Value-based counselling: Reflections on fourteen years of psychosocial support in Afghanistan

The psychosocial and mental health support system in Afghanistan has evolved significantly over the last decades. Inge Missmahl, founder and director of the International Psychosocial Organisation gGmbH traces the history of the sector over the last fourteen years and reflects on working towards the long-term integration of biopsychosocial mental health care in the Afghan Public Health System. Health system integration was accomplished through development and training delivery of a value-based counselling approach. The approach is based on six fundamental principles which consider the sociocultural origins and context of the individual’s symptomatology, emphasises personal empowerment over pathologisation and promotes a symmetrical relationship between counsellor and client. Over 300 Afghanis were trained in this approach and qualified as psychosocial counselors and counselled over 10,000 clients in total. The work to date highlights the importance of designing long-term, applied training programmes which include self experience and qualitative supervision in psychosocial support provision.

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