The Indian Association for Family Therapy (IAFT) organized its first international conference on Children and Family Therapy on 12th March 2006 at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi.
Family Therapy is a major treatment intervention used all over the world. The central premise of the systems-based Family Therapy is that all parts of a whole interact and impact all other parts. For example, when a child displays a behavior problem at school, it is important to view the problem in context of multiple related issues: What other stresses exist in the child's home? What is the quality of the parents' relationship with each other and with the child? Do the child's siblings have any difficulties? How is the family impacted by the child's problems? How do the teacher and the school react to the child's problems? How does our society view children who display emotional or behavioral difficulties?
Thus, Family Therapy moves the focus away from the "pathology" being located inside the child to the relationship problems caused by the symptoms. It helps to see the connections between a child's individual problems, the structure of the family, the functioning of our institutions, gender norms, and other prevalent values of society.
The keynote address 'Lessons Children Teach Us About Families' was presented by Prof (Dr) Mudita Rastogi of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Some of the other presenters were Prof (Dr) Leena Banerjee of the Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology on Hearing the Voices of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers Using Circles of Experience, Dr Nithya Karuppaswami of the University of Illinois on Teenage Substance Abuse, Reena Nath, family therapist trained at the Tavistock, UK, Dr Bindu Prasad, clinical psychologist and special educator, and Shelja Sen, clinical psychologist at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science & Research on To Be Seen and To Be Heard: How Children Benefit from Family Therapy. Dr Indu Kaura, secretary of IAFT presented the inaugural address.
Commenting on the conference, Leena Banerjee, Professor of Professional Psychology in the US and one of the presenters said it was an opportunity of 'meeting and connecting with professional peers in India and experiencing and hearing what others are doing here, and abroad.' She goes on to suggest to 'integrate touch, sound, and meditation in Family Therapy.
Says Dr. Deepak Gupta, Consultant Child Psychiatrist at Apollo Hospital, (the conference helped) 'expansion of my knowledge and skills related to Family Therapy and its application to children and adolescent mental health.'
Kathryn Oliver, a doctoral candidate from the US who attended the conference to understand how Family Therapy is practiced in India says: '(I) learnt a lot about the Indian perspective in Family Therapy.' About the conference she had to say, 'easily at par with American conferences.'
'I came to know about the current therapeutic approaches in the west; more importantly, the Family Therapists in Delhi are very competent & professional too,' said Neerja Sharma, Reader in Dept. of Child Development at Lady Irwin College.
Said another participant, 'learnt about the family's role in making any therapy more effective and keeping children from substance abuse'.
Pooja Sabherwal, a school counselor from KR Mangalam School said: 'learnt the process of goal-setting.'
...About the Presenters and the Panelists | ...Photo Gallery [International Conference (2006)]