Below are Bios of some of the confirmed presenters and speakers.

Key Note Address:

Dr. Shekhar P. Seshadri is a medical graduate from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi and has a post graduate degree in psychiatry from NIMHANS, Bangalore. He works currently as professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore.

Besides core child mental health work including developmental disabilities he also works in the area of trauma, child sexual abuse, child therapy, community child mental health work, capacitation of child service providers, experiential methodologies, qualitative research and forum theatre. Shekhar is also actively involved with the arts being a trained and performing musician and theatre practitioner. He has been a long-term friend and adviser to Parivarthan.

Plenary Speaker:

Dr.Vijay Nagaswami

Vijay Nagaswami completed his M.B.B.S. degree and post-graduate training in Psychiatry (Diplomate in Psychological Medicine) from Madras Medical College. He was formerly the Deputy Director of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (India) and was a Consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) at this time.

Since then, Dr Nagaswami offers psychotherapy for both individuals and couples and conducts workshops and seminars for business corporations as well as individuals and couples on marriage and personal relationships management. He is a best - selling author with several books on various aspects of marriage, especially in the Indian context.


Dr. Elspeth Schwenk is a Registered, Senior Member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), Accredited Counsellor and Supervisor (Independent Practice) and FBACP Fellow. She is on the BACP Board of Governors, and Deputy Chair of BACP. She has specialised in workplace counselling, supervision development and more recently has been involved in Adventure Therapy in the UK.

Elspeth remains committed to enabling practitioners to become professionally equipped and fit for purpose relevant to the context of their work.  She has been a lecturer, author and External Examiner for counselling and postgraduate counselling supervision courses at a number of universities and delivers bespoke training, public speaking and consultancy.  Her interests include developing supervision within Adventure Therapy both in the UK and internationally, exploring new therapeutic boundaries, and supporting the work of counselling agencies to develop both best practice and practitioner wellbeing.

Dr. Shubhada Maitra is a Professor at the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.  She is a counsellor, teacher/trainer, reseracher and has innitiated, supervised and worked with several field action projects of the Institute as well.

Shubhada's areas of interest and expertise include mental health,  gender, sexuality, gender-based violence including childhood sexual  abuse, sexual and reproductive health and qualitative research.

Dr. Kiran Rao

Dr. Kiran Rao is a Clinical Psychologist by training and a Consultant in Mental Health & Human Development. She is former Professor & Head, Department of Clinical Psychology at NIMHANS, Bangalore. She has over thirty years of clinical, teaching and research experience. Her research interests, with an emphasis on gender issues, are in the area of stress management, psychological interventions and psychosocial rehabilitation. She has functioned as a mental health expert for several organizations, including the WHO and the National Human Rights Commission, India. Dr. Rao has mentored several students at the M.Phil and Doctoral level, has over 80 publications, several chapters in books and 3 edited books to her credit and serves on the editorial board of many International and National Journals.

Dr. Rao is currently Honorary President of Sampark, an NGO working for the empowerment of underprivileged persons, especially women and children. She is engaged in development projects in Karnataka integrating mental health needs with economic and livelihood initiatives in the community.

Dr. Neena David Dr. Neena David has over the past 17 years been instrumental in setting up processes for school mental health programmes  across a range of school settings. Currently, in addition to her independent practice, she provides counseling services at the Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore, is visiting Consultant at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and serves on the National Advisory Board for The Teacher Foundation and WIPRO Project on Developing Social and Emotional Standards for Schools.

Dr. Tony Sam George is a practicing psychotherapist and is involved in training, research and clinical practice. He is currently the Head of Department of Psychology at Christ University, Bangalore. Dr Tony Gained his doctoral degree in Psychiatric Social Work from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore and subsequently spent time directing and coordinating the Masters level training programmes in Counselling psychology and psychology at Montfort College Bangalore.

