Why Us

Experience has shown that South Asian people are often uncomfortable using mainstream counselling services. The reasons for this discomfort include:

  • Language Barriers: Several of our clients have never had the opportunity to learn English despite having lived in the UK for many years. Even among those who are conversational in English, we find that many are far more comfortable talking about complex emotional issues and trauma in their native language. 
  • Cultural Barriers: South Asian family customs are different from those of the West. The rules of engagement, marriage, and child-care are so complex that for a Western practitioner it can be almost impossible to recognise the underlying significance of a particular attitude or the traditions dictating particular behaviour. Because our counsellors have lived experience of these cultural norms, values and customs there are fewer risks of misunderstanding and issues being lost in translation. Thus the counselling sessions are conducted more efficiently and sensitively.
  • Family Honour: South Asian individuals and families are often reluctant to access NHS and other mainstream services due to the social stigma around mental health and relationship counselling and the belief that certain issues should not be spoken about for fear of bringing shame to the family’s name. When AFCS began, there was a widespread belief that it was not acceptable for public officials such as the police, teachers, health professionals and social workers to interfere with cultural and religious traditions. This attitude was exemplified by a "no questions asked" approach when girls were taken unexpectedly out of school or women presented themselves at their GPs or hospitals with signs of physical abuse. AFCS has strived for three decades to dispel such myths amongst the community and our counsellors are often better placed to approach sensitive issues without the fear of breaching social or religious taboos.

 

Our Objectives: 

  • To advance awareness among people of South Asian origin resident in the UK about the benefits of marriage and relationship counselling, with the aim of developing a sense of personal responsibility and enriching family life;
  • To safeguard and protect the good health, both mental and physical, of adults and children of South Asian origin resident in the UK and to ameliorate the hardship and distress caused by the breakdown of marriage;
  • To educate the public as well as statutory and voluntary organisations about the particular issues faced by the South Asian population.

 

We also aim to spread awareness of the culturally specific problems faced by British Asians and educate statutory agencies about the special characteristics of South Asian marriage and family life. This enables the agencies to carry out their work with more confidence and sensitivity. To this end, special training courses are run by AFCS.

                                                                                                       


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