‘Sukoon’ for Families going through Divorce in India

Ever wondered how psycho social issues are dealt with in the East ? Here is a snippet of how an old and venerable institution -TISS-tries to manage the emotional and mental problems arising from divorce -for couple, family and children through its project called ‘Sukoon’ (rest, retreat).

Below are excerpts from TISS information (on their website) on how a project such as Sukoon is managed socially with a research goal:

Locations: Bandra Family Court, Thane Family Court, District and Sessions Court, Kalyan, District Legal Services Authority, Bandra, and Mumbai High Court

Sponsor: Mariwala Health Initiative

Sukoon has 2 broad aims –

Aim I: To provide psycho-social counseling services to litigants – individuals, couples and families who access court settings for marital disputes

Aim II: To conduct a research study to explore litigants’ and counsellors’ views on the nature of marital concerns and stressors experienced by litigants and to articulate effective elements of the counselling interventions offered to address the same

Couples experiencing marital distress approach courts to make important decisions about their marital relationships. This journey from a private life to a public space like court may not be an easy one for many couples and may have dense emotional and psychological undertones. It is therefore pertinent to have a space to deal with mental health, stress, and well being related issues in the court set up.

At Sukoon we provide support to individuals, couples and families, who approach legal settings for matrimonial disputes through counselling, conducting workshops and group sessions which promote well-being. Sukoon operates through a strengths-based and gender sensitive framework and works towards issues of violence and marginalization. Sukoon is also actively involved in primary research which explores the litigants’ and counsellors’ views on the nature of marital concerns and stressors experienced by litigants and aims to articulate effective elements of the counselling interventions offered to address the same.

Services Provided:

Our psycho-social counselling services include: 

·      Providing emotional support and fostering emotional wellbeing in litigants within the legal premises so that individuals, couples and families can have easy access to counselling services

·      Providing a confidential and safe space to share stories of distress

·      Facilitating amicable discussions and decisions around issues of marital conflict

·      Helping individuals and couples plan their future course of life

·      Connecting individuals to appropriate referral services

Outcomes/Publications

·      Sukoon had begun with two part time counsellors working in two family courts. It is currently operating in five settings – Thane Family Court, Bandra Family Court, High Court (pre and post litigation), Mumbai District Legal Services Authority, Bandra and, District and Sessions Court, Kalyan.

·      Sukoon has expanded its services to matrimonial cases dealing with domestic violence (both civil and criminal litigations) and works with survivors of domestic violence and couples who are contesting these cases, along with cases of inidividuals, couples and families of matrimonial litgations. 

Sukoon is actively involved in research across family courts in Maharashtra

Sukoon has established stress management and counselling centres to litigants of matrimonial disputes in the family courts of Bandra (Mumbai) and Thane with the aim of providing psycho-social services which will promote well-being of individuals, couples and families. Sukoon is also operational in District and Sessions court, Kalyan. In these courts, Sukoon deals with cases of divorce, child custody and access, maintenance and domestic violence. Sukoon is also involved in pre-litigation counselling at the Honourable High Court, Mumbai. Sukoon provides support through counselling to litigants, conducting workshops, and group sessions with litigants, judges, marriage counsellors, advocates and staff. The project is also actively involved in primary research across family courts in Maharashtra. The other aim of Sukoon is research. The research study aims to understand the marital concerns of couples and families approaching the family courts and also explores the counselling practices in family courts. The research aims to draw out effective elements of the counselling process which will be used to build a replicable model of effective counselling practices for litigants approaching family courts.

Read more :https://www.tiss.edu/view/11/projects/sukoon/

A little about TISS…..

History of TISS-Tata Institute of Social Sciences

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936 as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work. In 1944, it was renamed as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The year 1964 was an important landmark in the history of the Institute, when it was declared Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act (UGC), 1956. 

Since its inception, the Vision of the TISS has been to be an institution of excellence in higher education that continually responds to changing social realities through the development and application of knowledge, towards creating a people-centred, ecologically sustainable and just society that promotes and protects dignity, equality, social justice and human rights for all.

Read more : https://www.tiss.edu/about-tiss/overview/

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