Friday, November 28, 2008

Workshop on "Loss and grief counselling" 28th - 30th Nov

The participants of the workshop are counsellors working in schools, HIV/AIDS and MSM project. Those coming from a background of helping clients cope with loss and grief found this workshop very helpful.



What it covers?


What is Grief ?

  • Death and Dying
  • Symptoms of grief


Grief and Depression

  • Understanding of being stuck in grief
  • Difference and similarities between grief and depression


Grief and Stress

  • Co-relation between Stress and Grief


Stages of grief - Dr. Elizabeth Kubler- Ross

·      Video on stages of grief

·       Personal Understanding of grief


Types of bereavement

 Discussion of various types of bereavement


Rituals and cultural response to bereavement

  • Methods of community grieving
  • Importance of rituals


Types of loss/ grief

       Types of losses and one’s response.


Coping with loss and grief

       Helping the counsellor to help the client                to care for oneself.

  • Power of positive attitude
  • Problem solving approach
  • Managing  emotions - learning to relax

       Back to routine


Case studies

  • Presentation and discussion

Some of the feedback from the participants 

“The workshop session was different. The few points that I learnt from the workshop was how to counsel clients with issues of loss and grief. This workshop was totally different and had not heard about it before. It was very interesting and I learnt how to take on this challenge. The hospitality was excellent.” - Ashraf, Islamic School/V Excel chennai.

“The workshop session was very informative. The few points that I learnt from the workshop was validating others emotions by giving them time to speak and cry. I also understood that everybody needs a place and a person to go meet and pour their sorrows. I also learnt that we should be the strong shoulders for them. My suggestions and comments is that please continue with your workshops even if it rains. Congratulations for the  topic you chose it for the current situation and people need these types of workshop to improve one selves and bring peace and happiness in their family”.  - Mariam Basheer, Special educator Chennai

“The workshop session was really excellent for me. Now I can differentiate grief, depression and stress. This is my first counselling workshop but it gave me a lot of knowledge, technique and confidence. The few points that I learnt from the workshop was to measure grief, depression and stress. Different types of losses. How rituals help people. Counselling technique, how to probe so that counsellors get more and more information from client. It was a very good workshop”.- Sudha Jha, SAATHII Calcutta.


“The workshop was very good. The few points that I learnt from the workshop is that everyone experiences loss and grief and it depends on how individuals take it and I also learnt that there are five stage in grieving and we have to accept that. I also learnt the difference between depression, stress and loss. I also learnt how to give counselling to these issues” - K. Sundar, Sahodaran Chennai. 

Counsellor's Conference , 25th Nov


Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society organised a conference for all counsellors working in the ICTCs in TN. This conference was organized on 24th and 25th Nov . There were about 800 counsellors from Intergrated Counselling Tested Center (ICTC) of various district Head quarters, GH, Primary health centers and ART centers.  

Center for Counselling worked in the abstract committee and the planning of the technical sessions for the conference. The abstracts were selected for oral and poster presentations. Our founder made a presentation on the topic - "Child centered approaches for counselling children". This conference was a huge programme organised by the TANSACS. This effort to celebrate the counsellor's role in handling HIV/AIDS in Tamil Nadu is highly commendable and makes a difference to all the counsellors who attended the conference. The counsellors had a great time meeting one another and discussing counselling issues.

They had a debate on "Mandatory testing for HIV before marriage" which was moderated by Mr Illanzheian - Director IEC, APAC, Dr Devashish Dutta -UNICEF, Mr Patrick Nadol - ITECH, Nisha Gupta - CDC, Rohini Ramamurthy - PO - Counselling, NACO and Magdalene Jeyarathnam - our founder gave their comments on the abstracts presented by the counsellors. 

The health minister of the TN state Mr MRK Paneer Selvam was present for the valedictory. 


Leadership training for a group of girls from the 9th standard at Olcott Memorial School, a half-day workshop was conducted and was led by Ms.Magdalene Jeyarathnam . The workshop focused on DECISION MAKING IN THE CONTEXT OF RELATIONSHIP - six girls were present for the workshop. 

The activities were as follows:

These activities are chosen based on previous workshops conducted with adolescents and also the Life skills training module by Family Health International.
  1. Each student wrote down a person they admired most and what are the qualities that they admired in that person.
  2. After they wrote it down they had a discussion about it with other students.
  3. Then the students made a chart - A relationship chart, on this chart they had to make a circle in the center and write their names within the circle, then make circles for all the significant people in their lives right now - including if they liked any "boy" at this point. The students were told they did not have to share this chart with anyone except one person they choose from the group.
  4. The students drew lines connecting them to the person drawn on the chart either a single line to show how "close" they were with the person on the chart, double line to show "very close" and three lines to show they were "extremely close" to the person. On the line they wrote what were the issues that were discussed with this person.
  5. Once all the students drew this chart, they were very secretive and choose one partner from the group to share this with. The students seemed to get a lot of insight about their relationships from this activity.
  6. This made it easier for the students to come back as a group to discuss the qualities of 
  • A 'Brother - Sister' kind of relationship
  • Friend who happens to be boy relationship
  • Special or Serious relationship 
     7.  It was really interesting to see these students discuss these issues very animatedly and   make these lists. These were the conclusions they came up with:

