifications:

  • Completed the Interpersonal Psychotherapy A level training conducted by Scott Stuart of Interpersonal Psychotherapy Training Institute, IOWA, USA in October 2017. And received membership as IPT Clinician.
  • Qualified in the National Eligibility Test for Lectureship, University Grants Commission.

Professional Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor in the Dept of Clinical Psychology, clinical work and teaching at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. Since July, 2010 - Doing currently.
  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist: - Started the Dept of Clinical Psychology Lakeshore Hospital & Research Centre and worked in as full time Clinical Psychologist from September, 2004 to May, 2007.
  • Underwent Clinical internship at NIMHANS (details as provided above) from Aug. 2002 to Aug, 2004.
  • Worked under Dr. Jagadambika, Clinical Psychologist from Jan to April, 2001
  • Worked as psychologist in Manasa Counselling Center, a voluntary organization, from Oct to April, 2001 while doing P.G.


  • Fulbright Doctoral & Professional fellowship with 9 months placement at the Social Relations lab, Dept of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, Aug 2009 – May 2010.
  • Dr. M.V. Gobindaswamy Memorial Prize for securing the highest marks in Post-graduate Degree of M.Phil. Clinical Psychology for the year 2004 from National Institute of Mental Hearth and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.
  • Alexander Memorial Award for Meritorious performance in B.A Psychology in the year 1995 from Union Christian College, Aluva, Kerala.
  • President’s Award in Guiding in the year 1989


Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title


Gitanjali Natarajan, Sangeetha PL, and Praveen Arathil, “A Case Report of Psychotic Symptoms in Social Anxiety disorder”, Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 2018.


Gitanjali Natarajan and Sreehari R, “Progressive Muscular Relaxation as a Multi-Pronged psychotherapeutic technique for Insomnia”, Amrita Journal of Medicine, vol. 10, pp. Page: 33-35, 2014.[Abstract]

Insomnia is a distressing condition of unsatisfactory quantity and/or quality of sleep with multiple physiological and psychological consequences. We report how progressive muscular relaxation was applied to improve the sleep quality in a 55 year old lady with 8 months history of insomnia and associated depressive symptoms. The speedy relief in this patient makes a case for trying cognitive behavioural measures first to treat insomnia.

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Gitanjali Natarajan and Sreehari R, “Detrimental Impact of Rejection Sensitivity in Marital Relationship”, Psychological Studies, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 351-356, 2014.[Abstract]

Rejection sensitivity (RS)—the disposition to defensively expect, readily perceive, and intensely react to rejection, could be a potential contributor to the frequent conflicts that disrupt the intimate marital relationship between spouses. High rejection sensitivity (HRS) in one or both the spouses leads to personal distress as well as maladaptive behaviours that strain the marital bond. Repeated misdirected attempts to capture the spouse’s attention, affection and acceptance through behaviours such as questioning, arguing, threatening and crying, end in results contrary to what the high rejection sensitivity spouse actually wanted in the first place. The exasperation, irritation, withdrawal or even real rejection by their spouse confirms the HRS individual’s expectation of rejection. The paper aims to illustrate the role of rejection sensitivity in marital dynamics and explores whether the self-fulfilling prophecy of the rejection sensitive spouses could be reversed through psychotherapy focusing on modifying rejection sensitivity.

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Gitanjali Natarajan, “Differences in Internalizing and Externalizing Problems Among Early Adolescent Subtypes Based on Attachment Security”, Psychological Studies, vol. 58, pp. 122–132, 2013.[Abstract]

The study examined the influence of adolescents' secure attachment to both versus one parent on their psychosocial adjustment in terms of self and parent evaluations of internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems. The sample consisting of 8th grade adolescents (nþinspace}=þinspace}406; 178 girls) aged 12–14 years were classified into four subgroups based on their attachment security to their father and mother. The study aimed to test the differences in internalizing and externalizing problems among the four subgroups- of adolescents with secure attachment to both parents, to only mother, to only father and insecure attachment to father and mother. The results showed that more number of adolescents were classified as securely attached to mothers than to fathers. The group of adolescents who felt securely attached to both parents was psychosocially most well adjusted, while those with insecure attachment to both parents were most vulnerable to maladjustment. In addition, secure attachment only to one's mother and not to one's father was a protective factor against maladjustment, while secure attachment to father alone was not. The study helps to understand how parent-adolescent secure attachment contributed to differences in psychosocial adjustment among these subgroups of normal adolescents.

