Sunday, June 21, 2009

Defining our Counselling work

  • Counselling one on one for
  1. Enriching your marriage
  2. Planning on separation, divorce
  3. Enhancing your potential at work, family relationships etc
  4. Assessments for children
  5. Planning remedial lessons for children with learning disabiities
  6. Confusion regarding sexual orientations/ gender identities
  • Center for Counselling also runs group therapy at our office:
  1. Groups for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, transgendered communities (Tamil as well as English groups)
  2. Support groups for Parents, siblings, friends and other family members of the LGBT community (bilingual)
  3. Support groups for those who are recovering from depression or other mental illnesses
  4. Support groups for family members of those who have terminal illnesses - Cancer, HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses etc.
Contact us for details, and if you wish to fix an appointment or register for any of our groups

+91 - 9884100135

Friday, June 19, 2009

Basic counselling training workshop June 13 to 16 2009

The members participated in the workshop were

Ms. Upasana, Ethiraj college for women

Mr. Sundar, Sahodaran

Mr. T.D. Siva kumar, Sangama

Ms. Sharanya Manivannan, Writer

Mr. Krishna, Sahodaran

Ms. Dhanalakshmi, Center for counselling

Mr. V. Sivapatham, Swam

Feed back from the participants:

The workshop was very good- both serious and enjoyable, was never dry - use of case studies, role play, etc ensured that it never lapsed into theoretical /academic study. Extremely informative about the ground realities in dealing with certain groups in crisis. - Sharanya Manivannan, Freelance writer.

It was really and extremely good. Each moment makes us to learn new things. Personal sharing helps us to burn out our stress and pain. Hospitality was extremely good. - T.D.Shivakumar, Sangama

This workshop was extremely good, especially the role play session. I will use all these skills when I handle clients in the MSM community. I could able to understand the skills of a counsellor, stages of counselling, acknowledging the emotion of the client, etc - Sundar , Sahodaran

The workshop was very simple to understand and i feel that I need to learn lots more on counselling. The training place was very well arranged, it was very calm and comfortable. - Sivapatham, Swam

I enjoyed the session. It gave me an insight into Counselling psychology. I feel this field needs a lot of patience. This workshop was only a brief insight into what counselling all about, there is still a lot to learn. Brief insight into different ways of counselling like Individual, group, video conference, e-mails, etc. - Upasana, Ethiraj college for women.

I did not know anything in counselling, but i have learnt basic skills to handle the session through this workshop. The Director is a very good trainer - Krishna, Sahodaran.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do men have moods?

 In response to questions posed by Sudha Umashankar from Hindu Metroplus:

Do you think men have moods?

All humans sometimes get into moods, that is “bad moods”. When people are in bad moods, they may feel doubt or anger towards themselves or others.  Any number of external and internal factors can trigger one getting into “a mood”.  External factors may include foods that one eats, the weather, things that one does, ways that people treat one, and other things that may happen to one.  Internal factors may include discomfort in one’s body, and memories and thoughts that come up from inside one.

Men certainly get into moods. In my experience as counsellor, I find that men get very upset and sad mostly when they are facing some problem in their relationships or career, or if they are suffering from some mental illness.

Is it unusual for a person to become moody? When does it get to be a concern ?

It is not unusual to get upset if life gives us something to be unhappy about. If a person loses his job for example, it is natural to be upset and this reaction is absolutely “normal”.  One might worry if a person who experiences a loss of a job does not experience a bad mood! 

“Mood Swings” however are a different matter.  The term, Mood Swing, refers to a condition in which one may be ecstatically joyous one moment, and then very angry or sad the next moment.  That is, the person alternates between soaring and crashing, often without much external changes of conditions.  A person in such a state loses perspective in each case, and gets carried away with the emotion of the moment.  If this condition persists, it may be diagnosed as a mental illness known as Bi-Polar disorder. Treatment may involve Talk Therapy and/or Medication.  Getting early diagnosis and treatment for this condition can bring a lot of relief for the afflicted individual, as well as for family and friends.

What do men get moody about? Work, marriage, other things? Compared to women  especially.

In my practice, I find that younger men are often very anxious and upset when it comes to relationships. Courtship and marriage are particularly stressful.  When a relationship does not work out as desired, I find that young men often do become desperate and lose perspective.

On the other hand, I find that men in their 40s and 50s are more anxious when it comes to job, career, and finances.  This also has to do with how well they feel they are providing for their families. Thoughts about retirement often bring a great deal of stress, and get men in their 60s very emotional if they have not been able to prepare for their retirement well.

Does it become difficult for the spouse or other family members to handle them because men don't like to talk about what's bothering them ?

It is true that many men find it more difficult to express what they feel to a spouse or family member.  This is because of the conditioning that happens to men over many years.  Many men think it is a sign of weakness to express their emotions, especially emotions like sadness, disappointments, anxiety, and fear.

On the other hand, I find that men who come for professional counselling are often much more verbal and able to discuss their emotions than many other men.  This may be the case because men who choose to go to a counsellor may be more willing and able to articulate their feelings in the first place.  It may also be that they have faith that the professional is not going to judge them, but rather the counsellor is going to be able to help them if they give the counsellor a clear picture of what is going on.

