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In The News
Excerpts from various articles / features about us that have appeared in newspapers / magazines

The Times Of India
Friday, September 13, 2002

The Heart to Heart Counselling Centre is conducting a six-week certificate course in personal counselling. Though the course is designed for those who are involved in the "helping profession" like social workers, teachers, doctors and HRD professionals, every one is invited to enroll.
Says Dr.Rajan Bhonsle, one of the course coordinators, " Our institute would like to see at least one trained cousellor in every family, so that help is never far away for those who require it." Spread over 20 sessions, the course aims at meeting the need for updating and enriching oneself, so as to be better individuals and raise the quality of service that one would offer to others. The emphasis would be to train yourself to change certain attitudes and habits, which are not in agreement with correct counselling, acquire the tools that facilitate the learning process that lead to growth and actualization of human potential, master the art of listening, study the methodology of correct and complete communication and get in touch with the 'self' in order to have better understanding of the 'other'. Group discussions and real counselling practices under expert supervision would be added challenges in this course.
Dr.Satnam Ahuja, a homeopath, who has trained under this system earlier, says,"The counselling course helps patients to understand themselves better, and thus aids their growth. A person learns to cope with the challenges he faces in life. Instead of changing the circumstances, the counsellors help the patients to change their approach towards these challenges."
" A personal introspection is what I would call this course," states Dr.Mansukhani a pediatric dentist who completed this course last year. " I Have grown as a person and understand myself better. The course forces you to delve into your psyche, question your traits and behaviour and thereby helps you grow both personally and professionally."
Sonali Sehgal, another participant, enrolled for the practical training in couselling. Putting into practice what she has learned as a student of psychology, she aspires to become a counsellor.
For additional information about the certificate course in counselling contact the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at 23778624 / 23755866


The Times of India
Friday, June 7, 2002

Here's some good news for couples. The Heart to Heart Counselling Centre-an institution devoted to the 'complete' well being of a couple-provides all the amenities for a couple to attain excellent physical and psychological health. Reportedly, the first such centre in south Mumbai, It was started last year and is located in Byculla. The centre is the brain child of Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, M.D. and his wife Dr.Minnu who has a doctorate in Psychotherapy and Counselling.
Says the 44 year old Dr.Bhonsle, " Along with counselling and Psychotherapy for couples, this centre also has an elaborate arrangement for a complete medical checkup through the in-house departments of Radiology, sonography, a computerized pathological laboratory etc."
According to Dr.Minnu, a couple is the smallest unit of community living and how a couple functions as a unit sets the stage for the entire family. She explains, " A family is known as dysfunctional when the desired goals of closeness, self-expression and meaning cannot be attained by the family members. When this happens, symptomatic behaviour takes place. Thus we understand how important it is for a couple to have a healthy and harmonious relationship with each other not only for themselves, but also for their children."
Dr. Rajan Bhonsle cites the case of 42-year-old professional who was afflicted by psoriasis whenever his wife was with him. During her absence, the disease would disappear. He diagnosed it to be a stress-related syndrome and counselled the couple accordingly. " Stress-related diseases are on the rise and are catching their victims young. And because of an increase in failed marriages, more children are either getting into drugs and criminal activities. That's why along with the personal counselling, we also select a certain number of couples for our work shops on stress management, sex education and the art of listening," explains Dr.Bhonsle.
" A healthy communication is a continuous and healthy communication which doesn't mean just talking to each other but also the ability to express one's deeper emotions, anxieties and needs without apprehension," says Dr.Minnu. The centre according to her is an effort to fulfill this need. It also offers facilities for personal counselling, teenage guidance, pre-marriage counselling, sex education, AIDS counselling, among others.
For additional information contact the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at 23778624 / 23755866

