Residential Course on Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice (QACP)

A collaboration of Mariwala Health Initiative and Center for Health and Mental Health, TISS

[4th – 9th November, 2019 at TISS, Mumbai]

After an overwhelming response to QACP across three cities (Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi) and a request for more trainings from around the country, the QACP team has decided to organise a 6-day residential course. To be a part of this, read below! (And on Twitter #QACP)

“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. 

Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI) and Center for Health & Mental Health, TISS announce a 6-day Residential Certificate Course on Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice to be held in Mumbai [4th – 9th November, 2019 at TISS, Mumbai] 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: The course will be conducted over 6 days from Monday (4th November) to Saturday (9th November). Participants are expected to arrive at the venue by the evening of 3rd November.

Dates:  4th November to 9th November 2019.

Arrival date: 3rd November 2019 (Sunday after 2pm)

Departure date: 9th November 2019 (Saturday after 7pm)

Instruction hours: 10am to 6pm. 

Activities/ film screenings/ panel discussions: 7pm onwards.

ALL participants including those who are Mumbai-based will have to stay on campus throughout the duration of this course. 

Medium of Instruction: English

Course will cover: 

  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.

Fees: Rs 15,000* (Inclusive of AC accommodation on twin-sharing basis at the TISS campus from afternoon of 3rd Nov to afternoon of 9th Nov, all meals and course material) *subsidized by MHI. 

Limited number of scholarships available. Please email MHI (contact@mariwalahealthinitiative.org), with your reasons for seeking scholarship, so that your request can be assessed.    

Venue: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai 

Last Date for Applications: 5th August 2019

Number of seats: Maximum 24 participants

Application process: Apply for the course by filling out this form by 5th August 2019. This is a residential course. Please apply only if you are able to stay on campus for the entire duration of the course. Selected applicants will be informed on 15th August 2019. For any queries write to contact@mariwalahealthinitiative.org with the subject line QACP Residential Certificate Course.


“I left with an understanding that a true therapist ally is one who stands in solidarity with queer lives & rights, not only in private but in professional spaces too. Passing the mic is possible only when a therapist ally” - QACP Participant, Mumbai 2019

The Team:

Ketki Ranade, Ph.D., (gender queer, pronoun: they) is currently Faculty and Chairperson, Center for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Ketki has worked for almost two decades as a mental health service provider, trainer, researcher and activist. Their recent publications include, 'Growing Up Gay - A critical psychosocial perspective', Springer (2018) and 'Sexual Rights of Women with Psychosocial Disabilities - insights from India', ARROW (2017). Ketki is also author of Gay Affirmative Counselling Practice, a resource and training manual (2013). Their areas of teaching include mental health policy, legislations and advocacy, clinical social work, interdisciplinary perspectives in mental health and qualitative research methodology. They were a member of the Expert Committee on Transgender Issues formed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India in 2013. Ketki is an advisor to the Mariwala Health Initiative and a member of LABIA- a queer feminist LBT collective.

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 and a member of LABIA- a queer feminist LBT collective.

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 in social work 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. Pooja is a member of LABIA- a queer feminist LBT collective.

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. Gauri is a member of LABIA- a queer feminist LBT collective.

Aanchal Narang (ciswoman, pronoun: she) is an independent counsellor with a practice in Andheri and sees a variety of clients. She has  completed her MA in Applied Clinical Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has experience in conducting training for the last 6 years on various topics such as debating, public speaking, gender and sexuality at various schools and colleges. She has worked as an assistant clinical psychologist in Cooper Hospital and Shree Geeta Vikas Vidyalaya school. She works with clients on palliative care at Make a Wish Foundation and has experience working with LGBTQIA+ clients and also has been managing a phone line for LBT individuals for LABIA- a queer feminist LBT collective, Mumbai.