6-Day Course on Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice

“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 2 modules

Module 1 - 15th April Friday, 16th April Saturday, 17th April Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Module 2 - 29th April Friday, 30th April Saturday, 1st May Sunday, 10am to 6pm

Medium of Instruction: English



Understanding gender & sexuality-related norms

Interrogating gender-sexuality as social structures

Exploring sexuality in the personal and professional/ clinical context

Paradigms informing Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice

Working with Queer individuals and queer-related distress

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

Understanding the psy diagnostic frameworks from a queer affirmative lens

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: Rs 20,000

Venue: Zoom

Last Date for Applications: 18th March 2022

Number of seats: Maximum 50 participants

For more information:

Apply for the course by filling out this form by 18th March 2022. Please check out this FAQs document for any doubts. For further questions, write to training@mariwalahealthinitiative.org with the subject line QACP Certificate Course Online 2022.

applicants will be informed on 24th March 2022. A limited number of scholarships are also available. Please indicate whether you’d like to avail a scholarship in the application form. You can also email MHI (training@mariwalahealthinitiative.org), with your reasons for seeking a scholarship, so that your request can be assessed.


Shruti Chakravarty, PhD, (cis woman; pronouns: she, her) has 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, as a mental health practitioner, researcher, trainer, and social worker. Her areas of engagement have been mental health, gender and sexuality, from a rights-based perspective. She has an independent therapeutic practice based in Mumbai, has in-depth experience working with LGBTQIA+ clients in the therapeutic space, and has co-authored a training manual on Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP): A Resource Book for Mental Health Practitioners in India. She has completed her PhD on the subject of queer intimacies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Shruti is Chief Advisor at Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI) and also faculty at the Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice course run by MHI.

Pooja Nair (ciswoman, pronoun: she) has been part of the non-profit sector for over a decade. She has worked as a researcher, documentation consultant and trainer. She is a counselor with an independent therapeutic practice based in Bombay. She is faculty at the Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice course and a consultant therapist with Mariwala Health Initiative. She has an MPhil from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and has worked in the areas of life-skills training, curriculum development, feminist theory, gender, sexuality, violence, and child sexual abuse.

Gauri Shringarpure (ciswoman, pronoun: she/her) is a queer mental health practitioner with a private practice in Thane. She is an experienced gender-sexuality trainer having conducted trainings for colleges and the NSS. She is a positive psychology coach and active in conducting workshops on mental health and self-care. She is also a consumer behaviour consultant and researcher with over 20 years of experience in the field.