Who We Are

img_20150117_180455Dr. Sharanya Anil (formerly Saranya Srinivasan), Founder-Director, DIRECT, is a Cognitive Specialist, Educational Specialist and a Neurodiversity-Affirming Counselling Therapist. She has been in the field of child development, mental health, and inclusive education since 1997. She graduated with her PhD from Purdue University, USA; with a focus on neurocognitive deficits caused as a secondary effect of psychoactive drugs. She is a registered member of the prestigious American Psychological Association (APA 11942164), as well as the American Counseling Association (ACA 6612036). She has received several awards in recognition of her outstanding work in these fields both from USA and India.

While at Purdue she has also worked extensively with the Gifted Education Resource Institute, where she worked with enrichment programs for gifted youth, psychology of giftedness, and creativity. Prior to this, she completed an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree from the University of Virginia, USA and has a Master’s and double Bachelor’s degrees’ from India. She is a licensed and recognised Fellow in Adult, Child & Adolescent Psychology Counseling from NHCA Singapore (76008344426).

She aims to uphold the concept of Sarva Siksha Abhayam (Education for all) and break down the barriers to education. Her areas of work and specialty include assessments, neurocognitive development and diagnostics, cognitive training, behaviour disorders, behavioural interventions, Adult, Child & Adolescent Counseling, early augmentative and alternative communication, and childhood special education.

She currently conducts post-graduate training programs at DIRECT in the areas of cognitive sciences, behaviour, educational therapies. and counseling. She is passionate about research and firmly believes that good research is essential to best practices.

Aside from her passion for work, she is an avid reader, enjoys travel, connecting with nature, adventure and the arts. She is energized by a morning run or a bike ride and enjoys solving crosswords and other mental puzzles. She tends to see life through new lenses and enjoys the experiences each day brings. She de-stresses through yoga, cooking and watching movies.


Anil S Bajaj, Business and Financial Advisor, focusses on the business and financial development and has a vested interest in the growth of the institute. He is backed by an MBA and has over 20 years of experience in the field of finance, marketing and advertising. He currently also has his own company, Portfolio Ventures, which provides financial and property consultations. His company has seeded the growth of DIRECT.

He enjoys sports and is a fervent golfer. He likes to travel to new places and experience the local cuisines and culture. In his spare time, he likes to engage in the culinary arts to whip something new.

Kavya Srinivasan, HR Administrator, has completed her Bachelors’ degree in KavyaPsychology and Masters’ in Applied Psychology. She has specialized in the field of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. She believes that Psychology plays a major role in influencing the science of behavior in human beings such workplace relations, attitude and behaviors within an organizational setting. Her focus to help the organization through strategic management of human resources, promoting job satisfaction and mental wellness among employees. She has gained administration, interpersonal, customer-relationship skills while working as a HR Coordinator of Organizations such as KONE Elevator India Private Ltd and World Vision. She is a people-person, involved in volunteer programs such as medical camps, blood donation camps, career guidance for school children conducted by Lions Club. Apart from work, she enjoys teaching children, reading fiction, stargazing, driving and sporting at leisure.


Shamala Chandran, Cognitive Trainer and Behaviour Therapist, being a people oriented person, wanted to pursue a career in the field of psychology as it helped her learn and understand human psyche and behaviour. She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Counselling psychology. Her research thesis, as part of her masters program, involved an intervention program for children and this experience sparked her interest in working with this specific population. Shamala began her career as a teacher with an inclusive school. Her initial work with special needs population motivated her to pursue her training as a cognitive/behaviour therapist.

Her strengths include patience, tolerance and perseverance to see the goals of her children through. She enjoys the learning and application of new therapeutic techniques. Her other interests are dancing, spending time with people, experimenting with food, visiting places and snoozing when possible.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-14 at 10.37.29 PMApoorva SriramCognitive Trainer and Behaviour Therapist, has completed her under graduation in Psychology from the Madras School of Social Work, Chennai. She went on to complete her master’s in M.Sc. Psychology from Montfort College (Affiliated to Bangalore University), Bangalore. Venturing into psychology was a major step towards finding the reason behind existence for her. While working at a pre-school with inclusion, she found her life’s purpose. She is constantly fascinated by the unique ways in which children with special needs perceive the world and she believes that there is exceptional beauty and a reservoir of potential in them. All we need is a little bit of patience and a lot of love and unshakable belief to tap into them to see how amazing they can be. Her love for children and her purpose of being a medium of making a difference in their lives, is what makes her passionate. She finds working with children has helped her find and experience happiness at its true state. She is fervent about research and always looks forward to learning more.

