Monday, October 8, 2012


BIS Mumbai                                                                                         
DR. C.M. Joseph Cherukunnel sdb

MATUNGA-MUMBAI, OCTOBER 08  :  The Conference of Catholic Psychologists of India (CCPI) held its Annual General Body Meeting at the Don Bosco Provincial House, Matunga, on 5, 6, and 7 of October 2012, on the theme: Family Life Inside Out & Therapeutic Strategies. The <![if !vml]><![endif]>Conference commenced with the Holy Eucharist presided over by the President, Dr. Fr. Kuriakose Pallikunnel sdb. The Inaugural ceremony that started with a Prayer service was attended by his Lordship, Bishop Agnelo R.  Gracias, the Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai and Dr. Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Salesian Provincial of the Mumbai Province.

In his message, Fr. Michael Fernandes, the Provincial, spoke on the importance of family and the role Psychologists should play in maintaining good and happy families. In his keynote address, Bishop Agnelo  R. Gracias, stressed the importance of Family from the viewpoint of Catholic Theology. The family is a community of love and life of a man and a woman, who consider life as a gift and their readiness to be open to the gift of life. He emphasized the need for Theology and Psychology to work hand in hand to create stable and happy families.

Dr. Avinash De Souza developed the session on Family, Children and Relationships in a Digital age. He dealt on the impact of video games, mobile, SMS, Facebook, Cartoon channels etc. on children and young adults. He emphasised the role of counsellors in schools and gave some practical ways in which difficult children could be handled. The dysfunctional family is usually the base from which difficult children emerge.

Dr. Fabian Almeida dealt on Decoding Dysfunctional Families. He distinguished between healthy families and dysfunctional families. The causes of dysfunctional families, the types of dysfunctional families and the outcome on children in dysfunctional families were discussed. He presented various methods that could be used to bring dysfunctional families back into the normal stream of life.
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Fr. Cajetan Menezes and his team consisting of Ms. Judy and Dr. Yolanda dealt on the Pastoral care of Families. They developed the aspect that good marriages bring in stable families. The Marriage Preparation and Marriage Enrichment programmes in which the young people are prepared  for  a happy married life and helped to sustain their love and care for each other and for their children in the years to come was presented. They also dealt with the ways of helping young people who enter into inter- faith marriages.

Jaime & Ligia da Fonseca developed on Celebrating Family and Celebrating Life. They dealt on the Theology of the Body and stressed the importance of sexuality in married life. The various family movements, especially Couples for Christ (CFC) and Marriage Encounter (ME) for the sustenance of families were presented. The various programmes in sustaining families like Pre-baptismal programmes, Infant care, Breast feeding, Retreats for couples etc. were also presented.

Sr. Dr. Johncy CHF presented a Pastoral care model of Family Counselling, developed and practised by the Congregation of the Holy Family Sisters. Family visits and Home Mission in parishes form the methodology of this model. The families are visited and confidence of the family is won over. The family problems are resolved either in the family setting itself or with later follow-up in individual counselling sessions. Thus the families are empowered to lead better lives.

Dr. Fr. Tony J D’Souza developed the aspect of Psycho-spiritual understanding of human nature, which is the foundation for family therapy. He developed how a counsellor could become a mirror for couples to enable them discover their personal selves, their preciousness and ‘loveableness’. Committed married couples should be led to a mystical experience by helping them to discover themselves in love.

<![if !vml]><![endif]>In the final discussion the participants put forward many suggestions that could be taken forward in the coming years to fortify marriages and families in the Indian context. Among them the importance of adequate Marriage Preparation for young people and Training Priests and Religious in marriage guidance needs to be focused upon. The Pastoral care model developed by the Congregation of the Holy Family Sisters could also be replicated in various parts of the country. A very important point that emerged was the need to develop an active collaboration between the Priests, Religious and Lay people in the pastoral care of the families.

The Catholic Psychologists from various parts of the country went back enriched and better equipped to fulfil their role in bringing about solace and happiness to families. Congratulations to the co-ordinator Fr. Godfrey D’Sa sdb and his team for the wonderful organisation of the conference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BOSCO BIS INFORMATION SERVICE (BIS) MUMBAI
Don Bosco Provincial House,
Matunga, Mumbai - 400 019. INDIA

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