Saturday, October 10, 2020

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY- "Perspectives on Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing through Arts"

 WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY- October 10th 2020

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. World Mental Health Day 2019 - Focus on suicide prevention. According to WHO, in recent years, there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions. Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma. Increased investment is required on all fronts: for mental health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma; for efforts to increase access to quality mental health care and effective treatments; and for research to identify new treatments and improve existing treatments for all mental disorders. In 2019, WHO launched the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023): Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health to ensure access to quality and affordable care for mental health conditions in 12 priority countries to 100 million more people. This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye. Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health. 

"Perspectives on Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing through Arts"

Hosted by, East West Center for Counseling and Training,

The reason for hosting the session on this particular day is very important, to spread awareness on the importance of Mental Health  and how Art, a creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. This year's theme for Mental Health Day is, "Increased investment in Mental Health" the initiative was taken up to invest time the most precious asset of every individual to understand and enrich oneself with knowledge on mental health. We had eminent speakers as panelists,

1) Dr Anbu Durai -Addressed the topic ‘Life – Celebrations of the mind’ Dr. C. Anbudorai Mbbs jipmer pondi1989 Dpm Nimhans blore "91 [MD community med mmc chennai 1996] He is currently working with, The banyan, The Hindu Mission and NIEPMD His past experiences involves, As psychiatrist BEML KGF Karnataka Manipal hospital Bangalore Wisdom Chennai Dr Kamakshi mem Chennai Dr Kamraj hospital Chennai Laxmi nursing home Agash Mindzone Vidyasagar Win or win mental health Manashastra As visiting lecturer tutor In psychiatry, psychology &community medicine for nurses, social workers, occupational &physiotherapists, community worker SRM College Balaji dental college Meenakshi college alapakkam CSIM Apollo College of nursing Thai moogambigai BALM Basic training in, Playback theatre, Psychodrama, Expressive arts therapy, Storytelling , Anthroposophy, Anthropological psychiatry, Applied Buddhist psychology, Cognitive psychology, NLP and Open dialogue.

2) Dr S Janani- consultant psychiatrist completed her MBBS from Vinayaka missions Salem and did her psychiatric medicine from Christian Medical college Vellore. She Practices hypnotherapy extensively and runs her own private establishment, Shraddha dedicated to treating people with mental illnesses in Mandaveli. She addressed the topic ‘There is Nothing Like Mental Health’.

3) Dr Eric Miller - Will be focusing on "Emotional Wellness and Positive Mental Health Through Storytelling" in the session. Dr Eric Miller is a Native New Yorker who has settled in Chennai. He has earned a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Madras. Dr Eric co-founded the "World Storytelling Institute" in 2007, and the annual "Chennai Storytelling Festival" in 2013. He directs both. His primary work these days is developing, practicing, and training others in the methods of Storytelling Therapy. Storytelling Therapy methods could also be used for Life Coaching, and for facilitating Personality.

4) Mrs Kumudam Berkin - Shared on the topic ‘Art and its Healing on Me’. She is a German language translator, interpreter and certified trainer. Self taught artist, Classical dancer and modern jazz exponent. Over 12 years of corporate experience in companies such as Ford, HP and cognizant. Mother of two daughters and currently a freelancer. 

The session's moderator was Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathnam ( Psychodramatist and Expressive arts therapist). She is the founder- director of East West Center for Counselling which is an Expressive arts therapy center providing therapy services to schools, universities and organisations and the Indian Institute of psychodrama which is the first psychodrama training institute in India. Magdalene has more than 25 years of experience in working with addiction, HIV/AIDS and mental health issues, she has worked with several state and central government agencies in India, She has also worked with UNICEF and WHO as consultant on projects. 

The session time- 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm

YouTube link:

Order of events :
5:30 – 5:35 - Welcome address by Natalia (Intern from Stella Maris college - Department of Social work)
5:35 – 5:40 - Why mental health day by Keran (Intern from Stella Maris college - Department of Social work)
5:40 – 5:45 - Introduction of moderator and purpose of panel discussion by Johannah( Cousellor EWC) 
5:45 – 5:55 - Dr.C.Anbudorai – ‘Life – Celebrations of the mind’ 
5:55 – 6:05 - Dr.Kumudam – ‘Art and its Healing on Me’ 
6:05 – 6:15 - Dr.S.Janani – ‘There is Nothing Like Mental Health’ 
6:15 – 6: 20 - Dr Eric Miller - ‘Emotional Wellness and positive mental health through storytelling’ 
6:20 - Question and Answer 
6:25 - Announcements of some important upcoming Art therapy workshops 
6:30 - Vote of thanks by  Keran (Intern from Stella Maris college - Department of Social work).

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

MIND MANTRA PROJECT- Orientation to the Fire and Rescue Officers, September 16th 2020

Our Director Magdalene Jeyarathnam and counsellor Johannah Preethika conducted an orientation session for the Fire and Rescue officers as part of the Mind Mantra Project. The session was conducted for two Batch of officers on September 16th one at 9 AM and the other at 12 PM. The officers were directed to do practical work such as Social Atom. 



