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