November 2001

>How difficult is to believe that a beautiful bond like wedlock can cease to exist for matters as trivial as bad bathroom habits! But, says Dr.Minnu Bhonsle, that's a fact she has to deal with almost every day, at the newly opened 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at Byculla, Mumbai. Maybe then, trivial is the wrong world, and 'serious need for counselling', are the right ones.
"People in India especially, still have a tremendous mental block against counselling, and a suggestion to go in for counselling is treated as an insult by most," points out Dr.Minnu Bhonsle. "We attempt to establish a caring human interaction, which allows the distribute individual to explore and understand herself, and finally create a change that will solve the problem she faces. This is counselling at its best," she explains.
At the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre', Dr.Minnu Bhonsle, equipped with a doctorate and several years of experience in the field, offers customized counselling workshops and sessions, depending on the need of the patient. Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, M.D, director of the centre, has been a practicing consultant for over 15 years. Together, this warm couple spends their days making life easier for many.
The centre offers personal counselling, family therapy, teenage guidance, pre-marital counselling, and lifestyle makeover programs and AIDS counselling.
Most recently, the centre has launched and has been emphasizing couple of therapy sessions. Couple therapy involves a face-to-face interaction between both spouses. This is followed by a free and encouraging flow of communication that helps break the ice.
Dr. Minnu Bhonsle advocates that a family's being functional or dysfunctional, starts and ends wholly with the couple. When family members fail to express themselves, it affects the emotional health of the couple, often reflecting badly on the child. " The time and effort that goes into creating harmony with therapy, reaps dividends," says Dr. Rajan Bhonsle " every small aspect is discussed, questioned and hopefully solved." " Women are generally more open and willing to opt for therapy and counselling," points out Dr. Minnu. " Most of the women who approach us, come with symptomatic manifestations of depression. Women are trained to keep matters regarding their sexuality, and suppress their personal opinions, which builds into an acute frustration. Generally, women feel the need to ventilate their feelings more often than men. But they do not often get the outlet since the husband discourages such discussions." Couple therapy and listening workshops target such estranged couples.
But let's not presume that it's only couple who requires counselling. In the joint family system that most Indian household adhere to, problems often stem from the friction between various family members. Everyone needs counselling. "Relationships are a creation of nature. Let us hope that what we do can help alter the fabric of society in some miniscule way."
For additional information contact the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at 23778624 / 23755866

Matters of the Heart

Afternoon Despatch & Courier
Thursday, September 6, 2001


Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' is a unique counselling centre, which considers it important to treat people as couples. The centre encourages them to talk and more important to listen to each others needs. Couples are free to come for counsellinhg individually or together as a couple.
For the first time in the city, theirs is a centre devoted to the complete well-being of a couple. The unique 'The Heart to Heart Counselling Centre', located within the sprawling Jerbai Baug at Byculla, provides a full-fledged facility for the physical and psychological well-being of couples.
Started by Dr.Rajan Bhonsle and his wife, Dr.Minnu Bhonsle, who together, have over 15 years experience as counsellors, this place offers a complete medical check-up, through the in-house departments of radiology, sonography and the computerized pathological laboratory.
"The reason for us starting this centre is simple, said Dr.Bhonsle. We consider it important to treat people as couples. Each individual has their own problems but in a relationship, the problem appears ten-fold. The beginning of the family, whether functional or dysfunctional starts with the couple."
He continued, " The biggest problem that couples today face is the total lack of communications between themselves. They just don'' talk, about anything, their preferences, their sexual needs... nothing...""Both are encouraged to talk and more importantly listen to each other needs. Couples are free to come for counselling individually to them or together as a couple.
But they point out, that in most cases they ask the partner to bring the spouse, so eventually, it becomes a counselling session for partners. Together, the duo have helped over a thousand couples, but with this new 'couple therapy centre' they can assist couples to understand how important it is for them to have a healthy and harmonies relationship, not just for themselves but for their children as well.
The centre also offers pre-marriage counselling, where a couple can come and talk about their insecurities and fears. Said Dr.Bhonsle, "By helping couples to deal with their apprehensions before marriage, we are teaching them to cope with any problems that might occur during the partnership.
Both feel that sex education should be made compulsory in schools. When is the right age to start… Dr.Rajan Bhonsle said the right age is when the child begins to ask questions. "Parents must never lie… that is very important. So often, the proposal of introducing sex education in schools has risen but parents are apprehensive about what will be taught. And who is going to teach the children. Who can provide for so many sex educators?"
The best option is to introduce a television channel or any channel that can devote a few hours in the evening to provide this information. "If children are obsessed with television, then the best way to teach them is to provide them the information through the medium they enjoy the best," Dr.Bhonsle said.
The child of psychologically immature parents feel like an emotional orphan and when he or she cannot find it at home, the child starts looking for support system elsewhere. "And, since the emotional health of the couple directly affects the emotional health of the children and family, it is high time parents start focussing on their relationship as a couple and work towards strengthening it," they said.
For additional information contact the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at 23778624 / 23755866

