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.