  • They thought a brother - sister relationship or a boy as a friend was when they felt "safe" with this person. They gave the following example - when they had gone on a school trip somewhere and they wanted to use the wash rooms, they asked some of the boys to come with them. They gave names of boys they felt who fitted in this category. 
  • They thought they could discuss some of the problems with them.
  • They felt they will not be 'made fun of' or 'laughed at' by these boys
  • They wanted support from them when they had trouble in their own homes.
  • The 'serious relationship' list started with a description of what was a serious relationship. They felt they were too young and then said a serious relationship was something that one has when they are a little older maybe 21 or 22 years old. They felt that was an age when one finishes college and is 'emotionally mature' to handle such a relationship. This list had things like he should not be suspicious of me, should treat me with respect, should treat me equally, etc. 
  • They talked about how other girls in their class was thinking that the relationship is 'serious' but then concluded by saying even if she was 'seeing' this boy it can only be described as 'friend who happens to be a boy' category because this was not the age to think of a 'serious' relationship.
We actually did not teach or tell them what is right in deciding on a relationship because I think the young women understood for themselves on what is important in these relationships. 

The ground is set for the next session on 29th saturday which talks about sex and sexuality.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Counselling Workshop on loss and grief

Chennai's Center for Counselling is conducting a counselling workshop on Living through loss and grief   from 28th to 30th November 2008 (Friday to Sunday) at our office: 18 Radhakrishnan Salai 9th St.,3rd Floor, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004.

The objective of the workshop is to help counsellors in turn help their clients cope with loss and grief.  When someone experiences loss; 

loss of health (terminal illness), 

loss of limb (accident), 

loss of a loved one, etc 

they go through grief. Grieving is a natural and expected process, which involves feeling many different emotions over a period of time, all of which eventually help the person to come to terms with the loss.

This workshop will help one to understand the expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including sadness, anxiety, anger, loneliness, guilt, relief, isolation, confusion, or numbness. This workshop will also help one to think creatively about the challenges that follow loss, and to cope with concurrent changes in one’s life.

We use participatory learning techniques. Group discussion, sharing of testimonials, games and exercises, consideration of case studies, role plays are some of the methodologies used.

We charge Rs.2, 500/- , this includes material, lunch and tea. Accommodation maybe arranged for participants on request. Registrations are open.

Please Contact,

Phone Numbers:+91-44-42080810, +91-9884700174, +91-9884100135

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Child centered counselling approaches , 17 to 20 November 2008

We have 11 participants coming from the World Vision Projects, 1 participant from Clinton Foundation. 

The resource persons for this workshop are
  1. Magdalene Jeyarathnam
  2. Eric Miller
  3. Mrinalini Sekar
  4. Chandra 
  5. Monique
The day one of the workshop was handled by Mr Eric Miller, Professor - Image Animation College and the Founder of the World Storytelling Institute(WSI). You can read more about the World Storytelling Institute on the following website -

Participants did a whole lot of exercises which reiterated the importance of storytelling. By the end of the day participants practiced their skills of telling stories to children.

On the day two we had a session on Art as therapy which was facilitated by Magdalene Jeyarathnam. Some of the exercises proved that there was a lot of ventilation through colours and symbols. Participants were encouraged to use Art as a medium to express themselves. We also had an introduction to Music as therapy for which Monique who was visiting Chennai for a conference on music therapy presented some important information of how she uses music with children. She demonstrated how she conducts a session using music as a powerful medium of communication.

Moment/ dance as therapy was the session that followed. 

Day three we had Chandra showing us some exercises and games which could be used for children. Role play, enacting a situation, redirecting it all help us see what children want in their lives.

Day Four we went through developmental milestones of ages 5 to 15 years. Then we discussed cases that the counsellors were handling currently. We found stories for each of the situation presented. We had another session of difficult cases with the group finding different methods of coping with those situations using stories, drawing, some games etc.

The feedback from the participants was very positive.

“This is one of the best workshop that I have attended, it is very informative, very enthusiastic and very much practical.  The few points that I learnt from the workshop was the different therapies to get the children in track. I liked the methodology very much , it kept me lively and very energetic. I wish to attend more number of training, because of the way it is organized. - Mr. S.Jeyakumar Chennai, GRACE Project World Vision.


“ The workshop session was really good to me to learn more things about children. It helps me to develop my skills. The workshop conducted was a pleasant atmosphere. The few points that I learnt  how to tell stories, how to teach art, how can one handle the children. As a counsellor, every person is unique, equal and never give advice. I liked the methodology very much and it is essential for children. - Ms. A.Gnana Kumari, Gutur HIV AIDS Project World Vision.


