Who We Are

The Listeners Collective is a multidisciplinary team of mental health and social justice professionals; unpacking intersectional mental health concerns while holding space for re-storying narratives.

Ganga Nair (She/her)
Ganga Nair (She/her)Founder & CEO

Ganga has worked in the intersections of mental health and sexuality, gender and social injustice over the last decade. She is a trauma informed integrative psychotherapist and has developed mental health interventions for vulnerable communities such as survivors of human trafficking, children rescued from child labour and children in conflict with the law, also working with NIMHANS in Bangalore, India to develop support manuals for stakeholders working with vulnerable groups.
Ganga has also developed and implemented macro-scale wellness programs for low to middle income factory workers working for brands such as Inditex, Walmart and Gap Inc. and collaborating with partners such as Better Work to further wellbeing outcomes for this group.
She founded The Listeners Collective to bring together a multidisciplinary team of passionate mental health professionals to provide individual and group psychotherapy as well as targeted emotional well-being programs for communities and workplaces.

Suvrita (They/them)
Suvrita (They/them)Programmes Manager - Project Catalyst

Suvrita is a Psychologist and Sexuality Educator with a Masters in Clinical Psychology. They take an eclectic approach in their work with young people and adults. Their therapy is queer affirmative, sex and body positive, castes aware, kink aware and neurodiversity affirmative. They believe in challenging and deconstructing the oppressive systems and ideas of normative that contribute to mental dis-ease.
Outside of work, they can be found painting, dancing and singing badly and enjoying attention from dogs

With The Listeners Collective, Suvrita is currently working with the Project Catalyst team in the design and delivery of a psycho-social program with adolescents in the urban slums in Bangalore.

Mariya Samreen (She/her)
Mariya Samreen (She/her)Programmes Manager - Adolescent Mental Health

Mariya is a psychologist who believes that psychology chose her. She has completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology and is pursuing Masters in Life. Having worked with children on the spectrum, she has training in ABA- Applied Behaviour Analysis techniques, as a behaviour therapist. She has volunteered with Make A Difference organization as an educator for high school students at shelters who were at risk and mobilized them towards equitable outcomes via the organization; She believes teaching is a skill & being a facilitator is applying that skill. She has also been trained in various therapeutic techniques by proficient psychologists, such as- CBT, REBT, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, play therapy, and is a Life skills trainer (as prescribed by WHO).

Mariya is quite intuitive by nature, her favourite quality is to laugh each day! She is a thinker, believer and an avid reader.

With The Listeners Collective, Mariya is currently working with the Project Catalyst team in the design and delivery of a psycho-social program with adolescents in the urban slums in Bangalore.

Michelle Sonali (She/her)
Michelle Sonali (She/her)Programmes Facilitator - Project Catalyst
Michelle has a Masters in Clinical Psychology and also a Postgraduate Diploma in Comprehensive Management of Children with Learning Disorders. Michelle was working in digital marketing when she discovered her calling for Psychology and decided to pursue a career in the field of mental health. She has completed her Suicide Gatekeeper Training by Augmenta Health and Tele Arogya where she has been volunteering her services to provide crisis intervention for those in emotional distress. During the course of her education, she has also interned at Spandana Healthcare where she spent ample time interacting with and providing interventions for those who were coping with severe mental illness.

With The Listeners Collective, Michelle is currently working with the Project Catalyst team in the delivery of a psycho-social program with adolescents in the urban slums in Bangalore.

Richa Vashista (she/they)
Richa Vashista (she/they)Clinical Supervisor (Gender & Sexuality)

Richa is an integrative Psychologist with over 8 years of experience. They have a M.A in Clinical Psychology, SNDT University and is a certified Suicide First Responder issued by City and Guilds. Richa works as the Chief Mental Health Expert with AtEase, an inclusive mental health platform and provides in person and digital consultations for individual, couples and families. She conducts training programs and workshops for corporates, facilitates monthly support groups and offers supervision to fellow therapists. Their worldview is Intersectional, Queer Affirmative, and believes that people have the capability to be their authentic self.

Her area of expertise: LGBTQIA+, Perinatal Mental Health, Trauma, Borderline Personality Disorder, Workplace Mental Health, Family systems & Relationships. She uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Person Centered Therapy and is currently getting trained to be a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP Level I & II). She speaks at various national and international forums, where she emphasizes on the importance of mental healthcare and rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

At The Listeners Collective, Richa is a clinical supervisor offering mentorship and guidance in the areas of gender and sexuality work.

Nethra Nallari (she/they)
Nethra Nallari (she/they)Lead -Group Work Programmes & Strategy

Building on a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, Nethra continues to learn, unlearn and explore what it means to create safe spaces and foster collaboration in the process of therapy. She describes herself as a curious practitioner, hoping to hold space for the many intersections of stories, systems, and individuals in therapy.

She is inclined towards person-centered, psychodynamic theoretical orientations. At work, she draws on her training in peer and crisis counseling, queer-affirmative support, trauma-informed care, and reflective practices.

Outside work, she writes, practices yoga, and invests time in learning music, doodling, and reading.

With the Listener’s Collective, Nethra currently works as a Jr. Psychotherapist and Communications Associate.

