VELLORE: The services rendered by the Christian Counselling Centre, Vellore, in family, professional counselling and various areas of counselling covering individuals, family members, students, executives, factory employees, teachers, tsunami victims, etc. in the last nearly 40 years were hailed by speakers at the ‘Celebration of 40 eventful years of Christian Counselling Centre’ organised at the CCC premises here on Thursday.
Most Rev. Dr. J.W. Gladstone, Moderator of the Church of South India (CSI) who was the chief guest said that counselling has become extremely essential for people from all walks of life. Since people live in a society with a lot of stress and strain, this stress and strain invades the family too, and every aspect of one’s life.
“God has a purpose for everyone in life, and each one has to give his contribution to society. We need empowerment to do our duties properly to fulfil our purpose in life. The CCC has provided the source of empowerment by providing the needed counselling”, he said.
The Moderator said that the CSI South Kerala Diocese, of which he is the Bishop, has started pre-marital counselling. A visible impact of this counselling was that the rate of divorce immediately after marriage has come down tremendously. The diocese also provided counselling to persons who attempted suicide, and group counselling to children.
C. Rajendran, Vellore Collector, said that Vellore district wad indebted to the services of Christian missionaries to the downtrodden and oppressed. He lauded the motto of the missionaries, ‘not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ He congratulated the CCC for its signal contribution to humanity through its counselling services. G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT University said that everyone requires counselling at some time or the other. India needed thousands of counsellors and psychiatrists. For a population of 100 crores, there were only 4000 psychiatrists, which was too insufficient. He said that suicide counselling is very important in order to prevent people from committing suicide. In India, there is a suicide every 10 minutes. He requested B.J. Prashantham, Director, CCC to travel to different parts of India and offer counselling. He wanted CCC to conduct short-term courses in counselling in all state capitals.
Suranjan Bhattacharjee, Director, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, said that though it is more than 60 years since India attained political Independence, it was yet to get freedom from fear, ignorance, selfishness and prejudice. He called upon CCC to work towards the achievement of freedom in the above areas.
Ashok Jayaram, Managing Director, Coaching Foundation of India, Chennai, said that while many non-governmental organisations providing physical rehabilitation to the tsunami-affected people in the form of food and shelter, the CCC provided the much needed psychological support and rehabilitation, which cannot be provided by a philanthropist.
Arun Kumar Bunyan, Chief Executive, Church Council for Child and Youth Care (CCCYC), Bangalore, said that the council provided support to 40,000 children who were sexually abused, enticed into prostitution, HIV-affected, street children and child workers. He thanked the CCC for helping the CCCYC in undertaking a research-oriented study on trauma counselling for the children.
Dr. Prashantham said that the CCC was established on a 4.5-acre plot in Sainathapuram, which was leased out by the then CSI Madras Diocese in 1970 for a period of 49 years, and which was renewable for another 49 years, exclusively for the purpose of counselling. The CCC provided counselling to various categories of people covering juvenile delinquents, drug and alcohol addicts, factory and office employees, family members, students, etc.
The Governing Board of the CCC has approved the setting up of an International Mental Health Research Centre in the CCC premises, for the victims of natural and man-made disasters. An alumni block would be built for group therapy and family therapy. The Director said that the CCC has so far provided training as counsellors to about 40,000 persons from 165 institutions in 23 countries, most of them in India, in the last 39 years.