Become a lay counsellor

HELPING OTHERS: Employees of Masithethe Counselling Service,back from left: Cikiswa Ngxangane, Sindiswa Mbinqo, Zoleka Fanapi, Antielene Els, Jackie Orsmond and Soroya Leewu Seated: Francois Meinie Picture:SIVENATHI GOSA

Masithethe Counselling Services held their annual Lay Counsellor in Personal Growth and Counselling skills course on Tuesday evening at the East London Golf Course.
The course will run from January 22 to March 12.

Director of Masithethe Counselling Services director Jackie Orsmond said while trained psychotherapists fulfill an important role in the community, particularly where ongoing therapy is required, the skilled lay counsellor can make a valuable contribution.

“The Masithethe Personal Growth course is designed to enable us to discover, understand and accept ourselves and others. Since the best learning and growth takes place through experiencing and doing, rather than through passive listening and observing, our training courses are based primarily on trainee participation, group discussion and experiential learning,” she said.

Orsmornd indicateds each session was conducted by a presenter who is an experienced Masithethe counsellor.

“One of the greatest advantages of the lay counsellor in an organisation such as Masithethe is accessibility. The importance of theoretical technique cannot be denied, yet research has shown that the warmth and quality of the relationship established between the lay counsellor and the person seeking help is paramount,” Orsmond said.

In order to be effective, said Orsmond, the counsellor should possess three important qualities: empathy, acceptance and genuineness.

“The Personal Growth and Counselling Skills course is geared to developing and enhancing these qualities in its participants. To develop the qualities and skills of a counsellor requires a degree of self-awareness and self-acceptance, and an ability to relate freely and warmly to others.

“These are coupled with knowledge of basic counselling practice. Before we can understand and help others, we need to understand and come to terms with ourselves, to know who we are and have a strong sense of where we are going,” . The first stage in our training as counsellors is growth towards greater self-awareness,” and self-discovery,” she said.

“Trainees who have completed the Personal Growth course are eligible to attend the follow-up 10-week Counselling Skills course which. This course focuses on advanced counselling skills, counselling tools, (grief cycle, parts model, genogram, etc), as well as providing and also provides input on rape, child abuse, gender abuse, HIV/Aids, suicide, depression, alcohol, drug abuse, play therapy, trauma debriefing and counsellor self-care and burnout prevention. This part of the course also focuses on practical counselling sessions,” Orsmond said.

For more information, contact Orsmond on 043-743-7266 or send an e-mail to


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