Wedding Bliss versus Marital Blues
January 2002

Today, couples have the opportunity to hire wedding planners to make their dreams of a perfect wedding come true. Dr.Rajan Bhonsle and Dr.Minnu Bhonsle, a couple who initiated the first full fledged premarital counselling program, have a battery of about thirty odd tests which also diagnose any genetic problems that you might have, that you will have to eventually deal with when you plan a family. Dr.Rajan emphasizes on the importance of counselling, especially for couples in the Indian set up where marriages are still arranged. He also talks about how the myth of the first night should be clarified and spoken about as it really colours a couple's relationship negatively. Apart from counselling, they also help couples rule out any reproductive disabilities and problems like Thalassemia (a hereditary disease) traits, which can affect a couple's marital life.
Do whatever but do not make the mistake of ignoring issues that you would like to clarify and talk about with your partner. After all, you are planning to spend the rest of your life with him and the least he can do is to hear you out. The idea is not to scare you but to prepare you. So you go ahead and have a ball. Enjoy your wedding, it is your D-Day and we wish you well. At the same time, be prepared to enjoy your marriage so that you do not regret it and do not have to hear people say " We told you so…" make sure you are not getting married to the idea of marriage…and not getting into it with your eyes wide shut!
For further information on pre-marital counselling and check-up facility, contact the 'Heart to Heart Counselling Centre' at 23778624 / 23755866


Match Maker
Friday, April 11, 2003

Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, a marital counselor has been working with his wife Dr. Minnu Bhonsle for the last 12 years. He says, "It all depends on the 'uwnderstanding' between the two. Working with the spouse, can make you see other dimensions of your partner, which you would have otherwise not known. One also gets to learn a lot from each other and grow professionally and personally." His wife, after the birth of their son, took time off from her career to stay at home and care for her child. But as the years passed she stepped back into the action with her husband for company.
The concept of couples working together is a relatively new one especially here in India. Most couples are apprehensive about such an arrangement and the consequences it will have on their personal life. "This apprehension arises only if the husband assumes a 'superior' position at work. However, if the husband acknowledges and respects the contribution of the wife at work, there would be no problem." states Dr. Rajan Bhonsle.
The Bhonsles say, "We do not feel the need to segregate our personal and professional lives, as the work that we do is more of our 'passion' rather than our work. It is deeply fulfilling and not a stressor, which needs to be put aside." Though like most couples they make the time for individual pursuits. "We write separately as well as together. We plan our workshops and training programs together, but conduct them either individually or together." Dr. Minnu Bhonsle concedes, "Just as for any good relationship, for a smooth working relationship, the only ingredients necessary are care, commitment and communication."

Heart to Heart- The Swish set
The Indian Express
Monday, April 26, 2004
Did you know that around 2500-odd couples file for divorce in Mumbai every year? And that there has been a marginal 10-per cent increase over the last decade?

But let's not wallow in grim statistics. Like others of their small tribe, husband-and-wife team Dr.Rajan and Dr.Minnu Bhonsle have been sewing tattered marriages together for the last 18 years.

Equipped with an x-ray unit, sonography machine and a computerized pathology lab, the Heart to Heart counseling center at Byculla might just be the place to visit before you decide to call it quits. Here, the regimen includes one-on-one sessions, workshops and seminars that have steadied many troubled marriages.

According to Dr.Rajan, circumstances in Mumbai are more conducive to opting for counseling than in smaller places. "You can attend workshops discretely. People don't hesitate to seek help out of fear of being noticed."

Dr.Minnu agrees, "Awareness is up because of access to international television shows and the media. Mumbai is a bustling, cosmopolitan city and people are receptive to approaching a marriage counselor," she says.

