At AFCS, we counsel many people who are experiencing a variety of problems within their relationships either with their partners or with family members. These issues may be as a result of their cultural or religious backgrounds or those which could be faced by anyone in 21st Century Britain.
When we see couples, we do not have a prescribed formula as to what the result of counselling will be. Our intention is to work with our clients so they are able to take a step back from their situation and evaluate what their issues are and how those issues are affecting them as individuals, a couple and (when relevant) as parents.
We do not direct our clients as to whether they should remain in relationships or separate but rather support them whatever their choices.
We see individuals with a broad range of reasons for seeking counselling. Because our counsellors come from the same background as our clients we have a natural understanding which enables us to quickly identify issues and then help our clients to resolve their problems.
Our aim is always to counsel our clients so they are able to gain a better insight into the issues affecting them and to achieve the best possible outcome for themselves and those close to them.
In recent years, AFCS has experienced cases of Stranded Spouses. These are those foreign nationals who have been abandoned in their countries of origin, at times forcibly separated from their children, by their British-born spouses without the means of coming to the UK.
In these types of cases, in addition to our traditional counselling role, AFCS have had to give assistance in finding legal representation, securing housing and work, and in fighting immigration cases. Such cases can run over a long period of time and are both time consuming and expensive.
A middle-aged couple had been married for 33 years and had been through three bankruptcies because of the man’s bad financial management. The woman was at her wits end about how to prevent her husband from getting the family into a financial mess again and wanted to understand how his mind worked! She said that she wanted to know before things became really bad, but he thought that by not telling his wife about how bad things were financially, he would prevent her from getting hurt. Counselling provided them an opportunity to understand each other better and to see how they could both better manage their finances.
A middle-aged Asian woman was being bullied and harassed at work. Counselling helped her to take her case forward with support.
I am a 41 year old single parent. I have two teenage daughters and I am registered disabled since 2006 when I had a hip replacement operation which went wrong. Ever since that time I have had a feeling that my employers had been looking for a reason to get rid of me and they found their perfect excuse that because of the recession they were cutting back on jobs. I was made redundant in July 2009 and got very depressed. I went to my GP, who referred me to the Asian Family Counselling Service. I had counselling for 6 sessions and I found that very helpful in dealing with my depression as well as helped me to make decisions in my everyday life and take care of my daughters. I had been worried that I might have to take anti-depressants to deal with the depression and am glad that I went for counselling instead. I was then referred to Twining in September. This organisation helped me to polish up my CV and coached me for interviews and helped me to apply for jobs. I have been to a few interviews so far and am hopeful of landing a job soon. I am able to manage my children better and feel good about my future.
A young couple who had been married for 3 years but had not consummated their marriage. The woman had come from India and had no support of her own in this country. Her mother-in-law blamed her for not being supportive towards her son and was certain that the fault lay with her. Counselling provided the channel for the young man to admit to his wife that he was gay and AFCS helped the couple to separate in an amicable way.
A middle aged couple who had been married for 26 years and have 4 children are having problems in their marriage. The husband had embarked on an affair with a woman he had met over the internet and his wife found out. The wife is very angry with him about this and counselling is helping them resolve the issues in their marriage.
A couple whose young children were taken away by social services: he was an alcoholic and the children were deemed to be at risk. Social services had told the mother that they would give her the children as long as she separated from her husband. She, however, decided to reconcile with her husband who had taken treatment for his alcoholism. Social services were not convinced that the husband had changed and decided to have the children adopted. Counselling has helped the couple move on in their lives.
An 18 year old woman felt unsupported and unloved at home. She started behaving badly in order to attract attention to herself. Counselling helped her to complete her education as well as be in a stable relationship. She began to understand why she had been behaving in that way and, as a result, is much more content and in control.
A middle aged Asian man was referred by his company as they felt he had interpersonal issues at work. He had been off sick for two months and his GP felt that he had issues that he needed to address before he could be certified well enough to go back to work. AFCS counselled him successfully and he was able to return to work after eight sessions of counselling.
A young white British woman was in a relationship with a young Pakistani man. He misled her to believe that they would have a future together and would get married soon. He abruptly ended the relationship which led to a lot of distress and confusion on her part. Her GP decided that we would be the best agency to deal with her issue as it had a lot to do with the Asian culture. She has been understood and this is helping her to accept what happened to her and has helped her to view life in a different way.
A young Asian woman had been married for only 6 months and was suffering from domestic violence at the hands of her husband. She was referred by her GP and counselling helped her to look at the choices she had for the future.
A young Sikh woman was in love with a Muslim man: her parents were against her marrying him and had said that they would disown her if she went ahead. She was confused about what to do. Counselling helped her to make up her mind as to what option to take.
A young couple living within an extended family who, although they did not have many issues between themselves, found living in the extended family was causing tensions and impacting on their marriage. Counselling enabled them to decide how they were going to resolve the problem. In this case, we invited the other members of the family for family counselling and they were able to resolve their issues.
A mixed-raced couple where the woman was British Indian and the man English were experiencing problems due to trying to balance the demands of two cultures. Although after the marriage, the woman had maintained close contact with her parents, she found it difficult to meet their expectations with those of her husband who harboured resentment towards her parents because of their initial rejection of him. Counselling enabled them to voice their individual issues and to better understand the pressures the other was under.
A middle aged Asian woman who was depressed because she was not happy living in this country. This led to her withdrawing into herself and from all social contact. Counselling helped her to develop the confidence to get out of the house, learn to drive as well as get on to a computer course. She is much happier now.