Tripura Kashyap pioneered the Creative Movement Therapy in India in 1990. Tripura has received Fellowships from the Ashoka International Foundation and the Indian Ministry of Culture for her innovative work in dance therapy and contemporary dance. She was founder-director of Apoorva Dance Theatre, Bangalore and worked collaboratively with filmmakers, visual artists and musicians on cross-art projects and performances. Tripura also worked as a projects coordinator for Bhoomika Dance Company (Delhi) and creative consultant for ‘Dance-in-Education’ program at Attakkalari Center (Bangalore). She conceived the Movement therapy course in Delhi and is on the teaching faculty of dance and arts therapies courses in Pune and Bangalore. Currently she is co-founder/director of Creative movement therapy association of India (CMTAI)

Dr. Rathna Isaac has completed a PhD titled "Marital Therapy with Distressed Couples", from NIMHANS in 2005. She is now a Clinical Psychologist in private practice, where she has been seeing couples and individuals for the last ten years. She has created and conducted both basic and advanced courses on couple therapy for counsellors from Parivarthan, which have been running for the last ten years. She also provides monthly group supervision for couple therapy for the last two years. She has published, presented papers and conducted several workshops in the area of couple therapy. She is deeply interested in therapy process and relevance to the Indian context.

Evan Hastings is a socially engaged theatre artist and Founder/Director of Shadow Liberation, an interactive shadow theatre ensemble based in Bangalore, India.

Evan has an MA in Counselling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA. He has worked as a Drama Therapist for individuals, groups and families in settings including adolescent drug and alcohol rehabilitation, inpatient intensive care for adolescents with developmental disabilities, correctional facilities and schools.  Evan was a faculty fellow at Project Zero within Harvard University's Graduate School of Education in 2009, 2010, & 2011, where he taught in the Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute and the Future of Learning Institute. At Lesley University he has taught in the Masters in Teaching program, and in the Bachelors in Expressive Therapies program.  Evan is currently on the faculty at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, in Bangalore.

Bulbul Baksi

Bulbul has been a practicing counselling since close to twenty years. She has studied social science, mental health and psychoanalysis. She trained as a counselor at Samikshani, centre for psychoanalytical Studies and mental therapy, in Kolkata. She is currently on the faculty of Samikshani for the Post Graduate Course in Psychological Counseling, conducted by in collaboration with Department of Adult and Continuing education, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She is part of the core resource team conducting training and working with NGOs to embed mental health promotion in their organisations.

Bulbul additionally works in the field of social development, and has experience in grass root interventions as well as in international agencies supporting bilateral co-operation with Government Ministries. She has specialized in multi-stakeholder partnership building for sustainable development.

Dr. Poornima Bhola

Dr. Poornima Bhola is an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. She has 18 years of experience as a therapist and has previously worked in a consultation-liaison context as Assistant Professor, St. John’s Medical College & Hospital, Bangalore. She has been involved in the International Study of the Development of Psychotherapists and has recently extended this work with Clinical Psychology trainees. Her keen interest in ethical aspects of psychotherapy practice is reflected in her involvement in organising professional training programmes and presentations, research on trainee ethical dilemmas, and related publications. In addition, her clinical and research interests include psychotherapist training and development, psychotherapy processes, youth mental health and suicidality, personality disorders, psychosocial rehabilitation and workplace mental health.

Ketki Ranade works as Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She recently finished her doctoral thesis titled, 'growing up gay' in a heterosexually constructed world - developmental life histories of young lesbian and gay persons in urban India. Ketki finished her postgraduate training in social work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and an MPhil in Psychiatric Social Work at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Ketki's research interests include marginalization and mental health, specifically LGBT mental health, gender and mental health. She has recently finished research projects related to developing gay affirmative counseling practices in India, familial response to same-sex sexuality in a family member. She was a member of the National Expert Committee setup by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to study the situation of transgender persons in India. Ketki is a member of a queer feminist LBT collective, LABIA ( in Bombay. 

Before dabbling into academics and research, Ketki worked at the Bapu Trust, Pune on developing and implementing mental health service programs in urban slum communities as well as institutions.

Phyllis Benjamin PhD is a licensed professional counsellor in the State of Texas and Board Certified supervisor in the State of Mississippi, US. She is also a licensed (personal) coach. With a passion for counselling, she has worked expansively for more than 20 years in India, Bangladesh and the US. She has a key role in inducting meditation as well as setting up a meditation facility at Mississippi State University, US.

