Goa Institute of Counselling in a brand new online avatar

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DeSilva (top left) with a group of participants at the EQ series at the GIC headquarters, Navelim

The Goa Institute of Counselling has for the first time since its inception taken the online route, and now has a newer and here-to-stay avatar

Directed by psychotherapist Clifford DeSilva, the Goa Institute of Counselling (GIC) has been quick to adapt to the COVID-19 situation, and has already conducted four workshops online since the lockdown began.

In fact, the first series to go online, a five-part ‘Emotional Quotient’ (EQ) series, was developed by DeSilva himself a good eight years ago, and he is now imparting the same online via Google Meet. “We had to get the hang of the online sessions. Since the trademark of the EQ workshops are essentially the practical or interactive parts, it required some brainstorming to figure out how we would manage this online. Two months down the line, I can safely say we’ve hit on the perfect formula which allows us to maintain the trademark of the EQ series online,” he says.

Among DeSilva’s students for the EQ series are people from Afghanistan, whom he guides under the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). “Pre-pandemic, I actually made two trips to Afghanistan to train students there, and it was quite an ordeal to get my visa in Delhi. COVID-19 has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as now instead of travelling all the way there, I can simply train them online,” he says.

The EQ series, which can be attended as a five-part series, or as standalone workshops, is an interactive series that attempts to help people develop their emotional intelligence.

“In our schools today, the focus is on academics or the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of a person. The EQ is largely ignored. But several studies have shown that those who become successful leaders aren’t necessarily those who have the highest IQ,” he says, adding that while very little can be done to change our IQs, a person’s EQ can be developed much more. What’s more is that very few people in the world offer a specific programme in EQ, although the concept of developing EQ became popular in the 1980s.

GIC’s EQ series covers personal development as well as social development where participants learn to become aware of their own feelings, how to handle them, how to handle another other person’s emotions, how to develop relationships, and how to be self-motivated.

The Institute only recently started offering the EQ series to the general public in Goa. Prior to this it was offered only to students of Psychology and those who wanted to become counsellors. However, after noticing the change it had in peoples’ lives, the Institute started offering the series to everyone.

From among the Goans who have attended the EQ series at the GIC headquarters at Navelim, counsellor Nandini Cardoso opines that the course is “very practical” and that “awareness and change takes place without any effort”.

ENT consultant, Sunaina Thakur says: “The open platform that was offered for discussion gave me a free hand to discuss things which I would have been quite uncomfortable to discuss otherwise. I could be myself and say things without being judged.”

Another supporter of the EQ series, French instructor Aliya Abreu says: “EQ has allowed me to forgive myself more, judge myself less, and not focus on what ‘should be’, but what ‘could be’. I do sincerely wish the whole world could benefit from the EQ series.” The EQ series for the Goan public will continue online in the months to come.

Meanwhile, the Institute also plans on offering sessions on ‘Emergent Knowledge’ for those who want to be counsellors and even for the general public. This is in addition to the Person-Centred Therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Ericksonian Conversational Hypnosis and Brief Therapy, and a host of other counselling courses that the Institute has been offering over the past fifteen years.

Regular one-on-one counselling is perhaps the most helpful of all the services that the Institute offers, and has till date benefitted thousands from across Goa and the country.

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