Counselling Department Adapts New Approach In Providing Counselling Services Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 23, 2021 (SKNIS): During the September 22, 2021 edition of ‘Working for You’, Director of the Counselling Department in St. Kitts, Ms. Michele de la Coudray-Blake spoke to how the unit has had to adapt a new approach in dealing with cases given the circumstances surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She indicated that the department has implemented a new shift system and has incorporated more virtual meetings.

“One of the strengths of counselling is face to face interaction because counsellors read what is going on with the individual in a space. So, the individual is there, you are able to pick up on non-verbals and other things that are relevant to the issue. When COVID-19 came we missed a lot of processes that we needed to have with our clients. Nevertheless, we have had to adjust now we are able to come back into office with the non-pharmaceutical measures in place. One major adjustment we made is how we schedule our appointments. We have shifted from 50-minute hour sessions in the past to now quarter-hour for each counsellor. The main goal is to ensure that the office is free of people and we can sanitize between appointments,” said Director de la Coudray-Blake.

The Counselling Department has a successful programme dubbed Family Matters that has helped many families resolve conflicts. In an effort to reach persons that may be immunocompromised and to expand the reach of the Counselling Department, investment has been made to incorporate virtual counselling by the department.

“We have expanded our virtual space, so we do have the option for virtual counselling. Some people actually prefer virtual, while some are immunocompromised and do not feel comfortable going out in public in this present moment in time to mix with other people. For other persons, where they are it is just easier for them to log on and be a part of a session. So, these are the things we have been doing to try and ensure that we are as COVID-19 compliant as possible. Certainly, with family matters in this COVID-19 era we had to now meet families on virtual platforms and try to make the best out of the situation,” Director de la Coudray-Blake.

The Counselling Department is also involved in crisis management and response, crisis management as it relates to natural disasters, as well as trauma. More persons are urged to contact the Counselling Department to benefit from a wide range of services which are available. Strict confidentiality is guaranteed.

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