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For a long time, counselling has been looked at as a service given to abnormal people and many have avoided seeking help in this area out of fear of stigmatization. For others it’s just the simple fact that they do not really know what counselling is and the difference it can make in their lives, or even where to access the service. You and I go through various situational issues in life that a listening ear would provide loads of relief. It is said a problem shared is a problem half solved. Better still if the listening ear has a professional dimension to it. Counselling is for normal people and it is time to demystify it so that the Ummah may benefit from it.

“Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble-minded. Who know that they will have to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are returning.” (2:45-46).

According to Sofyan S. Willis (2011), counselling is a means used by the counsellor in the counselling relationship to help the counselee (the person being counselled) to develop their potential and be able to solve the problems they face with consideration of their environmental conditions, social values, culture.

One may ask, “Why should I approach a stranger with my very sensitive issues?”

Well, one reason is because a counsellor is an individual who has undergone extensive training and  acquired different skills in this field that equip him/her with the competence of understanding a client’s issue and helping them through like any other professional would in their field.

Another question would be, “Can I trust this person to maintain confidentiality over the issues that I present?”

Counselling as a profession instils in the counsellor a number of virtues. For example maintenance of confidentiality and having a non-judgmental attitude towards the client, to the extent that by the end of training, adhering to the counselling ethical standards is completely part of their practice. These ethical codes are built on the premise of doing no harm and preventing harm.

Confidentiality is one of the things that a client is assured of before any counselling session. A counsellor is not at liberty to share information obtained through a counselling process without specific written consent by the client or legal guardian except to prevent clear, imminent danger to the client or others or when required to do so by a court order.

Various trained counsellors in our midst provide this service in different places in Kenya. Jamia Family Resource Centre is one such place where one may access all kinds of counselling services ranging from pre-marital, teen, marriage and drugs counselling.

 
photo credit: highersights via photopin cc

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