How are men’s moods best handled?

Men’s anxious or depressed moods, like women’s, should never be treated lightly.  Generally, it will only be counter-productive to say to a person in a bad mood, “Snap out of it,” or “Pull yourself together”.

What a friend or family member should do is to say to the person, “It seems like you might be in a bad mood.  Are you?”  If the answer is, “Yes,” one can ask, “Would you like to tell me what is the matter?”  Then one should listen carefully and empathetically.  Perhaps after hearing the full story, one might ask the person if he or she might have any idea of how to improve the situation, or one might even suggest possible ways to improve things.

One needs to be patient with someone who is in a bad mood.  It usually takes a person a good deal of time to work him or herself out of a bad mood, and it is useless to try to rush this recovery process. 

In today’s times there is a lot more stress, and a lot less family support, in most people’s lives than there was in the past.  Most of us are not living in the midst of large extended families.  Most of us are not working in the same professions our parents and grandparents worked in.  Discussing problematic situations with family and friends when one feels a little low can be fine. However, if one feels that it might cause discomfort to family and friends to hear one’s anxieties, then looking for a professional counsellor is a good solution.

Counselling has very much come of age today, unlike even ten years ago.  Today many people do not go for help only when everything is falling apart.  Instead, now many people wisely begin to seek help even before a problem becomes full-blown.  Investment in terms of time and money to seek emotional support, and to get a “reality check” about decision-making can pay rich dividends in the way one carries on daily life activities.

Do women get moody at certain times of the month? Is this hormone related? Is that not the case with men ?

Women’s moods are definitely affected by their monthly menstrual cycles. The hormonal changes that accompany this cycle in a woman’s body causes varying amounts of stress and depression, and can indeed cause her to be more emotional at certain times of the month. A majority of women are affected with these emotions in varying degrees in what is commonly known as the Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). 

Similar emotions, again with a biological hormonal basis, also sometimes occur in women soon after the birth of a child.  A majority of women have varying degrees of Post-Partum Depression, depending on the support system that is available to them. This can put a lot of pressure on the marital relationship. Discussing and seeking help for this possible condition even before childbirth can help all involved.

Men are known to experience various moods as adolescents, based on hormonal changes, but this begins to settle in their 20s.  It is not yet scientifically determined whether or not men go though monthly physical mood-altering cycles in any way similar to what women experience with their menstrual cycles.

What about patient rights?

This is in relation to a couple of articles that have been reported in
the newspapers last week in Chennai, about 16 government health care
workers who tested positive out of 594 employees in the government
general hospital with Hepatitis in the city, which is around 2% of the
health care workers. The client load in this hospital per day is
around 10,000 patients.

I would like to point out that this hospital has never discriminated
against positive people, not that I know of.

Please read the link below:

This brought in focus was how, many health care settings are afraid to
treat 0.9% of the HIV positive people in our country while we, (any
one of us could be patients) should not worry about 2% of our health
care workers who have Hepatitis....

One of the issues raised here is relating to patient's rights in a
public/ private heath care setting:

1. How and where should patients report in case confidentiality is
breached - their details are informed to parents, family etc?

2. What should we do to ensure that we do not get any infection-
hepatitis or HIV through a health care setting? What are some of the
questions we must ask our doctor/ nurse or anyone who is conducting
any invasive procedures?

3. If we get infected by any chance, and we know that it is from the
health care setting, what is the right of the patient?

4. How can we promote patient rights? Is it possible for any
organisation/ SACS to print patient rights and ensure it is put up as
posters in hospitals?

5. What is the legal right of a patient if the doctor is refusing to
treat a patient with HIV or any other infectious disease? Who should
we approach if it is a public/ private health care setting? How can a
patient prove that there is discrimination?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Basic Counselling Skills training workshop

              Basic Counselling Skills Training Workshop

Chennai's Center for Counselling (CFC)is conducting a "Workshop on Basic Counselling skills"

Date    : 13th to 16th June 2009 (Saturday to Tuesday)

Time   :  10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Venue : 18 Radhakrishnan Salai 9th St.,(opp citi center shopping mall)
3rd Floor, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004.

The topics covered will be

Basic skills in counselling,
Approaches in counselling,
Qualities of a counsellor, and
Stages in Counselling.

At the end of the training participants will be skilled in working as counsellors. Participants will receive not only a certificate but also a minimum of 16 hours of hands on experience in practice. This workshop will also be helpful as a refresher course for those who have been trained before.

CFC trains those have the aptitude and training in counselling. Our objective is to train individuals and organisations who are implementing counselling services.

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.

Registrations are open. We are taking only 12 people in this batch.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leadership programme for young women in the kellys home

Leadership for young women in the Resource Center, Kellys

 Group Strength                         :            21

 Name of the Trainer            :            Ms. Sivakami

 Age of the Trainees             :            14-18 years           

 Venue              :            Government Observation Home

for Girls - 153, Purasawalkam 

High Road, Chennai 10

 Day 1-   Monday, 18th May 2009

Topic Introduction       -            Rapport Building

Objective                        -            To observe and build rapport with the team

 Rapport building is the single most important aspect of our communication. In fact, all communication efforts can get futile if we do not have a rapport with our team members.

