Tuesday, August 28, 2012


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for 
a lifetime,” so goes the famous Chinese proverb. Similarly, counselling is a journey of the
client to“KNOW THYSELF” so that she can find a solution to her problem, of course
the counsellor helping the client in the entire journey. The counsellor plays a pivotal
role in the counselling process and their personality influences the therapeutic alliance
in major way.

There are numerous ways to the mountain top but the view is the same. Techniques and 
principles in therapeutic theory are many, but what matters the most is the counsellor’s
attitude and approach in the therapy and their evolution as a pillar of strength and ray
of hope for the client.

These are few of my observations from the “Basic Counselling Skills Training” at Maris Stella
College,Vijayawada from August 6-11, 2012 by Fr. Jose Parappully SDB, Ph.D., Director of
Sumedha Centre, Joelikotewhich I attended.

It was a role- reversal for all the members of the camp and it was with many apprehensions, 
I sat on the first day. But Fr. Jose had uniformly spaced the sessions in such a way that
every theory class was complimented by liberal practical sessions. The video lessons gave us
a demonstration of how counselling sessions should be handled.  Fr. Jose’s down-to-earth
attitude, simple style, sense of humour and keen sense for detail made every session
memorable and left the participants wanting for more.

What we’ve learnt in the workshop is the basic building block of the entire therapeutic
process but a tiny drop in the vast ocean of therapeutic theory.

A thousand mile journey begins with a single step and this is the first step in our endeavor 
to be counsellors for our students.

One of the deepest secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for 

Thank you, Fr. Jose for being so and inspiring many more like us……

Mrs. V. Sudha Devi.
Head of the Department of Mathematics
P.G Section
Maris Stella College

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 17-31, 2012

Midlife Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey programme commenced on August 17th evening and will conclude on August 31st noon.

There are 13 participants – five diocesan priests and eight religious sisters. One priest and one sister who had registered could not come due to illness.

Programme Description: Midlife is a period of profound shifts and changes – in body, mind, & spirit; in perspectives, priorities, values, goals, relationships, sexuality, spirituality etc. This workshop explores these psychological dynamics of midlife so as to deepen and enrich one’s spiritual journey. It explores particularly the four basic midlife issues: identity, intimacy, generativity and integrity. Other topics include spirituality, religious life, aging and emotional well-being, sexuality and celibacy, persona and shadow.  Insights from psychology, medical science and sacred scripture, and the exploratory and healing techniques of the intensive journal, psychosynthesis, expressive arts, meditation and prayer are used in this exploration. (Participant Age Limit: 30-58 years)

(A Psychospiritual Wholeness Journey)

September 25 – December 03

This is the last programme at Sumedha Centre this year. There are some seats still available for this programme. Those interested please apply immediately.

Course Description: Sumedha Sadhana  is an inner journey in quest of greater healing and wholeness. Participants begin from where they are, looking at what is happening on their spiritual journey. They then move on to explore the psychological dynamics that affect their spirituality and integrate them in healthy ways to create more satisfying and more productive life patterns.

Course Content: Holistic, Process & Formative Spiritualities; Cosmic, Creation & Feminist Spiritualities; Religious & Community Life; Prayerfulness & Healthy Emotional Life; Midlife Dynamics & the Spiritual Journey; Identity & Vocational Commitment; Intimacy, Celibacy & Sexuality; Generativity, Stress & Burnout; Shadows & Subpersonalities; Trauma, Healing & Reconciliation; The Universe story, Jesus Story and Our Story -- are some of the major topics that will be explored. Special place is given to group therapy where participants have the opportunity to face their brokenness and fears, their unhelpful patterns of living and relating and move on to healing and wholeness. The programme concludes with a directed retreat.

Tools & Techniques: Insights from Christian faith and wisdom traditions, various psychological theories of development, as well as experiential tools and techniques from Psychosynthesis, Intensive Journal, Expressive Arts, multi-media, prayer & meditation practices, and Sacred Scripture are used to explore and enhance one’s psychospiritual journey. (Age limit: 30-60 years)

Agnes Panikulam MA (Trauma & Healing). Ajoy Fernandes PhD (Jungian Approaches to Self-Awareness). Gerard Alvarez MA (The Universe Story, Jesus Story, Our Story – and the Word). Joe Mannath PhD (Sexuality, Celibacy& Intimacy). Jose Parappully PhD (Therapy, Psychological and Midlife Dynamics, Mature Spirituality, Religious and Community Life, Trauma & Healing, Retreat). MC Abraham PhD (Group Therapy). Peter Lourdes, PhD (Therapy). Shalini Mulackal PhD (Feminist & Women’s Spirituality)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The Director of Sumedha Centre was invited to facilitate a training programme in Basic Counselling Skills for 21 members of the staff, including the President and Principal of Maris Stella College, Vijyawada, Andhra Pradesh. The training was held from 6th to 11th August.

Maris Stella is an Autonomous College, accredited as “a College with Potential for Excellence.” This year the college completed 50 years. The Golden Jubilee Celebrations were held a few days before the training programme. The College is run by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

The training programme was organised by Sr. M. Goretti Kanakarathinam, who is the Head of the Department of Value Education at the College. The training was in view of setting up a Students’ Counselling Centre at the College. Sr. Kanakarathinam is also a visiting Faculty member at Sumedha Centre.

The training focused on the person of the counsellor and on attending, listening and responding skills. Besides inputs from the trainer, participants were given carefully chosen reading material. Theory was put into practise through exercises on the fundamental skills of counselling and through practice labs where participants took in turn the roles of counsellor, counsellee and observer. The practice sessions were critiqued in small and large groups. Training videos also helped to demonstrate the skills.

The trainees were very pleased with the training and found it very useful “We were able to clarify our misconceptions about counselling. Most of us had thought of counselling as giving advice or solving problems. Now we know it is very different,” said one participant.

Participants found the training useful not only in learning to help their students; it also provided insights and skills for improving their relationships in general.

One participant said that she had been impressed by the need to really listen. “I have made special efforts these days to really listen to my sons at home. It has made a difference to our relationship.”

“I not only learned counselling skills. My life has really been enriched by this training. I have become a better person. I am learning to relate to people with greater sensitivity,” observed another.

These sentiments were shared by other trainees as well.

The College is planning follow-up programmes.