In order to address the harsh realities that exist within South Africa a well-trained, inspired workforce of supportive counsellors is needed to service those people who fall by the wayside of accessible mental health services and make a meaningful social impact. At SACAP we believe that our fieldwork programme is the first step towards empowering our student counsellors. We have partnered with more than 100 NGOs, with a specific focus on those that make a social impact in their community. Our students spend time working at these NGOs, gaining valuable work experience and we would like to acknowledge our amazing partner NGOs through a series of posts featuring their work.
First up is Hope House:
Established in 2004, Hope House offers a place where people of all races, religions and cultures can come for counselling and guidance. The brain child of Judy Strickland, a trained lay counsellor, Hope House today offers counselling, courses, workshops, support groups, training and outpatients rehab programmes. With the aim of ‘reaching out to the fallen, supporting the weak, guiding the confused and comforting the troubled’, Judy wanted to create a centre where professional counselling was freely available to anybody.
Jeannie Reeves, a SACAP Diploma Student, completed her fieldwork at Hope House Counselling Centre in Bergvliet this year: “I found the time at my fieldwork placement fulfilling, firstly because it came up to all my expectations and confirmed my desire to do counselling as a vocation. Secondly, I had the opportunity to counsel a wide variety of clients and was therefore able to identify the client profiles and presenting problems with which I feel equipped to work. Lastly, putting all the theory learned at college into practice was a thrilling experience, especially when there were positive results in a clients’ life through the counselling process”
Hope House: Then and Now
In March 2012 Hope House opened an Addiction Centre in Retreat, which is currently attended by more than 240 addicts and in 2014, a new Counselling Centre and Addiction Recovery Centre opened in Kuils River.
Hope House is especially proud of two of their key programmes: the Strengthening Families Programme and the Better Life Choice Programme:
The Strengthening Families Programme (SFP) was launched in 2013. A 9-week workshop offered to families from poorer communities, where they are given tools for improving the quality of family life. The programme is a powerful tool for family change in South Africa, because it involves not just the parents or the children alone, but the whole family. It is designed to reduce environmental risk factors and improve protective factors with the ultimate objective of increasing personal resilience to drug use in high-risk youth. Research has demonstrated that the program is equally effective in reducing risk precursors for mental disorders, aggression, juvenile delinquency, school failure, teenage pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS.
The Better Life Choices program is offered to youth and children, proving effective in teaching life skills and developing self-esteem. Childhood today presents challenges that contemporary adults never faced as children. For many children the recklessness and fun of youth had been replaced by a desperate search for a means of survival. The Better Life Choices for Youth programme is designed to give youth the hope and the tools to take control of their futures. Hope House believes that if our youth have the incentive and skills to plan their futures and the tools to withstand the peer pressure to take drugs, they will have a future with direction and hope. This programme teaches life skills, including Anger Management, Self Esteem, Stress Management, Conflict Resolution, Communication, and Goal Setting. Volunteer facilitators from Hope House go to both primary and high schools to lead groups of about ten learners in interactive workshops.
Today, with a staff of 65 people, Hope House is making a big difference in the community. Students from SACAP have been doing their field work at Hope House since 2010 and currently 7 SACAP students are working at the various Hope House facilities.
Hope House is entirely reliant on donations to run their operations. For further info on how to support them and to find out about volunteering opportunities, visit www.hopehouse.org.za