‘The workshop was very good. I never attended this type of counselling training, and I attended a counselling training before this workshop, but not like this, this is entirely different which I attended before. The few points which I learnt is that through the methods of story telling, art therapy and games/ dance , we could be able to deal the children, and make them to come out of their problem. I liked the method to counsel children very easily. Through this method we can be able to understand the children Psychology. Excellent hospitality’ - Tirupathi Rao.D,  Gutur HIV AIDS Project World Vision.


“The workshop session are very appropriate. Few points that I learnt was Music , Dance, Story telling and key counselling skills. All the activities very appropriate and very good. The methodology was very good. I can improve a lot in my work place.- G. Benjamin, Hyderabad HIV AIDS Project World Vision.


‘The workshop session was very informative and easy to understand and I also enjoyed. The therapies which are play based methods were helpful to ventilate. I liked the methodology and it is very apt for children”. - Sam Martin Chennai, GRACE Project World Vision.


“The workshop session was very good , I enjoyed all the sessions. I learnt story telling, how to tell counter stories to the problem and drama therapy, dance therapy, art therapy and how these methods can be used while  counselling children”.

- R.Prasanna Kumar Guntur, HIV AIDS Project World Vision.


“The workshop session was very useful and very informative. The few points that I learnt is to be self - sufficient and learn to conduct support group meetings and to do counselling for children and about how to handle children. I like the methodology it was very good and useful. I can implement in the support group meetings I conduct.

- Pramela, Chennai GRACE Project World Vision.


“ The workshop session was wonderful. I felt like home and not like other trainings. The timings were very convenient , I learnt about story telling therapy , music therapy and counselling through games and different activities like exercise etc. I liked the methodology very much and the games and activities gave meaning to life through this workshop. Since our work is involved in larger area, this training would surely help me to work and concentrate on little children more”. - Jayaraj,  Chennai GRACE Project World Vision.


“The workshop session was very interesting to know and learn. Gained knowledge to work effectively among the vulnerable children. I liked the methodology it was very interesting to learn”  - Ms. Freeda Augustin, Chennai GRACE Project World Vision.

Teacher's Training In Olcott Memorial School on 15th Nov

Magdalene Jeyarathnam and Mohan Babu facilitated a one day Teacher's training programme on 15th November in Olcott Memorial School for about 25 teachers. 

The group was divided in 3 and each group shared their own experiences of being physically, emotionally abused by parents, teachers or significant others in their lives as children. This sharing was followed by a discussion in their group as to the insights they have now as adults. What were some of the do's and don't s they need to keep in mind while working with children.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Self - calming techniques through yoga and meditation in Olcott School, Nov 8th 2008

Thamilarasi.S  facilitated a one day workshop on Self calming techniques through yoga for this group. She addressed some queries regarding handling menstrual pain and how yoga helps in relieving their pain was answered and certain simple asanas specific to the issue was taught and practiced. She also taught meditation and certain simple asanas to improve concentration. The students gave a feedback that they felt very relaxed at the end of the session.

Self - calming techniques (Yoga and meditation)

Pudumai Penn Programme - Olcott Memorial School


As part of the leadership training for a group of girls in the 9th standard at Olcott Memorial School, a half-day workshop was conducted. The workshop focused on Self - calming techniques using yoga. Ten girls were present in the workshop. The session started at 9 30 a.m with an introductory game, in the game everyone stood in a circle.  Anyone could begin the game by saying their name and demonstrating a [physical] motion to go with it.   Each person had said their name with their movement. This simple and interesting game helped me to learn the names of the girls. Then the session began by having an interaction about what they knew about Yoga? The students said that they were learning yoga from their school yoga master but they said they never did the asanas (postures) seriously as they were shy to do it in front of the boys.

The girls were asked to take 12 normal breaths and then they were asked to do conscious breathing. A feedback was asked and the girls said they very better able to focus with conscious breathing. The right breathing technique was taught to the girls. Few asanas incorporating the breathing technique was taught and demonstrated which was then practiced. Each student was given the opportunity to demonstrate the different posture, which was taught to them in front of the class. Individual attention to each student was given and feedback about how they felt was asked to them in between the session, to ensure that there was stability and comfort in their body while doing the asanas (postures). After doing the practice for about one and half hours. A small break was given to the girls. 

Meditation was taught to the students. During the meditative practice the students were taught to place their hands on their abdomen and the focus was on the menstrual pain which some of the girls experienced. Some simple breathing technique was taught so that it relieves the pain they experience. During the meditative practice they were also taught to place their hands on their heart and after that a small discussion was started regarding the emotions they go through when they are in a relationship. Few girls spoke frankly and shared their experience in being in any kind of a relationship and the emotions they experienced. Meditative practice was taught to help them have control over their feelings and also it will give them the ability to discriminate. After the discussion a simple specific breathing practice was taught to help the girls relax and to be better able to focus and concentrate during their examination.

We closed the session by sitting in a circle, holding hands and moving a pulse around the room as suggested by Ms.Shoba to emphasize unity within the group. 

The girls gave a very good feedback about how they felt and said they felt completely relaxed and comfortable.