SAJIDA believes in supporting mental wellness needs of all individuals alongside catering to their physical health. To this end, the Foundation has established a psychosocial support centre named Inner Circle located in Banani which provides counseling and therapeutic services to promote overall wellness of the body and mind.
Despite an ever growing need for psychosocial counseling and support, such amenities are very limited in Bangladesh. People at all societal strata are subject to varying psychological pressures originating from a variety of sources including their family, the company they find themselves in, workplace stresses, educational demands, peer groups, home and personal life etc. SAJIDA views psychosocial counseling as an effective tool to enhance wellbeing, coping strategies, self-awareness, personal growth and healthy lifestyle options.
The Inner Circle offers a range of services including psychosocial counseling, training and workshops on various psychosocial issues through qualified and experienced counselors and trainers, various creative and progressive therapeutic activities as well as support groups to address mental wellness needs of all individuals. All client interactions and treatment details at the Inner Circle are kept strictly confidential.
The Inner Circle offers a variety of counseling services designed to meet the unique needs of each client that include:
Individual Counseling: Individual counseling services are available for adults of all ages who are experiencing emotional distress and/or have particular issues in their life that they would like to address. Common issues include work or school based stress, lack of self-esteem, family and relationship conflict, substance use/abuse, and feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
Couples Counseling: Couples counseling is helpful for addressing problems with communication, intimacy, personality differences, and other issues faced in marriage or romantic relationships. Sessions may be conducted either individually or jointly, depending on the counselor’s assessment of client needs.
Family Counseling: Family counseling can help address stressors and conflict in the family and has the potential to increase family cohesion, communication, and harmony. Common issues addressed through family counseling include parenting issues, child and adolescent developmental transitions, bereavement/grief, and family conflicts.
Group Counseling: Group counseling is conducted by an experienced facilitator for a group of individuals facing a common issue or difficulty. It provides members with the opportunity to offer and receive support from a group of their peers as well as gain insight and coping skills for addressing life’s difficulties. Common issues addressed in the group setting include anxiety/depression, anger management, addictions, parenting, and adolescence. Please note that groups run based on the common needs of clients and that not all groups may be available at all times.
Inner Circle has introduced art therapy at the center which is a mental health profession facilitated by an art therapist. This form of therapy enables the expression of thoughts and feelings through non-verbal communication in a safe and controlled environment. It is particularly important for reconciling emotional conflicts, fostering self awareness, managing behavior and additions, developing social skills and improving reality orientation (American Art Therapy Association). Research has shown that participants suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) showed a significant reduction in acute stress symptoms after an art therapy intervention (Chapman et al, 2011).
MINDFULNESS BASED COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) offered at the Inner Circle is a combination of mindfulness techniques such as meditation, stretching and breathing with components of cognitive behaviour therapy, in order to cope with recurring negative thoughts, which is a common feature in most mental health problems. The National Institute has recommended MBCT for Health and Care Excellence as an effective treatment for people with recurrent depression. Research has shown that MBCT reduces of recurrent depression by 43% (Mark et al, 2014).
PSYCHO-AROMATHERAPY & PROGRESSIVE MUSCULAR RELAXATION
Psycho-Aromatherapy is the process of altering moods and emotions through the inhalation of natural essential oils, to bring out an enhanced sense of well being. Clinical Research has shown that this kind of therapy significantly decreased blood pressure. Subjects reported being calmer and more relaxed than the control group. Lemon possesses anti-anxiety, antidepressant-like effects as does clary sage when used aromatically; chamomile improved focus and decreased hyperactivity in teenagers diagnosed with ADHD; Melissa reduces stress without slowing activity level; orange reduced patient anxiety and increased positivity in dental offices & peppermint improved cognitive performance and mood (Ali et al, 2015).
University-based Counseling Services
Currently, the Centre is offering counseling services to the students and faculty of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) as well as Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) under an agreement. In addition to providing counseling services, counselors also conduct orientation workshops to raise awareness about psychosocial counseling and mental health on university campuses.
The Centre is also involved in psychosocial awareness-raising in primary and secondary schools for students, parents, and teachers. It conducts psychosocial educational workshops at local schools on topics such as What is psychosocial counseling?, Positive Parenting, Classroom Management, and Adolescent Development in order to spread awareness about counseling services and psychosocial issues in school communities.
