Type: Therapist, Therapy, Psychologist :

Vani Subramaniam (She/They)

Vani (She/They) is a mental health therapist from Bengaluru who practices online.

Vani is 34 years old, with at least 4 years of experience.

Therapy Services:   Individual Therapy (For Everyone) Also Works With Queer Folks 🏳️‍🌈

Replies in 48 Working Hours (2 days).Accepts Enquiries via Email.

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  • Practicing Since: 4 years
  • Appointments Via: Email
  • Medium:
    • 🌐 Online
  • City: Bengaluru
  • Qualifications:
    • MSC Counseling Psychology
    • Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work
  • Additional Qualifications:
    • One Year Certificate Course in Narrative Therapy, Dulwich Center and Children First
    • Basics and Beyond Online Course on Sexuality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Tarshi
    • Reflect, Realign, Renew: Manage Stress and Keep Burnout Away by Tarshi
  • Languages Known: English, and Hindi (English might be their primary language for therapy)
  • Hourly Fee (₹): 2,500 - 3,500
  • Payments Via: Bank Transfer, Cash, PayTm, UPI, Cheque
  • Available On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
  • Reach Out
 Report Inaccuracy
  • Why did you choose to become a counsellor?
    While I’d like to have a more linear origin story, therapy found me gently, in pockets, at times when I was trying to integrate my educational training in the field of psychology with my capacity to be interested and invested in people’s stories. My own time spent in therapy helped me understand the process’s nuances and scope and I chose to build on this skill to be able to offer it professionally.
  • What excites you about your work as a counsellor?
    Located in the Global South, I was taught how to offer therapy from a Western lens. And I noticed myself feeling incomplete in the training and in my body as I was trying to work with individuals. Some years later, through a lot of intentional searching and effort, I found my voice in therapy and learnt that I am excited to hold space for people as they notice, learn, unlearn and unpack ideas they’ve known as ‘given’ and ‘unchangeable’. I’m excited at the prospect of gently unpacking systems’ capacities to facilitate or interrupt growth and building spaces for collective care and responsibility.
  • What do you hope for your clients to experience after their first session with you?
    I’m hoping that the people I work with feel able to ‘come as they are’. Sometimes they may have had an experience (s) of therapy before or come with ideas of what it might be. I’m open to them bringing questions, hopes, ideas and anything else that is alive for them. After our first session, my hope would be for them to carry the knowledge that this is a relational process that does so much more than ‘address some issues’. And that it is slow and gentle and will honor their space, knowledges, skills and safety as we go along. I invite people to document, in any way they are called to, anything they find interesting, important or something they’d like to sit with after our session as a way to stay in contact between meetings.
  • What would you wish to tell a client who is thinking about seeking counselling?

    I’ve been practicing for over eight years, with four exclusively being in my own independent practice. My experience has been that people often reach out to try and work with a specific issue or set of issues. Given time, money, intensity of distress and other variables, there is often a sense of urgency to center the problem in conversations. It also matches the popular ideas that one approaches a counselor to ‘fix or reduce the impact of whatever’s bothering them’. This can feel like a lot of pressure to ‘get to the root of the problem’, ‘asking for tools and fixes’ and ‘wanting to share all the relevant information as soon as possible’.

    I’d like a client to know that therapy can look like a slower, intentional process that isn’t supposed to re traumatize you or require long, linear narrations of ’life history’. That it can be unusual for us to set aside money to invest in time to talk about ourselves. I urge them to imagine therapy as an exploration where one is leading with curiosity as opposed to criticality. It can feel frustrating or heavy sometimes. Therapy to me, can’t be inclusive if we leave our politics outside - the very real impacts of gender, caste, culture, patriarchy etc. And that’s something some clients look for more specifically while others might align to more popular forms of therapy. I would also love for clients to ask lots of questions. Get to know the therapist’s experience, how they answer questions, their availability - see how they make you feel. There are as many types of therapists and therapy as there are individuals. Ask around a little bit if you have the time and space to do so before making a decision.

