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About Us


In 2010 Sophiatown Community Psychological Services celebrated a quarter of a century of service to the community. What started out as a small parish based counselling organisation called the Reginald Ormond Counselling Services (ROCS) has transformed into a vibrant, engaged and effective organisation that serves the poor and marginalised communities in greater Johannesburg and surrounds. 

Our organization was founded in 1985 in Sophiatown during a period of political repression coupled with high levels of distress in communities where traditional, costly psychological services were largely inaccessible. Then and today, Sophiatown CPS provides comprehensive mental health-care programmes to vulnerable children, adults and families. The initial focus on trauma has expanded to include the mental-health challenges of poverty, violence, forced migration, HIV/AIDS, and the scarcity of skilled counsellors. We move beyond the dominant private practice model towards cost-effective psychotherapeutic approaches that are appropriate to the cultural, social, and economic backgrounds of beneficiaries. Community members are identified and trained to become community counsellors/volunteers tasked with service delivery.  We strengthen other organisations' capacity by training their care-workers in basic psychosocial interventions and are currently involved in groundbreaking refugee work which targets and advocates for unaccompanied minors. In the past year our team reached over 1000 direct beneficiaries, mostly through ongoing interventions.

 

What we do

Sophiatown Community Psychological Services has four main programmes :

  • The Counselling Programme which offers a walk-in and after hours counselling service to individuals, couples and families, including children and adolescentsthose who would not otherwise be able to afford traditional and costly counselling with a psychologist.
  • The Community Healing Programme which uses group-based interventions and a range of creative methodologies to facilitate healing. Innovative group therapy programs and community healing projects for a range of target groups including abused women, families and children living with HIV/AIDS, and refugee children, adolescents and families. Group-based interventions include holiday programs for bereaved or traumatized children and adolescents, bereavement retreats for adults, support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS, healing services for families affected by the pandemic, groups for abused women, and a range of “lekgotlas” aimed at getting people to talk to each other about common problems and experiences. Such interventions are more appropriate in cultural contexts where the survival and well-being of the individual is associated with his/her membership of a supportive collective.
  • Siyabanakekela – strengthening the wounded carer seeks to support those who are in care giving roles in the community and in organisations through training, mentoring and “caring for carers". It is made up of a number of different components: Healing through training, Caring for Carers and the Parent to Parent programme.
    • The Advocacy Programme which works with other agencies to advocate for social change in order to reduce the emotional suffering caused by unjust social conditions

     

    Where we are

    The establishment of the Bertrams counselling centre in response to the desperate and ongoing need we encountered there during our response to the xenophobic violence of 2008 means that the organization now has two focal points, which we have come to refer to as Sophiatown West and Sophiatown East.

    “Sophiatown West” in Westdene is the administrative base of the service. It is also the home of the Healing through Training Programme. The main focus of interventions is generic counselling, as well as group-based programmes related to HIV/AIDS, Bereavement and Care-giving. Services are rendered from the centre in Westdene,  from various points in Soweto and Riverlea, and from St John’s Catholic church in Northriding.

    Address: 4 Lancaster Rd, Westdene

    “Sophiatown East” in Bertrams has become the centre for all psycho-social support and therapeutic activities related to migration and forced displacement. It is the base of the Children and Families on the Move Programme and focuses primarily on counselling and group-based programmes for refugee and migrant families. Services are offered from the centre in Bertrams, and from Observatory Primary School for Girls. 

    Address: 20 Derby Rd, Bertrams

     

    How we help 

    Counselling is about listening to people in a way that validates their experiences and feelings, about helping them to re-discover their inner resources, and about building support systems which can carry them through difficult times. It is about helping people find words for the unspeakable, and about restoring courage and hope together. The healing process can take on many forms and these include:

    • Individual counselling
    • Family therapy
    • Group support sessions
    • Music, art or drama therapy
    • Story-telling workshops
    • Play therapy
    • Therapeutic holiday programmes and camps for children and adolescents
    • Retreats for adults
    • Community functions such as healing services

    Contact details

    Address: 4 Lancaster St, Westdene, 2092

    Tel: +27 11 4828530

    Fax: +27 11 4828530

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