Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP) Residential Program - Kerala State, Oct-Nov 2023

“An apology in essence has two dimensions, namely the acknowledgement 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. 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 on 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 and trans-affirming, we are beginning to challenge these structures that pathologise and discriminate against trans and queer persons and participate in promoting their well-being in a deliberate and affirming manner.

How might we, as mental health practitioners, contribute, generate and operationalise ways to make amends? This 6-day residential training is an opportunity for mental health practitioners from across the state of Kerala to reorient themselves to an anti-oppressive therapeutic practice. This program will have teaching modules, group interaction, self-reflective pieces, and intensive/immersive sessions in the evening aiming at building capacity within the MHPs of Kerala to bring in an affirmative lens in the practice that they engage in.

The training covers both perspective building to recognise inequalities and their impact on mental health and also provides tools to address distress and promote the well-being of LGBTQI+ persons. These perspectives and tools will support practitioners to modify their ongoing practice to make it queer and trans-affirmative.

Application details

Inclusion criteria and eligibility:

  • This course is open to Mental Health Practitioners, viz. counselling psychologists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, social workers, and counsellors, preferably with experience of working with trans and queer-identified clients/their families.
  • Only MHPs based in the state of Kerala can apply.
  • Preference would be given to MHPs who work in Government settings and programs.

Course schedule: 6 days
Dates: 30th October to 4th November, 2023
Duration of session per day: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday (Including additional sessions from 7 pm to 8 pm on some days). Please note that attendance in all sessions is mandatory to receive the certificate of completion.

Fee: INR 8000 (Special discounted rate for this program only). Fees cover accommodation (on a shared basis), breakfast, lunch and dinner, and course material. (Please note participants will have to pay for their own travel arrangements)

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 Trans and Queer individuals and related distress
  • Working with Trans and Queer individuals and their interpersonal relationships, addressing issues with family, peers and intimate relationships
  • Understanding clinical diagnostic frameworks from a Trans and 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 trans and queer 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.

Venue: Seminar Hall, Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), Calicut

Accommodation venue: Accommodation Facility of the Institute of Palliative Medicine (Google Maps Link), IMHANS Campus

Last Date for Applications: 15th October, 2023

How to apply?

Apply for the course by filling out this form by 15th October 2023.

For more information:
Please check out this FAQs document for any doubts. For further questions, please write to qacp@mariwalahealthinitiative.org with the subject line QACP Residential Kerala, 2023 or call 022 6648 0937.

Selected applicants will be informed on 17th October 2023.
Payment of INR 8000/- by 20th October would be needed to confirm the seat of the selected participant.

Items Date
Opening date for applications 09 October 2023
Closing date for applications 15th October 2023
Selection announcement 17th October 2023
Payment deadline 20th October 2023
Course begins 30th October 2023
Course ends 4th November 2023


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 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 is active in conducting workshops on mental health and self-care. She is faculty at the Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice course and the co-author of Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP): A Resource Book for Mental Health Practitioners in India. She is also a consumer behaviour consultant and researcher with over 20 years of experience in the field.

Guest Faculty: The QACP course invites members from the LGBTQI+ community to share their lived experiences during the course of the 6 days.