Our volunteer counsellors are an essential and valued part of our service offering. They counsel clients directly, allowing us to serve more people and giving volunteers experience in specialised sexual violence and trauma counselling.
Because we work with clients who have experienced sexual violence and trauma and often have complex trauma issues, it’s important that we make sure our counsellors are well-equipped to deal with this and are also well-versed in safeguarding.
Many qualifying counselling courses have little information and specialised training around sexual violence and trauma. In order to ensure high quality counselling for clients and a safe volunteer experience for volunteers, we developed a training program and require all volunteer counsellors to complete it. The course covers the following topics:
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Adult Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Violence / Suitability for Counselling
- Working More Safely with Trauma
- Domestic Abuse / Safeguarding
- Sexual Slang / Self Harm and Suicide
- The law / criminal justice process / Pre- trial Therapy/ Notes/ Anonymous Intelligence / SARCS
- Memories / False Memories
- Boundaries and Care of the Client / Dealing with aggression
- Shame / Guilt / Perpetrator Behaviour / Vicarious Trauma
The 10-day course is accredited through Agored Cymru and provides trainees with four Level 3 credits. A portion of the course sits within Group 4 of the Welsh Government National Training Framework on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
After successful completion of the course, we continue to support volunteer counsellors through ongoing training on a variety of subjects, funded supervision, full insurance cover, and access to senior qualified counsellors. Many continue on for many years with the organisation as volunteers and staff, and many go on to other types of counselling work.
“I have found the standard of the training excellent, the trainers give us the opportunity to discuss and find out more about some really difficult topics. Despite having just qualified as a counsellor this training has already made me feel better equipped to consider working with trauma, which I can now see I wasn’t. The education is delivered so well and at no time did I feel unsupported as my awareness of this topic grew. Being taught by counsellors with real life experience of working with this client group was extremely valuable. The training has left me feeling optimistic that I have something to offer the clients of New Pathways.” -Volunteer Counsellor, May 2021
The volunteer training course began over twenty years ago and we have trained over 500 people. The course has evolved over the years based on our experiences and in line with changes in public policy and the VAWDASV Act. It has won awards, such as 2014 – UHOVI learners of the year award. Our volunteer program has also been awarded Investing in Volunteers (IiV) standard, which is the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer counsellor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.