Based on a strong Rogerian foundation emphasizing empathy, she focuses on client wellness at each session. She is acclaimed for group therapy techniques, guided meditation, training and presentation skills. Her other clinical applications include Family of Origin, Schema therapy, Acceptance and Commitment therapy, along with other supporting theories. The clinical tools and techniques she uses include EMDR, art therapy, self-identity exploration, deep breathing and guided meditation.

Dr. Shaibya Saldanha started as an obstetrician- gynecologist but is steadily evolving into a sexuality activist with a strong focus on child rights. While continuing her clinical practice of 25 years, she trains stakeholders(medicos, counsellors, police, lawyers and judges, and the community at large) in setting up child protection systems in the state.

Her childhood as an army daughter has stimulated her hobbies of trekking, travelling and learning languages. She is married to a deep-sea diver and they have two adult children who keep her grounded.

Mimansa Popat is a Special Educator. Presently she is a faculty on the Advance Diploma in Counselling Psychology offered by Prafulta Psychological Services in Mumbai. Over the years she has trained teachers in remedial education and currently is a lead trainer conducting “The Integrated Education & Counselling Course” aimed at developing mental health professionals for schools. She studied Counselling Psychology and went on to receive training in NLP, Kinesiology and Reality Therapy. She is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and also assists trainings in Integrated Somatic Psychotherapy in India & overseas.

Delta Shuman is a highly interactive Professional Coach and Therapist, who has integrated theory from Gestalt, Bowlby, Frankel, Pia Melody and Linda Graham, to build a therapeutic working model of inner-child healing. She is a highly interactive presenter, as she prefers engaging the audience in a dynamic and interactive style that is positive and enjoyable.

Her coaching specialties are groups, individuals with ADD, entrepreneurs, and those in midlife career, relational and interpersonal crisis. Delta is well known for her adolescent resiliency leadership workshops. These have been adopted by local judicial authorities as acceptable programs for troubled youth. Delta’s therapy extends to individuals with severe attachment disorder, family of origin trauma from early childhood (birth-4 years of age) through abuse and neglect. She is highly successful due to her own personal journey of healing and theoretical development.

Dr. Avinash De Sousa is a Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist as well as a Consultant School Psychiatrist & Counsellor. He is also a Research Associate at the Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai. He works with 15 mainstream and special schools in Mumbai as a Visiting School Psychiatrist, Counselor and School Mental Health Expert. He has over 300 publications in national and international journals and is the author of 6 books in the area of mental health. In addition to a psychiatry degree – he has a Masters in Counseling & Psychotherapy, an MPhil in Applied Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resource Development. He has also been awarded a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Preetha Ramasubramanian is a dance movement psychotherapist who gained broad exposure in the UK working in different settings such as forensic psychiatric unit, special and mainstream schools. On her return to India, Preetha founded Kinesthetics – Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Counselling Centre, where she works with both children and adults. She also works as an independent consultant for various educational institutions, health care setups and in the corporate sector to conduct group and individual sessions. Since 2011, Preetha is one of the trainers in the 1 year Diploma in Expressive Arts Therapies course conducted by Women's Christian College and East West Counseling Center, Chennai. She is also a guest lecturer at various universities while also doing a lot of collaborative therapeutic work with other professionals.

Malika Verma is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. While working in the UK she specialised in working with Adults with complex and severe presentations. For the past 5 years she has trained and worked at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Mental Health Trust doing Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Adults, Couples and Groups. She has been teaching and training Clinical Psychology Doctoral trainees and psychotherapy trainees for 5 years.

Katia Verreault

Katia Verreault is originally from Canada and presently based in the Netherlands after having lived for more than 13 years in Nepal. Fascinated and passionate about the healing benefits of dance and creativity, she completed a Master programme in Dance Movement therapy at CODARTS, School of the Arts in Rotterdam. Katia is a certified dance movement therapist, dancer, teacher trainer and group facilitator with extensive work experience in various multi-cultural context, particularly in low-income settings. Her recent work in Dance Movement Therapy focuses on resilience in the context of trauma and the integration of Dance Movement Therapy interventions with refugees and asylum seekers. She founded and co-directed the “Salsa Dance Academy Pvt.” in Kathmandu and is the founder of “A Moving world”; a foundation promoting dance and movement as tool for self-empowerment, creativity, community building, and healing.

