In the course of administering Legal aid to refugees, asylum seekers and other forced migrants, RCK also attends to the psychosocial problems that refugees, IDPs and other forced migrants may have. This is an important component of legal aid as it deals with the human needs of our clients before and/or after their legal concerns. Psychosocial counselling enables clients to mobilize their coping mechanisms to deal with traumatic experiences and stress related to their displacement situation. Our partnerships with other organisations facilitate addressing their socio-economic needs to enable them to become more self-reliant and thus less prone to abuse and exploitation.
Clients are referred for counseling from the legal aid clinic. During one on one counseling, clients are assisted to cope with traumatic experiences and explore possible alternatives for action. A number of sessions are held depending on the client’s ability to cope and move on.
Counseling is a process in which the counselor helps a person understand the causes for their problems and support them through the process of learning to make informed decisions in life. the process is confidential thus a safe place for clients to freely share and learn how to deal with difficulties and resolve them while objectively looking at behaviors, feelings and thoughts in situations that one finds problematic to also learn more effective ways of dealing with those situations.
Clients are identified during individual counseling sessions as possible group therapy members. Often, they are going through similar challenges and the group therapy sessions are intended for the clients to learn from each others’ experiences including their coping mechanisms and to create a support system that extends outside of RCK.
Group counseling involves a small group of people (minimum of six) who meet together on weekly basis along with a counsellor and a social worker, to talk about their struggles and problems. These groups can take a variety of forms. Some focus on a specific topic or problem, while others address a number of different concerns. Shared confidentiality is core in a group and as a result a person will experience a sense of acceptance and belonging, get to know that they are not alone in the difficulties experienced through sharing with others, learn new ideas that will enhance their ability to make decisions and solve problems, get to benefit from the experience of being helpful to others while learning ways to express their feelings and ideas, group members are also encouraged to share and celebrate the successes of others in the group.
RCK conducts home visits with the intention of profiling vulnerable cases for further interventions and for referrals to other partners.
Community Based Counsellors (CBCs)
RCK has trained a pool of refuges as community based counsellors and equipped them with basic counselling skills to extend to their respective communities. They identify vulnerable SGBV cases, provide lay counselling and refer to RCK and other agencies, cases that require further interventions. In particular, they refer cases to the legal aid clinic in Nairobi especially SGBV cases for intensive counselling.