Counselling and Psychosocial Services

 

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination. 
- Carl Rogers

 

Individual, Group and Family counselling

 

This type of counselling entails working with individuals in one-on-one therapeutic sessions where persons confidentially discuss personal matters. Therapeutic needs are varied in and range from depression to substance dependence. Group therapy is an effective method to facilitate change and growth within groups of people. Group work can range from growth groups, therapeutic groups to educational groups. Groups are effective for support groups and groups that address specific needs such as anger management. Family counselling assists in the process of changes that families experience and helps construct a better understanding of each other. The family as a whole is consulted during group sessions. Family members learn from their own self-determination to construct meaningful relationships with their significant others. Whether therapeutic intervention is facilitated individually, in groups or as a family, the need towards change and growth of the person is paramount.

 

Trauma counselling

 

Psychological trauma, more often than not, presents as the result of a disturbing event. A crisis or disturbing experience could result in a person questioning them self and whether the world in which they live is safe. Signs and symptoms will present after victims have experienced or witnessed for example physical or psychological abuse, brutality, violence and / or disastrous events (war, floods, earthquakes, accidents, shooting incidents, sexual trauma etc.). The aforementioned examples do not preclude other experiences that may not be as obviously distressing or painful. Traumatic events absorb the person’s ability to cope and could completely overwhelm the person’s functioning. Persons experience difficulty in constructing meaning of their emotions or reactions related to the event. We all react differently to situations, whether they are witnessed or experienced. People react in ways which seem “unusual” or “abnormal”, but it should always be considered that whatever their reaction – for that person – it is normal. It is vital that people are debriefed and counselled professionally. Remember, someone may not immediately show signs of post-traumatic stress; this may take weeks or months to manifest. Counselling after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic should be standard practice and can prevent further psychological harm to the individual or groups such as the family structure or employees.

 

Marriage and Relationship counselling

Marriage or Relationship Counselling is a process of counselling of all the parties involved in a relationship in an effort to improve management of the relationship. Interpersonal differences are addressed in order to resolve differences and recurring patterns that are not healthy. Behaviour and emotions are motivated by needs. During this process, needs in the relationship are discovered and understood. Marriage or Relationship Counselling requires specialised therapeutic intervention that integrates the symbolised as well as un-symbolised needs of both parties involved in the relationship or marriage. Persons gain knowledge about themselves and their partners in the therapeutic consultations and apply the increased insight and knowledge in and outside of their personal lives. Marriage and relationship counselling pursues understanding of the self and how the relationship is constructed. Persons could discover new and exciting ways of communicating respect and love towards each other that would further result in change and growth.

 

Substance Dependence/ Abuse

Drugs, alcohol and medication abuse/dependence has become a serious and concerning reality in our society. It goes without saying that chemical substances do not only destroy the user/abuser, but also the significant others. Chemical substance use / abuse can cause psychiatric disorders, appear as a psychiatric diagnosis or may even hide a mental health disorder. Substance dependence primarily remains a medical condition and requires medical intervention before any therapeutic progress can begin. Persons continue substance abuse despite the financial, legal, relationship, physical and psychological consequences. Usually help is sought after the behaviour, as well as dependence, has caused multiple hazards to the self and direct environment. The following three phases are identified as the way in which the disease of substance dependence progresses: social (experimental) phase; pattern phase and physical dependence phase. It is vital that professional intervention be sought. The disease progression would determine whether out-patient or in-patient treatment would be required. At times, chemical substance dependence might seem hopeless, but with suitable therapeutic end medical interventions many a patient has gained control over their lives, well-being and mental health.

 

HIV/Aids Pre and Post test counselling

Some experience positive HIV status as a death sentence. Counselling and therapy would assist the person to effectively deal with the test results and the numerous and tumultuous emotions and thoughts that they experience. Further the treatment is used as for change and growth in the process of actualising of the self. Whereas the initial response is fear and anxiety, patients have demonstrated the ability to better their lives and change the current situation into an experience of constructing themselves and living to their full potential.

 

Bereavement counselling

The death of a loved one or any sense of loss leaves persons feeling vulnerable, heartbroken and sometimes emotionally lost. By thinking about the reactions to our experiences, we aim to make sense of them and ourselves. In times of grief persons need to express their grief and regrets need to be symbolised. This time is a natural process during counselling will help with bereavement, loss, identifying and expressing feelings such as anger, guilt, anxiety, fear and sorrow. Emotional withdrawal from loss could also occur and should be understood by the grieving person. Unique behaviours and reactions to the loss should also be examined and comprehended in a supportive psychologically safe environment. Coping and defence mechanisms need to be identified in the process of allowing a person to follow the natural direction of the grieving process.

