Monday, March 23, 2009

One day workshop on Self Esteem for girls in the ages 13 to 18 years of

Topic: Workshop on Self Esteem                            

Venue: Balar Kalvi Nilayam School

Organised by: World Vision, India – Street Children’s project    

Time: 9.30a.m - 4:30p.m


The session was organized by the World Vision for children from

disadvantaged communities, 77 children from three different

communities attended the workshop. The Volunteers also came

from World Vision to help us in the work shop. The sessions was

handled by Center for Counselling. 

The session started with an explanation about the self esteem and

its importance. The workshop was for children above the age

of twelve up to eighteen and they were separated into seven

groups consists of eleven children with two volunteers in each

group to guide them, children much younger were sent

outside with one of our volunteers to play and draw, etc provided

with charts and crayons.


Session: 1 – Election campaign


Objective: To think about one’s own positive values and

attitudes which in turns helps in increasing self esteem.


The children in the groups were given charts and crayons and

asked to write and draw about their own positive characters.

These characters should not be imaginative about themselves

and it should be what they think about themselves and not what

others think. The children were asked to present their presentations

among the group members. Most of the children wrote many

positive characters about themselves like “ I can easily get along

with others....”, “ I’m a very confident person.....” , “ I don’t care

if others gossip about me...”. A child from each group were asked to

give her feed back regarding her experience by doing this activity.

One of the children said “I love myself after writing all my good

qualities and I’m happy being a part of this workshop”. 

Then we quoted an old Tamil proverb “Niraikudam Thalumbathu”

meaning the pot that is full of water cannot spill water out likewise

if we have high self esteem about themselves then others cannot

stop us from reaching our goals.


Session: 2 - Giving and Receiving imaginary gifts


Objective: To demonstrate that giving gifts to others and receiving

from others show warmth, love and affection.


The children were asked to share the happiest moment

which they have experienced in the past ten days within their

group members. The children expressed different happenings,

some of them were “ My friend spoke to me after a long quarrel.....” ,

“ We don’t  have a home but government provided us a new

house.......”. After expressing their views, they were asked to give

a gift to one of the children in the group. Then a child from each

group gave feed back about this session. Most of them said that

they have never expressed their feelings to others and this is the

first time doing so and they enjoyed giving gifts to others and they

felt proud to get gifts from their friends. The children liked that their

friends thought of gifts that really liked.

Session: 3 Flower garden

Objective:  To help children understand that differences in

people –color, values etc makes life  more interesting. 

The children were provided with same color of charts but

with different colour paper to four groups and 2 groups

were provided with all colours of paper and asked them

to make flowers with the chart and colour paper. They made

the flower garden with great enthusiasm and they were asked

to present it in front of all the groups. All the children liked the

garden with different colours. 

We initiated a discussion about the color of one’s skin, an

informative session on the ill effects of trying to lighten the

skin by using creams. This session was done specifically to

handle the marketing gimmicks which talk about fair girls

being beautiful and dark skinned girls as not being beautiful. 

We also discussed that beauty is from inside, the kind of person

we are and not the color of the skin.

Session: 4 - Karuppu than enakku pidicha colouru


Objective: To help children accept and appreciate the

color of their skin


The children were again separated based on the activity they

like to do on the Topic “Karuppu than enakku pidicha colouru”.

The activities are drawing, poetry, collage. Three children from

each group participated in each activity. The children participated

in all the three activity has done well.

Self esteem is important in life, which will help the children

to have good personality and helps to reach their goals.

We also answered few questions asked by the children

regarding their own personal issues.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Training for teachers from Directorate of Social Defence

Training for teachers at THHV, Potheri - 5 Feb 2009

Center for Counselling conducted a training session on life skills for the teachers from the Government homes. There were 27 teachers present. The experience of teachers varied from recent appointees 2 weeks ago to those appointed for many years, those who got promotions into becoming teachers from house masters etc.

What was very interesting in this training was to note how everyone struggled to get hold of this job. We conducted various exercises to help understand and learn self esteem, decision making, critical analysis, empathy, creativity etc. 

List of activities:
  1. Election campaign - The objective of this activity was that everyone promotes themselves by explaining all the positive qualities they have. This activity helped me explain self esteem very clearly. Each participant was given a chart and asked to make a campaign poster. This helped in explaining creativity as a skill.
  2. Gifts from the heart - The objective was to teach empathy as a skill. All participants gave and received gifts. This exercise helped participants put themselves in the role of the receiver and choose a gift that was most suitable for the receiver. Explaining critical analysis and decision making was also through these exercises.
  3. Karupu than ennaku pedicha coloru -   Right now, Center for Counselling is running a short campaign on explaining that no matter what the skin color is, you are important. Who you are and how you are is more important than the color of the skin. Children of the Kellys home have sent in poems, short stories, paintings, charcoal sketches and are making collages on the theme.
We had a very interesting election campaign and had an opportunity to hear all the positive qualities that each teacher had. Overall, the session was very well received and everyone participated enthusiastically.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Group therapy for LGBTQ community

CFC has been conducting group therapy sessions for the Tamil and English speaking participants, these sessions that I conduct get supervised by Herb Propper from the US.

