Archive | October 2014

A different Reality

Things you usually don’t expect to happen: Having your air-condition explode three meters away from your head while you are asleep. (Saying that, I’m okay, it was more of an implosion, nothing happened to me.)

And here’s the story. After the internet connection broke down in my apartment on Saturday evening I decided to go to bed earlier than usual as I had to be up and about early the following day due to my counselling seminar in Johannesburg. It was at around 11 p.m. when I woke up with a start because of a loud noise inside my apartment. Slowly coming to my senses I noticed a strange smell. When I tried to switch on the light on my nightstand nothing happened. The whole place was without electricity. I grabbed my phone which was the only source of light, put on a jumper and went quickly outside into the corridor where I found a couple of my neighbors chatting, their faces illuminated by the screens of their laptops, tablets or mobile phones. Some reported light bulbs had exploded in their apartments. Others have had sparks coming out of the fuse or the TV. Apparently, the motor of my air-condition had exploded because of too high voltage and it took me around half an hour with windows wide open to get rid of the nasty smell and be able to go back to bed. Read More…


Thank you for Sharing

Before I walked into my first session of a nine weeks course in basic counselling I would not have thought that I was going to encounter a sentence that is probably the mantra of any self help group on the planet:
Thank you for sharing

But first things first. I have decided to participate in a counselling course in order to get a better understanding of the profession of counsellors, of how they are trained and which pedagogic frameworks they use. In other words: I want to ‘go native’. By this expression anthropologists refer to the phenomenon of immersing oneself in other people’s every day lives and as a consequence gradually losing one’s outside perspective. This process allows for developing a profound understanding of the topic in question. After having gained considerable insight into the everyday practices of domestic violence counselling in women shelters, I decided it was time to include a different perspective on the matter: How do you become a counsellor in the first place? And what is currently the state of the art in the profession of counselling?
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The Potential We See

After the last happy-go-lucky post about celebrating Heritage Day at the shelter, today I want to turn to a less cheerful subject. A question that I have often been asked since I have taken up my research on domestic violence and counselling is simple and yet most complicated to answer: Why do women stay with or go back to their abusive partners? Or more general: Why do people stick to relationships that are harmful to them?

I’m afraid, I won’t be able to give a straightforward answer to this question. But I can offer you a story that I am still processing. Read More…