Sangeeta Rege holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and currently works as a Senior Research Officer with CEHAT in Mumbai. For the past 13 years, she has been a counsellor, trainer and researcher on the issue of violence against women, and the role of the health sector pertaining to this issue. She has conducted trainings for counsellors in various parts of the country, on responding to women facing violence. She has published several papers on this subject and she was part of the coordinating team at CEHAT for drafting Ethical Guidelines for counselling women facing Domestic Violence. She has also co- edited a book titled ‘Feminist Counselling and Domestic Violence in India’.

Nina Nayak  has more than 30 years of experience in the field of child development and child protection as administrator, practitioner, policy and law analyst, writer, trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Social work with specialization in family and child welfare from University of Madras and a Certificate in Human Rights from IGNOU. She has worked extensively in the field of Adoption and Child Welfare. She has been a member of the subcommittee on children in the National Planning Commission of India. Her work has significantly contributed to the recognition of child rights, policy formulation for these rights and their implementation by the Government of India. She has been a driving force in the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act and the ‘Protection of Children Against Sexual Offenses Act’.

Dr. Nagesh Simha is a general surgeon who specialised in laparoscopic surgery as well as palliative medicine. He holds an MSc in Palliative Care from Cardiff University. After 27 years of surgical practice he is now devoted to being Medical Director at Karunashraya established by Bangalore Hospice Trust. As a Certified Trainer in Communication Skills he has conducted several training sessions for medical and nursing staff around the country. He has coauthored a book Communication Skills in Palliative Care. In 2012 Dr. Simha was conferred an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians London for his outstanding work in palliative care.

Dr. Mohan Sunil Kumar studied Psychiatry at NIMHANS and he has received further training in areas such as de-addiction, clinical hypnosis and psychotherapy. He established Augmenta, an outpatient mental health facility in Bangalore and he is keenly involved in clinical, preventive and promotional Mental Health. Besides his private practice he offers clinical services as a visiting faculty at Freedom Foundation a de-addiction center and COPER, Centre for Psycho- Oncology Education and Research. He is also engaged in teaching and training for doctors and nurses. He organises workshops on public health issues and regularly conducts Helpie Suicide Gatekeeper Training aimed towards suicide prevention. 

Dr. Ashwani Kumar is a practicing psychiatrist and consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the field of mental health. He is based in Delhi where he established Santulan, a specialised Nursing Home for psychiatric and substance abuse problems. Since the 1990s, he has been developing Employee Assistance Programs in India, starting with a small team which has grown to offer services all over the country. Santulan is now a leading EAP provider and works with a wide array of client organizations offering Wellness solutions and helping employees with their health concerns. Dr. Kumar is an International Associate Member of the Employee Assistance Professional Association and also a member of Group for Promotion of Psychotherapy.

Aparna Joshi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and teaches on the Masters in Applied Psychology Courses. She holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology and has received further training in psychotherapy from various institutions thereafter. She has been a practising psychotherapist for past 17 years. In 2012, she initiated a field action project at TISS in the form of a counselling helpline called iCALL, which provides telephonic and email based counselling services for individuals in psychosocial distress and which is run by trained professionals. Over these years, she has also been involved in envisioning and implementing mental health service programmes in clinical, community and institutional settings; she conducts training for different stakeholders (including government and non government agencies) on issues of mental health and counselling. Her areas of interest and expertise are gender and mental health, violence against women, couple and family therapy and ethics in psychotherapy. She is currently pursuing PhD at TISS, which involves an exploration of counsellors’ journeys of working with issues of domestic violence and couple conflicts.

Dr Benedicta Leonilla Ageira

Since 1986 Dr. Leonilla has been deeply involved in studying the Mind-Body-Spirit relationship. She has worked on finding a synergy between eastern and western spirituality and has spent a considerable amount of time researching the practice of meditation and delving deep into the eastern spirituality.

