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Counselling Women facing Violence


 Guidelines for Counsellors

CEHAT, Pgs.48, 2008
Sangeeta Rege

The aim of the guidelines is therefore to equip professionals, who have a good understanding of the issue of violence against women, with counselling skills .Our experience is primarily in the area of domestic violence. However, since we were working in a public hospital, we came across women and children traumatised as a result of rape, burns and child sexual abuse. We thus realised that counsellors should be able to provide basic support to all such women as well. Moreover, the guidelines are rooted in the feminist perspective that - counselling would enable women to understand that the cause of violence lies external to the woman and the roots of violence are based in patriarchy.

Counselling Values
Values form an important point of reference for counselling in general and feminist counselling specifically. This is so because the nature of feminist counselling constantly calls upon the counsellor to re-examine her own values, personal and professional, vis-a-vis each counselee. Furthermore, when women talk about their experience of oppression and violence during counselling, they inadvertently disclose their own set of values.

Principles of Feminist Counselling
Some basic principles of Feminist Counselling,  including; personal is political, distress not disease, consciousness raising, valuing ambiguity, violence is non-negotiable -   have been further explained in this section.

Techniques of Feminist Counselling
Counselling a woman living with violence is a complicated task, therefore it is important for the counsellor to decide upon the goals for counselling. These goals are based on the expectations of the woman undergoing counselling. Some techniques that can help the counsellor address the issue of violence, methods of increasing women's awareness about reasons for violence, ways of dealing with violence and methods of negotiating her space in her relationship are have been further explained in this section.

Components of Counselling
Some basic components of Counselling,  including; Rapport building, Safety assessment and plan, Suicides, Shelter, Negotiation for non violence, Referrals and reporting etc.-   have been further explained in this section.

Counsellor's Role in certain situations
Certain situations such as; in the case of Rape, Burns and Mental illness, the role of the Counsellor changes this has been further explained in this section.

Challenges to counselling
Certain challenges to counselling have been explained further in this section.

Norms for running a counselling centre
A counselling centre in a hospital has to function like a department of the hospital. So similar to the way in which duties in a hospital change, counsellors also function in shift duties. Within this section certain norms to ensure smooth functioning of such a counselling centre have been detailed.

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