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day- Working together to prevent suicide ( September 10 2020)

Director of East West Center for Counselling and Training, and Indian Institute of Psychodrama, Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathnam was a guest speaker at The Church Module Training Course. This session was on the topic "Working together to prevent suicide" on World Suicide Prevention Day the 10th of September 2020 from 4 PM to 6 PM.   

Thursday, September 10, 2020

MIND MANTRA PROJECT- 9th September 2020

 " MIND MANTRA" project, a join venture of East West Center for counselling & training (EWC) and Creations Charitable Trust for the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue department. The ingratiation ceremony of the project took place on the 9th of September 2020. The chief guest of the ceremony was the DGP, Dr. Sylendra Babu.IPS who was also the project mentor, the Deputy Director with Tamil Nadu fire and rescue services Priya Ravichandran is the Deputy Director with Tamil Nadu fire and rescue services, Ms. Asha Marina S and Prithivi K joint trustees of Creations Charitable Trust along with Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathinam the director of EWC were present to grace the occasion.

The Mind Mantra Project was initiated to enhance the mind and emotional well-being of the service men who have been constantly contributing to the betterment of the society, risking their own lives in the process of saving lives in danger. The inauguration was also followed by a Mental health awareness session conducted by Ms. Magdalene about the need for therapy and the self-care for people who work in workplaces which are as stressful as the Rescue Department the session was very interactive and made them realize the need for Counselling and Stress management.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Challenges faced by teachers/ parents during the pandemic- September 8th, 2020

Our Director Magdalene Jeyarathnam was a panelist in the discussion on the Challenges faced by the teachers/parents during the pandemic. This panel discussion was conducted for the teachers of Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, Chennai in connection with Teachers Day Celebration. It was conducted on 8th of September, Tuesday at 4 pm. 


Monday, July 27, 2020


East West Center for Counselling and Training began group supervision sessions in the month of July for professionals practicing counselling and therapy with individual, couples or groups. These sessions are for 90 minutes from 3 PM to 4.30 PM on every Friday. 

Magdalene Jeyarathnam  director of East West Center for Counselling and Training and Indian Institute of Psychodrama supervises the group sessions.  She was certified in 2002 by Central School of Counselling Training (CSCT) London, UK and in January 2019 she was certified in the Rise up model which is an approved course by Australian Counselling Association ( ACA). She has been supervising expressive arts therapists and therapists working with individuals couples and groups. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Exploring relationships and emotions through arts - June 27th, 2020 | Pride month

East West Center for Counselling and Training, along with Orinam organized a session for the LGBTQI+ community. The topic was on "Exploring relationships and emotions through arts" and it was for 2 hours on 27th June, 2020. It was a part of the Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition Pride events 2020. The session had around 15 participants and went really well as all of them got a chance to express their feelings. We wish the community a Happy Pride!

We have ongoing online group therapy sessions for the LGBTQI+ community every Saturday from 11 AM to 1 PM. Contact us to register.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Discovering You | Instagam live - June 22nd, 2020

Director of East West Center for Counselling and Training, and Indian Institute of Psychodrama, Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathnam did a live session on Instagram with Idk_series on 22nd June, 2020. Idk_series is the Instagram handle of I Don't Know Series, a TV show, that telecasts in-depth conversations and this was their 50th episode. The topic was "Discovering You" and the discussion was on mental health, arts, using arts for healing and the different courses offered. The questions asked by the viewers were also addressed. Please find the YouTube link of the session:

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Online Arts Therapy session - June 22nd, 2020

Every Monday we have a group of individuals from various parts of the world participate in our virtual Group therapy, discovering aspects of themselves and safe spaces in this current situation of vulnerability caused by COVID-19. The sessions have been happening from the first week of April 2020 and has been continuing. It happens for 2 hours from 11 AM to 1 PM Indian Standard Time.
Here is one such session conducted by one of our very own student Ms. Lata Sundaram. She is a student of our Joint PG Diploma Course in Psychodrama with TISS and of our certificate course on Expressive Arts Therapy. This video is an excerpt from the session recorded and posted after the approval of the participants.

Contact us to join in our next sessions.
Find the YouTube link to the video of the session:

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Beating the webinar stress - June 19th, 2020

Our Director Magdalene Jeyarathnam facilitated a session on "Beating the Webinar Stress" hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 

CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, with about 9100 members from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from 288 national and regional sectoral industry bodies. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.

The session happened on June 19th, 2020 for an hour and had around 50 participants. There were many discussions on the management of stress as the participants contributed to it by sharing their experience on facing the webinar stress during COVID-19. The session was highly appreciated by everyone.

