An attitude of helplessness: basic counselling in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered armed conflict for over 20 years, with the eastern provinces being particularly impacted by destruction and structural violence. The consequences of this ongoing violence are visible on the streets and in the homes of the people, as well as specifically affecting the minds of the country's youth. This personal reflection highlights the work of a psychologist at a vocational training centre in Bukavu.

The story of a Somalian refugee woman in Ethiopia: how I became a peer counsellor

​Ibado Mahamoud Hilole, a Somalian woman, fled to Ethiopia after her son was killed in Mogadishu in 2010. Since then, she has lived in a refugee camp situated on the border where Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia meet. In this personal reflection, she describes how her life has been affected by the violence in her country, how she survived periods of despair, and yet was able to find the courage to become a peer counsellor for other refugees.

Training Psychological Counselling in Nepal: content review of a specialised training programme

This paper describes the training of psychosocial counsellors as conducted by the Centre for Victims of Torture, Nepal. Both the proceedings of the training and the content are described. For clarity purposes a division is made between that part of the training
in which skills are taught that can be used with more frequently encountered problems and that part of the training that deals with problems requiring a more specialised approach, such as HIV AIDS.

An Extra Language in Counselling and Training

During our work as counsellors for refugees and trainers of counsellors in areas of armed conflict, we have met with many language and communication problems. Interpreters can help in dealing with these problems, but in addition to that we learned to use little plastic dolls as an extra medium in working with people from different cultural backgrounds. In this article we describe the use of these dolls.

Not Talking About Traumatic Experiences: Harmful or Healing? Coping with war memories in southwest Uganda

Although there has been peace in most parts of Uganda since 1986, in Mbarara district in southwest Uganda nobody talks about their war experience; there is one big conspiracy of silence. According to the people who live there, it is not good to talk, it can be dangerous and can make you ill. This article deals with the question why these people keep silent about their horrifying war experiences. It appears that the community and the social and cultural institutions have been destroyed.

Integration of Psychosocial Counselling in Care Systems in Nepal

In Nepal, as is the case in many non-Western countries, psychosocial programmes have not been structurally integrated in the care giving spectrum. Integration of psychosocial programmes raises ideological issues and is complicated by practical difficulties.
This article describes the current situation of psychosocial counselling in Nepal and what is still lacking, such as supervision systems, promotion of counselling, and effective strategies for community implementation.

Counselling in Cambodia: cultural competence and contextual costs

The term ‘counselling’ is often used to describe psychosocial interventions. The concept appears to have different meanings to different people. In this contribution to this journal, we will describe an attempt to introduce a classical type of counselling, ‘individual talk-therapy’, in a psychosocial and mental health program in Cambodia. We use this example to explore two different aspects. First, we show how talk-therapy can be effective in a cross-cultural setting.

Power and ethics in psychosocial counselling: reflections on the experience of an international NGO providing services for Iraqi refugees in Jordan

This paper reflects on some of the moral dilemmas inherent in the provision of counselling for Iraqi refugees by highlighting the day-to-day experiences of psychosocial counsellors employed by an international nongovernmental organization (INGO) in Jordan. It is argued that the lack of clarity in role, short term recruitment policies, confused demands on INGOs and the complexity of the political situation of Iraqis in Jordan contribute to profound, and often insoluble, moral dilemmas for local staff charged with providing front line counselling services.