Group counselling session welcomed by participants

The idea of disclosing feelings of grief and depression to a group of total strangers sounds daunting, but Kamvelihle Kalani, 23, believes group therapy goes a long way in helping others heal from trauma caused by loss and abuse, among other painful experiences.

Kalani launched the ‘Kalani and Friends’ initiative on September 17, which follows a group-based model of counselling.

The first workshop, held in Southernwood, was attended by 20 participants, with professional counselling provided through Masithethe Counselling Services.

Kalani said: “Pain is something we go through as people. So I had different speakers who experienced pain in different ways, and I was intentional about that because I wanted the attendees to realise that each and everything that causes you heartache is as valid.

“We should not invalidate our feelings and say ‘My problem is bigger than yours.” He added: “I thought the mental health talks would be a once-off event, but those who attended pleaded with me to have the sessions more regularly, as the day was really impactful to them.”

Some of the speakers included Aphiwe Dyantyi, Anelisa Gusha, Sandla Gqosha and Asanda Xaso, who each shared a personal testimony.

Their stories provided insight into the many different ways grief and pain manifest in our lives, including the different coping mechanisms people employ to deal with difficult feelings.

The speakers encouraged attendees to be proactive when dealing with their emotions as a means to work effectively through them.

A Masithethe counsellor recommended that people seek counselling as part of the healing process.

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