·     To understand -

·      The places and people we spend time with

·      The way each one look, sound, and behave

·      The skills they  have learned  so far

·      Their  purpose in life

Activity -

(i) Pass around a bag of candy. Tell the participants to take as many as they want. Once all the participants have candy, tell them that for each candy they took they have to say one thing about themselves. For instance, if a participant took 10 candies, they would have to say 10 things about themselves.

(ii) After introducing themselves they have to call out the name of a person whom they like ‘the best ‘in the group and say why they like them.

PS: They have to avoid repeating the names of members who have already introduced.

Day 2 Tuesday, 19th May 2009

Topic Introduction - Ethics and Moral Values

Objective - Philosophical approaches to ethical choice and reflection…

To understand-


·      The values that they live by

·      Their beliefs about ethics and moral values

“The problems of philosophy involve questions in which we are all (or should all be) deeply interested at the most basic level. They are important to us as we make decisions about what to believe, and how to be critical of our own naively held beliefs. Philosophical investigation may help us to determine what kinds of choices we should make, and what kind of person to be.

 It may help us to form a rational life plan, and to better understand our own motives and fears.

Identifying Ethics: Principles of ethics should provide us guidance as we make choices in a complicated world. Ideally, an account of ethics should help us to identify moral principles and morally relevant features of the choices we face

Ethics : Ethical codes of conduct instruct us on what we ought or ought not to do.

Values : Values underlie ethical codes. For any ethical code, we can evaluate it by considering the values that support it.

Subjective :
“Different people just have different values, and there is no way to argue or reason about the evaluative assumptions that lie behind different ethical judgments or choices.

Activity : 

The group was divided into two; Group A had to come up  with various stages of Man and the ethics and values he have to practice at each stage of life and Group B had to do various stages of life of a woman –the values she had to practice and preach to her children.

Both the team had to enact what they should do and what they should not do at each stage.

Reward: Two best participants were identified and rewarded.


Day 3- Wednesday, 20th  2009

Topic         - Higher Education


Objective - To decide the future and set the standard of living one need to be aware of various courses/careers available.

To understand -

·      Groups available in XI

·      Courses available in science and Arts Colleges

·      Differences between Skilled and unskilled labors

·      Brief about

Professional Degrees -Engineering/medicine/Law


Master Degrees/Doctorate degrees

·      What is Standard of Living

·      Job Market

·      Practicality/difficulty in choosing


The group was asked to sit in a circle one member of the group had to run with a parcel round the circle and drop it where ever she wanted to; that person had to come inside the circle and do whatever punishment the group ask her to do.

e.g. to dance/sing etc., and then should express what they wanted to become in future and why. Then the trainer would explain about the course the advantage /the drawbacks of the course/how much they can earn   in future etc.,

 Day 4- Thursday, 21st  2009

Topic - Marriage & Relationship

Objective - A Healthy Relationship  - Teenage Abusive Relationships - Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse 

To understand-

A Healthy Relationship Everyone has a right to a safe and healthy relationship—one that is based on mutual honesty, trust, respect and open communication, a relationship consists of two people; both should always feel like an equal in the relationship and feel free to speak their mind.

What is considered abuse? : Abuse can be verbal, physical, or sexual when concerning an intimate relationship. Verbal Abuse: Name calling, put-downs, insults, blaming, criticizing, accusing, hurtful jokes, controlling, remarks about appearance Physical Abuse: Pinching, punching, biting, throwing objects, spitting, pulling hair, preventing from eating or sleeping, driving fast to intimidate you Sexual: Unwanted touching, withholding sex, forcing sex, sexual name calling, refusing to practice safe sex .

To Understand -

·      The right age to get married

·      Psychological factors

·      Types of Relationships –Homosexuals/heterosexuals/Bisexual

·      One to one  & Many to one  Relationship

·      Pros and Cons of every relationship

·      Sustainability  - Love or  Arrange Marriage

·      Difference between Love & Lust


The group was divided into 4 member team – Quiz was conducted among them. Where the team had to answer the trainer’s query, if they don’t know the answer the question will be passed on to the next team. At the end of each question  the team gets a chance to understand the Myths& Facts.

Day 5 - Friday 22nd 2009

Topic         - Sex Education

Objective - To create consciousness about what is sex;

To realize teenage is not the right age for having sex, how to protect themselves from being abused 

To understand-


·      Sexually Transmitted Diseases

·      AIDS /STD/HIV- How virus spread

·      Abortion –  Various ways of abortion

·      Common Problems faced by Adolescent s

·      Difference between friendship and love and sex- between same gender and opposite gender

·      Fertility - Age


The group members were asked to sit in a circle and one member was asked to sit in the center and clap; two objects one in green colour and another in red colour were asked to pass on around the circle.   Each time the clapping was stopped, the person having red colour would ask question and the person in green would answer for it.  For each question the trainer would oversee and explain the facts.