Community Lay Counselling Programme

FAMSA also provides lay counselling in the areas of Elsies River, Mitchell’ Plain, Factreton, Dunoon and Joe Slovo Park.  This is a free service which is easily accessible to those in need of counselling and support.  

In our South African society, many of us cannot avoid being affected by unemployment, poverty, violence, rape, gangsterism, substance abuse, to name only a few, whether in the home or our surrounding community.  These factors so often put further stress on our lives, relationships and families.

FAMSA believes that “healthy families/relationships inspire healthy communities”. 

About FAMSA’s Community Lay Counsellors (CLCs)

Community lay counsellors are trained in basic counselling skills and given support and guidance through monthly supervision and regular training.  Our counsellors are community members with a passion to help others.

Our community lay counsellors do basic relationship counselling and are trained to identify, contain and refer individuals, couples and families with relationship problems.  Our lay team also have basic training in Bereavement Counselling, Child Abuse related Counselling, Drug related Counselling, McMasters Family Counselling, Peri-Natal Mental Health Counselling and Parenting Skills.  

Lay counselling takes place at our satellite offices as well as various venues in the communities, such as schools, churches, resource centres, municipal facilities and other venues.

Our lay counsellors

For many years, this programme operated on a volunteer basis.  However, volunteers are from a disadvantaged background themselves and this resulted in a high turnover of counsellors as most needed to find paid employment.  Therefore, when funding could be sourced, stipends were implemented. 

As family life and positive relationships form the foundation of a healthy and buoyant society, it is clear that relationship counselling skills are vitally needed in all communities.  Relationship counselling includes marital counselling, counselling for individuals in relationships, same-sex couple counselling, families, adolescents, divorcing couples or individuals involved in divorce as well as HIV/AIDS patients and their partners and children.  Counsellors engage their clients who present with issues such as communication break-down, domestic violence, divorce, step-families, parenting problems, substance abuse and HIV and AIDS  Through active participation from the counsellor as well as the client in a safe and confidential environment of mutual acceptance, counselling is carried out in a series of one-hour sessions.  The counselling experience facilitates relationship healing and empowers clients to move forward in a positive way.

Lay counsellors see clients for a maximum of three sessions after which they refer on to appropriate professionals if there is still a need. 

Community lay counsellors are trained to offer psycho-educational workshops in Parenting Skills and relationship/marriage preparation and enrichment, as well as Male/Female Identity and Coping Skills for Teenagers who are Parents

This project has the following Human Resource components:           

  • 1 Manager
  • 5 Coordinators
  • 30 Community Lay Counsellors who give their services as volunteers

People from the Mitchell’s Plain, Dunoon, Factreton and Elsies River communities work as Lay Counsellors. 

Psycho-Educational groups: The Community Lay Counsellors run various Psycho-Educational groups:

For parents on Parenting Skills and Building Healthy Families:

The purposes of these workshops are:

  • For parents and other community members to share and learn from each other.  
  • For parents and other community members to strengthen their parenting skills.

The topics discussed are:

  • Understanding Children’s Behaviour
    • Stages of Child Development
    • Temperament
    • The impact of birth order on the behaviour of children
  • Basic Human Needs
    • Listening to Children’s Feelings
    • Our feelings affect our behaviour
    • Listening skills
    • Building Children’s Self-Esteem
  • Communication
    • Assertiveness
    • You-Messages
    • I – Messages
  • Effective Discipline 
    • Internal vs. External Control
    • Build a good relationship with your child
    • Parental attitude to discipline problems
  • Building a Family
    • Family Meetings
    • The problem-solving model

 

For Teenage Parents on Parenting Skills and General Coping Skills and Life Skills:

The purposes of these workshops are:

  • For teenage parents to share and learn from each other.  
  • For teenage parents to strengthen their parenting skills.
  • For teenage parents to strengthen their general life and coping skills.

The topics discussed are:

  • Understanding Children’s Behaviour
  • Basic Human Needs
  • Communication
  • Effective Discipline 
  • Building a Family
  • Good Coping
  • Mindfulness
  • Ways of Thinking
  • Self-talk
  • Relaxation
  • Imagery
  • Goal Setting
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Social Support
  • A Healthy Lifestyle

For Couples Who Plan To Get Married:

MARRIAGE PREPARATION WORKSHOP

The Workshop Objectives:

  • To create awareness of different facets of a couple’s relationship
  • Through discussion and exercises, to help them acquire skills to enhance and manage their relationship.

Goals  & Exercises 

  • Identify Relationship Strength and Growth Areas
  • Learn Communication Skills
  • Learn Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Explore Family-of-Origin Issues
  • Develop Financial Plans and Budget
  • Develop Personal, Couple & Family Goals

Value to Couples

  • Increases awareness of Strength and Growth Areas
  • Stimulates couple discussion of important relationship issues

For Couples Who Are Married And Want To Enrich Their Marriages:

MARIAGE ENRICHMENT WORKSHOPS

The Workshop Objectives

  • To create awareness of different facets of a couple’s relationship
  • Through discussion and exercises, to help them acquire skills to enhance and manage their relationship.

Goals  & Exercises

  • Identify Relationship Strength and Growth Areas
  • Learn Communication Skills
  • Learn Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Develop Financial Plans and Budget
  • Develop Personal, Couple & Family Goals

Value to Couples

  • Increases awareness of Strength and Growth Areas
  • Stimulates couple discussion of important relationship issues
  • Teaches Communication and Conflict Resolution skills
  • Prevention tool so couples can deal with current and future issues 

Goals 

  • Identify Couple Strengths
  • Identify Growth Areas
  • Identify issues for discussion

Awareness Promotion:

Each Community Lay Counselling Office runs projects on making the community aware of support services for families. These projects include marches, tournaments, special days, wellness days, talks, workshops, etc.