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Gitanjali Natarajan, “When Perfectionist becomes a Pain”, The Hindu, 2012.[Abstract]

Purushothaman is all the time worried and dissatisfied. He has tried to give his 200 per cent to everything he did. Apart from working day time in a factory, he was a small-time farmer growing vegetables in his big backyard and active member of the local society. He did his daily exercise to keep himself fit. He also put in extra efforts to maintain good relationship with all his relatives. Then why on earth was he so upset?

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Gitanjali Natarajan, P., S. C., and R., S. K., “Relationship between Attachment Security and Rejection Sensitivity in Early Adolescence”, Psychological Studies, vol. 56, p. 378, 2011.[Abstract]

Rejection sensitivity (RS) is the disposition to defensively expect, perceive and over-react to perceived rejection by others. RS has been theorized to originate from early attachment. However, this hypothesized link remains untested. This study aims to examine the relationship between attachment security and rejection sensitivity in early adolescence. Eight-graders (Nþinspace}=þinspace}406) completed self-report measures of attachment security and rejection sensitivity. Attachment security to father and mother were found to be associated. Attachment dimensions-trust and alienation from mother were significant predictors of RS in the adolescents. Alienation from mother mediated the link between alienation from father and RS in the adolescents. The two forms of RS- anxious RS and angry RS were predicted by different dimensions of attachment to mother.

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Gitanjali Natarajan, “Marital Woes ?Consult a Therapist”, Indian Express, City Express (Kochi edition), 2011.


Gitanjali Natarajan, U, H., P, K., and G., G., “Security of attachment in children and adolescents-An Indian experience.”, Asian Journal of Psychiatry, p. 3, 2010.[Abstract]

Security of attachment plays a key role in a caregiver's relationship with the child. Though this construct is studied extensively during infancy, early and middle childhood in the west, there are only a few Indian studies available on early childhood. The present article reports three studies which examine security of attachment in middle childhood and adolescence using the Security Scale developed by Kerns et al. (2000).

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R. A, Gitanjali Natarajan, and Sundaram, K. R., “Profile of Couples Seeking Help in the Family Court- A Clinic -based Study”, Psychological Studies, pp. Page 172-176, 2010.

Publication Type: Book Chapter

Year of Publication Title


Gitanjali Natarajan, “School Refusal”, in Childhood Disorders, Calicut: Department of Psychology-CDMRP, University of Calicut, 2016.


Gitanjali Natarajan, “Childhood Phobias”, in Childhood Disorders, Calicut: Department of Psychology-CDMRP, University of Calicut, 2016.


Gitanjali Natarajan, “Attachment Disorders”, in Childhood Disorders, Calicut: Department of Psychology-CDMRP, University of Calicut, 2016.

Paper Presented

  • Best Paper Award for the Scientific Paper on “Acceptance and commitment therapy for Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive disorder: A Case study”, at the 44st National Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, 2018 & Golden Jubilee Year of IACP organized by Dept of Psychology & Mental Health, Gautham Buddha University, Greater Noida, U.P., from 23rd-25th February, 2018.
  • Scientific Paper on “ Psychosocial Correlates of Functional Pain in Children and Adolescents: A Retrospective Analysis”, in the 41stNational Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, 2015 held in Gandhinager, Gujarat.
  • Symposium on “Attitude to Mental Health & Experiences of Liaison work in a Super-speciality Medical Hospital” in the National Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, Jan, 2012 held in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Scientific Paper on “Rejection Sensitive Spouse: Handle with care” in the National Seminar on Family Therapy, 2011 held by Manasastravedi, Kannur.
  • Poster on “Rejection Sensitivity as a mediator between attachment insecurity and maladjustment in early adolescence” in the International Annual Conference of Association of Psychological Sciences, May, 2010, held in Boston, USA.
  • Poster on “Management of Recurrent Non-Organic Abdominal Pain in Children” in the International Conference on Psychology in Mental Health, July, 2007, held at NIMHANS, Bangalore.
  • Scientific Paper on “Attachment and Peer-Relations in Middle Childhood” in the National Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, 2005.
  • Scientific Paper on “Behaviour Therapy for Atypical Agoraphobia” in the National Conference in Behavioural Medicine, July, 2004, held at NIMHANS, Bangalore.


