2016: Counselling Manual for Parents of LGBT: Research Study

A brief overview of The Humsafar Trust’s counselling data from September 2015 to May 2016 revealed a gap in knowledge on how to counsel parents of LGBT individuals. This gap manifests itself in dangerous, life-threatening and ineffective means to ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ homosexuality, rather than providing care and support. This could include conversion therapy, which is an unscientific practice offered to homosexuals/ transpersons for ‘converting’ them to being ‘normal’. Practices may range from electroshock therapy to pills to aversion therapy to hypnosis.

In May 2016, The Humsafar Trust organized a social media-based campaign called ‘Queers Against Quacks’ which targeted such mental health providers who propagated incorrect measures to deal with the issues of sexuality and gender. The activity brought to light nine such professionals who confirmed that they provide conversion therapy. 

A brief look at syllabi of MBBS and psychology courses confirms that there is very little discussion and training around the issues of sexuality and gender. This lack of visibility leads to a lack of sensitivity towards these issues in the practices of mental health professionals.

This evidence reiterates the need for a descriptive manual for counsellors to effectively counsel parents of LGBT individuals. The experiences documented in this manual would provide actionable measures that can be used in counselling settings.

This study aimed at interviewing mental health professionals and parents of LGBTQ individuals to identify challenges faced by both groups toward counselling families of LGBTQ individuals, and create a manual for mental health professionals for strengthening their capacities toward addressing these challenges in the course of their counselling.


Study duration: One year

Current Status: Completed

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