narrative therapy india

A space to share stories of our work using narrative practices with children, adults and families in the Indian context

Narrative Ideas and Practices travels to Assam, Tezpur

Ummeed’s Mental Health Team collaborated with the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute Of Mental Health,Tezpur this month to explore the unexplored. We spent 4 days with various groups of students and faculty members unpacking narrative ideas and practices.

Some of the highlights included visiting the out patient department and the youth wellness hub and lively dance and music with the group that made learning fun.

Assam, Tezpur Training


Monthly Narrative Gathering – May 2019

Greetings from Ummeed!

Ummeed Child Development Center is eagerly waiting to welcome all people of the narrative community for the Narrative Gathering this Saturday where Yashna along with Ananya and Ravi shall be presenting their work.

They will be sharing their journey of creating a collective document with a group of young people to make visible their knowledge about mental health that is unique to their life, their experiences and their context. The young people pooled together some of the localized, home-skills in managing mental health concerns and curated the handbook ‘Jugaad’!

Yashna Vishwanathan is a mental health worker at Ummeed working with children experiencing developmental disabilities and their families. Informed by narrative practices she has been interested in exploring social inclusion, exploring deconstructing practices, social justice and writing.

Ananya Broker Parekh is an illustrator who loves to make pictures. She sees the world through pictures capturing color, textures and diversity.

Raviraj Shetty is a mental health worker and an occupational therapist. Raviraj enjoys his identity as a teacher of narrative ideas and practices for professional and community health workers across India. Raviraj along with his thought partner Jehanzeb have been interested in exploring narrative ideas within the diverse context of supervision, organisation, teaching and parenting.

Date: 11th May 2019

Time: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Venue: Ummeed Training Facility

Zoom is available for those who cannot come in person. 


Narrative Ideas travel to Hyderabad, yet again!

The Mental Health Team at Ummeed Child Development Center, Mumbai is excited to announce a short – term training program in Narrative Ideas and Practices in Hyderabad, starting in June 2019. This training program is organized by Pause for Perspective, Hyderabad.

For more information, kindly refer to the flyer.Pause for Perspective Hyderabad 2019

Celebrating a Year of Narrative Gatherings!

We are excited to invite all the people from our narrative community to come together to celebrate one year of Narrative Gatherings!

Kindly refer to the flyer for more details.

Weaving Our Voices

We are excited to share some news…

Announcing Weaving Our Voices January 30th to February 4th, 2020.

Stay tuned for more information And don’t forget to Save The Date!!

#narrativetherapyindia #narrativeideasandpractices #reauthoringteaching #narrativepracticesadelaide #mentalhealth



Peeping through the ‘mirror’ : Experience of observing narrative practices at Ummeed Child Development Center, Mumbai

Curiosity began two years back, since the day I started long-term training in narrative ideas and practices in Kolkata with Ummeed. I was in the first batch of trainees in Kolkata and this was my first visit to Ummeed. I wanted to see how narrative ideas are being practiced in the soil, in the organization, our trainers were from. Traversing the distance helped opening my eyes and mind to many possibilities. I felt like sharing with you some of my experiences and thoughts on observing the works, particularly of the mental health team at Ummeed.

Movement’ is the word that comes to my mind when I think of those days, a week of sitting behind the one-way mirror to observe live sessions, watching therapy session videos, being there at team meetings, participating in workshop, teaching sessions, narrative gathering, discussing with the therapist, eating together and not to forget the movement between the two buildings, Ummeed training centre and the clinic space. The days used to end going back to hotel room navigating Mumbai-traffic; tired body, but mind full of new thoughts and ideas! It seemed to me a ‘movement’ indeed at the level of resisting many dominant discourses and bringing changes slowly and sustainably, which is quite different from the mainstream understanding of movement.

There was life in the not-so-big rooms where they play, photos on the walls that speak, books on the racks that connect, colourful corridors where staffs, children, families meet and greet, and in the people who dare to try to make a difference.

It was heart-warming to see the therapist or developmental pediatrician playing with the child sitting on the floor, ‘dirtying’ their hands with sands and clay, unfortunately an uncommon scene in India. There were options, games, toys, different playmaterials, for one to choose. Often the children blow soap-water bubbles making it more fun. The friendliness, eagerness to help and flexibility perhaps also added to the humane approach.

The chairs in the therapy rooms were not designated separately for therapist and clients, which is rare to find in most of theclinical set ups, both Governmental and private, in our country. There was no table placed ‘centrally’ between the therapist and client and the sitting position and posture kept varying. In all the sessions I observed, irrespective of individual difference intherapy-style, narrative ideas were being practiced. I am not aware of any other organization in India where the whole mental health team follows narrative ideas in their works. The mental health work at Ummeed is led by a conviction in the power of narrative ideas. The observations helped me learn more and myconviction in the power of narrative practices only grew stronger.

Irrespective of the position in the organization, seniority, gender and experience, team members sit to discuss, agree, disagree, laugh, eat and move with the ideas. The work calendar gets filled with overlapping dots that might scare many like me. When I asked how do you manage so much?”, somebody told me smiling,  O, it’s fun. The enthusiasm in their efforts, one cannot miss.

One workshop on community mental health and healing with a group of young people, facilitated by two trainers at Ummeed,particularly touched me deeply. I experienced how the pain of marginalization, discrimination and violence experienced by people were validated and held, that lead to healing and generation of solidarity, but not to ignition of ‘fire’. I witnessed influential de-centered positioning in group work and it made me think of its relevance and possibilities in today’s time of violence.

