Focusing in India

Campbell Purton

I have taught two focusing courses in India this year (2005). One – in January – was
a weekend introducing Focusing to people associated with the Chellamuthu Trust
(www.msctrust.org), which is a non-governmental organisation providing mental
health care and rehabilitation in and around Madurai in southern India. There were
about 40 participants, including social workers, community care workers,
psychologists, and teachers. They had some knowledge of counselling, but person-
centred counselling and Focusing were new to them. They were very used to
structured, medical-model approaches to therapy, and seemed fascinated by the
Focusing-oriented alternative. One of the participants was a counsellor at the
American College in Madurai, and I was invited to give a talk there. I also gave a talk
to students at the Madurai Kamaraj University (and had my picture in the local
newspaper!) Altogether, a wonderful few days.

At the end of August I went back to southern India, this time to Bangalore, to give a
week�s workshop at Montfort College, which is an associated institution of Bangalore
University. This is the only college in India which runs counselling certificate and
diploma courses as we know them in the West. The Montfort directors had their own
counselling training in the Philippines which (apart from Thailand) seems to be the
only other place in Asia where such training is available. They have difficulties
fitting humanistic counselling training into the prevailing ethos of cognitive-
behavioural and clinical-psychology approaches, but are determined to bring ‘our’
sort of counselling to India. They have many more applicants for their courses than
they can accept, and are just completing a huge new building which will
accommodate the counselling, psychology and teacher-training courses that they run.
As in Madurai they were fascinated by the focusing-oriented approach. I had a group
of 15, and was lucky to have the assistance of Kabir Ganjee, one of my students from
UEA, who has family connections in Bangalore. (Kabir is back with us this year as a
trainee trainer on our counselling diploma, and is working for his MA). The College
library is very short of books, especially on Focusing. If anyone has any such books
that they no longer want, could you let me know? I could take a few over when I
next go (probably in July 2006) – or even better, you could pop one in an envelope
and send it surface mail to :
Mathew Panathanath,
Montfort College,
184 Old Madras Road,
Indiranagar,
Bangalore 560038,
India.

Many thanks!