She is a writer and she loves indulging in music as much as she can and during her free time, she likes to play the violin . She always finds a way to use her creativity by being crafty when she is up for new projects which include making new activities and materials. She hopes for a world where everyone is appreciated and accepted for their uniqueness and for who they are.

ManishaManisha RoyCognitive Trainer and Behaviour Therapist, is an amiable person and is driven by her passion to understand the human mind. She completed her Under graduation in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. She has worked with children in an Inclusive School where she recognized the limitless potential among children with varying abilities. On her journey of self-discovery, she realized that working with children brings happiness, gratification and meaning to her life. Her zeal to work with children with special needs stems from her firm belief that the brain can be trained for ‘anything’ and that every child has the capacity to learn and grow in their own unique way. She also believes that creating a safe environment for children by nurturing them with love, care and support promotes holistic development of a child. The purpose of her life is to heal and inspire many more lives.

She loves connecting with nature and various forms of art. She enjoys listening to music, singing, reading as well as meeting and interacting with new people.

YashwiYashwi Reddy, Cognitive Trainer and Behaviour Therapist, has completed her Bachelors in Psychology (Honors) and her Masters in Counselling Psychology. She has always been curious and fascinated by the intricacies of the mind, understanding people and their behaviour. As she grew, she began to realize that every individual is unique and different, which further enthused her to want to unravel the mystery of mind. During her post grad days, self-introspection paved the way to narrow down varied interests and skills, where she discovered her passion of working with children. Having spent the first 21 years of her life moving from one city to another, she was lucky to come across varied cultures, interacting with a diverse set of people in various schools and colleges, and gained the skill of adaptability. She hopes to continue to learn about various cultures, which she believes is essential while working with children.

As far as she can remember, she has always been an ardent dancer and has recently taken up reading, cooking Chinese food and gardening as her hobbies.


Devasena Shiphrah, Educational Therapist,  completed her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, FSM & Dietetics at Women’s Christian College and a Master’s in Child Development and Child Nutrition at JBAS college for women.She is currently working part-time as a Dietitian at Pink Fitness Studio, Kodambakkam and also a member of an NGO called “Happy2Help(H2H)” involved in social work that include conducting events for orphan kids, social issues, etc. Her keen interest to pursue her future with children led her to choose a career that’s children-oriented. Knowing Dr. Sharanya Anil, through her University lectures, and DIRECT’s work towards ensuring healthcare and therapies for children for their overall development motivated to start her work in this field with DIRECT. She believes this is her big dream-come-true career and a great opportunity to render her services. She believes that when educational services are provided appropriately to special children it helps them gain confidence and hope in life, at large. She intends to work towards basic and due care, education and nutrition for all children so they enjoy a holistic childhood. She is fascinated by her work and believes DIRECT to be the right platform for such goals.

She is also a passionate throw-ball player, athlete and dancer.  She enjoys babysitting and pampering babies and children. She is also interested in spending time gardening, fish-keeping, enjoying nature’s scenic beauty, traveling, with people and to be physically active and fit always. She is a staunch believer that the Almighty Lord is in control of everything in life!

SnehaSneha Subramanian, Educational Therapist, has completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Applied Psychology. With a keen interest in inclusive education, she has further specialized in training kids with Dyslexia. Recently she has also completed an Indian Sign Language certificate course. As a proponent of inclusive education, Sneha believes that a conducive and nourishing environment at family, school and societal levels is vital for holistic development of every child. Her advocacy for inclusive education stems from the fact that she herself was identified with dyslexia fortunate to go to an inclusive school in the formative years. The support she received from her educators empowered her to grow into a self-reliant woman. With a sincere intent to pay it forward, she is passionate about enabling children with diverse abilities, as she truly believes that every child has the potential to grow into well-balanced, contributing individuals of society. This motivated her to undertake formal training in Diploma in School, Corporate and Family Counselling in CCS Academy and to pursue a certificate course in Child and Adolescent Counselling from NHCA Singapore.