I am thankful to the organization, and the people who put such effort and heart to keep the doors open for trainees like us to enter, observe and learn. Coming back home to Kolkata, one of the first visible things I tried at the clinic is that I pushed the table aside from the ‘centre’ in between me and the client and started afresh with renewed enthusiasm. Hope is to take the practice beyond the limitations of clinic and the dream is to have more and more people join the ‘movement’.

About the author –


Ujjaini Srimani is a mental health professional, a queer woman from a suburb of West Bengal, currently living in Kolkata. She struggled hard with finding meaning of life during the years of acquiring degrees, MBBS and MD in Psychiatry. The forcible focus on ‘career’ that time helped her survive the ‘heart-breaks’and secure the ‘position’, though. By the time she topped in her MD examination, she started doubting many of the ‘claims’ and‘delusions’ existing in the medical systems without really having a clear articulation. She practiced as a consultant psychiatrist for some years and tried to engage in social interface through interactive programmes, media appearances, working with NGOs, etc .She went on hiding from the familiar professional work when the ethical pain and dissonances bacame quite disturbing,! Coming in contact with Buddhism in the mountains of Himachal, she found ‘home’. Following training in narrative ideas and practices in Kolkata, from Ummeed Child Development Centre in 2017, she found a reliable and meaningful way to come back to ‘professional work’ after a sabbatical of 2 years. She is attempting to put narrative ideas into practice in her new role as a therapist. One of her areas of interest is gender-sexuality and mental health. Oscillatingbetween the noise of knowledge and silence of knowing, moments of accepting ‘not knowing’ help her keep moving withthe people she works with. She would be 40 this year.

Her email id is


A.S.K. – Adult Support Kendra

Five of our narrative community people  are a part of the endeavour Adult Support Kendra (A.S.K.), which aims to provide counseling and transitional support to adults with disabilities.

When young persons with disabilities reach their adolescent years and transition issues assume priority, it is often a time for new challenges and a bit of trepidation as to “what next?” We, at A.S.K., recognize this as a time when families may need a different type of support that addresses critical questions of vocational training, employment prospects, dealing with emotions, dealing with sexuality, setting goals for adult living, financial planning and so on. We plan to help families navigate these complex and somewhat overwhelming issues.

A.S.K. has on board, a social worker who is also a rehabilitation counselor, a psychologist with a doctorate in special education who is successfully running two facilities for supported employment for persons with disabilities and four other persons with different backgrounds trained in narrative practices. Three among us are also parents of adults with disabilities.

We are a network offering counseling sessions and chats for individuals and groups and interactive talks/workshops for individuals with disabilities and their families. We may soon start offering more services like sessions for professionals. Our future vision is to start a full fledged counseling center for adults with disabilities and their families.

We hope that the center would be able to support many adults with disabilities along with their families to live a life full of dignity, valued social roles resulting in receiving more respect and the enrichment of their multi-dimensional identities.

Adult Support Kendra is an endeavour of Yash Charitable Trust in collaboration with the Forum For Autism.



Empowering Mobeds – Reflections from Kashmira Kakalia


The priests of the Zoroastrian community are respected members of the community. They meet their clients, the laity or the people who visit the fire temple. They meet with them regularly or for the prayers of their departed ones or on happy occasions. They have sensitive conversations with the laity during times of sickness and bereavement.

“Empowering Mobeds”; a session on training in self-awareness and basic counselling was conducted for the priests of the Zoroastrian community. It was an offsite training programme held in the midst of greenery and serenity.

Here are some reflections from the experience:

Exploring the self, communication with others, role of language, resonance and the importance of being decentred yet influential, were a few skills I tried to highlight with the use of my knowledge of the narrative ideas and practices.

As the session progressed, from just being listeners to active participation and dialogue based on mutual respect and non-judgemental conversations were some of my observations. A simple exercise using questions based on interviewing about a pleasing story resulted in awe and understanding among the priests who were co-workers.

With the practise of externalising conversations, sparkling moments were visibly noticed. The operations of hierarchy and power between the congregation and the Mobeds was made visible and a discussion on being aware and taking this into consideration in interactions was made possible using the narrative ideas and practices.

Our conversations drifted to various topics, though keeping in mind the timing of the session, I was reminded of how these conversations created a space for related conversations which needed to be addressed leading to an understanding of multiple identities of others, and the importance of “loitering”.

Here’s what one of the participant had to reflect, “It was a great way to know someone better. The experience got me more understanding after a certain flow; personally I got confused at a point myself while asking questions, but that was probably out of a lack of having these skills. There seemed like a sense of relief to the person being asked the question knowing that he knows the answer/ solution.”

Another participant said, “For the first time the priests reported the unique experience of being heard and sharing feelings.”

About the author –

Kashmira A. Kakalia is a Special Educator and enjoys working with students and adults with special needs,to promote their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development to facilitate them to be self reliant, confident and guide them to achieve their goals and qualify for a better tomorrow. She’s passionate about teaching and cooking she believes if for pleasure and fun. She has completed her training in the Mental Health Training Program at Ummeed.

You can contact her at

Inclusion: A Celebration of Diversity | Parul Kumtha | TEDxRAPodarCollege

Parul Kumtha : Focusing on universal design and sustainability, Parul Kumtha is the principal architect at Nature-Nurture Architects and Planners: an initiative that is committed to green designs, preservation of natural heritage and providing design solutions to old, existing buildings. A trained counselor in Mental Health and Narrative practices, she is the parent founder and trustee of the parent support group, “Forum for Autism”. In a world where the autistic are treated in a manner different from others, she stands out by saying, “Yes, they are different, just like you and I.” Here’s the story of Parul Kumtha, who shows us the world through different perspectives. Architect This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

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