Helping people cope with despair

By Sakhile Ndlazi Time of article published Feb 11, 2015

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Pretoria – With so much trouble in the world, ranging from social pressures, crime, suicides and an escalating divorce rate, it’s no wonder that people feel frustrated and in constant despair about life.

The problem is not the actual problems themselves, as conflict and crisis will always be part of human nature. The real problem lies with what we do about the prevailing problems and how we manage these problems. Often people feel discouraged and in utter desolation because they feel their problems can never be solved.

In most cases the best remedy is for those in trouble is to have someone to lend them an ear and listen to their problems.

LifeLine Pretoria has been providing a confidential counselling service to all members of the community who are in need or in crisis, for the last 40 years. “Our aim is to help people find solutions to their problems, because who else can solve your problems but yourself. We are here to listen to people’s stories and help them help themselves,” said Flick Mullan, a volunteer at the centre for decades.

Mullan also spoke about how trained counsellors, skilled in the art of listening, provided quality service. “They are committed to giving emotional support either telephonically or through face-to-face interviews,” explained Mullan.

Mullan said people could get help for any crisis or problem they are facing.

LifeLine was started in Sydney, Australia, in 1963 by Reverend Dr Alan Walker, in response to a desperate need in the community for a confidential crisis telephone counselling service. LifeLine has since extended that service by providing face-to-face counselling and unique training courses in communities and the corporate environment.

Internationally, there are 264 LifeLine centres in the world. It has been operational in Southern Africa since 1968, with more than 22 centres. Although members of LifeLine Southern Africa and LifeLine International, each centre in South Africa is autonomous in their response to local needs and fund-raising efforts.

Lifeline is a non-governmental, non-profit, community-based organisation. Lifeline Pretoria has been in operation since 1975.


It offers training and courses on how to counsel people. They currently have two courses on offer. Any person can register to do these courses. If they wish to become a LifeLine lay counsellor, both courses are compulsory.

The Personal Growth Course is designed to enhance self-awareness and acceptance of self and others.

“It focuses on conflict styles, emotional baggage and provides an opportunity for setting personal goals. This is a time where you can become aware of your uniqueness, value and potential,” said training co-ordinator, Agnes Semono.


They also run a Lay Counselling Course. “The focus during this course is on acquiring theoretical knowledge and practical skills for effective counselling, for example listening and empathy,” said Semono.

The counselling course is taught through experiential learning, with lots of interactive involvement for the participants. Certificates will be presented to trainees who have successfully completed both courses.

Registration for all the February/March/ May courses will be on January 30 and 31 from 9am to 11am at LifeLine Pretoria Centre.

* Contact Numbers: Crisis: (012) 804 3619; Rape Crisis: 082 340 2061

Pretoria News

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