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Counselling service receives grant

CHRISTMAS and the new year can be a difficult time for bereaved families, the loss feeling more acute as families come together at this time. Seeking help can seem daunting and sometimes difficult to access but in East Clare help is at hand with the launch of a new counselling service.
After extensive re-structuring, the counselling service run by East Clare Community Co-op will re-commence this month.
The service was initially set up for families in need in the area to provide bereavement and separation counselling but following a re-examination of the service, it has now been re-structured and includes a wider panel of counsellors, who specialise in children’s issues, mental health, sexual and addiction issues.
The Family Support Agency has provided East Clare Community Co-op with a grant for bereavement and separation counselling and donations from the public for books in the reception in the co-op will provide the funds for other forms of counselling.
The service is confidential and will take place in the purpose built, newly decorated and soundproofed counselling room to the rear of the co-op. As the building has its own access, confidentiality will be maintained and an initial meeting with a counsellor will be set up by Fionnuala Collins, who works in the reception area of the co-op and has a professional background in family support.
A self-referral form will be filled in and the service will be outlined. Thereafter, the counsellor will meet with the client without the need for further involvement from any other party.
According to Ms Collins, this should enable more people to avail of the service as she believes sometimes a fear of being seen looking for help can stop people from accessing support when it is needed.
Anyone wishing to avail of the service can leave a message on the co-op’s telephone at 061 921536 or can call into the reception to make a self-referral and an initial meeting will be arranged. The reception area will be open for this purpose from Tuesday to Friday from 10am until 2pm.
“The client will be at all times treated with respect. In the past, counselling was 100% grant aided and targeted at those suffering separation and bereavement but now that the co-op is also providing funds for an improved and expanded service and a minimum donation is requested. The co-op will subsidise up to six sessions and thereafter a re-referral will depend on waiting lists. As there are a number of people on the waiting list, it is anticipated that this service will be well used. If anyone is interested in supporting this valuable service they can call into the reception area of the co-op on Main Street in Scariff and donate their old books or give a donation for books,” Ms Collins added.
Aside from accessing counselling, families can find out about other family support services and courses running in the area. The co-op will refer on to other centres of excellence in the area such as Ciunas, which provides a range of supportive therapies for carers and those they care for and also to a local clinical family therapist, where mediation and a family psychotherapy service is available.
“Through the re-introduction of this service and through subsidising the costs of same and referring on where necessary, the message is that a circle of support can build up around families in acute and chronic need. Services are there to be used and through working together and supporting one another’s work, tiny steps are made to improve the quality of life for families who suffer,” Ms Collins concluded.

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