The impact of your contribution:
An Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) will help us continue to deliver support to those reaching out.
You would be helping us keep our counselling lines operational; to still provide our service to 2500 people each month and this number is growing daily. We counsel via calls, texts, online and face-to-face sessions; so we need to have electricity to keep all these modes of connection running full-time.
Who are Lifeline Western Cape:
LifeLine Western Cape is the most established crisis counselling organisation in South Africa. Introduced from Australia in 1968 by Rev Peter Storey, LifeLine is part of an international organisation with sixteen branches throughout Southern Africa. The first crisis call came in November of that year and the numbers multiplied rapidly as LifeLine became a household name, synonymous with care and support. At its peak, LifeLine was fielding some 3,000 calls per month, offering a 24 hour a day, 365 days of the year service.
From this start, LifeLine has developed over five decades to become a developmental organisation active across all communities of the Western Cape. There are more than a hundred well trained counsellors who maintain our 7 day a week service. Within LifeLine, the ethos and culture is one of caring and acceptance and it is probably one of the finest examples of how a multi-ethnic, multiracial and multi-cultural organisation can and does function harmoniously. This ethos is inculcated from the moment a person crosses our threshold with the aim of becoming a counsellor.
The emotional, psychological and spiritual stresses that beset our communities has grown exponentially over the past few years. Few, if any, members of these communities are able to access appropriated help. Social ills abound, families are dysfunctional, individuals maladjusted, unemployment rife, and for many, LifeLine becomes literally just that; a thread of hope in a sea of despair.
What Lifeline Western Cape do:
LifeLine Western Cape not only provides emotional support to people suffering stress and trauma, people who have no access to counselling or psychological support, but it does so at no cost to the client.
The purpose of the project is to provide a community based support service, telephonically, electronically, and in person to those who would otherwise not have access to this resource. The past two years have undoubtedly increased the threat to the mental health of the community. The purpose, in addition, is to empower those who call, by means of person-centred, non-directive, non-judgemental counselling.
Training and Counselling:
LifeLine counsellors are well trained and carefully selected according to strict criteria. Initial training is provided over a ten week Personal Growth course. This is a pre-requisite for admission
to the Counselling Skills course. We believe that no-one is able to counsel another without a clear understanding of themselves and their own issues. This is also a stand-alone course which provides the opportunity to acquire self-knowledge in a contained and supportive environment. Thousands of people have completed this course over the fifty four years of our existence and it is widely regarded as being a transformational experience. It serves to improve relationships as well as enhance communication and self-image.
LifeLine counselling is based on the philosophy and approach of Carl Rogers, an American psychologist. Rogers believed that each person has the ability to find their own solutions. The task of the counsellor is to assist in empowering the client to find these solutions. The process, as already mentioned, is person-centred, with an attitude of unconditional positive regard and through non-directive, non-judgemental counselling. What sets LifeLine apart from the ‘niche’ counselling organisations is this approach which permits our counsellors to provide containment and support regardless of the problem.
Our counsellors are drawn from a broad range of individuals, professional and otherwise. Universities in the Western Cape recommend that their psychology honours and master’s students attend the LifeLine programmes. A recent comment from one such student was, “I learned more about counselling in nine weeks on the LifeLine course than I did in three years at university.” Those who do not go forward for selection, take their newly-acquired skills and create a ripple effect
in their own environment. We believe that the way in which we function in everyday life is to a large extent, dependent on the quality of our relationships, be they family, social, business or community. The transformation we witness in our trainees, as well as their feedback bears testimony to this.
While life has changed over the fifty four years of our existence, people and their problems have not. Some of our counsellors have been with LifeLine for forty years and longer, and there is a constant annual intake of new counsellors.
In a country as unequal and divided as South Africa, our members are drawn from every race group, colour, ethnic origin, culture and religion and each one has a strong sense of belonging to the LifeLine family.