  • Ongoing Project: Co- Investigator in ICMR Project on “ Psychosocial Impact of Congeniteal Heart Disease and Surgery” in The Dept of Pedeatric Cardiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • Study on “Clinician’s attitude to Mental Health & Experiences of Liaison work in a Super-specialty Medical Hospital” for conducting a symposium at the National Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, Jan, 2012 held in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Doctoral thesis on Rejection Sensitivity: Linking Attachment Pattern and Psychosocial Adjustment in Early Adolescence
  • As part of the M.Phil. Course, research done on Attachment Pattern & Socio-Emotional Behaviour In Middle Childhood.
  • As part of BA course, studied Achievement Motivation in Adolescents.

“Resource Person” in the following programmes:

  • Resource Person to speak on Acceptance and commitment therapy at the Two days National seminar on Third Wave Cognitive Behaviour therapy, held on 26,27th of May, 2018 at NIEPID, Secunderabad.
  • Conducted a workshop on Interpersonal Psychotherapy in the International Training Conference in Brief Psychotherapies 2017 ( ITCBP 2017) held at Institute of Mental health and Neurosciences ( IMHANS), Calicut, Kerala, India on Dec 21-23, 2017
  • Chaired a session on “Child and Adolescent Issues”, in the 41st National Annual Conference of Indian Association of Clinical Psychology, 2015 held in Gandhinager, Gujarat.
  • Resource faculty in the two day seminar on “ Psychology for Harmonious Living”, as part of the Dr. V.K. Alexander Memorial Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Dept. of Psychology, heald at Union Christian College, Aluva, Jan, 2015
  • Chaired a session on Communication & Social needs in metastatic breast cancer in the one day CME on “Practical issues in the management of Breast Cancer” conducted by the Oncology Department of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, on 25/10/14
  • Resource faculty in the workshop on “Qualitative Data and Analysis Methods” Conducted by the Department of Biostatistics, Amrita Institute of Medical sciences, Kochi, Aug 21-23, 2014
  • Addressing Judicial officers on “Stress Management at Work place” under the continuing Education Program of the Kerala Judicial academy on July, 18, 2014.
  • Class on "Common Behavioural problems in School Children – Diagnostic and Management guidelines for 180 school counselors across Kerala, in the Advanced Training Programme For Counsellors Of Social Justice Department Organised by Child Development Centre, Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram at Ashribhavan, Kochi in Feb, 2014
  • Speaker at the Public awareness Program “Vivaaham Vijayakaramaakkaan” coducted by Clinical Psychology Deparment, Amrita Hospital on July 20, 2014.
  • Talk on “Marriages & Breakages in Society” in Rotary Club – Kochi on July, 2013
  • Speaker in “Vanitha Sammelanum” held by Edapally Vadakkum Bhagam NSS Karayogam as part of their Platinum Jubilee Celebration on 28th April 2013.
  • Workshop on Life skills and Psychological Wellbeing for Youth “ in the Gitamritham- Yuva held in Amrita University, Ettimadi on 5 th June, 2013.
  • Addressing Judicial officers on “Stress Management at Work place” under the continuing Education Program of the Kerala Judicial Academy on June, July & August, 2015.
  • Talk on learning disabilities and substance abuse in children as part of an Awareness Program for School Teachers organized by the Department of Oncology, Amrita Hospital on October 8th, 2015.
  • Talk on Stress Management in the one day workshop on Stress Management organized by The School of Management Studies, NIT Calicut on November 7th, 2015.