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WOMEN CENTERED COUNSELING: MEET OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS & MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

A conference on “reflections on women-centered counseling- a meet of women?s rights activists and mental health professionals” was organized by JAGORI and MANAS FOUNDATION on 30th September 2009. The conference took place in Vishwa Yuva Kendra, Chankyapuri, New Delhi The panelists stressed on the fact that in gender sensitive counseling one should not only look at women but at men as well who are indirect victims of patriarchy.

They also highlighted the role of etiology and power hierarchy. They pointed out that the common goal of between social activists working for women?s issues and mental health professionals is to enhance well being. Panelist stressed that in a profession like counseling it is extremely difficult to draw a line between the ideology of the profession and the personal reality. In our country, one major difficulty in this field is the question of who will supervise whom and who will provide feedback. Another point that the panelist stressed upon was that feminist counseling does not make one choose between psychological, social and biological dimensions; in fact it tries to incorporate all three.

They strongly believed that the person needs to be personalized and not politicized. The need is to bridge the gap between internalized values and realities, knowledge and actions through various micro techniques while dealing with women. She feels that it is important to focus on finding resilience in them. The conference was a highlight of the fields of gender, health, and disability; and the various issues. The importance of capacity building and creating enabling environment spaces were stressed upon. The interactions between the different dimensions of psychological, social and biological were considered important. It is also considered important to not neglect men while carrying out gender sensitive counseling.

 
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