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Field Notes

Vol. 11 No. 2: April issue

​​Cultivating Care​: Notes from a Mental Health Organisation in India

September 13, 2022


This Field Note reflects on the ethics and work of professional mental health care in the context of a non-profit counselling organisation in the city of Bengaluru, India. During fieldwork, having conversations with the counsellors and attending their group meetings brought the practices of cultivating care to the forefront. Deep listening and empathy are central to the care work of counselling. Yet these do not simply emerge from spontaneous feelings of love and compassion. Rather, they are cultivated through systematic individual and collective work. In this Field Note I focus on the collective modalities of cultivating care in terms of learning how to listen to the unsaid, recognise one’s ‘biases’, and establish the limits of care. These constitute the ethics of care work.