Certificated Counsellors in the country have set themselves up in readiness to offer a therapeutic helping hand to individuals who found themselves in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQIA+) activities and are willing to stop the act.
This follows a day’s orientation training organized by the TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology (TICT) for the Counsellors held in Accra on the theme: “Working therapeutically with LGBTQIA+ clients: What counselors need to do”.
Speaking during the capacity training event for over 150 Counsellors across the country with varied backgrounds including social and child workers, pastors, teachers, lecturers, and parents on how they could support the young people especially to turn their back against the practice, the Founder and Principal of TICT, Dr. Cecelia Tutu- Danquah charged participants to focus on restoration of their clients at all times.
According to her, there are people involved in the unacceptable act who are desirous of coming out. Those who had already come out of the LGBTQIA+ practice, those contemplating entering or not but has nobody to talk to hence the need for Counsellors to prepare themselves in readiness to help such clients.
She indicated that counseling experience over the years had also shown that many individuals engaged in the practice were not happy and felt pressured yet had no one to talk to and therefore resort to other deviant activities.
“So some resorted to suicidal attempts and other deviant behaviour like drinking and these are what pushed us to know that indeed there are people who desired to come out but they do not know who to talk to’’ Dr. Tutu-Danquah noted..
The Principal said her outfit dot not support the distasteful act but has a responsibility to help those involved abandon it and expressed optimism that the training would equip counselors with the requisite knowledge and skills to support such individuals for the benefit of humanity.
“As an institution, we are not here to promote LGBTQUIA+, neither are we here to accept the LGBTQUIA+ movement but clients who really need help. These are the people we have come to prepare ourselves to help them,” she stated.
Dr Tutu-Danquah, who is also the President of the Ghana National Association of Certificated Counsellors (GNACC) noted some individuals join the LGTBQIA+ through peer pressure, irresponsible parenting, poverty, nature, nurture or and some through victims of circumstances as well as curiosity to explore one’s sexuality.
The University of Ghana Information Technology (IT) and Counselling Lecturer encouraged the Counselors to respect the dignity of their clients and welcome them at all times irrespective of their own personal orientation on the practice.
The Counsellors were also cautioned not to reluctantly take up the responsibility to counsel such individuals if their own personal, cultural, family and religious beliefs and values do not allow them to do so but should rather refer such clients to those who were prepared to help.
“We must respect the dignity and worth of a client; what it means is that when a client comes to you irrespective of what the person has done, do not look at the bad thing he has done and be judgmental. We must respect and explore the issue to restore the client.,” she said.
A Counseling Psychologist at the University of Natural Resources, Rev. Dr Isaac Ishmael Arthur on his part challenged counselors in the country to present themselves as a fatherly figure to help clients out of their predicaments.
He advised against the condemnation of those who were in the practice and desired to come out of it, adding that the church must not use its pulpit to condemn them “because it scares them away from coming out for help.”
TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology (TICT) is an educational institution that is targeted at training well-informed and passionate professional counselors for continuous transformation at all levels of society.