With few years of formal Carnatic training, Sneha still considers herself a hesitant bathroom singer.  Her hobbies include listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and binge-watching content on OTT streaming services. She manages to enter the kitchen to cook up some food for the family once in a blue moon. She has preserved her inner child which enables her to easily connect and relate with children from diverse ages and background. She truly finds happiness in nurturing children with love and care.

sahanaS. Sahana Lakshmi, Expressive Arts Therapist, is backed by a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapy. She is currently an expressive arts therapist at DIRECT while simultaneously pursuing her M.A. in Psychology.

After pursuing her passion for art, she wanted to test her newly flaring urge to work with children. This was fueled by her work with children in Adrian school, Karur, as she nurtured her skills for the same. Her personal experience with people with special needs was an added impetus and made her determined to work with them.  She witnessed that having unwavering faith in them and investing resources in their progress could bring a positive difference to their entire life structure. Expressive arts therapies opened up doors for her to use the arts and her own creativity to bring about this change that she was growing so passionate about. Art is eclectic and its use universal and she employs these powerful tools to impact a child’s learning.  She further urges that a paintbrush is a more powerful and creative tool to write a simple ‘A’ than the mundane pencil! Outside these walls, she is a voracious reader, a writer and artist, whose space is always filled with music.

Jayarani CroppedJayarani. S, Expressive Arts Therapist, is compassionate and child friendly. Besides having her bachelor in engineering, taking up a Montessori teacher training program enabled her to see the world in a different perspective. Montessori philosophy inspired her to work with toddlers, which helps them in their holistic development. Working in a Reggio Inspired Inclusive school further kindled her curiosity to work through the arts with children with diverse needs. It also gave her a whole new perspective of the education system. She believes that every child is unique and thus every individual too. Fascinated by the application of psychology in various aspects of life, she went on to complete a Diploma in School, Corporate and Family Counselling at CCS Academy. She feels happy by doing something better everyday.

Through her journey with children she finds that ‘Art’ is a powerful aid in learning and development process as it allows them to express their thoughts in a creative way. She is a nature lover, quick learner, loves to solve puzzles, makes paper crafts, photography and creating digital designs.

SarvatmikaSarvatmika Rajeev, is an Art Psychotherapist, who is passionate about providing psychological and emotional support to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. She has completed her Master’s in Art Therapy from LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore. Since graduating, she is committed to being part of a movement to raise awareness regarding mental health in India and globally.

She advocates for the use of creative arts for therapeutic purposes for clients from diverse backgrounds. She is also an executive board member of The Art Therapy Association of India (TATAI). She currently works with organizations across India, Singapore, and Australia to deliver art therapy sessions to a wide demographic of populations.

Her practice draws from a strong foundation of ethics, cross-cultural sensitivity, diversity awareness, risk assessment and intervention. Sarvatmika has worked with clients struggling with addiction, depression, PTSD and adverse childhood experiences. Her clinical experience includes working with children and adolescents with backgrounds of suspected abuse, long-term illnesses and traumatic medical conditions. Her practice focuses on client-oriented art therapy and she aims to further her art therapy practice by drawing from her fundamental identity as an artist.

Sirisha G, Counseling Psychologist/ Psychotherapist by passion,20221127_123748 describes herself as a patient, respectful, and understanding  person with a curiosity to learn new things. While pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology she found her interest towards
counselling. Wanting to offer an empathetic, nonjudgmental, safe space for others to explore themselves, she went on to pursue her Masters degree in Applied Psychology with a specialisation in Counselling. She believes that each person is a unique individual with distinct abilities traversing life through their frame of reference. She incorporates this idea into her therapeutic practice and is queer and neurodivergent affirmative. She is primarily a homebody but tries her hand at different activities based on her varied interests.

Subha- bio picSubha Joshi, Counseling Psychologist/ Psychotherapist, has pursued her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. She is an LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent affirmative therapist. She is a firm believer in the significance of counselling and therapy in changing people’s lives and creating well-being. She always had an interest in working with people and working in the field of Science. During her college days, many therapists, including a few pioneers in the field of psychology, inspired her to choose and carry forward on the journey of becoming a therapist. Her aim is to use the scientific knowledge of psychology by applying it to improve mental well-being. Counselling psychology, Positive psychology, Health psychology, Clinical psychology and Social Psychology are a few sub-fields of psychology that she has interests in.

She enjoys spending time in nature, meditating, dancing, watching period-dramas and listening to Taylor Swift’s music.”


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