Dr Leonilla is the founder of BODHI -a Centre for Human Growth into Consciousness and has spear headed this organization for the time of its inception. She is also the founder of the Resource Center for Training and Development. This center works with the psycho-spiritual approach in helping people unfold and discover themselves.

She was awarded gold medal for her PhD- best research work from Institute of Social Sciences, Agra University, Agra and M.V.Govindaswamy memorial prize for her research work for MPhil, in NIMHANS.

She also has also holds postgraduate degree in Metaphysical sciences from the University of Meta Physics in California, U.S.A. She has further enriched herself by attending courses in Theology at the American College in Belgium.

She has numerous publications and articles authored by her, brought out in many journals.

B.N.Sharada is a counsellor & trainer at Parivarthan Counselling, Training & Research Center. She has worked in the field of counselling for the past 15 years. In her current practise, she works with individual adults, couples, children, adolescents and LGBT community. She is also a trainer and has been involved in training for counsellors and supervision. She has facilitated many workshops in the use of media in counselling.

Her background also includes the founding of socially concerned initiatives while working with NGOs in different capacities.

Manju Sapru is a Parivarthan trained counsellor, and has worked in the field for the past 8 years. Her background includes founding and running a pre-school for 21 years. She has worked as a counsellor at Christ College for over 3 years, before joining the Parivarthan staff. In her current practice she, works with individuals, couples, children and adults. She also is a trainer and has facilitated many workshops in the use of media in counselling.

Dr. Kakli Gupta is a Clinical Psychologist practicing in Bangalore. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco, USA. Dr.Gupta works with adults, children, couples and families. Besides clinical work, she is involved in the training as well as personal development of many mental health professionals in Bangalore. She has been the staff supervisor at Parivarthan Counseling Center.

Dr Gayitri Bhatt is a faculty member at Parivarthan and involved in counsellor training and supervision since 2005. She moved to the field of mental health after 18 years of practice as an Anesthesiologist. She did the BSIC at Parivarthan in 2002 and received further training in Integrative Psychotherapy at Sherwood Institute, Nottingham, UK. She holds an MSc in Psychotherapy Studies from Sheffield University, UK and is also a certified EMDR therapist. Her areas of interest include Adoption attachment and Indian Psychology.

Dr. Vidya Sathyanarayanan is currently Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, in the Dept of Psychiatry at St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Bangalore. She has worked in the Consultation Liaison and General Hospital setting for approximately 15 years after having completed her training and working at NIMHANS for a few years. She has clinical experience in dealing with diverse medical and surgical specialities and has been involved in research in this area. She is a member of the Organ Transplant Ethics Committee at St. John’s Medical College Hospital. She has been actively involved in training of psychology, psychiatry, medical and nursing undergraduates and postgraduates in the areas of behavioural sciences, clinical and health psychology. Her areas of interest include stress management, mental health and psychological interventions in the medical and surgical setting and mental health in youth.

Laila Ollapally is the founder of Centre for Advanced Mediation Practice (CAMP), a pioneering private mediation initiative in Bangalore that seeks to promote mediation as a form of alternate dispute resolution. She is the Founding Coordinator, Senior Mediator and Trainer at the Bangalore Mediation Centre. She has practiced as an advocate for over 25 years in the High Court of Karnataka and Supreme Court of India.

Mrs. Ollapally holds Masters Degrees in both Law and Economics. She has trained in mediation at various institutes such as Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School. She has been a Mediator since 2007 and has mediated several hundred cases involving property disputes, contracts, matrimonial and family disputes, corporate and commercial disputes.


August 28 & 29, 2015
(Friday and Saturday)


Ecumenical Christian Centre
Bangalore 560 066

Directions to Venue New

Conference Presenters Updated

Workshop Synopsis New

Conference Schedule Updated


Call for posters Closed

Call for workshops Closed

For more information email


Parivarthan Counselling, Training and Research Centre
1st Floor, #3310, 8th Cross,
13th Main, HAL 2nd Stage,
Bangalore 560 008.
Tel: 91 80 25273462 / 25298686