Counselling – journeying with women through the past, present and towards the future.
I have the total privilege of co-leading Orchards alongside my work as a counsellor for survivors of sexual violence. I first decided to train as a therapist whilst I was involved in street outreach with women in prostitution in East London. I saw first-hand the lack of appropriate services, difficulties for women to engage with support, yet the impact of their often deeply traumatic experiences on their mental health and wellbeing was so evident.
Why do we offer counselling?
At Orchards it is so important that we seek to understand the individuality and value the uniqueness of each woman we work with. We aren’t just a ‘housing project’. We want to see women flourishing in all areas of their lives; their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
This is why offering counselling is a core part of what we do.
How does it work?
Counselling offers a unique safe and confidential space that is free from judgement. Vital to the work is the relationship built between the counsellor and each individual. From the safety of a trusting, working relationship, the woman can begin to explore the impact of her experiences and process what she has been through. Counselling offered at Orchards is trauma-informed, meaning that we see each individual as a ‘whole person’, not just their symptoms. We recognise the impact of trauma on both physical and mental wellbeing and work in a way that prioritises her safety. We help her to find new ways of coping in the here-and-now and journey with her as she prepares for the future. We also support her to connect with her own inner resources; the attributes and skills she already has within her that have helped her to survive and get through difficult and traumatic experiences.
Counselling is not a quick fix. We are unable to wave a magic wand and wipe away their experiences. But we do believe that in giving someone a space to share, explore, process, question or connect with what they have been through, they are given a voice. Counselling can be an important place for survivors to be acknowledged, seen, heard. It is a place that they can come to, just as they are. A place that both acknowledges deep pain and celebrates incredible beauty and resilience.