Seminars, Workshops, and Professional Trainings
The Psychosocial Counseling Centre regularly conducts psychosocial seminars and trainings for different organizations, institutions, and corporations. In the past the Centre has conducted seminars for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Concern Worldwide, and HEED International School. The Centre also organizes training courses on psychosocial topics for different organizations and educational institutions, including BRAC, Nari Maitree, Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University and BRAC University. Recently the Centre has begun providing psychosocial support and trainings in the corporate sector for companies such as APEX Footwear Ltd.
Additionally, the Centre facilitates various professional trainings for psychologists and mental health professionals at the Centre. The most recent trainings were on Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Advanced Psychosocial Counseling: A Way to Professional Growth.
Please contact us if your organization or company is interested in receiving psychosocial trainings, workshops, or support services.
Post-disaster Counseling Support
In 2013, after the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, the Centre provided counseling support services to survivors and their families. Services were provided both during and after the rescue operations. Support was also extended to include two rescue workers who received intensive counseling at the Centre.
The Psychosocial Counseling and Awareness Program is actively involved in providing psychosocial support to various SAJIDA Foundation programs through workshops, trainings, orientation sessions, and direct counseling services.
Proshanti (Community Wellness Program)
The greatest vacuum in the availability of psychosocial support services lies within poor and marginalized populations. These populations struggle to meet even the most basic healthcare needs, inevitably shelving psychological needs in the list of health issues. Moreover, a lack of education and awareness means that psychological needs go unaddressed until the condition is severe. Even if issues are recognized, the stigma attached to psychological problems combined with limited access to services means that underprivileged populations have almost no access to psychosocial counseling support.
To address this gap, the Psychosocial Counseling Centre (PCC) designed an outreach program targeting SAJIDA Foundation’s microfinance members (beneficiaries), who belong to poor, vulnerable, and marginalized communities starting in 2012. Currently, as part of Proshanti (Community Wellness Program), The Centre trains SAJIDA Foundation’s community health works, known as SAJIDA Bondhus, on relevant psychosocial issues. SAJIDA Bondhus then provide psychosocial education and support to microfinance members in the form of courtyard meetings, informational brochure distributions, and home visits. SAJIDA Bondhus address important topics such as parent-child relationships, family violence and quarrel, family peace, and stress management, in order to raise awareness on psychosocial issues among microfinance members and their families. The program will soon reach 150 microfinance branches in various districts of Bangladesh.
Adhunika Women’s Centre, IMPACT, and Amrao Manush
PCC conducts psychosocial orientation sessions at the Adhunika Women’s Centre (a U.S. NGO funded Centre for the empowerment and education of young women) for each batch of participants. Session content is catered to address psychosocial issues faced by young women and includes topics such as an orientation to psychosocial counseling, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, relaxation, and self care.
As part of SAJIDA Foundation’s IMPACT Project, PCC conducts psychosocial educational sessions about child abuse and stress management with school-going and working children approximately 5 times per year.
PCC facilitates psychosocial trainings with staff from SAJIDA Foundation’s microfinance program (branch managers and field officers) on stress management and anger management in every coordination meeting.
The Centre also helps support the psychosocial needs of pavement dwellers under SAJIDA Foundation’s Amrao Manush project through needs assessments, trainings, and individual as well as group counseling sessions with program participants of various ages.
Supportive, Expressive Group Therapy
Support Groups have proven to be a highly effective mechanism for staying well. Joining a support group that best fits your needs can provide you the space to express your experiences, hopes, struggles etc. with your inner circle of strength and support.
Sign up for our monthly Support Group Meetings at the Inner Circle Centre to cope with depression, anxiety and/or relationship problems. Our Support Group Meetings take place every Saturday at the Inner Circle Centre at House 92, Flat B1, Road 23, Block A, Banani.
To join, simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All support groups are FREE of cost and all information is deemed confidential.
Psychosocial Counseling Centre
House-92 (Flat-B), Road-23, Block-A, Banani, Dhaka-1213
Phone: +8802-55035433, EXT: 102, 105, 106