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By Godfrey D`Sa sdb
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Mumbai, Apr. 19. At a graduation function on April 17, 2009, twenty participants of the First Batch of the 'Don Bosco Advanced Diploma in Counseling Psychology' received their certificates from Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Salesian Provincial of the Mumbai Province.
In his address to the participants and the guests present, Fr. Michael complimented Fr. Godfrey D'Sa, the Programme Director and Ms Shalu Mehrotra, the Course Coordinator, for creating a professional course that had a good mix of both theory and practicum. The programme comprised 210 hours of theory and 60 hours of supervised practicum ranging over a period of 10 months. It also included practical application of various therapies like Art, Somatic, Cognitive, Behavioral, Client Centered and Transactional Analysis. Modules on Career Guidance, Sexuality, Spirituality and Stages of Development were also part of the Course.

Although the criteria for selection for this course was a post-graduate degree in psychology, human resources or social work, the participants did not feel competent to counsel clients on a professional level. Many of them had a theoretical knowledge of various therapies and counseling skills. This course insisted on hands-on practice after each skill was taught in class using concrete life examples and also comprised regular supervised sessions all through the course for the clients they were taking. Another unique aspect of this course was that every one of them had to spend several hours in group therapy and individual counseling working on their own selves in order to 'be the change they wanted to see' in others. At the end of the course, some of the participants voiced their feelings in these words: ''I feel like a different person and a counselor now. I am transformed into a better person.'' ''I have developed sensitivity towards others and am much more empathetic.'' ''Now I am confident in my sessions with clients.'' ''I feel a sense of satisfaction, a new perspective about myself and a new way of dealing with my clients. I am at peace with my new relations and have restored my old ones.''

This Course was a decennial venture of Prafulta Psychological Services, a Don Bosco Organization based at Andheri, Mumbai. Prafulta Psychological Services was initiated in September 1998. Presently it has a team of over 35 professionals that include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, vocational guidance counselors, special educators and occupational therapists that provide an array of psychological services both at the Centre and at various institutes in Mumbai. Prafulta aims to help clients understand, accept and deal effectively with the influences of their environment, take personal responsibility for their lives and create a meaningful future for themselves.


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