These sessions are very interesting and the group seems to enjoy it very much. Some issues that came up for discussion were:

  1. Deciding future of an individual regarding career choice vs her political work relating to gender issues
  2. Frustration relating to family pressure on getting married - this was a hot topic brought up by the group members and each participant talked about their own perspective of marriage.
  3. Issues of abuse by one's own family members
  4. Self esteem and self worth and saying "no" were some of the issues we discussed
  5. Gearing up for a break up
  6. Dealing with family
  7. Coming out to family
  8. Dealing with violence in the relationship
Each group cycle is 8 sessions - once/ week, we run the sessions once a week in English and once a week in Tamil. We have finished 21 group sessions so far. 

Resource Center - Kellys

Resource Center  

The directorate of Social Defense invited us to run the resource center in the Kellys home for girls. We have been working there past 4 months. Our team consists of trained social workers, counsellors, and psychologists, people trained in dance therapy, drama therapy, and art therapy, special educators who make assessments and create remedial lessons for learning disabilities.

Right now our team is:


Antonia Bavani – Project Manager

Magdalene Jeyarathnam – Counsellor

Tamilarasi – Psychologist

Dhanalakshmi – Counsellor

Lakshmi Ramachandran – Counsellor

Geeta Rajendran - Counsellor

Our current work involves conducting:

Counselling sessions: This is either - One to one sessions or Group sessions. Both the above involves giving emotional support, helping making decisions and encouraging behavior change.

Counselling Training: We have run several staff trainings so far. Even before we started work in the home. In fact our introduction to the Kellys home is through our training on child friendly approaches. Please see the link :

Our workshops are for parents, those working with children and teachers

Preparing material: We prepare protocols, guidelines, life skills education material, material for sex education, stories for children etc

Our experience in the field of counselling children – Play therapy

Play therapy can be done through storytelling, drama (“playing make-believe”), games, puppets, dolls, masks, drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.  At present, very few of our child counsellors are trained in, or are even aware of, these play-based methods, which can be used to draw a child into discussing what is going on with him/her. 

In the organisations that work with children and seek to utilise counsellors to provide children with emotional support and facilitate children’s self-understanding, “talk therapy” is the main method used.  Talk therapy helps adults, but does it work for children?  A child may find it difficult to express him/herself in analytical words -- and all the more so when asked to talk directly about his/her problems with an adult.  A child-counselling session should be all about the child: when a counsellor uses a medium like analytical talk, which he/she is comfortable with, the counsellor may not be approaching the situation from the child’s perspective, and may not be utilising the child’s primary abilities.  This might be unfair to the child, and might also be ineffective: the counsellor could very easily assume what is happening, instead of actually knowing what is happening.  

Chennai’s Center for Counselling addresses these issues by: 


Ø    Training counsellors working with children

So far we have trained around 100 people from various organisations on counselling approaches for children. The counsellors come from schools, organisations working with HIV infected and affected children.

Ø    Training teachers and parents.  

We have conducted workshops for teachers and parents on handling children by giving them practical tips on how to cope with children, discipline them and support them.


Ø    Providing counselling for children through one to one session or group counselling. Through group counselling we cover issues like Anger, Poor academic performance etc.


Through group counselling we cover issues like anger management, poor academic performance etc. We give emotional support to deal with physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

Ø    Center for counselling also makes assessment for children with special needs. Assessments for identifying slow learners or learning disabilities. We give remedial lessons for children who need it.

 We have developed several formats for making assessments, recording sessions, bringing about a change not only with the girls in the home but also the staff working here. Our work with children breaks our heart sometimes; it is very heart warming other times.


If you wish to volunteer please get in touch with us:

+919884700104/ +919884100135/ 91-44- 42080810

Counselling Gap analysis - SIAAP

South India AIDS action programme is conducting a counselling gap analysis study for TANSACS and APAC.

Magdalene Jeyarathnam was asked as a consultant to be a part of the investigation team. She visited Madurai for 3 days to conduct interviews of lab technicians, counsellors, doctors and nurses. She visited Madurai medical college hospital, Madurai Meenakshi college Hospital, RUSS - NGO, Usilampatti GH.

She also gave a talk to the students of Social Work Department in Fatima College in Madurai. She discussed with the HOD on the possibility of getting students to do their internship in CFC and further collaborations with the college of social work.

Trainings conducted in February

Transport Corporation of India - 20 Feb

Counsellors from 15 clinics in 7 states came for counselling training. In this beautiful resort midway between Delhi and Jaipur.

There were 22 participants and our founder conducted sessions on 

  • Understanding the counselling process
  • Understanding counselling relationships
  • Introduction of counsellor to client
  • Qualities of a counsellor
  • We conducted a mock session between a driver and counsellor 
Training in Olcott School

We are completing the psycho education programme on alcohol and tobacco for the 9th and 8th standard students.

We also did a parenting workshop for parents of 6th std students