Find the YouTube link to the video of the session here:

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Online session on COVID-19 - June, 2020 | Pride month

East West Center for Counselling and Training along with Queer Wings and Nirangal organized an online discussion about COVID 19 for the LGBTQI+ community, commemorating the Pride month. The session in Tamil happened on June 4th, 2020 and the session in English happened on June 14th, 2020. 

The session had a Therapist, Magdalene Jeyarathnam and a Medical professional, 
Dr. P Kuganantham. Dr. P Kuganantham is the Director of SIMS hospital, Nungambakkam and has been on interviews and discussions in news channels such as NDTV and Pudhiya Thalaimurai for the current pandemic. He is also a part of the team for advising medical policies to the Tamil Nadu government. He has worked as a Health Inspector of Chennai and has served as Director of Infectious Diseases hospital, Chennai. He is an Epidemiologist, has worked extensively with HIV AIDS, and has a WHO Fellowship - Epidemiology, Infectious diseases and AIDS from John Hopkins University, USA. 

Both the sessions had a lot of participants who asked doubts on the virus outbreak and steps to be taken for prevention, and who benefitted from the sessions. 

Love in the time of Corona - An Expressive Arts Online Workshop

Love in the Time of Corona Workshop 

Facilitated by Magdalene Jeyarathnam (India) and Marcia Honig (Israel / Brazil).
At These days, of isolation and imperative distance between individuals, families and social groups, we face a lack of contact and closeness, support and even love. The purpose of the workshop was to enable IAGP members to express their feelings and connect to each other, at those hard moments around the world, due the Covid19. It was a 2 hours session that happened on 4 sundays in April and May. Each of the sessions saw participants from different parts of the world. 

Expressive Arts Therapy certificate course this summer (Online) - May, 2020

East West Center for Counselling and Training organized a 10 day Online certificate course on Expressive Arts Therapy from may 1st to 10th. The sessions were for 3 hours each day. We had 16 participants from 12 different cities across the world

The Online certificate course was facilitated by:
Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathnam, Expressive Arts therapist and is a board certified Psychodramatist

Dr. Herb Propper, PhD, TEP, Trainer, educator, and practitioner of Psychodrama

Dr Eric Miller, PhD, MSc, Director of World Storytelling Institute 

Ms. Katia Verreault, Dance Movement Therapist

Ms. Johannah  Preethika E, Counsellor and Internship coordinator

Ms. Shruthi S, Counsellor and Counselling Supervisor

It's been 3 months since the lockdown due to COVID 19 started and we have been experimenting in conducting workshops and certificate courses online since then and it turned out to be very effective. These were some of the amazing feedbacks we received from our students of the May month online certificate courses on Expressive Arts Therapy. 


The COVID-19 pandemic that led to the lockdown all around the world has put us all in a pause mode. People all over the world have been staying in their houses to help prevent the spread of the disease. 
We, at East West Center for Counselling and Training, planned and arranged for a LOCKDOWN SPECIAL WORKSHOP on Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapy for students and professionals who can make use of this time to learn a new therapy and gain knowledge.
 The workshop had participants from 11 different cities across the world! 

As this was our first venture on conducting workshop online on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had many questions on how do we do an experiential course online? How can Expressive Arts Therapy be done on a virtual platform? Psychodrama, being a group action method, can it be done online with the Director and the group on screen? We found it to be really effective and helped in connecting with one another. These are some of the feedbacks we received from our participants. 

Friday, June 5, 2020


Since the lockdown began in March due to COVID 19, East West Center for Counselling and Training has been conducting regular art therapy sessions online for children and adults. These group sessions are ongoing since March and have been providing space for individuals to express their emotions and work through their challenges during this difficult time. 

Our Online Group Art Therapy session "Personal diary of a teenager" for children and teenagers happens every Saturday from 10 AM to 11.30 AM.

Our "Open Art Therapy" sessions for children and adult happen every Monday from 
11 AM to 1 PM.
These are some of the pictures from the ongoing sessions.

Join us if interested.
Contact: 9884700104 / 06

Saturday, April 25, 2020


We are conducting online sessions for children who feel stuck and confined at home during this lockdown. Many reports say that children could get bored, exhausted and sometimes even depressed during this lockdown. Psychiatrist Diego Figuera, Madrid also says that there is a big risk of boredom to turn into apathy as there is lack of physical movement and varieties in the day to day activities among the children. 

To help the children connect to their problems, give voice to their emotions, and to learn techniques to heal we are organizing these sessions. Main focus is on to help the children engage during lock-down, behavior management, relationship issues, improve concentration /focus, anger and aggression management, goal setting, increasing social skills and increasing self esteem. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Creating collaborative art as therapy - Online | During COVID - 19 lockdown

Collaborative art making online - fun, connecting and just being!

This was a group art done online through Zoom in one of our classes in Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate course. 

This is an Online group art activity that was done in our Lockdown special workshop on Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapy. The participants were asked to express in words or drawings, their experience in today's session. You can see how it evolved!