Sanika Nanal (she/her)
Sanika Nanal (she/her)Psychotherapy Associate

Sanika’s  practice is based on an eclectic approach and her additional certifications in RECBT, PERSONAL COUNSELING AND Transactional Analysis; helps her in integrating various schools of therapy, tailoring it to unique client needs. She believes that challenges propel people towards learning and her goal in life always is to learn and grow.  Apart from being intrigued by psychotherapy, she is also an avid pursuer of learning new crafts, reading and cooking.

Sanika considers The Listeners Collective as a platform where she can dive into deeper layers of the community. With the Listener’s Collective, Sanika currently works as a junior psychotherapy associate.

Smruti Ranjan Jena (He/ him)
Smruti Ranjan Jena (He/ him) Programmes Facilitator - Project Aarzoo

Smruti is a passionate educator and development facilitator with an M.Phil in Linguistics. With nearly 27 years of experience and grounding in Linguistics he has been involved in multiple projects that focus on socio-psychological counselling to educators, creating teaching-learning materials and curriculum, training, research and editing.
He has a rich and diverse experience of working with Government, Non-government and Multinational agencies of national and international repute. He has created a full body of work that spans from preschool to secondary education with special focus on equity, gender, child rights and social justice in school curricula. To his passion, he works for Adivasis, caste minority groups, migrant communities and other marginalized sections in the society.

With The Listeners Collective, Smruti is currently working with the Project Aarzoo team in delivering a psycho-social program with the Adivasi communities in Odisha.

Bhagyashri Dalai (She/ her)
Bhagyashri Dalai (She/ her) Programmes Facilitator - Project Aarzoo

Bhagyashri has completed her Master’s degree in Social work from Pondicherry University.

During her internship Bhagyashri has been a part of and facilitated women empowerment programs, social entrepreneurship programs, road safety program, as well as organizing awareness and aid to communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bhagyashri has also worked with orphans children as a case worker. Outside of work she can be found enjoying memes, dancing and singing.

With The Listeners Collective, Bhagyashri is currently working with the Project Aarzoo team in delivering a psycho-social program to the Adivasi communities in Odisha.

Lakshmi Sridhar (She/ Her)
Lakshmi Sridhar (She/ Her)People Operations Associate

Born, raised and educated in Bangalore, Lakshmi started out on a career path quite late in life, owing to all the time spent exploring and strengthening her interests. Lakshmi has a Master’s degree in Sociology and one in Philosophy. Nonetheless, Psychology has always been a passion and an area of much intrigue for her, along with Neuroscience. Working in the field of Mental Health & Hygiene rooted in the greater objective of effecting Social Change, therefore, has been a perfect fit where she gets to experience the convergence of learning and application.

Lakshmi loves people and books. Most of her time is spent learning something from either. She has an ardent interest in the teachings and practice of Buddhism, too. Lakshmi is quadriplegic and in her words “I have my own set of challenges (much like everyone else) that I am able to navigate, thanks to the love and encouragement of an amazing support system. I truly believe that I am not more trapped in my mind than anybody else is in theirs; and that perspective makes me feel very connected to those around me. I cherish life and all its oddities!”

At The Listeners Collective, Lakshmi anchors all things ‘People’ while being her authentic self.

Priya Pillai (She/her)
Priya Pillai (She/her)Mentor - Programs & Partnerships

Priya is a seasoned management professional with over 13 years in strategic communication, research, and leadership across the nonprofit sector. She has conducted and led field projects for USAID, UNDP, UNISDR, Huairou Commission, HIVOS, GAIN and GIZ; predominantly working on issues of gender. Drawing strength from her own experience of surviving domestic abuse, Priya strongly believes in nurturing safe spaces; even opening up her home for multiple women battling difficult circumstances. Fostering collaboration and participation is Priya’s strongest skill. She believes that the best outcomes always arise when stakeholders converge on interests despite variances in desired outcomes. At The Listeners Collective, Priya aims to identify good ideas, and enablers, and strives to connect them to achieve maximum synergy.

Shwetambara (She/her)
Shwetambara (She/her)Mentor - Gender Programs

Shwetambera has worked on rights-based development interventions for the past 13 years in various sectors including health, education, livelihoods and LGBTQ+ inclusion
At present, Shwetambera manages TRANScend, an initiative by The Humsafar Trust aimed to enhance inclusion of transgender individuals in India through research and intervention into the socio-economic needs of the communities, capacity building of transgender community organizations, and sensitization of corporates, educational institutions, and other stakeholders. Prior to TRANScend, Shwetambera handled SAHYOG, a project aimed to address gaps in the National HIV program. She holds a master’s degree in development studies from the University of Manchester.
At The Listeners Collective, Shwetambera aims to mentor on gender programs enriching them with her wide and diverse experience in the field.

Ratna Appnendar (She/her)Legal Aid

Ratna Appnender is a lawyer, practising in the trial and appellate Courts in Delhi. She has more than 7 years of experience in the field of criminal law and human rights, including gender based crimes and sexual violence. At The Listeners Collective we strongly believe that mental health and wellbeing are deeply dependent on social realities and influenced by social systems including the legal framework. Ratna aims to be able to provide legal advice to individuals such as survivors of violence or social injustice when well-being goals are dependent on or influenced by the legal framework.

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