Counselling at Roshni

We have been offering counselling sessions at Roshni since October 2016. The sessions have been very successful. Staff working on various projects at Roshni, who were previously struggling to signpost clients to a culturally specific counselling service have since been able to make referrals into the counselling service. Clients have also been able to self refer into the service. Counselling clients have found it extremely helpful to have had counselling in their own language. We have been able to offer counselling to our clients in Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali. Counselling has filled a much needed gap in the Roshni empowerment project.

Counselling at Roshni is offered to clients in blocks of six sessions, starting with an assessment session which is done by our counselling coordinator and if it is needed the client is offered a second block of six sessions after the first block is completed. The assessment is carried out by our counselling coordinator to ascertain if the client is suitable for counselling before allocating clients to the volunteer counsellors and if the client is not suitable then they can be referred on to other projects within Roshni or signposted to other relevant organisations.

After working with clients who have experienced domestic abuse/violence and discussing the issue with other partner organisations offering counselling to DV survivors, we have come to the conclusion that DV clients need a minimum of ten sessions or more to empower them to move forward and to sustain that movement. Therefore we have now increased the number of sessions offered to clients who are survivors of DV.

At present we have two volunteer counsellors working with us besides our paid counsellor. All our counsellors are bilingual and have knowledge and understanding of the South Asian culture. Our counsellors can appreciate the particular challenges faced by South Asian women and are able to tailor counselling sessions to the specific needs of the client. Beside English we are now able to offer counselling sessions in Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali.

The feedback we have received from clients whose counselling has ended is very positive. Clients report that they are able to think clearly, feel more confident, feel empowered, feel supported and generally feel better able to cope with challenges in their lives. Clients report that counselling has also helped them reacquaint themselves with their own inner strengths and resources. Clients have fed back to us how working with a counsellor who has an insight into their culture has been particularly helpful; they reported that they felt understood and found it easier to engage in sessions.

Our counselling coordinator has a Diploma in Counselling Supervision and she is, therefore, able to provide in-house supervision to our volunteer counsellors. Provision of supervision makes it an attractive counselling placement opportunity for counsellors in training, needing client counselling hours to qualify.