Counselling for Crawford

Pictured are the director of the AIM Foundation Abdurahman Israel, addiction specialist Adam Baker, and psychologist Sharmilah Israel-Adams.

The Crawford Wellness Centre, which was launched in July, offers affordable counselling sessions to the community – and sometimes it’s even free.

The wellness centre, situated in Johnstone Road, Rylands, is divided into three parts – the AIM Foundation Family Therapy Centre, which operates as a non- profit company, The Wax Strip, and Ulfah Salie Speech Therapy.

The AIM Foundation, which offers counselling, is headed by psychologist Sharmilah Israel-Adams.

Counselling sessions offered include couple’s counselling, trauma counselling, grief and loss counselling, play therapy, drug counselling, screening for drug addiction, family therapy for those affected by addiction, relapse prevention, and re-integration programmes for adults.

Ms Israel-Adams said she decided to open a wellness centre as she wanted to give back to the community and pay tribute to her late father Rashard Adams and late grandfather Gasant Matthews who were both passionate about helping people and had a strong sense of what the community needed.

She said people often could not afford to pay for counselling and she wasn’t able to turn away people in need. And so, many times she allowed them to pay less than the regular fee – or nothing at all.

The wellness centre, housed in a converted double garage, is open from Monday to Saturday and sees about seven people every day.

When asked what, from her experience, were the issues having the biggest impact on the community, she listed drugs and marital problems.

“A lot of parents come in for their children to help their children but they don’t realise that often the underlying problem lies with them,” she said.

Ms Israel-Adams said some of the challenges, however, resulted from people not being able to pay for counselling – and the AIM Foundation Family Therapy Centre, depends on donations from the community for the centre’s day-to-day duties.

“The screening takes up the most money because we have to screen each person when they come in. They often can’t pay but we can’t turn them away as we are a support base for the family. So, we screen them and sometimes refer them to a rehabilitation centre,” she said.

She said that her hope was that the centre served as a beacon of hope to the community. “I want them to see that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”

For more information contact 082 456 2125.