6- day Certificate Course on Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP) Online

“An apology in essence has two dimensions, namely the acknowledgment of having done a wrong and the expression of a willingness to atone for it.” 

Sec 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised non-normative sexualities was read down on September 6th 2018. The judgment went beyond the detached language of the law to uphold the Right to Love for queer people. It acknowledged the oppression of a section of people pushed to the margins due to their genders and sexualities and stated that ‘History owes them an apology’. 

The judgement also centres a collective responsibility. For too long, the mental health community has been complicit in upholding oppressive structures of gender binarism and heteronormativity by providing a "cure" for the non-normative. When we speak of being queer affirming, we are beginning to challenge these structures that pathologise and discriminate against queer persons and participate in promoting their wellbeing in a deliberate and affirming manner.

How might we, as mental health practitioners, contribute, generate and operationalise ways to make amends? This 6 day training is an opportunity to reorient ourselves to an anti-oppressive therapeutic practice. The training covers both perspective building to recognise inequalities and their impact on mental health and also provides tools to address distress and promote well-being of LGBTQIA+ persons. These perspectives and tools will support practitioners to modify their ongoing practice to make it queer affirmative.


This course is open to Mental Health Practitioners, viz. psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, preferably with experience of working with queer identified clients/ their families.

Course schedule: 6 days over a month long period

30th April Friday, 1st May Saturday, 10am to 6pm

14th May Friday, 15th May Saturday, 10am to 6pm

28th May Friday, 29th May Saturday, 10am to 6pm

Medium of Instruction: English


  1. Understanding gender & sexuality related norms

  2. Interrogating gender-sexuality as social structures

  3. Exploring sexuality in the personal and professional/ clinical context

  4. Paradigms informing Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice

  5. Working with Queer individuals and queer-related distress

  6. Working with Queer individuals and their inter-personal relationships, addressing issues with family, peers and intimate relationships

  7. Understanding the psy diagnostic frameworks from a queer affirmative lens

  8. Operationalising Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice - queering some of the traditional approaches to clinical and counselling practice

*Please note: This course will focus on both queer and trans mental health concerns, however will not cover specifics related to gender affirmative therapies (GAT) or medical transition services for trans persons. Participants will be provided with links to resource materials related to GAT.

Registration: INR 12,000

Venue: Zoom

Last Date for Applications: 20th March 2021

Number of seats: Maximum 40 participants

For more information:

Apply for the course by filling out this form by 20th March 2021. For questions write to training@mariwalahealthinitiative.org with the subject line QACP Certificate Course Online 2021.

Selected applicants will be informed on 31st March 2021. Limited number of scholarships available. Please email MHI (training@mariwalahealthinitiative.org), with your reasons for seeking scholarship, so that your request can be assessed.   


Shruti Chakravarty (ciswoman, pronoun: she) has experience of 15 years in the non-profit sector, as a mental health practitioner, researcher, trainer and social worker. Areas of engagement have been mental health, gender and sexuality from a rights based perspective. She has an independent therapeutic practice based in Mumbai and has in-depth experience working with LGBTQIA+ clients in a therapeutic set up. She has co-authored a training manual on Gay Affirmative Counselling Practice and conducts several interactive workshops on this topic on a regular basis with students of social work, psychology and counselling, with NGOs working with young people, with MHPs and social workers in a variety of settings. She is currently pursuing her PhD on queer intimacies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She is also Chief Advisor at Mariwala Health Initiative.


Pooja Nair (ciswoman, pronoun: she) has been part of the non-profit sector for over a decade. She has worked variously as a researcher, documentation consultant, trainer and now as an independent therapist. She has an MPhil and has worked in the areas of life skills, gender, sexuality, violence and child sexual abuse. She has also worked with adolescents on life skills development. She's currently working on her PhD in addition to being a mental health practitioner and trainer. 


Gauri Shringarpure (ciswoman, pronoun: she) is a counsellor and psychotherapist with practice in Thane. She has been involved in gender and sexuality training in colleges and with NSS students for more than two years. She is also an experienced (22 years) researcher in consumer behavior and is also an ethnographer. She is a consultant for Mariwala Health Initiative with two of their partner organisations.