  • Describe the relationship that you would wish to build with your client in counselling.
    I like to invite lightness into my therapy sessions. I’m keen to learn who the person is in front of me, their hopes and dreams, the things they cherish, their unique skills and bodies of knowledges. I encourage the person to get creative in the way they want to bring information and stories into the room. That could look like writing, pieces of music, movement, art, silence or anything else. Additionally, if we are meeting online, I like to learn a bit about whether they see that as a safe, uninterrupted space to speak from, any concerns around data and the internet etc. I also name my social position and how the possible intersections that contribute to my identity, may offer me some privileges and how I try to not let that shroud someone else’s reality.
  • In your counselling work so far, what has been your greatest learning from your clients?
    People’s ability to hold multiplicities and nuance in a world that pushes for polarities is the single most inspiring experience for me to witness and hold in therapy spaces. That people are extraordinarily knowledgeable in their lives. And are constantly responding to and resisting difficult things in their lives. That ideas, hopes, values and intentions survive in the most unique or difficult circumstances and have guided them in their lives. That I am a co- researcher at best in that journey.
  • What are some of your strengths as a counsellor that you value and appreciate?
    Hard work :) I see myself as preparing, documenting, sharing and really seeking to build and sustain a relationship with the person in front of me. And that hard work isn’t limited to sessions. In a field such as this in India, I find it even more important to learn, study and build accountability amongst practitioners, as there aren’t existing systems that hold counseling practitioners accountable for possible harm. I also like that I bring lightness to our session and offer several alternatives to spoken word for people in our work together. Lastly, I am in work for myself with therapy and supervision in addition to not overextending myself through the week. I acknowledge the emotional resources that this field requires and do things that nourish and sustain that to be available to people.
  • What are some of the things you like to do in your free time?
    I sing with a band, in my city of stay :) Performances with the band are very exciting to me. I am also interested in attending exhibitions, flea markets, community and live events in the city. I deeply enjoy traveling and try to do that as often as possible. I have started to be more interested in cooking and also have found my love for reading again. I share space with a cat and I enjoy playing with him.
  • What are the areas of concern you address in counselling? Do you work with specific populations?

    I work with individuals between the ages of 18 - 45.

    A lot of my work touches upon the evolving world and its worries - all the way from larger issues like the pandemic and climate change to specific ways in which someone’s access to employment, education, connections etc. are interrupted.

    My specific areas of interest are grief, loss, urban loneliness, migration, recovering from religious trauma, dating dilemmas and partner conflicts (relationship/ marriage conflicts/ separations/ estrangement/ divorces etc.). Populations I am keen on supporting are queer and neurodivergent folx, disabled folx, people coming to terms with experiences of marginalization and oppression. I’m more interested in people’s experiences, descriptions and knowledges of their problems more than medicalized/ expert driven/ clinical labels.

    I am not currently working with couples, families or minors.

  • What is the therapeutic approach you use? How would you describe it to someone who wants to consult you for therapy?

    My training is a form of therapy that borrows partly from psychology, but also heavily from feminist liberation movements, literary theory, anthropology, social justice movements, indigenous knowledges and culture studies. Quite a mouthful?

    I’m drawn to working with language - what do we mean when we say something? How do we perceive it? How is meaning made in our unique contexts, culture etc. and what is the impact of that on us? How do we tell stories of ourselves and where do we locate ourselves in the world? I draw a lot from nature and nature metaphors - what do we observe, what phenomenon in nature mirrors us and what do we learn from observing, spending time in and using nature as a metaphor to understand our lives? Second, we have many parts of us that are in constant movement. Some get prioritized, some feel difficult and are kept away. Some find it hard to co-exist. I seek acquaintance with all parts of you and what information they seek to provide. While I adhere to confidentiality, a big focus of my work is to reduce isolation by linking my client to stories, projects, resources and movements in the world that may have shared experiences and tips and knowledges. Not all the answers lie in a therapy conversation and a big focus is on helping build or strengthen connections to multiple places of support, acknowledging that connection can lie literally anywhere.

    My work and stances are deeply political and by that I don’t mean - who you vote for. I am anti oppressive practices, trauma informed, feminist, anti-patriarchy, liberation driven, queer, neurodivergent and am quite firm about acknowledging and being transparent about the impact of the intersection of our different social locations. If this feels like a lot of words or unclear, I encourage people to ask me about this when they reach out. I seek to honour differences rather than pretend they don’t exist or don’t matter. And I seek to work with people that are interested in this lens rather than a more general approach to work.

  • How do you make your therapeutic practice a safe and affirmative space for queer and trans* folx?

    This section can hold a lot of big words/ jargon. Please feel free to ask me about them if you’re unclear.

    I’m a queer and neurodivergent person. While I have access to literature and lived experiences, safety, affirmation and advocacy in a therapeutic context is broader. It is a constant process of examining, unlearning, asking and staying close to the philosophies, movements, actions, voices and stories of these folx. Can I recognize and work on my biases and ‘knowns’? Do I work extra hard to remember how intersectionality makes every person’s situation unique? Can I acknowledge when I may not be trained or adequately resourced to support a queer or trans person?

    What are the efforts I’m making to be aware of local helplines, legalities and available options in the client’s geography and culture if they were to avail services? What does safety look like for a person in a session? What allows someone to trust me to share these parts of their identity with me?

    When I’m working online, what accommodations do I make for sensory needs or other needs and invisible disabilities? These are some things I’m attempting to not just welcome queer, neurodivergent or disabled folx to my practice, but communicate an active interest and advocacy for practices that are more inclusive.

  • The Quote Vani Resonates With

    I know I'm no doctor but if I was guessing I'd say it was just growing pains And painful as growing is we can't forget it's our ticket to taking the reins And we'll all be okay, we'll be okay

    Dusty Trails written by Jessica Wolfe / Holly Proctor. (Song)

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