If you've ever wondered what it's like to call our service, have a read of this blog written by one of our duty counsellors...
The initial work with engagement and building rapport increases the level of trust. Tāngata whaiora have come to appreciate the abilities of the duty counsellor team and expect a high level of support, if for any reason their counsellor is not available. If whaiora call to change an appointment, we will take the opportunity to check on their wellbeing, ensuring there are no safety concerns and offer immediate support. Often whaiora report proudly on their progress to the duty counsellor, who was the first point of contact at the beginning of their recovery journey.
Phone counselling is reliant on non-facial/physical cues, and so it becomes necessary to listen differently. It is a skill to be able to imbibe a sense of warmth and concern, humour and empathy without the other visual cues. Being a duty counsellor has benefitted us and helped to improve our other counselling work as we listen to the subtle inflections in people’s voices. As duty counsellors we often work on our own, managing people’s anxiety and shame, and then translating that into helping them to stay motivated, to continue their progress and affirm their achievements. A human need is a desire to feel heard, to be met in that place: and we are good at that.
Kristine Aitchison is the communications coordinator at the PGF Group. For more information on our blog please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.