 

Communication and Life Skills

Communication is where information is conveyed through the exchange of messages, ideas and information through speech, visual signals, writing, metaphors and even behaviour. It is usually inadequate communication methods and skills that create misunderstandings in personal and professional relationships. More often than not it results in conflict and tension with others and the own self. Communication requires a sender of a message to successfully relay the message and confirm the understanding of the received message with the recipient. Completion of the communication process is when the receiver confirms that the message has been received and understood. At times the receiver of the message might not be aware of the sender's intention to communicate. There is always the possibility for interference in the communication process. These interferences could be physical or psychological, interpersonal or intrapersonal and communicators should be aware of possible interference in order to avoid psychological tension or misunderstandings. Communication and Life Skills are focussed on solving the problem and imparting communication behaviours that can be applied in the management of personal relationships. Persons have the potential to develop and manage their own set of own individual interpersonal skills that could be directly acquired from their own lives. These skills can be utilised to manage problems, questions and unconscious needs encountered in daily living. Communication and Life Skills could vary depending on cultural or societal norms and community expectations.

 

Adolescent counselling

Adolescence is stepping stone to the physical and psychological development process to adulthood. Adolescence occurs between puberty and adulthood and poses unique needs and challenges to the developing young person. This phase of adolescence is also referred to as the teenage years which often accompany risky or odd behaviour. Persons in this phase are trying to make sense of the world and their own existence. The person is experiencing chemical/hormonal changes in the body as well as challenging demands from the environment. Physical growth and other changes feature prominently and the individual often starts to ask questions relating to construction of the self which normally indicates cognitive growth. Adolescence and cognitive development could continue into the early twenties. Age thus provides simply a rough indicator of adolescence and various arguments exist with regards to the exact definition for adolescence. An empathetic understanding of the person undergoing sometimes difficult changes is sought in comprehending the experiences of the adolescent. Adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood and a process of preparation of children for adulthood, poses unique needs and behaviour that should be understood in the context of the internal and external changing person. Adolescent Counselling aims to facilitate the process of the young developing person by gaining insight into their needs and behaviour. By creating an awareness of the changing self the adolescent could successfully gain control and self-determination in his/her own process of development.

 

Sexual behaviour counselling

High risk sexual behaviour, sexual addiction, issues with regards to sexual identity and sexual orientation are addressed and facilitated in a psychologically safe environment. Sexual matters are approached with unconditional positive regard and respect for the individual. Significant needs could be therapeutically approached and contribute to the understanding of the individual and his/her unique construction of self as a person.

 

Psychosocial Services

Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which has the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

Psychosocial support is provided to survivors of trauma, tragedy or illness. Further psychosocial interventions facilitate growth and change according to the affected person’s self – determination. Intervention aims to prevent pathological effects of potentially painful life events.

Psychosocial relates to a person's psychological growth as well as relations with the self and others. Psychosocial services are generally part of a multi – professional approach which include medical, psychotherapeutic, nursing and psychiatric interventions.

Issues that disturb one’s psychosocial functioning creates psychological tension that affects the wellbeing of a person. The whole being and significant others are affected and include the physical, emotional, cognitive and social person.

 

Change and growth as a journey

 

The first simple feeling I want to share with you is my enjoyment when I can really hear someone.
Carl Rogers (1980)

At times life experiences may leave a person with scars that hinder the ability to move on, grow and accept the true self. Unsymbolised and unanswered needs of the past frustrate change and growth. Stress and psychological discomfort is the result of experiences that is not congruent with the self. This implies that the person might not be aware of what exactly causes psychological tension. Through counselling/ psychotherapy needs that the person may not be aware of or obstacles are addressed in a non –threatening and facilitative environment.

Jacques H. Botes has a passion for the facilitation of change with individuals, groups and communities and respects human beings and their unique situations. The philosophy he uses as point of departure in rendering psychosocial interventions is rooted in The Person–Centred Approach (PCA) of Carl Rogers, where the wholeness of the person is approached through a psycho–therapeutic process that facilitates change and growth of individuals, groups and communities. He is also a captivating speaker who inspires audiences with regards to change and growth towards actualising of the self. He frequently lectures as a guest speaker at exhibitions, seminars, various governmental and non –governmental organisations from local to national level. He also regularly addresses audiences via electronic and printed media.

The Person –Centred Approach (PCA) of Carl Rogers can be applied individuals, families, communities, companies and intimate focus groups. PCA is a unique sensitive style of therapy which is rooted in the values of Respect, Self –Determination, Individualisation, Confidentiality and sensitivity to clients’ needs. The approach to and the value system informing Jacques’ engagements with service users and the goal of his interventions, resonates with that of Rogers (1980: xvii) when he states: “I am no longer talking simply about psychotherapy, but about a point of view, a philosophy, an approach to life, a way of being, which fits any situation in which growth – of a person, a group, or a community – is part of the goal”. The Person –Centred Approach unconditionally believes in every person, group or community’s gift and ability to change and grow. Change and growth opens a whole new world and outlook on personal goals that are in anticipation of every human being.

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. Carl Rogers"