The Bhonsles, who use an eclectic mix of techniques as they are trained in both Eastern and Western models of psychotherapy, believe the couple is the smallest social unit in community living. Therefore, a healthy marriage is the foundation of a strong family, society, nation and world, they explain.

As a husband-wife team, the Bhonsles often counsel according to their individual strengths. Dr.Minnu usually focuses on the emotional aspect, while her husband tackles physical concerns. And the gender balance helps a lot. For instance, should a client need a 'man-to-man' discussion, Dr.Rajan will step in.

There's another advantage. "Since we have such a strong marriage, we can serve as role models for our clients and bring a personal note to our sessions," explains Dr.Minnu.

- Aparna Sosamma Wilder

Parents learn how to discuss sex with kids

March 19, 2004

Parents are queuing up, and it is not to get their wards admitted to schools, but to learn how to discuss sex with their children.

At the new and only Sex Educator's Training programme introduced by a counselling centre in Byculla last month, parents and doctors have been enrolling themselves to learn more about the traditionally taboo subject.

Dr Rajan B Bhonsle, MD and consulting sex educator, therapist and counsellor said he started the programme to help ease the discomfort people face while discussing sex. "Be it parents, doctors or even counsellors, the subject is not an easy one to talk about," he said. This programme aims at creating a core group of adults with greater awareness trained to conduct sex education programmes, workshops and classes at school, college or community level.

Many of the enrolled parents have teenage children. Anjali Singh, a parent, said, "With the internet and adult films on television, children know more than what we did when we were the same age. To make sure my daughter understands things the right way, I need to know what to say," she said.

Dr Bhonsle expressed surprise that many doctors have also joined the class. "I was expecting more parents, but doctors want to learn how to communicate better with their patients," he said.

Dr Subodh Gujarati, MD, agreed. "I have male patients who come in with sexual problems and sometimes it is difficult to explain how these problems can be solved. One needs patience to explain these things and should also learn the proper method of doing so," he said.

Counsellors too said they wanted to know how to discuss sex.

The sessions are on at Heart To Heart Counselling Centre, Byculla (E).

- Lajwanti D'Souza

Doctor couple starts sex educator's course
September 23, 2003

Jerbai Baug on a bustling Byculla road in Mumbai could be straight out of Rohinton Mistry's book, Such A Long Journey. Geriatric Parsis shuffle along in this colony. The flavour of dhansaak wafts through the air. The silence hanging over the residential hub speaks eloquently of single existences and migration abroad by a dwindling community.

The Heart to Heart counselling centre run by a doctor couple called the Bhonsles is housed in this colony. It is a centre for psychotherapy and counselling and offers personal counselling, couple counselling, family therapy, teenage guidance, pre-marriage counselling and sex education.

Now, Dr Rajan B Bhonsle of Heart to Heart has decided to act upon a two-year-old government resolution saying that sex education must be compulsory in schools. Seeking to formalise sex education, which is mostly taught by biology teachers if imparted at all, Bhonsle is offering a one month sex educator's course at the end of which participants go back with a 'Sex Educator's' certificate from the centre.

Dr Bhonsle, trainer of the course and his wife, Dr Minnu Bonsle who is course director admit, there was a rush for admission to the course by people "who were merely titillated by the words sex educator." She added, "I rejected many applicants. After interviews, I chose eight students though my first batch for the one-month course to be held on weekends has place for 16. Only if I am convinced that the person has a genuine desire to learn and teach sex education do I admit the student."

Dr Bhonsle goes on, "I have some teachers as applicants, some counsellors and parents who still find it difficult to talk about sex to their children." Dr Bhonsle cautions, "Care will be taken to see the 'graduates' from my class do not misuse the certificate stating they are sexologists. They are not. They are educators and can't be called sex counsellors or sex therapists."

- Hemal Ashar

Heart To Heart Counselling Centre
Institute of Human Technology

10 Jerbai Baug, Ambedkar Road,
Near Gloria Chuch, Byculla (East),
Bombay 400 027 , India
Tel : 23778624 / 23755866 Telefax: 22184528
Email : hthmumbai@gmail.com

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